I used to cringe every month when my cable bill would arrive in the mail. Without fail, every month the bill for my bundled package of cable, internet and phone would be just over $200. I was on a tight budget and had to make some tough decisions about what was worth the money. I called my cable provider to try negotiating a lower price, but even for the most basic package they offered the bill would hover in the $150 a month range.
I knew I needed internet service, and didn’t really want to get rid of the cable, but at $2,400 a year, I simply could not afford the luxury. I was scared to get rid of my cable, how would I watch my shows? But, I had to be reasonable and realistic about money, so I came up with a plan and put it into action. This is how I did it and how it ended up saving us $1,500 a year.
Checked other providers:
This was the most important step and the one that saved me the most money. After asking Comcast to give me their best price, I went on-line to Verizon and tinkered around with their packages.
In my case, not only did I get a better deal, but also a lower price, by signing up for a phone and high-speed internet package. The two combined were cheaper than purchasing the high-speed internet a la cart. My total price for high speed internet and phone was $60 per month including taxes and fees.
Dropping cable and switching my internet provider saved me $150 a month. That’s $1,800 a year in savings!
Bought a streaming player:
There are a lot of different devices out there that allow you to stream internet to your televisions. In fact, you may already have one of these devices in your home. Video game consoles such as the Wii, XBox and Playstations, as well as many BluRay players offer wi-fi features. Other devices like the Roku, Apple TV, and Google Chromecast can be purchased just for video streaming. .
These devices provide you with a variety of different “channels” that you can add to your home screen, many of which are free. The better channels that are offered come with a low monthly subscription cost, but don’t turn your nose up just yet, I’ll talk more about those soon.
Prices for these devices vary from $35 all the way up to hundreds of dollars for video game consoles. I have provided links to all mentioned video streaming devices at the bottom of this post.
In my case, we bought a Roku box for $80 and also put to use two items we already had: a Wii and a XBox 360.
$1,800 (cutting cable and switching internet provider savings)- $80 Roku purchase = $1720 annual savings
Additional Required Equipment:
Aside from a tv and a streaming player you will need two other things to make your equipment work:
- A wireless router (internet providers usually provide this for free, be sure to ask)
- HDMI cord (you may already have one, if not they can be purchased for as low as $8 but can cost a lot more. I bought an $8 one before I ditched cable and it works just fine.)
Ordered Hulu and Netflix and activated Amazon:
Netflix and Hulu are the most popular companies that provide tv and movie streaming. If you subscribe to these providers your fee will be $8 each per month. These are optional, but in my opinion worth the money.
Though they are similar, there are quite a few differences between Netflix and Hulu and the content they provide.
- Hulu plays current shows a day after they air on national tv and usually only provide part of a season (and sometimes up to two seasons) of most current shows.
- Netflix offers older shows and usually the full season catalog; they also offer some premium cable shows.
- Neither have HBO shows.
You can read about each and browse the selections they offer by clicking the links above.
We also have an Amazon Prime membership because BF orders a lot of things from Amazon and he wanted to get free 2nd day shipping by paying an annual fee. Included in the $80 per year fee is another tv/movie service called Amazon Instant Video. The selection there is often the same as Hulu and Netflix, but not every show is free. What I like about the service is that you can order new release movies for $3.00 — this is more than half the price of what Comcast On-Demand charges.
$1720 cable cutting/provider switching savings – $16 Hulu/Netflix monthly fees & $80 yearly Amazon fee = $1,448 total annual savings
Great things about cutting cable:
Obviously, I am thrilled about the $1,500 I saved last year. Over the course of 5 years that will save me about $7,000 that I would have paid to Comcast! That is a lot of money!! Aside from the money, I really enjoy using streaming players in our house for a few other reasons.
- I can watch tv shows in their entirety and I mean every episode ever. There are a lot of great shows I missed out on over the years!
- I can watch what I want, when I want. If I have the urge to watch Desperate Housewives at 3am, I can. If I want to watch it at 3pm, I can do that, too.
- I can pause, rewind, fast-forward and replay anything I may want to. Believe it or not, this comes in handy!
- There is always something for everyone to watch, from cooking shows, to foreign films, and everything in between.
- It’s not as hard to do as you may think it is. Believe me, I was worried I would be unhappy, but in the end, I think it is all a matter of what you are used to.
What I do miss about cable but don’t mind living without:
- Live tv. Sure, coming to the party a day late isn’t always the best feeling in the world, but honestly, my life doesn’t change drastically (if at all) for watching Elementary on Friday night instead of Thursday.
- HBO. Yes, I missed out on Girls. Yes, it made me sad, but I really did save a lot of money, and if I want to now I can afford to buy or rent it on DVD.
- The News – okay, this really still bugs me. No local news. That might be a deal breaker for some, but I found my way around it.. You watch it on the computer, as it’s on air. That’s right, most news channels broadcast their news live over the internet. For a news junkie like myself, it’s nice to have the option.
How I feel about the switch:
I only wish I would have switched to cable-free sooner and saved myself more of that money!
Seriously, that’s a lot of money, especially over the course of a few years! How about you, have you made the switch or are you thinking of it? Just imagine what could be done with all of that money you’d be saving!
If you have any questions about cutting your cable and switching to on-line streaming, I’d be happy to help!
- The half-cut cord: What’s bugging me about cable (reviews.cnet.com)
- Cable stocks surge on takeover chatter (money.cnn.com)
- Netflix Just Made A Big Change (huffingtonpost.com)
- The 4 best gadgets to bring Internet video to your TV (zdnet.com)
- Practical Tips for Saving Money on Cable TV (epicafinance.com)