The Ultimate Guide to Cut the Cable TV Cord


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Ready to save $50/month on your cable bill? Cut it like a BOSS!

For seven years of our marriage, cable was always part of who we were. No matter our circumstances, we were willing to cut back pretty much everywhere in our budget except that one. Cable was untouchable. And then something happened. As we prepared to move back to New York City last month, we offered everything up on the sacrificial budgeting altar to analyze costs and decide whether or not to maintain status quo or make changes. Cable didn’t make the cut. And that meant getting cut. Our source of hours and hours of mindless entertainment, information, and really awful reality shows no longer felt worth it.

But if you’re thinking that we’re now the TV-hating couple who only allows Sally to play with hand carved wooden toys, we’re about to really let you down. Our love for TV hasn’t faltered one bit. And Sally continues to have an unhealthy obsession with a cartoon monkey named Curious George. We’ve found alternate ways to fulfill all of our cable-watching needs without paying the cable price tag. And we’ve also found we waste less time by being more purposeful in what we watch.

So if you’ve had an itch to cut the cord, here’s our guide on making it happen.

*Heads up: Some of the links below are affiliate links. If you click one and sign up, we get a little Diet Coke money (not buy-a-house-money). This did not factor into what products and services we chose to include in this guide. Domo arigato.

Cut the Cord: Programming

Netflix

What cord cutting guide wouldn’t start with the pioneer of it all — Netflix. For the uninitiated, Netflix provides all-you-can-stream movies and TV series at $7.99/month. It’s available on your computer, your smartphone, game consoles, smart TVs, media players, etc. They’ve got a solid selection of things to watch and they’ve even started releasing their own line of successful, award-winning TV shows, such as Orange Is the New Black, Arrested Development, and House of Cards. And for the binge-watchers in the house, they come out a whole season at a time (no more waiting a week for a new episode).

Pros: wide availability on third-party devices, cost, TV-series selection, kid’s programming, fantastic original shows.
Cons: so-so movie selection, most TV seasons don’t become available until a year after season ends, focus on TV series, infrequent library updates.

Cost: $8-$12/month. Netflix offers a free month trial.

Amazon Prime

In recent years, Amazon has also jumped into the streaming business and mostly goes toe-to-toe with Netflix. We’re already Amazon Prime subscribers and get every single penny-worth out of the $99 annual price tag (roughly $8.25/month) thanks to two-day shipping and low prices. The Prime streaming library is a major cherry on top. It has most of the old and recent TV series that we watch and catch up on, all of Sally’s favorites, and they too have recently started creating original, award-winning series. (And as an aside, Prime also comes with unlimited photo storage and a streaming music service. We heart them.)

Pros: TV-series selection, kid’s programming, exclusive HBO library, comes with freaking Prime (2-day shipping, photo storage, streaming music).
Cons: availability on devices is more limited, most TV seasons don’t become available until a year after season ends, bundled with other services, clunky user interface and navigation.

Cost: $99/year. Here’s a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime.

Hulu Plus

Like Netflix, Hulu’s been on the streaming scene for some time now. If you need to keep up with your favorite shows and can’t (or don’t want to) wait a year after the season airs before you can watch it, then Hulu Plus is going to be your best friend. Most new episodes appear the day after their original airing, and their selection covers nearly every popular show currently on air. They also offer a limited movie selection, but Netflix and Amazon beat them here.

Pros: wide selection of most popular shows, availability the day after new airings, clean user interface.
Cons: commercials (ughhh), no compelling original programming (yet), weak movie selection.

Cost: $8/month. Get a free 14-day trial of Hulu Plus.

A la Carte Streaming Channels

While the cable cartels are still holding fairly strong, the dream of a “choose what channels you want” model is nearing. Within the last few months, a few major players have announced standalone streaming options with rumblings of others still on the horizon. In the meantime, many networks (ABC, NBC, Comedy Central) provide recent episodes online on their websites without a cable subscription. As of this posting, here are channels that offer or will soon offer unbundled service:

A la Carte Movies and Shows

How many channels are part of your current cable package? Yeah, we didn’t know either. But we did know we had the two or three channels we watched our three or four favorite shows on. So we were paying a highly-discounted $50/month cable bill for 10 or so episodes a month. At $3/HD or $2/SD an episode, we could have saved $30/month by just buying the individual episodes. If this sounds like you, don’t be like us. Here’s where you can get your fill of fresh episodes of your favorite shows:

The $1,000,000 (or $50/month) Question: Sports?

For these seven years, this has been at the heart of our cable dependency. Joanna just couldn’t quit college football. Actually, Joanna really doesn’t give a crap, but I sure did. When we relocated to NYC, it just happened to be after the college football regular season had ended and I was already preparing for sports hibernation. So we did without. Well, we did mooch a friend’s cable account info to use ESPN’s streaming service. But everything changed when DISH announced Sling TV. This angelic gift to sports fans offer ESPN and ESPN 2 streaming, plus a few other sports-related channels (ESPNEWS, SEC Network, TNT, etc.). Price point? $20/month. No contracts, no commitments. So when sports season is upon us, we’ll rev up our entertainment budget $20/month, and then cancel the service when it’s over.

But if you’re a super fan and/or you follow a non-ESPN sport (sorry archery fans), here are a few other options:

  • MLB.TV$130/season — probably the most popular and robust plan of the a la carte sports plans
  • NBA League Pass$170/season
  • MLS Live$65/season

Cut the Cord: Devices

Streaming Devices

So now that you’ve got your shows, how are you supposed to get them on your TV? First, get a floppy disk. Kidding. You’ve probably heard of one or all of the following devices. Put simply, these things get the things you want to watch onto your TV. But that’s not all. Most of these devices also have dozens of apps and services (some mentioned above) that stream to your TV as well (Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, PBS, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant, and so on). Every device has its pros and cons and some offer more options than others, so check out the follow three leading sticks and devices:

  • Sticks: These are all sticks that range from $35 to $50.
    • Fire TV Stick — $39
      Pros: fast Amazon Prime Video content, comes with remote / Con: fewer apps than competitors
    • Chromecast $30
      Pros: all major streaming apps covered, can mirror Chrome browser / Con: can only use phone as remote
    • Roku Streaming Stick — $49
      Pro: comes with standalone remote / Cons: limited app selection, no mirroring
  • Higher-End Streaming Devices: These do everything the streaming sticks do and then some, plus a higher price tag.
    • Apple TV — $99
      Pros: mirror content from your iPhone and Mac, clean user interface / Con: no game selection
    • Roku 3 — $99
      Pros: fastest box, most content available / Cons: limited game selection, no mirroring
    • Amazon Fire TV — $99
      Pros: remote control has voice control, great gaming support / Con: limited app selection

Smart TVs and Gaming Consoles

Before you invest in a dedicated streaming device, you might not realize that your TV or gaming console offers a lot of the same streaming apps and functionality. Most newer smart TVs now come with Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services preinstalled and are just a remote click away. Likewise, all new gaming consoles offer a wide selection of streaming options.

Antennas

Take a deeeep breath. You smell that? That’s free TV you’re inhaling. It’s all around us, and with the right equipment, you can watch it in HD for free on your TV. You’ll first want to check out this site and see what channels are available and what the reception quality is like for over-the-air programming in your area. If you see lots of green bars and channel options, you’re in business.

There are lots of antenna options available on the market, so do your research. You can choose between indoor, outdoor, short, mid, and long range. If you’re anything like us, you want to avoid hanging a huge metal grill out your window and instead go with something a little more discreet. Amazon’s got you covered with their 35-Mile Range Indoor HD Antenna for only $30. You just throw it up inside your home, plug the included coax cable into the back of your TV, and voila, HD TV from your favorite over-the-air networks — plus those weird public access stations that give basically anyone airtime for their own show.

Cut the Cord: The Bottom Line

If you’ve been waiting for your chance to finally cut the cord on cable, here’s a sample breakdown of how much a cord-cutting setup might cost, and more importantly, how much you might save over the course of a single year.

First, the status quo.

  • Cable Costs: $50-$120/month

And then the cord-cutting alternative.

  • Netflix: $8/month
  • Amazon Prime: $8/month
  • Walking Dead episodes: $40/season
  • Chromecast: $30 to $99/one-time
  • HD Antenna: $30/one-time
  • Cord Cutting Total: $20/month (plus $60-$130 upfront)

In this hypothetical, you’re looking at savings of $30 to $100 each month. Maybe you want to use some of those savings to buy more episodes of your favorite shows or invest in a better streaming device. Or better yet, maybe you want to throw that money at some debt or an emergency fund. No matter what you decide, you can rest easy knowing that you’re saving up to $1,200 every year while still enjoying your favorite mindless entertainment.

Have you already cut the cord? Are you going to? What’s got you sitting on the fence? Weigh in and share your tips, advice, and questions.

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55 Comments

  • Reply Danielle January 16, 2015 at 7:54 am

    Honestly, I called comcast VERY ready to cut the cord a few months back. They offered me 99/month for internet and cable. I know internet by itself isn’t much cheaper through our provider so I took the offer. It also dropped us from 130-140 to 99 a month so I was MORE than happy!

    • Reply Johnny January 19, 2015 at 8:54 am

      Awesome! Way to cut some costs. If you’re going to make cable work, then play the negotiation game to get that price low. And then keep calling back every six months and let them know you’re still considering cutting the cord.

  • Reply Abbie January 16, 2015 at 8:13 am

    I cut the cord with AT&T UVerse about 7 months ago, and hopped on the Apple TV train. It was a tough decision at the time, but SO worth it in hindsight. There are shows that I miss (very excited for HBO & Showtime to start streaming!), but I don’t regret going cable-less at all. Cable bill went from at least $70 per month to just under $20 for Netflix & Hulu (plus I negotiated a better internet rate to boot), and I just can’t argue with those savings.

    • Reply Johnny January 19, 2015 at 8:58 am

      $20/month… so great! It feels like such a major life decision in the moment, and then you do it and realize that you can make do just fine. Definitely looking forward to having more streaming options in the future, though.

  • Reply Kevin January 16, 2015 at 8:48 am

    We cut the cord several years ago. We do pay for Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime (With a .edu address, though, we only pay $49/year for Prime). We also do a little cheating, I must add. We use my parents’ cable credentials to log in to ESPN, Fox Sports 1 (Go Creighton!), Showtime (Homeland) and Bravo (Top Chef). Even without those, though, we would be more than fine!

    • Reply Johnny January 19, 2015 at 9:02 am

      Good call on the Prime Student discount. We miss the perks of our .edu email addresses. Like I mentioned, we cheat a little too right now with a cable login, which has made the transition much softer. But like you said, if that dried up tomorrow, we’d be fine now.

  • Reply Tarynkay January 16, 2015 at 9:03 am

    We did not have any TV watching capability at home for the first ten years of marriage. Then we had a kid. Suddenly, the only thing we had energy for after he went to bed was lying around like vegetables watching television.

    We have stuck to just Netflix, which we watch on a computer monitor. I think it would have been really hard to go from cable to this setup, but going from nothing to this was not a hardship. We watch shows after our son is in bed. We also let our son watch an episode of Daniel Tiger or Thomas the Train if he stays quiet during nap. Bribery for the win!

    That is great news about the sports viewing options! Our three year old is REALLY into football and we have been talking about figuring out a way to watch football at home with him.

    • Reply Johnny January 19, 2015 at 9:06 am

      He loves football?! You are raising my dream child. Sally’s actually gotten more into it recently, but it has less to do with what’s on the TV and more the fact that it’s a sanctioned yelling event since daddy is doing it. :)

  • Reply Christina January 16, 2015 at 9:27 am

    I was never much of a TV person (even growing up) but my husband is, and we have the cable package to prove it. I’m so glad that you shared all this info, though, as now that I think about it – aside from NFL Red Zone, and Showtime (Homeland), we really watch the same shows on History (Ancient Aliens – him), and TLC (anything wedding related – me). Even though we may not make the move to cut the cord anytime soon, we’ve consciously agreed to eliminate all our debt, and downsize in areas of our life where it makes sense so we can be more financially stable. This definitely makes me think that cable might be on the table as an area to downsize – if not now, then in the future. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply Johnny January 19, 2015 at 9:11 am

      The benefit to taking your time on the issue is that there are bound to be a lot more streaming options in the near future. But if there was ever a good season to downgrade and/or cut, the spring/summer is it. No football, no Homeland, no nothing. So at the very least, take a look at your plan in a month or two and see if you can put those premium channels on hiatus for a few months.

  • Reply Sarah January 16, 2015 at 9:32 am

    We turned off our satellite about six months ago and I’m so glad we did. For right now we have an antenna that we’re using, but it doesn’t work too well. Hopefully later this year we’ll be able to bump up our internet so we can stream Hulu and Netflix! For right now, we’re stuck with those weird public shows and DVD rentals from Redbox………totally worth pocketing that $90/month though!!

    • Reply Johnny January 19, 2015 at 9:13 am

      Bummer on the antenna quality! But seriously, $90/month savings? It’s hard to find a single purchase in your budget every month that can cut that much.

  • Reply Danielle January 16, 2015 at 9:46 am

    I have to say that currently we get cable and internet for free as my boyfriend works for the company in our area and employees get that perk. So we only pay for the boxes which is about $15 a month. But if this was not the case I would be completely on board with cutting the cord!

    • Reply Johnny January 19, 2015 at 9:15 am

      Shoot, that’s an awesome situation! Yeah, keep that cable as long as he’s getting that perk. Your current situation costs less than most cord cutting options. No shame in free cable.

  • Reply Megan January 16, 2015 at 9:48 am

    Mu husband and I cut out cable when we moved in together my last year of college. He was a bit of a cheapskate – me, not so much. When we suggested no cable, I thought I would die (How could I Keep Up with the Kardashians? What about Top Chef and Project Runway?!?!). It has actually been amazing for us! We have an antenna that allows me to get my Today Show fix, we have an Apple TV and a FireStick, and I really never want for shows. I feel like we not only save money, but now our TV watching is very intentional – we pick shows to watch together and que up an episode each night after dinner – WIN WIN!

    • Reply Johnny January 19, 2015 at 9:17 am

      Intention watching — such a great point. I meant to include that in my conclusion that it’s actually made a much bigger impact in our use of time than the cost savings. It feels really good to not get sucked into whatever crappy show happens to be on next on cable.

  • Reply Raia January 16, 2015 at 10:24 am

    We cut cable a few years ago and have not looked back! We use Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon with a Roku and it works really well for us, we are not sports fans, so that’s not an issue. In our most recent home we have not found an antenna that brings in the local stations so we’ve been missing out on things like local news, weather, and “event TV” like the Oscars, Grammys, etc. That’s been the biggest downside in our cable-less lives so far.

    Another interesting side note is when we have overnight guests who are used to the traditional broadcast system, and they want to watch TV by asking “what’s on TV?” and we say “what do you want to watch?” they struggle with the answer. It really highlights to me how mindlessly we used to just turn it on and watch whatever was there, whereas now we are much more intentional about what we watch.

    • Reply Johnny January 19, 2015 at 9:23 am

      Yeah, we’ve found ourselves on the outside looking in for event TV, but my guess is that a lot of those will be streamed in the near future. I’ll be interested to see what options we have for the State of the Union on Tuesday.

      And I love your intentional comment. As I mentioned above, that perk probably outweighs the cost savings one.

  • Reply Katie B. January 16, 2015 at 11:22 am

    We are really looking forward to getting Sling TV!!! I can’t wait to try it out. We already use our Roku and a Chromecast (in our room) to stream Hulu & Netflix. We also buy episodes from Amazon Prime to watch shows that aren’t on Hulu – like The Walking Dead. Sure, we have to wait until Monday to catch it, but… we honestly couldn’t watch it on Sunday night anyway!

    The sports package part is hard… thankfully our football team is SEC (Roll Tide… I think I say that every time I comment… I’m not sorry…), so we can pull up the SEC Network through the internet. But, we can usually find friends or family to catch the game with if it’s on something different. And my husband can watch Bulls games through some app or he just keeps up with the game on ESPN’s website or through Twitter. And, of course, we hope Sling TV will fulfill our football needs this coming season!

    • Reply Johnny January 19, 2015 at 9:27 am

      We used to DVR everything anyway, so watching things the day after is no biggie for us either. With sports stuff, if there’s a will there’s a way. :) It usually depends on how badly I want (okay, need) to watch a game, and if needs be, I’ll head to a friends or a bar or whatever. But it’s worth saving the month of high cable costs for a single night of inconvenience. Also, Roll Tide. Most of the time. :)

  • Reply Amy @ Live Smart Be Frugal January 16, 2015 at 11:30 am

    When I got a Roku in 2011, I felt like I hit the jackpot. It made cutting the cord SO EASY. I have never looked back! YouTube is an amazing source for quality content. It won’t offer your favorite shows from the networks/cable, but it’s got health, fitness, home decor, cooking channels and more that you can’t get anywhere else. It was a my fix for Food Network withdrawals :)

    • Reply Johnny January 19, 2015 at 9:29 am

      You’re totally right about YouTube! That’s another great option, and I’m sure it will only get easier to get even more quality stuff there. It seems like most clip-driven shows (SNL, Jimmy Fallon, etc.) are already broadcasting their stuff there anyway.

  • Reply Honey Smith January 16, 2015 at 11:41 am

    For us, the sticking point is being able to record local and national news. Jake and I both like to keep up on it but he doesn’t get home until after 9 or 10 pm most nights. I haven’t found a way around this yet.

    • Reply EcoCatLady January 16, 2015 at 3:54 pm

      What kind of operating system are you running? I have Windows 7 and the Windows media center makes a great DVR. You need a TV tuner card or dongle (USB thing) and then you just plug an antenna into your computer and you’re set. Windows Media Center will download the schedule for your area and you set it up just like a DVR – you can program which shows to record, and even set it up to record the same show whenever it comes on. You can then watch the show on your computer or you can use an HDMI output from your video card to watch it on your big screen.

      The catch, of course, is that the computer has to be turned on and connected in order to record. I have a desktop, so it’s always connected, but I do have to remember to be sure the computer is turned on when there’s something I want to record. If you don’t have a computer that’s always available, you could easily get an old laptop or something to use exclusively as a DVR.

      Also… I get the full NBC nightly news on my ROKU, and it’s also available for free online. One of the local TV stations has a 24/7 news channel (over the air) where they continuously re-broadcast the latest newscast – plus, I think lots of them make the latest broadcast available streaming from their websites. So you actually wouldn’t even need any of the above just for watching the news.

    • Reply Johnny January 19, 2015 at 9:31 am

      EcoCatLady’s got you covered. :) Those are some good alternatives. And like she mentioned, I think it’s becoming increasingly common for the news stations to offer a web broadcast up on their site after it airs.

  • Reply Brian January 16, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    When we move into our new house we are cutting the cord. Up until recently Comcast had been willing to negotiate every year… not so much now. So I only have a few months left with them as a cable provider. They do have an interesting package that includes internet and HBOgo… which is probably what we will do and it is cheaper than just the internet. Sounds to me like they are trying to get ya hooked on HBO and then say, maybe I should have more cable channels

    • Reply Johnny January 19, 2015 at 9:34 am

      They love offering the premium cable bait, but so long you remember to cancel the subscription after the promo pricing ends (which I think is their main play there), you’re gold. I’d also noticed, like you mentioned, that our cable company was getting increasingly more difficult to haggle with. Maybe there are too many of us trying to exploit the system now.

  • Reply Sue January 16, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    We cut out cable a few years ago. We live on the Canadian-US border so we are able to get plenty of over the air channels with an antenna on the roof. We hooked up a laptop to the TV and we can watch Netflix and iTunes as well as network programming. Too bad internet is expensive in Canada but at least I’m not paying for channels I don’t watch and we really only watch tv a couple of nights a week anyway. The library is a good source for DVDs as well.

    • Reply Johnny January 19, 2015 at 9:35 am

      The library! Great tip. We need to take advantage of that. It’s just as convenient as finding a RedBox out here. Totally forgot libraries existed. :)

  • Reply Steph January 16, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    I about choked on my coffee when I read this article. This is the very same conversation my husband and I have weekly. We don’t do justice to all the channels Dish provides, but we couldn’t give it up because of The Walking Dead and ESPN. We figured out we were pretty much paying $60 a month for these two options. I knew we could work-around with WD, but my husband wasn’t able to part with his sports. This article is a game-changer. Thanks so much!

    • Reply Johnny January 19, 2015 at 9:37 am

      You know what they say about great minds. :) Hopefully Sling TV is unveiled in the coming weeks/months, but the good news is that a cheaper alternative for sports fans is coming.

  • Reply Tiare January 16, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    We cut our cable about 5 years ago and haven’t looked back since. Not only is it a burden off our bills but it’s also one less thing to worry about when it comes to our time and the quality of our life. No more editing channels for our children and having our time sucked away by needless TV-watching.

    However, our eldest child does like to watch the local news. So my husband bought a digital antenna from Walmart ($20 one-time) which we use to catch about 10 basic channels, including PBS and Qubo (TV programming for kids). The reception can get wonky when a plane flies over our house or the microwave is on but other than that, it’s just right.

    • Reply Johnny January 19, 2015 at 9:39 am

      Haha. I like that the microwave messes with the reception. I actually really like watching the local news (a habit started when I was younger, like your older child), so we’re planning on trying the antenna here soon.

  • Reply Wade January 16, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    Check out and read up on “Sling TV”. Announced at CES just a week or so ago, it looks pretty cool for “cord cutters”. I like the lineup and the price at $20 with no commitment. The “single stream” is the big downside I see to Sling TV. I will try it out when it releases in late January.

    Our Netflix/Amazon Prime/Amazon Instant Video/Hulu Plus has served us well at a great price. We have 4 “Roku 3″ which are very nice little gadgets.

    Great consolidated look into options.

    • Reply Johnny January 19, 2015 at 9:39 am

      We’re totally on board with the Sling TV pitch. Fingers crossed it’s as good as advertised. We’ll find out soon!

  • Reply Michelle January 16, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    Love this! We are about to cancel our cable. We got Netflix and a digital antenna, now we just need to pull the cord :)

    • Reply Johnny January 19, 2015 at 9:40 am

      Do it, do it!

  • Reply EcoCatLady January 16, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    I cut the cord several years ago, and the only thing I really miss is Monday Night Football. Of course, if the Broncos are playing a local station will have the game, but if not, I’m out of luck. I also miss some of the other sports stuff like figure skating and the Tour de France, but if I really wanted to I could pay to watch them online – and since I haven’t been willing to cough up the dough, I guess it wasn’t that important to me.

    I have both Netflix services (DVD’s as well as streaming) and in general I think it’s worth it to have a nicer selection of movies. Plus, my house still had one of those giant old-style antennas in the attic, so I hooked it up and it works beautifully – there’s actually an astonishing array of stuff available over the air. Occasionally when the wind blows one station goes out, but I have an old rabbit ears antenna that I can use in those situations and if I position it on the side of the house without the tree, I can get the offending station (which I wouldn’t care about except that it’s the one that broadcasts the Broncos games!)

    One thing you didn’t mention is the good old library. I’m continually amazed by the selection of movies they have available for free as well as a bunch of TV on DVDs. There’s usually a waiting list for new releases, but my library allows me to put a hold on something online & when it’s available they email me and I ride over to the little branch office a mile from my house & pick it up. It’s a pretty good deal! I use it for stuff that’s not’s available streaming, but that I don’t want to “waste” a Netflix selection on – plus, they have some stuff that Netflix doesn’t.

    One other resource is YouTube. It’s rather amazing what full length stuff you can find up there for free. Mostly it’s old movies & documentaries, but that’s where I found the complete episodes of my very favorite Mexican telenovela with Eduardo Palomo, be still my heart! :-)

    Anyhow, congratulations on cutting the cable!!!

    • Reply Joanna January 19, 2015 at 9:52 am

      You are a cable-cutting pro! Thanks for mentioning the library — that’s a great resource we didn’t consider!

  • Reply Maria January 16, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    Wow! Your article was very helpful. Definitely a keeper but I do not have children at home any longer and prefer the comforts of home to the movies I think I will keep my Prisim TV.

    • Reply Joanna January 19, 2015 at 9:53 am

      There are pros and cons to cutting it, and it sounds like it just might be worth it for you right now!

  • Reply Halsy January 17, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    I think we have had cable about 6 months of our almost 8 year marriage. Those six months were free cable and we cancelled as soon as the promotional period ended. I don’t regret it one bit. We still get ABC, NBC, CBS, and my daughters beloved PBS (another George fan) using an antenna. We received chromecast as a gift last year and use our Amazon Prime to watch movies and tv episodes through our blu ray player (also a gift). We do occasionally buy Redbox movies. Prime is in our baby budget category though ( hello major discount on diapers, wipes, food pouches etc). So I would say we spend maybe $2-3 a month to watch shows and movies. We have been thinking about getting netflix for years but always decide not worth the $.

    • Reply Joanna January 19, 2015 at 9:56 am

      Honestly, if you have Prime, you really don’t need Netflix. The Prime selection has grown so much that most of what’s offered on Netflix is also available there. 75% of our Netflix usage is done by Sally watching Curious George (which is also available on Prime), so we might come to a point where we get rid of it, too.

  • Reply Zoë January 17, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    We ditched the dish when we moved from TN to GA 18 mths ago, and we don’t really miss it all. We are heavy users of Netflix, and we do have Amazon Prime too, although it is not user friendly at all, and we probably don’t get our monies worth. (Get on that, Amazon!!) We watch through our Blu-Ray/DVD player, as we have a ton of DVDs too. Our family is not lacking for entertainment.

    A few years ago, we would’ve been all over that ESPN/HGTV/Food Network/TNT package as those really were the only channels we watched on a regular basis, but after 18 mths without those channels, we know we can survive without them.

    While we do save money every month doing this, the cost of Interet service as a solo service makes me understand why people stick with cable. Sometimes the cost of those bundles can not be beat.

    • Reply Joanna January 19, 2015 at 9:57 am

      Totally agree… Amazon Prime streaming needs to get a lot more user friendly. The selection is great, but it’s not nearly as easy to use as Netflix!

  • Reply dojo January 18, 2015 at 3:57 am

    We pay 30 bucks/month for cable, mobile, landline and internet. I’d gladly ditch the landline and cable, but they’re used by mother in law. Give me netflix/hulu and youtube and I can fill my time with almost no costs 😀

    • Reply Joanna January 19, 2015 at 10:02 am

      That’s a great deal for all of that! Wow! It sounds like you’ve got a great setup.

  • Reply Heather January 18, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    For a while we went the HD antenna route, but I couldn’t give up the functionality of DVR. So we got a Channel Master DVR system for about $300. It was a larger up-front investment, but a major savings over time with totally free TV. The user interface is clunky, but totally worth it if you are like me and hate to watch shows live (especially football).

    • Reply Joanna January 19, 2015 at 10:06 am

      We loved our DVR, too. Once you have it, live TV is downright unbearable. I’ve never heard of the Channel Master DVR… we’ll have to look into that! I have a feeling it would be right up my alley. And I’d REALLY prefer for Johnny to be able to DVR any and all football to minimize the time actually spent watching it.

  • Reply Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank January 19, 2015 at 5:43 am

    Our family has never had a cable like ever. Now we just watch our favorite series on the Internet and there are really good sites out there because it just provides series with no commercials. What we just need is internet connection and computer. That’s it so that we don’t need to pay cable bills. It just costs us to wait for a while for these sites to upload the series.

    • Reply Joanna January 19, 2015 at 10:08 am

      There are so many more options now! Pretty much everything we care to watch is available in some form other than cable now. You’re not missing out on a thang!

  • Reply Matt M. February 11, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    I stumbled on this article while researching alternative programming options (very helpful, thanks!). Just thought I’d point out that if you enjoy the MLB and NHL (like me), your local market team will be blacked out with the MLB TV and NHL GameCenter options (ouch!).

    • Reply Joanna February 16, 2015 at 8:04 am

      Good point! That’s annoying — thanks for the reminder!

  • Reply Bryan Naylor May 3, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Great article… thanks for this. Like you one of my biggest hassles with cutting the cable was NHL Hockey. Being a Canadian. Like you with Baseball etc., we went down the path with NHL Game Center Live. I did just recently discover another option for an HD streaming sports you might want to check out.

    The site is called StreamTVBox. They carry a ton of various channels globally and the pricing is only about $15.00/month US. I’m using it for a bunch of international sports like F! Racing mostly, but it carries just about everything.

  • Reply Heidi November 17, 2015 at 10:56 am

    We haven’t had cable for almost a year now. The biggest benefit I am noticing as we approach the Christmas season is that our kids haven’t asked us for a single thing. Our best assumption is that they haven’t been flooded with TV advertisements for toys on commercial breaks so they no longer know what’s available.

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