7 Sep

How I (FINALLY) Cut The Cable Cord And Saved

       For YEARS, I have wanted to do away with cable. I mean, YEARS! But, everytime I approached the subject, I was beaten to a pulp talked out of it by The Dude and the X kids. We had 200+ channels, yet only watched a handful of them, most shows being watched on network channels, that would be free anyway. But then, when we got DVR service about 8 or 9 years ago, I fell in love! DVR! I could record HOURS of crap and watch all the time! I was never going to give up cable now! I can record automatically all the Law and Order SVU reruns. All the Friends reruns. It was great! But, man, was I paying for it! To the tune of about $130 a month!! Insane, right? However, we have always had cable and this just was a regular bill we always had to pay. We became numb to it.

When our financial situation started to change a couple of years ago, we started to reevaluate our bills. Cutting costs wherever we could. Groceries, entertainment, etc. I finally started taking a hard look at the cable bill. That $130/month just kept glaring at me. I called the cable demons company to see about lowering the bill. I wanted to cancel the premium movie channels. That would save about $30/month. Then they offered ALL those channels with a special price of $10/month for a year! SOLD! I was saving $20/month but had to commit to another year of service. But, we barely ever watched those channels!

It was in November of 2014 that I really started rethinking the cable thing. Technology has introduced some neat gadgets. I started doing my research and made up my mind that come January, when our contract was up, I was canceling our service. This was the reaction from my family…

NOOOOOOOOOOOO

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Despite their wails and protests, I was determined. I knew there would be some upfront costs, but that we would recoup them within a couple of months. First step was to buy an antennae. Antennas have come a long way since the rabbit ears and freaky metal contraptions on your roof days. We purchased a flat, indoor HDTV antennae from Wal-Mart for $40. It’s signal reaches up to 60 miles. We put this in our attic. Next we needed a streaming device. A streaming device can keep 100’s of apps in one area. There are also Blu Ray players that allow you to stream content, as well as Smart TV’s. With any of these options, you need to connect to the Wifi in your house. We have 3 TVs in our house. Family room, Master bedroom and the kids playroom. You have to have a streaming device for each television. The kids have a Wii in the playroom, that can stream several apps, so I started doing my research for the other two televisions. There are quite a few options. This article, from Digital Trends, lists the best options for steaming media devices. We decided to go with the Roku 3, for our family room television and the Roku Stick, for the master bedroom. Both give you a couple thousand app choices, but the Roku 3 is more powerful, which we thought would be better for the main family television. Plus, the remote has a headphone jack, which is great when you get tired of listening to Pokemon all the time (which is Lil’ E’s fav show). When we purchased the Roku 3, it was $140. A bit steep, but I knew the money would be recouped within 2 months. The Roku Stick was a great deal at $39.99. It is slower than the more powerful Roku 3, but the master tv is not used as often, so it was something I could overlook.

Now that we had our streaming capabilites, we needed channels to stream. Netflix is a great option, at $7.99 a month. 1000’s of movies and television shows are offered. What’s even better is that there are no commercials! And just to add the cherry on top, Netflix has come out with some fantastic series of their own! Down side is that you have to wait several months for your favorite shows last seasons episodes to be added. Hulu was the next channel we subscribed to. What I love about Hulu is that it airs most of my shows newest episodes the day after they are aired. At $7.99 a month, it is another great option. However, you do have to “suffer” through commercials. Hulu has just rolled out a new commercial free plan for $11.99 a month, but personally, I would rather watch a few minutes of commercials than pay the additional money.We have subscribed to  Amazon Prime for a couple of years, mainly for the free 2 day shipping. The bonus to this membership is the automatic subscription to their Amazon Prime Instant Video. Again, 1000’s of movie and television show options. Amazon Prime membership is $99 a year. Breaking down, that is $8.25 a month. However, since we get the free 2 day shipping option and other perks from the membership, I would calculate that the streaming part breaks down to about $5 a month.

There are a few down sides to cutting the cable cord, of course. CBS has an app but has gotten greedy and requires a $5.99 a month subscription to it. This really bums me out, since there are several shows on CBS that I enjoy. There are quite a few apps that you need a cable company log in, to watch. If you are a huge sports fan, ESPN does have an app. However, you need a cable log in to watch it. There is a way to get these cable log in apps. GENX MAMA CONDONES ANY QUESTIONABLE/ILLEGAL ACTIVITY (I have to put that in there)! If you know someone, family member or friend, who is willing to let you hack into their cable account, share their cable account log in information, you can get all the apps you want.

There is also the DVR issue. TiVo has been a favorite DVR choice for years. Their products run from $49.99-$199.99. There is a $14.99 a month subscription fee for their services. Or, you can pay a 1 time $499.99 fee for life. That’s the life of the product, not your life. I have heard really great things about TiVo, but I’m just not willing to spend the extra money for the subscription. I have another option that I am trying to figure out. We still have a VCR (yeah, you know Gen X Mama likes it old skool!). It is hooked up to the family room television and we can watch movies on it, but I have tried, unsuccessfully, to record shows. I’m not sure what I am doing wrong, if it’s the digital thing or what. I am still trying to figure it out. I’ll keep y’all updated with any success.

So, let’s break it down…

Cable was costing us $130 a month, $1560 a year

Initial investment in equipment (antennae, Roku 3, Roku Streaming Stick), $220. We recouped this initial investment in less than 2 months.

Monthly subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Instant Video, $20.98 a month, $251.76 a year.

$130.00 – $20.98 = $109.02/month savings

$1560.00 – $251.76 = $1308.24/yearly savings

WOW! I am quite impressed! There is also the immense satisfaction of not being tethered to the cable cord. It’s quite freeing, actually.

Bottom line, there are so many options now to enjoy tv without the high cost of cable. Better yet, turn the tv off and go enjoy the great outdoors!

GenX Mama

GenX Mama


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