Tired of paying a ton for cable TV each month?
I’ve had cable TV for my entire life. There’s tons of tips and tricks to SAVE – threaten to leave, switch back and forth between providers, change service packages, etc.. And I’ve been there, I’ve done ’em all. I’ve renegotiated my contract SO many times, have gotten the cable company to lower me back to something around $99/month and then somehow, it inevitably ends up creeping back up to $150/$160.
When I called to change over the services for the new house back at the beginning of the summer, I was expecting to be enticed back down to something low (like a new customer rate) – but even the best rates they were offering at the time were around $99 for a triple play. On top of that there’s another $10 for fees, $10 for a digital box, $10 extra for HDTV, etc. – and suddenly we’re right up back to where we started shelling out $150/month on TV, phone, and internet. It was then that I realized there HAS to be a better way.
Could we survive with kids and without CABLE?
We’ve all heard success stories from the other side – there’s plenty of other families I know saving each month by cutting the cord and I’ve wondered whether we could do the same.
So, I started researching ways to legally, yet affordably, ditch the cable subscription but still have options for us to watch. I’m already paying for Netflix and Amazon Prime – so I have streaming services available. I also have taken advantage of the Disney Movies Anywhere app (available on mobile devices but also on streaming devices like Roku) and have a library full of our favorites from DVDs I’ve bought that have come with a digital copy code. But I wanted to be sure I could still watch my favorites (mostly reality TV) and that my husband, who also has very few favorites, could watch what he wanted to as well.
Finding a Streaming Service
The Washington Post has an AWESOME tool where you can add which channels/programs you love to watch – and they’ll bundle them all up and give you which internet streaming options match your needs. For us, this meant a combination of:
- Access to Disney Movies (covered by the Disney Movies Anywhere App)
- Access to some kids programming (nothing specific really since our kids don’t watch a crazy amount of TV anyway, but they’ll basically watch anything kid-friendly)
- ABC, NBC, and CBS (common broadcast or local channels)
- AMC for The Walking Dead
- MTV (no shame in admitting I’m addicted to teen mom and cheesy reality TV)
- Sports networks (Fox Sports, mostly covered what my husband was looking for)
YouTube TV covered our basics (except MTV). It’s only available in certain markets right now, but will be more widely available soon. If you are in an an area that has access, I’d highly recommend it – it comes with a free Chromecast, unlimited streaming devices, 6 family profiles, and unlimited cloud DVR. The only downfall is the inability to access MTV, which is rumored to be under negotiation to be added in the future.
Getting a Streaming Device
After determining which streaming service fits your needs, you’ll need some kind of device to support the app. Some SmartTVs include this functionality already, but it’s important to make sure your streaming service is compatible with whatever device you have.
YouTubeTV: Chromecast, AppleTV
SlingTV: Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Xbox One, Android TV, Channel Master
DirectTV: Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Android smartphones and tablets, Apple TV, Chromecast
Hulu Live: Apple, Android, XBox, AppleTV, Amazon, Chromecast
Playstation Vue: PlayStation 3+ 4 consoles, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV
Some services offer a streaming device for FREE if you prepay the first month or two – so be sure to check out your options! Right now, I know YouTubeTV is giving away Chromecast and Sling TV is giving away Roku Express for free with a new subscription. Both of these devices are normally in the $30 range – so this is a great savings!
Consider Bringing Back the Antenna
If you’re really looking to cut costs, but still have access to your major broadcast networks, consider investing in an antenna.
For about $30, we bought this digital antenna from Amazon. It’s white and I have it sneakily hidden behind a curtain in my living room window. You cant even notice it! With the antenna, we get CBS and NBC with no issues. There’s also a bunch of other channels on there, but with the streaming service we rarely need to use the antenna.
To figure out which channels you have access to using an antenna, and their ranges, check out nocable.org.
Breaking Down the Cost
Let’s take a look at what we were paying:
May 2017 cable bill (triple play):
- Bundled Services (TV, Internet, Phone) $89.99
- Additional TV Services $36.92
- Modem Rental $10.00
- Other Charges & Credits $12.93
- Taxes, Surcharges & Fees $7.04
- Netflix – $7.99
Total Charges $164.87
Current bill (internet only):
- Internet $49.99
- Modem Rental $10.00
- Taxes, Surcharges & Fees $0.69
- Netflix – $7.99
- YouTube TV – $35
Total Charges $103.67
A total MONTHLY savings of $61.20 – YEARLY $734.40
So, the savings aren’t CRAZY low, but $60 extra a month is definitely something. YouTube TV is one of the pricier options for a streaming service, and if you can live without one, you’d save roughly $420. At $20/month, Sling TV is the cheapest option and has a great amount of basic channels.
How it’s going now
We’re about a month in and I have to say, I’m never going back to cable. We decided to switch over to YouTube TV recently so that we can get the extra broadcast networks (CBS, ABC, and NBC) and the sports channels my husband was asking for. For the extra $15/month, this is definitely worth it to us.
As far as the kids – they couldn’t care less. They’re still watching their Disney favorites using the DMA app and YouTube TV also has both Disney and Disney Jr., so we have plenty for them to watch.
Realistically, cutting cable just changed HOW we watch TV. It cut back a tiny bit on WHAT we watch, and ultimately saves us a good chunk of cash. The best part is, you can stop any streaming service at any time, so you aren’t locked into a contract if you need to drop services to save even more.