Hulu Or Netflix

Hulu Or Netflix: Which One Is More Worth Your Dollars?

Most consumers used to just sign up for cable without thinking about the alternatives, but the era of cable bundles may be coming to an end soon. Many people are finding that they would rather watch television online using their mobile devices as well as their gaming consoles and computers for a flat-rate that is much lower than cable.

So Hulu or Netflix?  Well, netflix currently has about ten times as many subscribers as Hulu, but their service has also been around much longer. Netflix has pledged to spend five billion dollars on acquiring new content throughout the next five years. They will be focusing on acquiring all of the most popular movies and television shows.

Hulu is owned by ABC, NBC and FOX. They currently offer customers the current season of shows from these networks for streaming. In addition to their large selection of television offerings, Hulu is currently experimenting with the addition of movie titles.

Hulu & Netflix – Accessibility and Content

Hulu or Netflix can both be streamed on many different devices, including smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and Blu-Ray players. They both allow customers to stream content over mobile broadband 4G and 3G networks.

Netflix is currently stocked with about 100,000 streaming options and their movie collection is constantly growing. They offer a variety of television shows, however most of the shows they offer have been cancelled. Their options for current television series usually don’t include the current season.

Hulu offers many current television shows and most current episodes are available the day after they air on television. Most people who watch Glee and other current television shows opt to subscribe to Hulu. The have shows from many networks, including ABC, BBC America, FOX, The CW and USA. The movie selection at Hulu is sparse, but their selection of television shows is excellent.

Hulu and Netflix Users Watching Habits

Hulu and Netflix Users Watching Habits

Graph Credit –www.nielsen.com

Price

Netflix streaming costs just $7.99 per month for unlimited streaming of any of the content on their site on any supported device.

Hulu offers customers many shows for free at Hulu.com, but these shows are interrupted by substantial advertisements. Customers can choose to subscribe to Hulu Plus, which costs $7.99 per month and allows customers the ability to download mobile apps and access Hulu content through gaming consoles. The amount of ads is substantially reduced for Hulu Plus customers, but a few ads still appear during streaming.

The Bottom Line On Hulu or Netflix

Many people who get rid of cable spend $15.98 per month to subscribe to both Netflix and Hulu. This gives you the best of both worlds, with a variety of movies and television shows available for streaming at any time. Netflix is generally the best option for customers who want to keep their cable bundle while giving themselves the option of instant streaming and more movie choices.

Budget Planner Template

Using A Budget Planner Template

I recently received an email from John about using a budget planner template.  He wrote:

“Hello, I’m feeling a little lost and have some questions in regards to budgeting and saving.  1. Which budget planner template should I use?  2. From the total salary what percentage is ideal to spend for various needs, and how much to be saved for future?  Any insight would be greatly appreciated.”

It’s a question that we all must answer. Even if some of us would prefer to ignore it! Because, with rare exceptions, we all have to deal with having just so much money to cover all our expenses. And, if we spend more than we take in for very long we get into trouble.

Let’s look at a “typical” budget planner template. Then we’ll discuss it.

Category % of Income
Housing 35%
Food 15%
Auto 15%
Insurance 5%
Entertainment 5%
Clothing 5%
Medical 5%
Everything Else 5%
Savings 10%

Understanding The Budget Planner Template

The first thing you’ll notice is that I didn’t include any taxes (either income or Social Security). You can choose to do that if you like (in fact, it’s a real eye opener). But for our purposes it’s easier just to deal with your ‘take home’ pay.  The second thing to notice is that this is a guideline, not a straight jacket. The truth is that very few of us will fit into this exact framework.  So if your spending doesn’t match, don’t despair! Analyze the situation before you panic!  Try our excel budget template!

Customize the Budget Planner Template To Fit Your Wants & Needs

For instance maybe your entertainment spending is closer to 10%. Is that a problem? Maybe not, if you’re young, single and sharing an apartment with three friends. In that case what you save on housing is going for entertainment. So overall you’re not spending more than you’re making.  Or you may be a city-dweller where housing is very expensive (think NYC). But because of public transportation you don’t own a car. So the extra you spend on housing is offset by the reduced spending on transportation.  You get the idea. Tailor your spending plan to your needs. And, adjust it as you go through life and your needs change.  One other thing to notice is that housing, food and auto make up the lion’s share of the expenses. That’s true for almost everyone.  It’s in those three areas that most families get into trouble. Most often by buying a home or vehicle that they cannot afford. But once the commitment is made it’s very hard to undo.

Categorizing Your Expenses

You might wonder where a certain expense goes. For instance, household cleaning supplies. Many people buy them at the grocery store. So are they a housing or food expense? The answer is: it doesn’t much matter. Put them wherever it seems best to you. The key is always putting them in the same place, so you can compare results from month to month.

Another common question is what should I do with charitable contributions. You can either take it off the top (like taxes) or create a separate category for it. If you believe that contributions should come before your expenses you’ll want to take it off the top. If you think that it’s part of your regular spending then include it as another expense category.  For a budget planner template to be effective you must continuously follow your progress.

How Much Should You Save?

Finally, let’s look at John’s question about saving. There probably isn’t any single right answer, because saving isn’t really an expense. It’s an investment for a better future.  So I prefer to think of savings in terms of priorities. Before I can put money aside for savings I need food and a reasonable shelter. Probably also need dependable transportation to get to my job.  But after those basic needs are met, it’s time to begin saving some money. Not necessarily the 10% in our guidelines, but 2, 3 or 4%. Enough so that there’s some money set aside for the so-called unexpected expenses that happen to us all (dead appliances, home and auto repairs, unexpected sickness, temporary lack of work).

One other comment about savings. Paying off debt (especially credit card debt) is a little like savings. Consider payments used to reduce the amount owed as if they were savings or a Bank CD.  Finally, for those of you who don’t want to bother with any of this. I know what you’re thinking: I’m fine and don’t need any help monitoring my money. Just remember that most people who are in trouble today said the same thing when everything looked good to them.

 

Top 5 Frugal Living Tips – Living On A Budget

Why pick a frugal life?  Most people are now deferring becoming parents and instead opt for getting a mortgage, traveling and preparing for retirement.  For some of us it’s about taking charge of our personal finance in order to achieving financial freedom.  This means being in a financial situation where we aren’t stressing every day about how we are going to pay the monthly bills. 

How Do You Start The Frugal Lifestyle?

Well, if you’re reading this for the first time scratching your head and pondering this very question understand that you’re not the first.  You most certainly won’t be the last couple to face this dilemma. It’s a big decision and you are probably already adding up all the creature comforts (the daily latte, magazine subscriptions, 2-door coupe) that are going to be side-lined when you start on your frugal living path.

By living a frugal lifestyle it doesn’t mean you can’t spend money and still enjoy the things you use to.  Spending money is the easiest and biggest way to have an impact on your free cash flow.  Now, reducing the working hours of one partner can free up some more lifestyle choices as well.  Holidays are easier to juggle (albeit harder to pay for), socializing time is freed up and odd jobs around the house can be accomplished without spending weekends rushing around.

If you planning on living on one income in the near future, or want to achieve financial independence, you might want to peruse the 5 frugal living tips. 

5  Living Frugal Tips

Frugal Living Tips BudgetAddress Your Spending Budget

Procrastinate in creating a budget will only mean delayed, and harder, results of limited spending. You can’t keep the same spending habits when your family income goes from 100K to 50K. Some immediate savings are going to come from work-related expenses for the partner who has left the workforce such as parking, transport fees, fuel, cafe lunches etc. Other areas that might need to be pruned are non-essential items such as the weekly manicure, daily newspaper, cable-TV subscription.  Look at your cell phone bill and see if there are services you are not using or if there’s a cheaper plan that can still meet your needs..  It may seem like you’re giving up a lot but in essence your just removing what you filled your double income up with. 

Consolidate Any Loans or Credit Cards

Improve Your Credit In 5 Easy Steps

Read How To Improve Your Credit In 5 Easy Steps

This is an area where you can make huge immediate savings.  Your credit score will have a big impact on how much savings you achieve.  If your mortgage length is 25 years try extending it over a 30 year time span. Of course you will end up paying more interest but it is better to have a mortgage that is achievable than default on one that’s not. Provided you don’t fix the interest rate you can supplement payments as and when you receive extra money.  In the long run this will save you money and can help you on a path to becoming debt free.

Buying in Bulk & Thinking Ahead

This seems like one of the most obvious frugal living tips, but the mind set of most individuals is well it’s only $1… that’s not going to make a difference. Let’s say you purchase two diet cokes every day at work from the vending machine for $1 each. We’ll assume you work 5 days a week for the whole year (260 days). You’re spending $520 a year on diet coke from the vending machine. Now assume you purchase the diet coke from the grocery store when it’s on sale for $4 for a 12 pack. Now you’re average price per diet coke is $.25, so you’re spending $130 annual. You’d save yourself $390 a year. Being prepared and buying in bulk is one of the best frugal living tips, since it doesn’t impact your life style. This can also help individuals stop impulse buying.

Find Supplemental Income Sources

There are so many opportunities today for stay-at-home moms or dads. Be creative and use your time well. You can make extra income from home, even an extra $50 per week can help out the family budget.  It might not be a lot of money, but it’s an extra $2,600 a year.

Increase Your Salary Insurance

The risk losing one salary while both partners are working isn’t too detrimental. This should only be considered if you’re only living on one income. Salary Insurance protects the main income in case of death, disablement or if the breadwinner has contracted a terminal illness. Work related accident insurance is covered by your employment (unless self-employed) but Salary Insurance protects against things you can’t.

Make some wise choices and frugal living on one income shouldn’t be too hard. Ignore the fact that your lifestyle will need to change and you will find that problems will continue to mount regardless of your nonchalance.