Cord cutting is the trendy way of saying that you ditched your monthly cable bill. In 2017 the amount of cord cutters has grown tremendously and it couldn’t be a better time to make the switch with competitive streaming servers becoming more and more aggressive to compete with the market.
According to the internet the average cable bill is $75 per month. That’s nearly $900 a year you could save by cancelling your cable bill forever. Now, with my tips below; it’s not going to be a free switch. I’m sorry but entertainment costs money. Of course, there’s always the option to sell your TV and live a life where people talk to each other; but then what would all your furniture be pointed at?
Option 1: Get an HD antenna.
I consider this to be basically a mandatory step. The rest of these steps will require your internet connection but antenna channels are here to stay. They’re great for days your internet goes out, or even if you need live TV for something like an inauguration or to actually turn on the news for updates on a local murderer’s killing spree. Sometimes you just need to be connected to live TV for reasons like this and an antenna will always be there for you. I even use it to watch NFL games on local channels because a sport package can run $150-$300 a year.
You can find an HD Antenna that suits your needs for about $30. That’s a one time purchase with no subscription necessary. That’s peanuts for the amount of TV you can get with it. Of course, your location will be the biggest factor of how many channels your TV can pick up. There are tools like AntennaWeb.org that you can use to see just how many channels you can pick up with an antenna before purchasing one. If you live in a very rural area, this may not be as beneficial to you as someone who lives in the suburbs but every area is different.
Honestly, you could stop at this option. If you only use live TV for background noise or to watch the news; this may be all you need. How amazing it would be to cut a yearly $900 bill to a $30 one time purchase? It would be great but it’s not going to be enough for most people.
But wait, there’s more!
Option 2: Buy A FireStick or FireTV
One of my most popular posts on this site is a guide on how to hack your FireStick or FireTV to watch pretty much anything. That could result in a one time $40 purchase ending your hunt for good TV or movies to watch. For most causal users this could be all you need. Pared with an HD Antenna, you’ve just turned a $900 yearly payment to a one time $70 fee that will last you for the foreseeable future. Of course technology doesn’t last forever so you may need to replace one of these devices in 5-10 years but with the money you’re saving, this should be an issue to the future Mr. (or Mrs.) Money Bags that you will become!
Option 3: Get A Streaming Service (Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime)
Preface: You’ll need something to run these apps on. Either a SmartTV, a FireStick, a video game console (Xbox 360, Xbox One, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Wii, WiiU), or some kind of computer. Surely you have one of these laying around by now though?
Really Netflix is the only one I support out of the big three options on the market. If you love reality shows, you may enjoy Hulu; or if you already have Amazon Prime you may enjoy their streaming services but neither hold a torch to Netflix.
Netflix only costs $8-12 a month depending on what you plan to use it for. Rounding at $10 for the standard service with HD channels, allowing 2 people to stream at a time; you could split the cost with a friend and have more than enough movies and shows to watch for the foreseeable future.
Of course the Netflix library is limited but for the average person, you won’t run out of content. You’ll run out of good content faster but even someone like me who watches WAY too much TV, I’ve just resorted to rewatching The Office and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and I’ve been content with keeping my subscription for a few years now.
If you’re on the fence if you should get Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime; keep in mind that all three allow a 30 day trial for free. You’ll just need to remember to cancel when the trial period is up. I recommend trying all three just to see which one better fits your needs.
Option 4: Get A Live TV Service (Sling, PlayStation Vue, DirecTV Now)
Preface: Like the above option, you will need something to run these apps on.
If you really miss or can’t live without your live TV channels, there are options available. Or course, if you’ve cancelled your cable bill to save money and want to take part in all of these options available, you may want to start doing math. These services run $20-70 per month and pared with Netflix you could end up running over your original budget.
Most of these options have packages available depending on what you need. For instance, if you want HBO you may need PlayStation Vue’s $65/month plan or you can add it to a $40 plan for $15 on Sling. Besides PlayStation Vue and Sling, DirecTV Now is the newest to the market although they don’t add much to competitive pricing.
Honestly, I can’t give you an idea of how much this is going to cost you because it’s completely up to you. Some may settle for Sling’s $20 plan (cheapest) or Vue’s $65 plan (most expensive) or they may find something in between.
Option 5: Just downgrade your cable.
In my personal opinion, if you’ve been unsatisfied with options 1-3 and are dancing around the idea of adding a second (or third service) with option 4 you may want to consider calling your cable company and telling them that you’re going to leave in attempt to get a better offer and save money on your current bill. Obviously this is against the cord cutter mentality but the truth is, we’re all only doing this to save money; right?