I have a question for you and a possible suggestion. My question is what is your reason for not wanting to short the stock versus buying puts. Is it the margin that you have to put up? The reason I ask this is because it's a very important question regarding what you want out of your position and what you don't want. What you want is to be able to profit on the short side of the stock. At the same time you don't want to deal with wide option spreads and time decay right. So the answer here is quite obvious although it has not been brought up. I don't know if you know this or not but you can create a virtual option with just using stock. Think about what an option is and what it does and what the profit profile looks like and then ask yourself how can I duplicate this profile using just stock. Remember its the curvature in options that create your profit profile. you can create that same curvature by buying and selling the stock with the same slope of the option. Example. If you want to buy a put on xyz you could short 50 shares of stock and then continue to sell 10 shares every .50 down for lets say 2 1/2 pts, at that point you will be short 100 shares of stock. As the stock comes back up you could buy back those shares in the same increments. If you bought the front month ATM put you would be doing the same thing. The put would be the same as being short 50 shares of stock and as the stock dropped you would be getting shorter by the same amount up to parity. Why should you do this. For one, you don't have to pay the enormous spreads in some cases that options have and two, no time decay. Think about it. You could buy a virtual put with no time decay and no spread. Just something to think about. What you will learn about options and even trading in general is that it does pay to be creative. Think outside the box.