Two months ago, I cancelled my cable TV account. Ditched my home phone as well, since the only reason I kept it around was because it was part of a package with tv and internet. So far, zero regrets. It’s amazing.
What’s the Savings Like?
Bottom line, right? After all, if I wasn’t saving money, it wouldn’t be worth it, right?
Well, the internet itself is a little more expensive than I thought. My bill is right around $77. The cable companies realize we’re all getting our tv through the internet, so they’re jacking up their rates. But my old bill was $143, and that was on a promotional rate. It was scheduled to go up to $180.
Of course, I wanted to replace that tv with something. My replacements are twofold so far.
I got a Hulu Plus subscription. That costs $8.00. I also have a Netflix streaming account, but I had that before I cancelled cable. So it’s not really an added expense. I really love it. I can watch what I want when I want and I can start a show on one device and finish it on another. Technology is awesome.
So my monthly bills are now $85. That’s a savings of $58. It’s not huge, but it adds up.
I also made some equipment purchases.
I bought an indoor tv antenna so I can watch live tv. I cannot express how surprised I am at how well it works. Of course, I live in a major metropolitan area, which makes things a lot easier. This might not be an option for everyone, but do your research and try it out. It cost me $25.
I also splurged and bought an Amazon Fire TV. While my DVD player did play streaming shows from Hulu Plus, the interface was terrible and crashed often. I also wanted to be able to buy shows that I couldn’t get on Hulu, and since I have an Amazon.com rewards credit card, this made the most sense. It cost $99.
So that’s an extra cost of $124. I break even on the savings after a little over two months. So I guess I’m just now hitting the break even point.
(And as an aside, part of the reason I kept the phone for so long was because I kept risking burning through my cell minutes every time I got put on hold or when I worked from home. Verizon recently changed plans so that an unlimited talk and text plan with the same amount of data is $10 cheaper than I was paying. I don’t count that in my savings, but I’m no longer risking talk overages. If you have Verizon for your wireless plan, check it out!)
What Do I Miss?
Well, there are a few shows that I struggle to get streaming. Most notably, shows on ABC Family and FX. Two of my favorites, The Americans and The Fosters, are available for purchase on Amazon.com. Even if I were to buy the whole season (which I will do on The Americans and won’t on The Fosters, since the season was mostly done when I cut cable), it’s still much cheaper than keeping a cable subscriptions.
There are a few shows that I can’t get at all, mostly stuff on TLC. But honestly, most of that was trash that was rotting my brain. I don’t actually miss it.
CBS has an annoying streaming site. They don’t put anything on Hulu. The most recent episodes can be found on their website, but get too far behind and you can’t access the old episodes anymore. They have their own streaming plan for $6.00 a month. I might grab that this summer to catch up on some shows I missed, then cancel when I’m done.
Is it worth it?
I have discovered that I think I like watching shows on Hulu Plus more than I liked watching them on my DVR. There are fewer commercials and they give you a countdown on how long the commercials are going to be. Yes, this means I can’t fast forward through commercials, but since the break is shorter, it doesn’t feel so bad.
And obviously, the cost savings is huge. Yes, I’m still spending $85 a month, but I have to remind myself that the internet subscription isn’t just for television. I also use it for communication, news, weather, music, and, of course, blogging. Plus I have the option to telework for my job on occasion, and that requires an internet connection.
Don’t be like me and put this off for years. Cut the cable. Your wallet will thank you.
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.