Editors Note: The following is a guest post by SatelliteTVGuru.net. Although the post is not specifically about credit it talks about saving money and being frugal in these hard financial times, so I thought it was relevant.

During tough economic times, many families go over their budget with a fine tooth comb in order to save a few precious dollars. From turning off lights, eating frozen Banquet meals all day or simply just nixing your land line, trimming the fat from monthly expenses is in vogue as Americans cut back on dining out and out-of-the-home entertainment. Relaxing in front of the TV after a hard day’s work instead of a movie or play saves money, but maybe, just maybe, you’re paying too much for your cable service.

Comcast’s prices are out of this world and when one considers that the leading cable provider doesn’t even offer HD, viewers may become a bit antsy and might look to make the switch to satellite. Currently Comcast’s cheapest packages range from $16.99 to $55.99. The “Basic Cable” package for $16.99 is just as the name indicates: pretty basic. The package offers only local channels and a handful of public programming. For most families, that doesn’t spell fun. The “Digital Starter” package is $55.99 a month and offers a considerable amount of channels. Add in HD and DVR service with Tivo (without Tivo, Comcast’s DVR leaves much to be desired) and consumers will be approaching $100, not including tax. Ouch.

Both DirecTV and Dish Network offer cheaper channel packages that may accommodate a smaller family budget or may provide a better value versus Comcast. Satellite packages usually offer more channels, more movies, more sports and with a growing number of HD services. For the price of Comcast’s “Digital Starter” package, viewers can get the Classic Silver package which offers 220 channels including local. Add in HD service for only $10 a month and viewers will gain access to 70 HD channels. The DVR price is cheaper than Comcast at around $6. Dish’s recorder is the highest rated DVR, beating out both DirecTV and Tivo.

If it’s cheaper you’re after, the Dish Family package may be what you’re after. For only $24.99, not including HD and DVR service, viewers will get local channels and a few a family oriented programming such as a couple Nickelodeon channels, Discovery Kids, Animal Planet, Boomerang and TV Land. The package also includes religious programming and Fox News. It’s the cheapest satellite plan on the market.

After Dish Network introduced the “Dish Family” plan, DirecTV followed suit with their version appropriately called “The Family Package.” This plan runs for $29.99 and carries most of the channels Dish’s does along with the Disney Channel and Sprout. It also includes music channels, which Dish’s package does not. DirecTV’s HD and DVR service costs the same as Dish Network.

For families both packages may provide adequate content. With DVR service, families can bank children’s programming all day and air it when necessary. Since we all have busy lives, it’s also great to record network prime-time shows and watch them whenever you please so the lack of channels in the Family packs isn’t as noticeable. After a couple months you’ll barely notice that you no longer have VH1. To supplement programming, some viewers might want to consider Hulu or, if you have an existing Netflix account, a Roku box for instant streaming.