Cash 1 Blog
Cancel Cable To Save Money
Last year, the average cable bill hit a whopping $100 per month. If that number seems excessive, we’re willing to bet you think the annual rate of $1,200 is a bit much as well. Seriously, well over a thousand dollars a year seems way too much to be paying for home entertainment; and this figure doesn’t even include premium channels like HBO or a sports package.
Of course, the cable industry will tell you that you get a lot for your hundred a month, including foreign language channels and a whole litany of music channels, all of which is great if you happen to speak the language or listen to all of those music stations. We’re willing to bet that in the last year you probably didn’t even listen to half those music channels. But you are certainly paying for them.
And let’s be real here; of the hundred or so TV channels you get (not including any of the premium packages), you probably watch ten, maybe twenty of those stations, while the rest just don’t hold your interest.
Let’s also be real about money here. When times get tight, we tend to cut out things like evenings out, or short vacations, and the last thing to consider cutting is the cable service. And this is perfectly understandable. If you’re going to have fewer evenings out, you might as well have some entertainment available at home to keep you occupied.
But many people have been paying for cable for so long, they genuinely are not aware of the alternatives that exist, especially if they are paying for internet.
Replace Your Cable Bill for Cheaper Alternatives
Let’s pretend we’ve decided to “cut the cord” as it were, and replace the cable bill with cheaper alternatives.
First, let’s talk about the improvements in local station broadcasting technology. Gone are the days when you needed the ‘bunny ears’ or a massive antenna on your roof in order to get local stations. These days you can get HD signals via digital antenna in your home (depending on how far away you are from the broadcast signal) for as little as $10! And most of these are simple to install, easy to use, and small enough to hardly be noticed. Remember, you don’t have to pay to receive your local broadcast stations, and in many cases, you could actually get a better quality picture with a digital antenna.
So far, we’ve spent about ten dollars by getting the most affordable antenna at the linked website, but let’s say we got a fifty dollar antenna, you’ll see the point of this later.
Now, let’s talk about home entertainment. There’s Netflix, which many people with cable already have. In case you don’t have it, Netflix isn’t just a streaming movie service. They also have dozens of original programs ranging from kids shows to excellent prime time dramas for a more mature audience (such as the outstanding political drama “House of Cards”). Let’s go ahead and add that to our running tally: Netflix costs ten bucks a month which translates to $120/year. That plus the antenna brings us to $170.
Want more options? Check out Amazon’s Prime service. Even if you don’t take advantage of the free shipping, commercial-free streaming music service, cloud storage and vast library of free books for your digital reader, Amazon Prime gives you access to thousands of movies and TV shows, many of which are not available at Netflix, plus the ability to rent recent release feature films and current broadcast television shows. Amazon Prime costs $100/year, or $10/month if you don’t want to pay for the full year up front. The yearly cost is definitely the better deal, so let’s say we purchase that. This brings our tally up to $270 for a year’s worth of home entertainment.
(By the way, we’re assuming you already have internet, as most households in the United States do, and thus are not including the cost of that in the Home Entertainment Savings Tally).
You might be wondering why we haven’t mentioned Hulu. If you really want to know more about Hulu, you are welcome to do a search for the term and get the information from their website. Hulu costs about $8.00 a month, which we find to be reasonable; you get lots of movies and television shows, but you still get commercials. Neither Netflix nor Amazon have commercials in their programming, and we want to highlight great services like those and not necessarily encourage charging you a monthly fee, yet still show commercials during television shows that have long since ended their broadcast run.
Now, we could just stop there and take satisfaction in knowing we’ve saved just under $1000 in home entertainment for the next twelve months; $930 to be exact. But if you still feel like you gotta have your Home and Garden TV channel (remember when is used to be about Homes and Gardens and not wealthy people trying to find a bargain on a beachfront home?), or your History Channel (remember when it was actually about history?) or Arts and Entertainment (because the Pawns Shop and Abandoned Storage Unit Channel is just too long to put on the channel guide), then say hello to SlingTV.
(Disclaimer: This post is not an advertisement for Sling or any other home entertainment service provider.)
Sling is probably as close to cable television a la carte as we will be able to get. Now, while they do feature commercials during their programming – similar to Hulu mentioned above – we feel it is different because all of these cable channels are being streamed live, which means sports, original programming and so forth are being broadcast in their intended original run, as opposed to older TV shows (and yes, we know this does overlap as some channels do feature “re-runs” on Sling).
Sling currently offers two typed of packages, one which costs $20/month, and the other with costs $25/month. You can start with either package and then add premium mini packages like the “Hollywood Extra” which adds Turner Classic Movies and four Epix movie channels for an extra five dollars a month, or you can add Cinemax or HBO for ten and fifteen dollars a month respectively (check out the website for all the channels you get in either the ‘orange’ or ‘blue’ package. Let’s get the ‘Blue’ package with HBO for a monthly total of $40 and a yearly sum of $480. Add to that the previous entertainment expenditures and we get a grand total of $750 for the year.
Remember, this is Netflix, Amazon Prime with all its additional services, local TV in HD and a bundle of about 50 cable channels plus a premium movie channel for $450 LESS than what you are probably paying just for cable.
Certainly something to think about.
More Reasons to Cut Cable to Save Money
You’ve seen the brochure packets, they often arrive in the mail, and they promise you lots of savings on your entertainment budget. We’re talking about the satellite and cable companies whose initial offers seem like such a bargain, but wind up increasing to absurd amounts after six months. That twenty dollar package that is so appealing up front can often increase to eighty or a hundred dollars a month! Of course, they require that you sign a contract that entitles you to the initial discount, but then they make back all their money during the months when the price increases. Worse still is the fact that they’re counting on you to simply disregard the time when the contract runs out and continue paying your high entertainment bill because you can’t be bothered or whatever.
Why Wouldn't You Cancel Cable TV to Save Money?
The worst part – and we know this probably applies to everyone who’s reading this – is the fact that out of the 100 to 150 channels these companies boast about offering you as part of your oh-so-wonderful entertainment package, you watch… what …10, maybe 15 channels total? And that’s part of what’s so frustrating, isn’t it? All those channels you pay for and very few of them have anything worth watching. Of course, it would make sense for companies to offer plans in which you only pay for the channels you watch. Go ahead, call your satellite or cable company and ask if they can do this. They will tell you they can’t, due to contractual obligations or deals with content providers and studios, and they’ll give you an answer any politician would be proud of, full of evasive, non-answers that don’t mean anything but aren’t necessarily a lie. But the fact is, the lie has already been told. The fact they tell you they “can’t” is simply wrong. Take a look at your on-screen guide and note all those channels that are marked ‘premium’ and the signal is scrambled because you didn’t pay for the extra package. If they can block channels on your TV, but not black all but the ones you watch and let you pay a smaller fee for just the channels you are interested in? Did you catch the key words back there? “Smaller fee.” See, if the cable/satellite companies let you do this, then everyone else is going to want to have the same deal and profits would plummet.
Stop Watching Cable
- In early 90’s everyone had cable because there was no other option and most of the people frantically purchased their cable plans, but now time has changed, it’s time to step ahead to welcome new technologies to make some savings by canceling cable.
- Watching cable TV is just a waste of time, you sat down in front of the TV just to see one episode and you realized after some time that you have wasted 5-6 hours and got nothing.
- Watching cable TV is just a waste of money too because every month you have to spend $200 on it as you are paying fees to cable companies, which can be used on others matter or to save for your emergency savings.
- If you are eager to watch TV shows, movies, and hot political discussions, then there are some cheaper sources to watch TV rather than cable. Some of these ways are given below:
- Apple TV allows you to connect to Netflix, Hulu Plus, iTunes and many other applications and will charge approximately free that is $100 for one time.
- Red box is another, cheaper way to watch a movie for only $1 per movie per night.
- Roku will charge $40 - $110 one time and offers hundreds of channels.
- Netflix is another wonderful replacement of cable and costs at around $10 per month for a ton of shows and movies. Netflix is the best option among many apps because its library is the broadest and they have the most technical history. You need a credit card, an e-mail address and a name, then you can be subscribed, but don’t share passwords with others because Netflix’s plan limit you to 1-2 screen viewings only and if someone else is using you can be locked out.
- The Mohu leaf is a flat antenna which can be placed behind TV to catch frequencies of local channel in HD.
- Internet delivered video goodness can be obtained on your TV screen with tons of devices like Microsoft’s Xbox One and the Sony PlayStation 4 are excellent video players. Blu- ray players also offer access to Netflix.
- Cable companies claim to offer you more than 500 channels, but it's just a waste of time and money. You cannot enjoy this much quantity of programs. Using iTunes, a movie can be rented to enjoy in your free available time.
- Once you have decided to cancel your cable, you can think about utilization of that time, which you were previously wasting by watching TV in more and more productive tasks like reading books, gardening, which has a healthy effect on you and your environment, to do some online small business, spending your time with your family and your kids learning and help them do homework. You can actually pursue your dreams instead of just talking about them. Doesn’t it sound exciting!?
- Once you cut out your cable and still wishing for some form of at home entertainment, you can look for other options which will save more than $700 a year.
- Watching too much TV means inactivity, and inactivity means obesity, which leads to heart disease, which will create tension and pain in your life. You have to spend money to treat illness.
- Watching cable TV also affects your eyes and it reduces the sense of self-efficacy in maintaining viewers’ health.
- Streaming services instead of cable companies’ offers signing up and canceling without termination fees. For less than $10 per month, you could sign up different applications, browse what they are offering, and if you don’t like it, you can cancel it.
- Selecting the right device for yourself is a matter of personal choice as well as a question of the type comfort you are in.
- A very negative effect of watching cable TV, we believe in whatever is shown on TV at different channels about reality of facts, especially in newscasts. We never cast doubt on its truthfulness.
- When you are wasting time in front of the TV, children also get inspiration and are engaged the same harmful activity, thus wasting their precious time for this curse. Their studies would be effected, they wouldn’t be able to get desired marks and unable to get a scholarship.
- Violence which is displayed on TV through cable also adds violence in society.
- Watching cable TV will not let you come out of the spell of channels and movies; there will be a waste of electricity. So it is much better to cancel cable TV to save money and spend it for a noble purpose.
It is very difficult and a bit terrifying decision to cancel your cable TV, to make your home devoid of sound and stimulation. This decision seems outside the norm of society. If you will stick to it out, you can utilize this time in healthy activities and getting your relationships strong, and save money which will add more content in your life.
What have you decided after reading the benefits of canceling cable TV?
If you do find yourself having trouble paying the cable bill this month, come see us at CASH 1. We have Nevada Title Loans in Las Vegas and Reno or you could check out our payday loan requirements and see if that help you make ends meet in the short term. And in the long term, give some thought to cutting that cable cord. It could save you a lot of money.
Joseph Priebe takes pride in assisting audiences with his articles to help them make sound financial decisions.
With over ten years of experience writing financial content his goal at CASH 1 has always been creating engaging and easy-to-digest information for anyone searching for immediate or long-term monetary solutions.
When Joseph is not writing about personal finance, you can find him photographing the Southwest United States with his 4x5 Graflex Crown Graphic camera. He is based in Phoenix, Arizona.