Cable TV is crazy-expensive. How crazy is it? Crazier than that time your mother-in-law… wait – we are getting off-topic here.
Everyone knows cable TV prices are outrageous! But getting rid of cable TV does not mean you have to sacrifice watching your favorite sports teams, movies, or addicting TV shows.
It’s now easier than ever before to get rid of cable and save money while still having access to almost everything you want to watch (thank you internet)!
For example, my brother, Francisco decided to get rid of cable when he moved near the Mayo Clinic for medical school. By choosing to just pay for the internet instead of both cable AND internet he saved over $1,500. That’s a lot of money over a few years.
But ask him about the Great British Baking Show and you’ll see he still managed to see his favorite shows regularly! Meanwhile, I NEVER paid for cable TV during the time I was living in NYC because I could stream everything I needed.
That’s enough for an emergency fund for most families.
When you factor in the interest on his student loans, my brother saved closer to $7,000 — 8,000! By making many small changes you can create BIG savings.
Still not convinced? Keep reading to see why getting rid of cable once and for all isn’t as bad as you think! If you’re ready to make a choice, but aren’t sure how to proceed, you can scroll down and read the paragraph titled “The Bottom Line”!
Traditional Cable Companies
The cable companies like Comcast are marketing geniuses! You might not like their commercials or promotions, but the numbers don’t lie. They know exactly how to get customers hooked and will do everything they can so that you don’t get rid of cable.
They advertise unbelievably low prices in large numbers, but the tiny fine print says it all.
These easy to miss lines state that those cheap prices are simply just promotional rates. Even worse, the promotional rates are only good for the first year (or less). The cable companies know that most people won’t cancel their service even after the price doubles.
Genius. But now you know better.
If you are paying more than what you feel the cable is worth, give your cable company a call. Tell them that the price is no longer worth it and be prepared to cancel your service and finally get rid of cable!
They might offer you a discount that will convince you to stay, but it definitely will still be higher than the promo rate you thought you were signing up for.
Some cable companies have started to make changes to their services to compete with streaming services. They may even offer reduced rates for only a handful of channels. This could be good if there are just a handful of channels that you must have.
This might be a good first step for those that don’t feel ready to start streaming. For the rest of you who are ready to actually make real changes in your life and to start living within your means, there are streaming services.
There are tons of alternatives on the market. From Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon to other services like HBO GO and DIRECTV NOW. These companies have really stepped up their game and have started to produce original content. HBO has always produced incredible content, but the streaming services like Hulu and Netflix used to only show other peoples’ shows.
Great examples of amazing original content are Stranger Things (Netflix), The Man in the High Castle (Amazon Prime), The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu), and Game of Thrones (HBO). The streaming companies have realized that in order to compete for customers they need to use the original content to differentiate themselves.
When there’s competition, the consumer wins!
You may have access to streaming services through your cell phone, internet, or other subscription service like Amazon Prime. Always check to see if you already have access before signing up. Why pay more if you don’t have to?
How Do I Even Stream After I Get Rid of Cable?
This is the easy part! If you are new to streaming TV you might be unsure of how this works, and the thought of only being able to watch on your computer or mobile device probably sounds painful, right? The good news is that we’re no longer in 2007.
Most new TVs come with built in ‘smart’ capabilities to connect directly to the various streaming services. If you have an older tv, you can buy an external device that connects to your TV to give it the ability to connect directly to the streaming services.
Share the Cost
An awesome way to reduce your expenses is to split the cost with roommates, friends, or family. Cable companies are starting to offer the ability to create multiple login accounts. This is great if your parents still have cable and can create a login for you to use (#thanksmom). You might even be able to stream live television.
Check with your cable provider and see if this is possible.
Free Movies and Shows?
Now that everything’s online, most people don’t even think to use free resources like public libraries! But there’s several reasons why getting a new library card might be one of the smartest financial moves you can make, especially if you’ve decided to get rid of cable!
For one, public libraries have tons of movies and tv shows to rent and many of them are 100% free! Just don’t forget to turn them back in. Some libraries even have online and digital materials including subscriptions to online services.
Check with your local library and see what is available to you. In some cases, they will even purchase a movie or show if it is requested. Your hard-earned tax dollars are going here, so you might as well take advantage of it.
Finally, if you have kids it’s a great way to find new things for them to see without having to fork over a bunch of cash.
We also like to take advantage of RedBox when we can find a coupon code online! You can often get a coupon for a free rental which is pretty awesome. If you have no clue what RedBox is, it’s a network of red vending machines often found outside of stores where you can rent movies, shows, and games.
If there is a particular show you absolutely must watch, say Game of Thrones, chances are that you have a friend that has HBO.
If you are a member of #BachelorNation there’s always a group getting together to watch that drama unfold. Bring some snacks and have a watch party! Not only will you see your show, but you will also have more fun watching it with your friends.
The Bottom Line:
If your #1 goal is to really trim down your costs: the best money saver over the long haul will be using an antenna. Pay once for the antenna and that’s it. No monthly fees.
The number of channels and picture quality will depend on your location, but you can receive HD content over the air. The antenna that we love is this one: https://amzn.to/2smlUm0.
I used it for several years to get HD channels over the air. It’s perfect for someone looking for the local channels in order to watch the news and live sports. If this is you, it’s a no-brainer to get rid of cable!
If you don’t care for live television and mainly watch movies: a service like Netflix or Hulu makes the most sense. You won’t be able to watch the news or sports, but you’ll have endless hours of movies and shows to pick from.
Camilo is a personal finance expert and the Co-Founder and CEO of The Finance Twins. I was raised in poverty by a single mother and had to learn everything about personal finance on my own. I have been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC, and US News. Earlier in my career, I worked as an investment banking analyst on Wall Street at JPMorgan Chase & Co., and I have an M.B.A. from Harvard University and a B.S.E. in finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.