Michael and I are always on the lookout for ways to save extra money. I’m pretty much constantly thinking, “what can we cut out to save a few extra bucks?” And after a few years and a few thousand dollars, I finally decided to cut cable and cut waaaay back on our yearly expenses.
Let’s be real. I pretty much never even watch cable TV. When we had it, the only channels I ever watched were Fox (for the Seahawks), HGTV, and occasionally HBO if any good movies were on. For the $116 we were paying per month (before tax), that hardly seems worth it.
Now, we all know that cable companies offer some pretty good deals. In our case, we were getting over 150 HD channels and HBO, plus we had a DVR box at no additional cost. Sounds awesome, right? The only problem is that this deal was only good for a year, and after that, the price was going to jump by almost 30 bucks. This is an extremely common occurance, and there’s only one way to avoid spending a fortune: cutting the cord.
The first thing we needed to figure out was which programs we wanted to keep. Being as though we already stream Netflix and Amazon Video, we started by looking into one of the best live TV streaming services, Sling TV. If you haven’t heard of it before, it’s an app you can get that streams certain live HD channels. Packages start at $20 per month, and you can add as many channels as you’d like depending on your preference. They also offer a 7-day free trial, which we of course tried out before we made our decision.
I will say that the quality is fantastic. There’s really no difference than regular HD channels, plus they’re 100% live. I went with the $25 package, which provides over 40 channels including HGTV, Food Network, Nick Jr. (for the girls), CNN, Comedy Central, and a bunch more. The only issue I have with this service is the lack of local sports in our area. I cannot stress this enough; WE NEED TO WATCH THE SEAHAWKS. While I am very impressed with Sling TV, we are going to go without for the time being. You can see if you can stream local channels with Sling in your area here.
Our next option was to purchase an antenna. After doing a little bit of research, we ended up purchasing the Mohu Leaf 50 TV Antenna, which provides us with over 20 channels, including our local sports network! And the best part? It is 100% free. With all these new-age TV options, I think we often forget about the good old days of the antenna. The biggest thing you have to make sure of when going this route, is that you get one with a wide enough radius.
Let’s do some math! Before cutting out cable, our monthly TV expenses were as follows (before any taxes):
- Cable/Internet: $116/month
- Netflix: $12/month (we own a smart TV and occasionally stream 4K content)
- Amazon Video: $99/year (I pay this every January, and I get a ton of shows and movies all absolutely free. And here I used to think that Amazon Prime was only good for 2-day shipping! Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial!)
Total yearly cost: $1,635
Uff da! You never really think about how much TV costs until you break down your long-term costs! Now, let’s see how much our annual cost will be now that we’ve cut out cable:
- Internet: $40/month (we decided to go with a different company, that offers slightly lower prices and a 3-year price lock) It’s also important if you’re going to be using streaming apps to have a fast enough connection. Find out more here.
- Netflix: $12/month
- Amazon Video: $99/year
Total yearly cost: $723
That’s a $912 drop! If I had known that I could save nearly a grand this easily, I would’ve cut the cord a long time ago!
There are various other streaming services to consider when cutting out cable, each offering their own exclusives, deals, and prices.
- HBO Now: This is a service I’ve thought about purchasing so I could still get my HBO fix. As opposed to HBO Go, you don’t need a TV package to stream all your favorite shows and movies! They offer a 30-day free trial, then the price goes up to $14.99/month.
- Hulu Plus: Similar to Netflix, Hulu streams all kinds of TV and movies, except instead of waiting for the entire season of your show to get added, you can watch them the next day. This is a good option if you don’t want to wait a few extra months to find out what happens next. Price: $7.99/month with commercials or $11.99/month commercial-free.
- YouTube: I’m sure you’ve heard of this one, but this is an excellent way to stream snippets or sometimes even full episodes of your favorite shows completely free. I love watching all my late night TV on here, as well as music videos, plus all the hilarious and helpful YouTube entertainment channels. This is also an excellent option for those of you who have kids, as they have literally millions of kids videos to choose from (just make sure you put on parental controls)!
So far, the antenna has been working out great for us. We get to watch the Hawks and we’re saving a ton of money besides! If you’re exploring ways of saving money, cutting out cable is definitely something you should consider.
This is a big decision to make for some, but luckily a lot of these types of services offer free trial periods so you can try it out and see if it’s for you. I will say, the combination of Amazon Video, Netflix, and YouTube has been a lifesaver for us! When Hadley has screen time, she gets to choose between pretty much all of her favorite shows, at the touch of a button.