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How We Cut the Cord…But Is It Worth It?

Is it Worth It to Ditch Cable and Cut the Cord?

My family and I are HUGE couch potatoes. This means we love to watch TV. You see, we are pretty boring people, so we in order to get any adventure in our lives, we live vicariously though our favorite TV shows.  But as most of you know, quality TV does not come cheap. Cable and Satellite services cost money. And every year the costs increase, with no rhyme or reason. So we decided it was time to cut the cord.

But this decision did not come lightly. Not only does it come with some sacrifice, you will need to make an initial investment. After all that, is it really worth it?

How to Cut the Cord and Ditch Cable TV. But Is it Really Worth it?
Photo credit: marsupium photography via Visualhunt / CC BY-SA

Why We Decided to Cut the Cord

When my hubby and I were growing up, we only had a selection of around 5 or 6 TV channels that may or may not work depending on the weather and if your rabbit ears were cooperating that day. But if you wanted to change the channel you had to literally get up and turn the dial. Only the rich people had remote controls and big screens.

Heck, at least we had color – we’re not THAT old.

Remember when TVs looked like this?
Remember when TVs looked like this?

In the early 80s, a new TV service came along that took the world by storm. That’s right. I’m talking about Cable TV. Holy crap! We got MTV, Nickelodeon, and even soft core porn on the pay channels (assuming you could see through the scrambled picture). Come on, you know you did this too!  And my life was changed forever more.

Cable was convenient. Most apartments and homes are already wired for it, so I had cable for most of my adult life. Then when I met my hubby and bought our first house, we decided to make the switch to Dish Network, since we were able to install it ourselves and it was less expensive than Cable.

But Dish Network kept getting into fights with major broadcast channels and we ended up losing CBS. Since we couldn’t miss watching Survivor or The Amazing Race, we ended up switching to Direct TV and became loyal customers for 15 years.

We loved Satellite TV
We loved Satellite TV

I’m not going to lie. I LOVE Direct TV. But in order to get the channels and service we love, it was pretty expensive. Of course the price you pay depends on the types of services that you are choosing.  But for our household, we needed service for 2 TVs (one in the living room and one in the bedroom), HDTV, and whole home DVR. Plus we had to have HBO and Showtime.

Then we noticed that every few months the price kept going up a few dollars here and there. Eventually we were spending almost $170 a month just for TV! We managed to negotiate with Direct TV, cut out some services, and got our bill down to $146 a month.

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But this was still too much when money is tight. And over the course of a year we were spending $1752!

Not to mention, there were 100s of channels that we never even watched. Seriously, who needs 30 freaking home shopping channels?

So hubby and I decided it was time to cut the cord. But how can we do this and still watch our favorite shows? We had to do a lot of homework, sacrifice some of our shows (mostly his), and spend a little money up front. Here is what we did…


Cut the Cord Step 1 – The Right TV for the Job

Thankfully in this day and age, through the power of wireless internet, there are many different options available to watch TV and catch your favorite shows through streaming. But before you can do this, you will need the proper set up.

First off you will need to have a television that is compatible with internet that has to have either an HDMI cable or a USB port. The easiest way is really to have a Smart TV that has installed Apps. We already had a smart TV (received free from doing a focus group), so we were already good there.

But if you are looking for one, there are hundreds of Smart TVs on the market, and many of them are quite affordable.

Smart TVs come with apps to allow streaming.
Smart TVs come with built-apps to allow streaming. This one is only $169.99 on Amazon!



Even If you do not have a Smart TV, you can still get wireless TV streaming through video game consoles. Both Playstation and Xbox also come with Apps that allow you to stream TV with a monthly subscription.

Video game consoles also come with apps that let you stream TV
Video game consoles like the XBox One come with apps that let you stream TV

Cut the Cord Step 2 – Wireless Internet Connection

If you have crappy internet, you will have a crappy TV experience. If you are serious about streaming TV, you will need to make sure you have a fast internet connection and may even need to invest in a Wi-Fi Extender.

A Wi-Fi range extender or Range Expander, is a type of wireless repeater used to extend the reach of your internet connection. It helps when you have dead spots in your house or want to stream TV that is not in close proximity to your router.

You can plug in a WiFi Extender into an outlet to expand the reach of your internet.
You can plug in a WiFi Extender into an outlet to expand the reach of your internet.



Cut the Cord Step 3 – Pick a Streaming Service

The hubs and I researched all of the popular streaming apps out there and compared prices and packages. Our TV came equipped with Netflix and Hulu apps, but we also wanted to be able to watch live TV as well. So in order to do this, we first needed to decide which streaming service would fulfill all of our TV needs.

We compared Sling TV and Playstation Vue.

Sling TV costs about $20 a month, but only provides 19 basic channels + additional channels with the upgrades. Unfortunately, Sling TV does not carry major networks and did not have the channels that my family watches the most. Plus it is limited to one account per TV. So this was not a viable option for us.

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We decided on Playstation Vue because for only $30 a month, we have access to all of our favorite channels. We went with the basic package and these are the channels we get.

We get most of our favorite channels with Playstation Vue's Basic Package.
We get most of our favorite channels with Playstation Vue’s Basic Package. But you can upgrade for more channels including major sports.

This past month Vue just lost access to Viacom (MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon) due to pricing wars, but we don’t really watch those channels much anymore. And honestly, you can watch Spongebob Squarepants practically anywhere these days. We DID just gain BBC America and CBS though. Yay!!!

And one of the best things about Playstation Vue is that you can DVR most of your favorite shows! Many of them are also On Demand as well. So now you have the option to watch The Walking Dead live or you can skip through the commercials with the DVR. I love that!

Playstation Vue is available directly through your Playstation video game console. If you own one already, you are lucky! You just need to sign up for the service with your Playstation account and you’re all set.

Playstation Vue is available directly on your PS4 console.
Playstation Vue is available directly on your PS4 console.

But what if you don’t own a Playstation? We don’t. And buying a PS4 is not a viable option for us right now, so we had to look for a more affordable alternative for streaming TV.


Cut the Cord Step 4 – Choose your Streaming Device

Currently Playstation Vue is available on the following devices:

We already have Amazon Prime, so we decided to go with the Amazon Fire TV Box for $89.99 . We also got an HD Antenna so that we could watch live Network TV channels like NBC, ABC, and Fox.

This bundle includes the Amazon Fire TV + HD Antennae for only $99!
You can get this bundle with the Amazon Fire TV + HD Antenna + HDMI cable for only $99! Great bargain!

Not only can you get Playstation Vue on the Amazon Fire TV, you can also get tons of other apps including Netflix, Hulu, Sling, HBO, Showtime, and more at an additional price.

The Amazon Fire also features Alexa – a voice activated remote that gives you instant access to weather, sports scores, and music. You can also talk dirty to her, but she might not understand what you’re saying.

And if you are already a Prime member (if you’re not, you should be), you can watch Original Prime series directly from your Fire TV. Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

But we needed a device for all the TVs in our house, so we also got the Amazon Fire Stick at $39.99 for the bedroom.

Amazon Fire Stick uses your TV's USB port to give you streaming access.
Amazon Fire Stick uses your TV’s USB port to give you streaming access and is less expensive than Fire TV



The Cons of Cutting the Cord

Some sacrifices need to be made. These are the issues we have to deal with:

  • With Hulu you can not watch your shows live. You have to wait until they air the next day. Also they show commercials unless you upgrade.
  • With Netflix you may have to wait up to a year to catch your favorite series.
  • With Amazon Prime you may have to pay additional money to watch new episodes.
  • If your internet connection is spotty, your shows will be interrupted while it tries to find a signal. To fix this, you may need to reset your modem.
  • Baby monitors can interfere and mess up the connection. Something to keep in mind if you need to use a monitor.
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Baby monitors can interfere with streaming TV.
Baby monitors can interfere with streaming TV. Photo credit: MightyBoyBrian via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC
  • IMO, the Fire Stick is slower than Fire TV Box, and occasionally freezes up. It’s kind of a PITA at times. We often have to reboot the fire stick to get it to work smoothly.
  • You may find yourself having to log in again when the apps update. It’s not a big deal, but it is a nuisance entering in all your information from a remote.
  • The Amazon Fire remote is freaking tiny! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost it while watching TV in bed. Note to self – Always keep it on the night stand.

The Final Breakdown

Here is what we spent for the initial investment:

  1. Smart TV – Free (we already had one)
  2. WiFi Extender – $29.99
  3. Amazon Fire TV – $89.99
  4. Amazon Fire Stick – $39.99
  5. HD Antenna – $20.00
  6. HDMI Cable – $26.00
    ———————————-
    Total Spent up front: $205.97

Here is what we spend a month on TV (including taxes & fees – your price may vary depending on location and choices):

  1. Playstation Vue – $31.88
  2. Hulu – $7.99
  3. Netflix – $10.90
  4. HBO Now (purchased through Amazon Apps) – $16.31
    ———————————-
    Total Monthly: $67.08

Granted, you may not NEED all of these streaming services. And if you don’t, obviously you can save even more money. But with how much TV my family and I watch, these are the packages that allow us to watch almost all of our favorite shows and everyone is happy.

I still love Direct TV and I am very sad that we had to say goodbye. But by cutting the cord, we are saving $805 a year! And for couch potatoes like us, it’s definitely worth it!


Have you cut the cord? What services do you use to watch TV? How much do you spend a month on TV service? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I was not compensated for writing this post, but it does contains affiliate links which means I may be compensated a small amount if you click-through and purchase. Full disclosure policy here.**

Ready to Ditch Cable TV and Cut the Cord? Here is how we saved $805 a year on TV. But is it really worth it?

 

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32 Comments

  1. toughcookiemommy toughcookiemommy

    I’ve been reflecting on how expensive the cable bill has been lately too. You make a great argument for ditching cable at this point.

  2. I recently bought a smart TV and I all I do is project my phone and stream content. I am not a big fan of cable tv myself and find the wires to be very messy!

    • Oh yes, that is an excellent tip. Mirroring the phone is a great way to save money too!

  3. Great post. I totally agree with ya. Cut the cord years ago and saved so much more money.

  4. Amber Amber

    We still have cable for now. We might eventually stop it down the line though. We do have a fire stick and Netflix.

  5. Kenyatta Kenyatta

    what is the cost of your monthly Internet? doesn’t that also factor as an expense?

    • That is an excellent point. We pay around $80 a month for internet. I was considering putting that in the post too. But since we use the internet for much more than just our TV, I wasn’t sure if I should mention it. It does factor into to the overall expenses as well though.

  6. I love your analysis. We cut the cord a couple of years ago, before it was a thing, and we are big fans of the savings! Ours was significantly more, we quit at the time of UVerse peak charges.

  7. Am sorry but you were paying also $200 dollars a month for cable? Oh wow, I pay just £50 for my cable with all my favourite channels, this £50 includes my landline and my internet too. I pay extra £7.99 for amazon prime which comes with amazon video and £7.99 for netflix. If I removed the landline I would pay £40.
    Well done for cutting the code

    • Yeah. That’s because I live in USA where we get reamed for everything lol! You are so lucky!

      • That’s crazy, if you have to pay that much for TV I am sacred to think what other bills are like

  8. having streaming like Netflix and Crave TV is the best! low cost, loads of selection and we don’t have to pay for those channels that we don’t watch. I love the idea of not having cables and wires all over the place for all the different devices. good advice!

  9. We have FiOS. We use it for internet, tv, and phone, but don’t even use the phone. We also use Netflix for movies or shows we’re interested in and can’t find on regular channels. I’m not sure how we’d be able to cut costs.

  10. onceuponadollhouse onceuponadollhouse

    We use the Roku for Amazon movies and of course Netflix. We do still love having cable to watch the news, current events and of course SPORTS!

  11. We cut the cord a few years ago and I don’t miss it at all! I am trying to get my parents to do the same.

  12. We’ve also fought the idea of cutting cable. This is a great breakdown! Thanks for sharing.

  13. I wish we had gotten the WIFI extender, we had tried this for a few months, however where we live we just didn’t get any reception, no matter what box or antenna we tried, with Football season just around the corner at the time we gave in and went back to cable, but to a more tailored package to the channels we actually watched and we ditched the home phone part, since we have cell. But this is a great breakdown and I’m going to look into the WIFI extender, thanks! #ProductReviewParty

  14. We ditched cable last year and never looked back!!!betwen Netflix and tv apps, who needs cable?

  15. We ditched cable 6 years ago and never looked back! We get about 30 antenna channels in our market, so there’s not much to want for.

  16. We did this for a while. I saved a lot of money by just using Netflix and bunny ear antenaes.

  17. I’ve never thought about cutting the cord. Definitely something to look into.

  18. Krystal Krystal

    We have tried it all from cable to satellite to streaming shows only. I still use Netflix and Hulu but we did get cable again this year.

  19. This was amazing. We watch very little TV The local cable with roughly 2 dollars month rate works.The good part of living in a small town in India

  20. We stopped watching tv a while ago, and soon after our tv actually died. Almost a year later and we still haven’t replaced it haha I actually like not having it anymore. For sure we watch some shows on Netflix on our ipads.

  21. almostindianwife almostindianwife

    We just cancelled cable at the beginning of last year and got Apple TV. It’s been great because we don’t watch much and what we do is on Netflix.

  22. Debra Debra

    We totally did it and it was so worth it, I always hated the commercials you can’t control and this way I don’t have to watch them.

  23. We went without all cable services for a year. It wasn’t bad. we all survived!

  24. Megan mccoig Megan mccoig

    Wow this saving is amazing. I never watch direct TV now and it is such a waste of money. Will be looking into doing this for sure. Thanks for the help.

  25. I currently have cable now and debating should I cut the cord too. I’m currently paying $200 a month which includes internet. We do Netflix a lot in my house, and that may be all we need.

    Thanks for cable alternatives.

    #ProductReviewParty

  26. Love this post! We have both Apple TV and a Firestick, excellent investments and we’re thrilled to have cut the cords.

  27. Oh wow the savings are great! I have Apple TV but I heard they are cutting ties with Netflix which means I’ll have to invest in Amazon fire TV. Thanks for sharing!

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