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Mama’s Guide to Cutting Cable

Mama's Guide to Cutting Cable

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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. 

mama's guide to cutting cable

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:

  1. Access to Disney Movies (covered by the Disney Movies Anywhere App)
  2. 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)
  3. ABC, NBC, and CBS (common broadcast or local channels)
  4. AMC for The Walking Dead
  5. MTV (no shame in admitting I’m addicted to teen mom and cheesy reality TV)
  6. 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. 

Other great options include SlingTV, Hulu Live, and Playstation Vue. The Washington Post tool is extremely helpful, so definitely use that as your guide!

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

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.  

Do you have more tips on cutting cable or a great streaming service alternative? Share your thoughts below!

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  • Reply lovelyluckylife August 31, 2017 at 10:38 am

    THANK you for this post! Sending to my husband now. We’ve been talking about doing this for so long!

  • Reply Jill Hamilton McMeans August 31, 2017 at 7:35 am

    This is some seriously great info!! My husband literally just bought an antenna for ours. Thanks for sharing! XO

  • Reply Priscilla Barton August 31, 2017 at 2:15 am

    wow this is great. i went down the disney movies anywhere rabbit hole just now. so you pay for the movie and it can be watched anywhere? is that how it works?

    • Reply Megan Z August 31, 2017 at 7:58 am

      Yes! It’s awesome. I usually buy a DVD for the digital code and then sell the actual disk for like ten bucks or something to get some money back on it. I love the dma app!

  • Reply Andrea August 30, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    OMG!!!! There is seriously some really good info here!!! I have to re read this so that my brain can absorb all the info, lol! Wow! These tips are amazing! Thank you so much for sharing this! This info right here is like finding the gold pot!

  • Reply Vicki @ Babies to Bookworms August 30, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    I have been wanting to do this but haven’t made the jump yet! There are so many great options out there!

  • Reply Rebecca McCullough August 30, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    Great article! We cut cable back when me and my husband were both in grad school and we haven’t ever regretted it. We have Netflix but we use it very minimally and don’t feel like we’re missing out on anything.

  • Reply Dilraz August 30, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    This is pretty cool.
    Very few people actually watch tv these days. We catch up on all shows online and tv is usually just noise!

  • Reply Alyssa August 30, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    I must admit I don’t think I’ll be able to cut cable. I also have the Amazon fire stick and Netflix but I just think it would be too hard. Props to all of the mamas who are able to do it!

  • Reply mominsanefit August 30, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    I’ve been off cable for over two years and the only thing I regret is not doing it any sooner lol. You are so right on how much of a savings that is by cutting off the cable alone. I have Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu. I can always find Peppa Pig and other cartoons on YouTube!

  • Reply ashley August 30, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    Great read! My fiance and I have discussed that we won’t be getting cable when we move into our new home. We don’t get a chance to really even watch T.V. so it’s a big waste of money for us.

  • Reply Ash @ Spit Up and Sit Ups August 30, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    We cut cable earlier this year and it’s been the best thing. I stopped relying on TV to fill the silence in the room. We use a mix of the Roku, Sling, Prime, and Netflix, and we’re STILL saving money. Very happy with our decision!

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