Does your cable have you frustrated with their little increases here and there throughout the year? Despite having hundreds of channels, are the few that you watch worth paying that monthly bill? Are you ready to take the plunge and ditch cable but scared that you might miss it in the long run? Well, if you are hesitant, then the best way to ditch cable is to wean yourself off little by little.
First, Calculate Your Entertainment Bills
The first thing you should do is calculate your entertainment bills. Include any outside subscriptions like Netflix. If you use RedBox or use Pay-Per-View, estimate what you spend monthly.
Here are my numbers from 4 years ago:
- cable/landline/internet bundle (premium channels included) for two cable boxes with DVR service: $178 a month
- Netflix two-at-a-time DVD service: $12 a month
Altogether, we were paying $2280 a year for all this. Mind you that we only watched a few channels and barely used our landline.
Make a List of Channels You Watch
Make a list of channels that your family watches and cannot do without. Then do some research and find other ways you can access these channels. For example, a lot of my shows are on NBC. Not only could I stream them online for free, but many of their shows can be seen on Hulu. The only glitch with this alternative is that I have to wait a day to see a new episode.
Now, some shows do not air right away. For example, I love Bravo’s Top Chef. Unfortunately, you have to wait a year to see it on Hulu. If you want to see a movie on DVD, the wait is better with most coming out within 6 months or less. So, for many channels and movies, ask yourself if you are willing to wait. Have a family meeting and propose all different ways they can watch a particular channel and ask if they are willing to try it.
Here are some sites you can research to see if your shows are available elsewhere for free or on the cheap:
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links that I have provided for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
Start Weaning Yourself Off of Cable
Now, you can just cut off your cable and even your landline immediately. In fact, I wish I had when trying to ditch my cable. But again, I was hesitant and that is why I weaned us off little by little. If you are still hesitant then follow the steps below.
First, get rid of any premium channels like HBO or Showtime. Try subbing these with Netflix. Now, if you have several “tiers or levels” of cable start with the uppermost tier and get rid until you have only basic cable. At this same time, go ahead and cut that landline. Now, with the money you are saving, consider purchasing a casting device. I recommend purchasing one for every cable box you own.
If you have done some research, you will most likely notice that many of your cable shows can be streamed through a service like Hulu, HBO Now, Amazon Prime, etc. Now, you can download their app onto your phone, IPad, etc. However, if you want to get it on TV you will need to purchase a Smart TV or connect it to your computer. I tried the later and it was a hassle.
The next best thing is to get a casting device. Below are a few casting devices that allow you to choose channels to add to your line up. And except for purchasing this device, you do not have to pay a monthly fee.
I can only vouch for Roku and Apple TV. We have both and they are great. With Roku, I was able to add my Amazon Prime membership.
After you purchase your casting device, try to avoid watching your cable and rely on your other services. If after a while you think you can do without your cable, then go ahead and cut the cord. Call your cable company and ditch them. Oh, and if they transfer you to “another department”, be prepared. These sales reps will try to entice you with all sorts of offers so that you don’t drop them.
So What Can You Save?
I would love to tell you that we said goodbye to cable company but unfortunately we still needed them for our internet service. Right now, it is at $55 a month. I think that’s a bit much but where I live, we don’t have many options. So here is my new breakdown of my entertainment needs:
- internet: $55 a month/$660 a year
- Netflix (DVD and streaming) : $20 a month/$240 a year
- Hulu Plus: $8 a month/$96 a year
This comes out to $996 a year saving us $1284 a year or $107 a month. When I see that amount, I keep thinking of all the things I would have rather spent this money on.
I would like to say that all was perfect when we switched but there were some hiccups and you may want to consider these before ditching your cable.
- you will find some shows that you will not be able to access unless you have cable
- sports/sport shows may be challenging
Despite these cons, they can be remedied. For shows that you absolutely cannot access, you will need to have patience. Eventually, Netflix will air them. As for sports, look for that particular sports app for Roku or Apple. My husband likes hockey so he purchased NHLTV pass for $175. But even with this pass, we still saved plenty of money.
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So, are you ready to ditch your cable? Ready to cut that cord and live “cable-less”? Then do it, do it now! You will not regret it.
Now, if you have any questions or comments, post them in the comments section below. I promise to answer them the best I can.
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