Young Pro Budget: Cutting the Cable Cord

As a young pro, l try to watch my budget so I can save up and spend a little on my favorite things. One thing that has continuously irked me over the last few years: my cable bill. $89 monthly in addition to a $40 internet plan = a lot of money over a year. That’s $1,068 yearly alone on cable, and considering my work schedule and tendency to only occasionally watch about three channels, it was nothing short of ludicrous for me.

So I finally took the plunge and bought a media streaming player: A Roku Player! Are you curious about cutting the cable cord at home too? Here’s how my switch went down:

1. After searching online for media players I narrowed down to my top two: Roku Player and Boxee.

2. Then I headed to Best Buy to look at both options and talk to the sales guy (who was not very knowledgeable… so I ended up buying both to compare and return the loser.)

3. After plugging in both options and trying them for about 30 minutes, Roku Player was the clear winner for me thanks to Hulu Plus. Hulu Plus is a media streaming site like Netflix, except it has even newer content like current seasons uploaded as early as a day after airing. My monthly subscription is only $7.99 and so far I’m loving it, minus occasional pauses/ buffer load hiccups. The savings far outweigh any temporary frustrations, though, and I like being able to access the content on my computer, too. Check out Hulu Plus from the link above and you and can get a free two week trial.

4. Most of my favorite shows have been available to watch on Hulu Plus within a day of airing, but I did still miss having access to my favorite shows same day. So I decided to just try an antenna from Walmart (Philips $30 Indoor Tilting Digital TV Antenna). I was thrilled when it actually worked- and now I can watch Bachelor and Revenge live, among other shows same-day! :)

Cost of Roku: $99 one time. Cost of TV antenna for basic live channels: $30 one time. Cost of Hulu Plus: $8 monthly = Big time savings over my old cable plan. Yay for cutting the cable cord!

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Update 3/10/12: Overall, here’s a quick Pros/Cons list of what I saw in Boxee and Roku. Again, I only tested both for about 30 minutes, so I made the decision fast. You will definitely want to check both out for yourself thoroughly to decide what is best for you. :) (Thanks Levitkon for the idea to add more info on how I made my decision.)

Pros and cons of Roku Player for me:

  • Cheaper than Boxee (only $99 for Roku vs. $169.99 for Boxee)
  • Hulu Plus supported (this was a big factor for me since I wanted access to my favorite shows)
  • The remote is not as high tech (no QWERTY keyboard)
  • Smaller profile (not a big deal, but it does take up less room on my mantle)
  • Both Roku and Boxee do have iPhone apps that function as remotes, which were handy for me

Pros and cons of Boxee for me:

  • More expensive than Roku and I didn’t see the value add, although maybe you will- let me know! :) 
  • Nicer remote with QWERTY keyboard on one side
  • From what I could tell, Boxee doesn’t support Hulu Plus. (This was the a deciding factor for me)
  • Easy to stream in your own media from other devices/hard drives
  • New pro: Boxee has since added a new plug-in to their offering: Boxee live TV! This might have swayed me more had it been available when I purchased. It is still an extra cost ($49 for the plug-in on top of the $169 for the Boxee unit)

For more info about Boxee’s features, head here. For more about Roku’s features, head here.

Chic iPad Cases: J.Crew Patterned and Solid

Photos via J.Crew

I have an unhealthy obsession with finding pretty cases for my tech products. With my first MacBook, I searched high and low for a chic laptop case. Next came my iPhone… then iPad. So when the Navy Ivory printed iPad Case at J.Crew first stared at me in-store, I was beyond sold. But it was Christmas time, and I had already guiltily gifted a few things to myself (oops- I’m not alone, right? :) ). As luck would have it, that chic iPad case ended up in my stocking and I was beyond thrilled and thanful. If you’re looking for a nice but well priced iPad case for yourself (would make a great gift too), J.Crew currently has several in Final Sale!

Just In Case : Kate Spade Phone Cases

 My iPhone is my lifeline. Your phone is too, right? It’s perfectly normal? :) My iPhone is with me nearly every moment of the day. I check it from the moment I wake up to tap the snooze button, to the last obsessive E-mail check of the night. So not only does my beloved phone need to be safe from scratches and the elements… it absolutely must be both pretty and protective. :) I currently have a pink case for my phone, and I do love it, but I’m thinking about switching things up. How cute are these iPhone cases from Kate Spade? I’m leaning toward the zebra case, or the multi-colored one. For my first cell phone, I totally nail-polish painted the case in multi-colored stripes. :) Ah, nostalgia.


*Office Desktop- Pretty Backgrounds*

Confession- I have been known to spend inordinate amounts of time searching for the perfect background: for my computer, for my phone (not during office hours-promise). I don’t know why but having a pretty desktop background just matters to me, and it’s such an easy way to decorate your Office With a View. What about you? What’s your background right now? Here are some fun ones from Marimekko. I loved the Liberty of London backgrounds from Target as well.

*Chic Laptop Bags, Totes and Sleeves*

Chic Laptop Bags, Laptop Totes, Laptop Sleeves

Chic Laptop Bags, Laptop Totes, Laptop SleevesChic Laptop Bags, Laptop Cases, Laptop Sleeves

If you’re like me, your laptop is your lifeline. You use it for work, to shop, to keep up with friends, Facebook and more. Naturally, your laptop goes everywhere with you. But have you found the perfect, chic laptop bag for all of your frolicking? It seems like all of the laptop bags out there are very blah. We’ve searched before for chic laptop bags, but here are a few more laptop bags, totes and sleeves that will dress up (and protect) your laptop. My beloved MacBook rides around in number eight quite frequently. :)

Which bag are you loving? Also, since it is so hard to find cute laptop bags, please share where you found yours!

1. Shauna Laptop Bag and Free Wallet at J’tote ($105)

2. Micro Dot Laptop Sleeve at Built NY ($20-$45)

3. Carrie Tote in Emerald at Abbi ($129)

4. Python Leather Laptop Clutch in Silver at Violet May London ($467.50)

5. Amy Kathryn Violet Carry-All Laptop Tote at Kolo Bags ($108)

6. Zebra Print Shopper at Abbi ($99.95)

7. Toile Laptop Case at LAMA ($32)

8. Verana Corduroy Computer Tote by Samsonite at Luggage Online ($71.99)