Many Iowans made New Year’s resolutions about saving money. Now that bills are arriving in our mailboxes from last month’s holiday gift-buying junkets, it may be time to re-think what we spend on entertainment. Home technology specialist Chris Cashman says you should take a close look at what you pay for satellite TV or cable.

“The average family is spending about $1,000 a year to watch TV and I think that’s conservative,” Cashman says. “If I can still get the major networks, the biggest shows on TV, ‘Modern Family,’ ‘Glee,’ ‘Big Bang Theory’ and all these shows you’ve got to watch, these are programs that are available over the air, in high-definition and for free. All you have to do is get yourself an HD antenna.”

Cashman says if you have an internet connection and TiVo or a BluRay player, you can add other options that are much more affordable.

“You can immediately watch YouTube videos, maybe you want to add Netflex streaming or add Hulu plus,” he says. “These are just $8 subscriptions a month and they’ve also got trial programs so if you haven’t jumped into Netflix streaming, try it out. And, if you did all of the above, that’s still less than $40 a month.”

Cashman says you can also save money by saving power. He suggests switching your current power strip to a “smart strip” which lets you turn off electronics that aren’t in use. “You can plug certain things into color-coded areas so when you turn one item off, it will turn off everything that it’s connect to, so when you walk away, it really severs that connection,” he says.

“The staggering statistic is, everything you have plugged in around your living room, your kitchen, about 80% of the power that is being sucked out of your walls is when those devices aren’t even turned on.” Cashman says gaming consoles are another energy hog. “The problem is, a lot of these games, you just hit pause and say, ‘I’ll get back to it later,’ and you leave and go to school, go to work, you come back and, ‘where was I?’ You turn on the TV and here you go,” he says.

“If you are guilty of that, you really should consider changing your habits because the reality is, by leaving all of those consoles on all the time, it can be like adding two refrigerators to your power bill at the end of the year.” Cashman says that list includes money drained by leaving microwaves and toasters plugged in to computer monitors and phone chargers.