There’s no better time to finally cut the cord on your cable subscription. I’ve been waiting years to finally be able to do it, and technology has at last caught up.
If you read my recent post on my expected 2017 budget expenses, you know that I now only pay $95/Month for Internet. I no longer pay anything for cable, and have completely cut the cord for the first time ever.
But it wasn’t always this way. For many years I was held hostage by monopolistic cable companies. Every time I tried escaping their grasp, they pulled me back in by offering “bundles” of cable, internet and phone (landline). Those bundles would often cost less than a stand-alone package.
So I would end up relenting, and signing up for the latest offers to keep costs as low as possible. While accepting the fact I would be calling them every 6 months to renegotiate. Which I did every year, twice a year for 15+ years…
The Cost of Cable and Bundles
Here’s a summary of how much cable bundles have cost me over the past 15 years:
Despite my efforts to keep the costs low and constant haggling, I still managed to spend more than $23,000 on cable/bundles over the past 15 years.
My average was about $130/Month, with spikes between 2006-2008 due to living in a different state during that period. In general this has included Premium Cable, Internet, and Phone (landline).
I’ve managed to keep my costs lower than the average $165/Month most consumers pay for these bundled packages, according to this report. My aggressive negotiating saved me close to $7,000 over that 15 year period in comparison.
I can’t really pat myself on the back for those savings, since it would have been much smarter for me to invest that $1,500/Year over the past 15 years. Had I done that, assuming a rate of return of 8%, I would have ended up with $48,000 in my pocket, that’s almost a full year of freedom!
It’s true I could have lived without cable, and a landline phone. But it’s practically impossible today to live without internet. I consider that to be a utility now, just like electricity and other similar necessary expenses. I’ve been trying to “un-bundle” internet forever, and could never do it cost effectively.
My cable provider was TimeWarner Cable, and they were recently bought by Spectrum. Once my contract ended at the end of last year, my bill went up again. So I called them to renegotiate as I always do, and discovered that I no longer needed the bundle to get a separate price for stand-alone internet.
I was able to get Internet by itself at a lower price than the bundle for the first time ever. I opted for their highest internet speed of 300 Mbps to future proof this expense, and locked in at $95/Month. If I wanted to further reduce this expense, I could easily cut it in half by dropping down to 100 Mbps.
I was finally done with cable!! I haven’t regretted it since, but that’s because I supplemented the loss of cable for a small cost.
Alternative Solutions to Cable
Prior to 10 years ago there were few options for replacing cable, unless the intent was to quit cold turkey. With improving internet speeds and wifi, technology has evolved in the past 10 years to provide some options.
Streaming services such as Netflix & Hulu came along to fulfill a need in the marketplace for people who were willing to delay viewing gratification. I jumped on that band wagon back in 2009 with Netflix first, followed by Hulu a couple of years later. Both of those services cost me roughly $20/Month above and beyond the costs shared earlier.
Between the two, they provide sufficient entertainment value to justify their existence in my life.
The only trouble I have found since cutting cable, is the inability to watch occasional local news, and some nationally broadcasted events, like the recent Super Bowl. I also feel bad when I have visiting family, who prefer to watch some of the major networks when they’re staying over.
To solve that small problem, I bought an HD Antenna that gets all the local channels for free! It only cost me $70 as a one-time cost, and was worth it in case we need to tune into anything important.
I had tried this solution in the past without much luck, but recent technology has improved greatly in this area.
I bought the new Mohu Leaf 50 Indoor Antenna, which was super easy to install, and very discreet.
If you go this route, just make sure to check how far away the digital stations are from your home, since that will determine which antenna works best. I used this site to check, and went with an amplified antenna to make sure I received the signals.
Works great and I receive all the local channels in HD quality!
It took me a few tries before I had it located in the right spot to catch all the channels, but once I found the sweet spot, it worked like a charm.
I still rarely watch regular TV, so it’s only there in case I need it. I love this low cost solution, and how technology has finally allowed me to cut the cord for good!
Readers, do you still pay for cable? Have you cut the cord too, and if so how have you handled it? Please comment below. Thanks!