Today, I am going to walk you through a seven-step process to help you cut cable, find an alternative, and save you money! Be sure to download my free e-book, The Money Finder, where there is an entire chapter dedicated to cutting cable. Now, let’s look at some ways you can cut the cord and save money.
1. Know Thyself
Make a list. You need to know what shows and networks you want to keep watching in order to help you find it somewhere else. Make a list of all the shows you love to watch so you know what you’re looking for. This is the most important step so you don’t get confused with all the options and end up wasting money with redundant services. Do not move to the other steps until you’ve done this step.
Now that you have your list…
2. Understand What You’ll Lose
Imagine looking at your bill and seeing all the money you’re saving! No more HD technology fee, no more cable box fees, and no more taxes or regulatory fees that come with having TV service just to name a few. It is illegal to tax internet service and it currently isn’t regulated, so with internet-based TV, you no longer pay those fees. That is a good thing to lose! Who knew cutting cable could be so lucrative!
Now, there may be some content you have to sacrifice in order to reap these benefits. When I cut cable in 2012, we lost 20% of the shows we liked to watch, but we cut 92% off our bill! It was well worth the trade-off. Trust me, there are plenty of other things you can find to watch and we haven’t missed any of those old programs.
3. Locate Your Content
These are companies who pull a bunch of content, even some of their own original content, and put it in a package for you that is not live TV. Hulu is the best option for this as their On Demand programming focuses on TV shows. Netflix gears itself more towards movies and full seasons of shows after they’ve finished airing. This category also includes Amazon Prime Video.
More and more stations are going all access without cable. HBO is the largest paid network so, when they offered a subscription program that didn’t require cable, you knew the market was changing. They first did this in early 2015. Other channels on this bandwagon include Showtime, CBS All Access, Starz, and more.
C. Cable Lite
These are the most complicated because they are a batch of internet-based channels that are obtained through subscription. Some channels can be paused or fast-forwarded, while others can’t. You have to figure out how they work and it can get complicated. Check out the comparison chart located in the e-book, which will show the pros and cons of each. You may recognize some of the names of these companies such as Playstation Vue, Direct TV Now, Sling TV, Hulu Live and more.
These are channels specializing in a particular genre, anything from anime to wrestling. Nowadays, you can literally find a channel that suits your interest; however, a caveat to this is you can easily wrack up fees and suddenly find yourself paying a tremendous amount of money for those specialized channels. This is where the e-book can be helpful to ensure there isn’t a redundancy of subscriptions you are paying for. Some examples of speciality services are WWE, Crunchyroll, See-So, Feeln, and more.
4. Pick Your Favorite Teams (This is for the sports fans!)
This can be an area of hold-out for most people who are concerned with cutting cable and losing access to their favorite sports. There are many options out there for all the major sports. The NBA has League Pass, NHL has Gamecenter Live, MLB has MLB.tv, and the NFL has two; Sunday Ticket and NFL Now! There is a solution out there for you, sports fan, so don’t knock it till you try it. Give it a shot; you can always go back to cable if it doesn’t work out and if you’re going with a Cable Lite option from Step 3 you are likely getting this need met through that!
5. Gear Up
Okay, so you have gone through the process of defining what you want, where you are going to find what you want, and what your options are, so how are you going to watch these new options?
I want to walk you through what a few companies offer in, what are often called, set-top boxes or dongles:
A. Amazon Fire TV and Fire Stick
There are different versions available and the voice recognition is pretty good but not as good, in my opinion, as some of the other options on the market. You can use this to access pretty much any of the content I mentioned about including, of course, Amazon Prime Video.
Great for android owners who want to beam up to their TV from their mobile device; however, they require android-based software and can be somewhat clunky and prone to viruses. They do work well on a low budget however and can support pretty much all of the services I’ve described.
There are currently about five different versions of the Roku with many options and, when talking budget, are available on a sliding scale (anywhere from $30 to $100). You are limited in what you can access to some degree and the interface is a quite clunky too, but it is definitely a good low-budget option.
D. Apple TV
Packing a small size and the best of voice recognition, the Apple TV is a great choice that allows you to install and use multiple apps as well as play games. The way I look at it is, if my mother-in-law can figure it out, then it is a winner. It’s a cut above the rest.
6. Locate Your Locals
Unless you are going with a cable-lite option, you are going to need a solution for local channels. Right now, HD-quality local channels are streaming over the air and they are free! All you need is an antenna to pick them up.
Don’t worry, cutting cable doesn’t mean going back to rabbit ears hanging out the window. Technology has advanced a lot and you can get a great, low-cost antenna (indoor or outdoor) for $30-$40. You can even consult an FCC digital reception map and, by entering your zip code (or address), find what channels are available. So, be sure to grab an antenna if you want to keep live local channels.
7. Commit to Cutting the Cord
If you commit to cutting the cord, you will save so much money both in the process and long term. Whether you wean yourself off cable slowly or jump right in, I encourage you to make the commitment. Don’t be fooled by your internet provider telling you unbundling services will cost you more. You will still come out ahead, far ahead.
When I look at cutting cable, I look at it like becoming debt free. Try it! If don’t like it, it’s very easy to go back to the way things were. 😉 If you cut cable and find that after a few months of a good college try it just doesn’t work for you, cable will welcome you back with open arms. What do you have to lose?!
Commit to the process. You’ll find that you likely won’t want to go back, and it will leave your wallet heavier and your heart lighter! I hope these tips have been helpful to you. Don’t forget to download “The Money Finder” today for even more in depth information on the cord cutting process as well as other tips to help you save money!
Question: Did you do it? How much did you save per month from cutting cable? Share in the comments below!