Save Money: Get Rid of Cable!

Filed in Get Rid of Cable, Saving, Uncategorized, Utilities by on May 27, 2013 79 Comments

Get rid of cableGetting rid of cable is like trying to break up with a bad boyfriend: You really don’t want him anymore, and you swear you’re going to dump him. But you can’t quite find the cajones to follow through because you’ve been together for sooo long you almost can’t imagine being without him. When you finally get the nerve to tell him you’re leaving, he coaxes you back into his arms with promises. Suddenly, you’re in the throws of a relationship again, scratching your head, “Wait– Weren’t we supposed to break up?!”

Sound familiar?

If so, then you’ve been a victim of the “cable trap.”

Join the club!

I was sick of cable, though. For years, friends and I bantered back and forth about saving money and cutting the cord, but it was more TALK than ACTION. But recently, though, I decided that I would do something about it once and for all, and I did:

I GOT RID OF CABLE!

It’s been sort of an “experiment” for my family, to see if we could actually DO it (easier said, than done, right?). I thought for sure we’d be ready to rip our hair out after a month…….but……..

The verdict??

BEST.DECISION.EVER!

Here’s our little story about how we got rid of cable and found some cable alternatives that work well for our family.

Let the Numbers Speak

In our old cable plan, we had a triple play bundle for our cable, internet (20 mbps), and phone at about $155/month. And that was WITH a discount… For this experiment, I canceled everything with Comcast, and signed up for a promotional deal with Verizon Fios with internet only for $55/month for the first year, and year 2 of the agreement will be around $85. Even at $85, it’s still a bit cheaper than Comcast’s 50 mbps rates. The picture below shows you how this year alone we will save about $930 this year from our canceling Comcast bundle!

Save Money Get Rid of Cable

I’m not going to lie…..when all you’ve known is bundles and hundreds of channels, it’s a bit of SHOCK when suddenly you have to actively seek out what you’re going to watch, instead of flipping incessantly through boat loads of channels you don’t give a crap about. Now, watching TV is a purposeful event, which has actually been much more rewarding.

And the process of getting rid of cable is one that you need someone to walk you through, because it’s a bit daunting knowing what to do and when.

So I’ve put together this handy little step-by-step for those of you brave enough to walk on the “wild side” with us trail blazers. LOL

It’s time to end the “cable trap” and save money!

You ready??

(P.S. Wow…..CNN got word of this post and interviewed me for a segment about us “cord cutters.” WATCH IT NOW!)

 

 

10 steps

 

STEP 1: Drop the Bomb on Your Family

I really expected my family to look at me like I just sprouted a second head when I suggested we get rid of cable, which is their main source of entertainment (aside from the iPad), unfortunately. Surprisingly, hubby was on board, even though he’s the worse TV abuser at night; our 3 kids, well, what say do they really have, anyhow?? None.

But if your family is clearly addicted to their favorite shows, telling them that they may be taken away altogether, or watched in some alternative method, you might expect to get some death looks! Don’t say I didn’t warn ya. :) Be sure to do your research first to tell your family where they can watch some of their favorite shows (see Step 5).

 

STEP 2: Warn Your Cable Company They’re Gettin’ the Boot!

If you’re like most people with cable, you’ve got your internet and cable TV bundled in a package, which is usually cheaper than getting them separately. (Honestly, the way they price their individual services at sky-high rates, but drop the price when you bundle, should be illegal! Just sayin’…..). In this step, you’re going to feel out your cable company to see how much they really love you and want to keep you. You’re going to try to get a phenomenal deal on your internet service only.  Call and give them a head’s up that you’re thinking of canceling your cable. Tell them that you’ve been a loyal customer for ________ years, and that realllllly want to keep their internet service. What can they offer you? Write down their offer, the date you called, and who you spoke with. If possible, get an extension so you can talk to that same person again if you call back. Don’t make any changes to your services just yet, though. You’re comparison shopping right now.

When I told Comcast I was thinking of canceling their service, they tried to offer me a triple play package with less TV channels for $122, down from the $155 I was paying. The prices they quoted me for internet only were no good. I don’t think they were interested in keeping me as a customer. Shame on them. Buh-bye.

 

STEP 3: Cheat on Your Cable Company

Some forms of cheating are okay. Like rendezvousing with other cable companies. Competition helps you get a better deal. In my area, Verizon vs Comcast is the toss up between cable companies. Whoever the competition is in your area is who you’re going to contact. My recommendation would be to start on their website. Many times you can find deals and discounts that are exclusively for online customers, sometimes $30 – $50 in credits each month!

So I stalked Verizon Fios’ page. And I saw an awesome deal for internet only, at 50 mbps (which was faster than Comcast’s 20 mbps we already had), for only $55. Because I was a new customer, I was able to snag this deal, in exchange that we agree to a 2-year commitment. Not cool on the agreement, but I don’t ever plan on getting rid of my internet plan anytime soon, so yeah, we’ll take the 2-year agreement deal.

 

STEP 4: Locate  the airwaves! They’re FREE!!!

If you’re a child of the 80’s or earlier (raising my hand), then you remember the infamous “rabbit ears” that sat on top of our TVs, right? You were able to pick up your local programming for FREE, because the your local broadcasting channels transmitted the airwaves for free. All you needed was a way to catch them. Somewhere along the way, cable providers decided to come in and make you pay for all those channels that you used to get for free, and then threw in some other ones that you never even watched. Crazy, right?! (Really, who needs 250 channels??)

Instead of paying a cable company to provide them to you, locate your over-the-air stations, and broadcast them yourself with an antenna. Go to Antenna Web. It’s a free site that allows you to enter your address to find out which broadcasting companies are nearby, and their distance. It also color-codes each broadcasting company/channel so that will know what type of antenna you should buy.

I entered my address and this is a screenshot of my results.

 Antenna Web Results

 According to Antenna Web, my house location has up to 62 channels from 27 over-the-air stations that could be received. (Aren’t you curious to see how many I was able to get? Keep reading to find out…….)

Click on each station to find out more information. I clicked on FOX and found out that for this “YELLOW” stations 12 miles from my house, I would need a small multidirectional antenna. Good info to know…….Next stop, Amazon!

Antenna Web Fox

 

 

STEP 5: Buy a Roku 3…….and a Mohu Leaf Antenna!

 

Roku 3 Streaming Player

A what??….Okay, if you’re like me and have been living under a rock, you might not know what these are. I just found out myself last month! The Roku 3 Streaming Player (the latest model, which I bought on Amazon for only $99) is a streaming device that allows you to stream Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO GO, and a whole host of other programing, channels, and apps right to your television. (NOTE: You need a cable service provider to access HBO GO, though).

 

 

It literally fits in the palm of your hand and is so easy to connect. Simply plug in the USB to your television, plug it into the power source, and–voila!–you’ve got instant TV viewing gratification! The Roku offers over 300 channels (which I think are more like apps, kinda), and a majority of them are free. Some of them require a paid subscription each month, for example, some movie channels or gaming channels. We haven’t paid for any of those, however. We stick to all the free channels. If you’ve got an xBox, you can use that to stream Netflix and such through your computer. But in my opinion, the Roku is far superior. For only $99 on Amazon, you’re getting a whole host of fun channels that you just don’t get with an xBox. And surely the Roku 3 isn’t the only little streamer out there (Apple TV is a good choice, as well). But since this I have experience with, and it works phenomenal for my family, I’m going to be biased and tell you to buy the Roku. :)

I have to admit……when the Roku first arrived…..I hated it. I gave it 5 minutes and decided it wasn’t going to work out. I even went to Amazon and requested a refund!!! (I’m such a drama queen sometimes….).

I was going through “live television” withdraws. Although I wasn’t a big TV junkie, I had to adjust to TV watching all of our TV “on demand.” After I had a chance to play around with the Roku and all its gazillion channels (over 300!), I fell in love with it, and think that it’s a great one-time investment for both my TVs!

There are 4 versions of the Roku, with the Roku 3 being the latest, and you may be wondering what the difference is between each Roku. I would recommend the Roku 3 because of HD quality, and it’s the only one that has a headphone jack in the remove, plus motion control for games like Angry Birds! With the headphone jack, someone can watch a movie without being disturbed or if there is inappropriate language for our kids, or if I am putting my baby to sleep, I can plug in the ear buds and watch programs without making a peep! :) LOVE that!

Roku remote with headphone jack

 via

Mohu Leaf Antenna

Antenna’s today don’t look like our old antennas. They’re sleek and easy to conceal, and work great! I ordered the Mohu Leaf Ultimate Amplified Indoor HDTV Antenna, which was $75 (although at the time of this post, it’s gone up to $84). I like that it’s paper-thin, has a flexible design, and simply hangs on the wall. Also, one side is BLACK and the other side WHITE so you can decide which color you want displayed on your wall. I’ve got the white side facing us :)

mohu leaf antenna

Watch this Mohu Leaf review YouTube  that I put together for you showing you the Mohu Leaf in action!

 

Other Antenna Options

A smaller antenna isn’t the only option. If you’ve got big bucks to shell out, you can buy an antenna and pay someone to install it on top of your house. That’s what a friend of mine (you know who you are!) did, at a tune of about $500, which is a bit pricey, in my opinion. But he’s totally happy because A) he gets all the local channels to all 5 of his TVs, whereas you would need to buy a Leaf Antenna for each TV, B) the antenna will last about 20 years before needing to be replaced, and C) he will loses reception, whereas if you move the Leaf Antenna 2″ in a certain direction, you may lose a channel or two. So…..although pricey, this $500 installation can be a good if you have many TVs and don’t mind shelling out the money for a professional installation. Just Google your local directory for “antenna installation.”

Google Chromecast 

Yep, we also added Google Chromecast to our repertoire of entertainment. For $35, Google makes it easier for people to ditch their cable and stream all their favorite stuff (Netflix, YouTube, etc) from their HDTV. Chromecast is a small USB dongle that you plug into the back of your TV and suddenly, it “casts” your Netflix movie and YouTube videos, for example, to your TV. Using your iPhone, Android, iPad, whatever electronics, you control the volume and everything (stop, play, rewind, etc). Meaning NO SEPARATE REMOTE. Man, talk about affordable! What are those cable companies gonna do, huh??

Watch this video and see how it works.

Read the Chromecast reviews on Amazon. Hey–for $35, you can’t beat that price. Maybe try it out and see how you like it.

STEP 6: Subscribe to Hulu Plus, Netflix, and Amazon Prime

Once your Roku 3 and Mohu Leaf Antenna arrive, now’s the time to subscribe to Hulu Plus, Netflix, and Amazon Prime, if you haven’t already subscribed to them. Their costs are fairly low, with Hulu Plus at $7.99 per month, Netflix at $7.99, and Amazon Prime at $79 for the year ($6.58 per month). Once you’ve confirmed your subscription to all 3, you’ve now got a wealth of viewing options at your fingertips, in addition to the hundreds of channels that Roku offers.

When you add up the costs of these subscriptions, it’s still unbelievably cheaper than an expensive, limited cable package.

One thing to note, however, is that with Hulu Plus, there are some programs that are NOT accessible via streaming. I think it’s due to licensing of some programs that can only be viewed via Hulu Plus while using your computer. That’s a minor pain. But, no problem. You can just follow these instructions on how to connect your computer to your TV if you want to watch those programs on your big screen TV.

 

 

amazon prime

netflix

 

hulu plus

 

NOTE: It’s not necessary to order all 3 of these services, but I think each of them offer something good, and the monthly subscription fees aren’t too steep. There are TONS of viewing options! I’ve recently started watching Breaking Bad and Lost on Netflix! I agree with all the HYPE about these shows!!

HBO with no subscription!!! 

Finally! What took HBO so long?? Coming in 2015, HBO is going to offer streaming over the internet without a cable package. I guess I won’t need to borrow my friend’s cable TV login credentials anymore to access it then (ahem–did I just say that??). Read what NPR says about HBO streaming without a cable subscription.

STEP 7: Consider Aereo??

I used to recommend that people check out Aereo, a company that rolled out the best invention ever: watching live TV on the internet! Well…..there is the whole legal battle ensuring, and Aereo had to halt operations. I won’t get into all the legal mumbo jumbo, but check out their site to stay current on the latest in the lawsuit!

 

 

STEP 8: Switch Cable Companies

After you’ve gotten your Roku and antenna in the mail (or other streaming player and antenna), now you can actually cancel your cable TV and switch to another provider. As I mentioned earlier, when you’re a new customer with another cable company, you can score some sweet deals to make it worth switching. So I switched my internet provider from Comcast to Verizon Fios to save money (see chart above). Again, if your original cable provider isn’t willing to sweeten the pot in order to keep you as an “internet only” customer, definitely consider switching.Get your installation date confirmed.

NOTE: It’s best to schedule your installation date just before your old cable company starts a new billing cycle. For example, if you’re old Comcast cable’s billing cycle ends on June 5, and a new billing cycle starts June 6, make sure that you schedule your installation with Verizon around June 3 or 4. I made the mistake of overlapping my old Comcast service with my new Verizon Fios internet only service and ended up having to pay for TWO cable/internet bills! It’s all because of my own indecisiveness, really. But you won’t make that mistake, will you? ;)

 

STEP 9: Cancel Your Old Cable Bundle

Now that you’re new “internet only” service is turned on, you can now cancel your old services. Not sure if all companies operate this way, but they bill you a month in advance. So you may end up getting a credit from your old cable services. Score!

Make sure that you turn your old equipment in ASAP. Even if you cancel your services, sometimes they don’t fully “cut you off” until all your boxes are turned in.

And can I just say that when I turned in all my Comcast boxes, I felt so……FREE! And liberated! I actually did it! I broke the “cable trap!”

 

STEP 10: Deposit Your Savings!

This is the GOOD part……Now’s the time to calculate your savings…..after you’ve switched/lowered your cable/internet costs……you’ve signed up for Netflix, Hulu Plus and everything…..whatever your MONTHLY SAVINGS are per month, I challenge you to actually SAVE that amount.

Yes, people. Automatically withdraw that money every month from your checking account and put it into a savings account. Unless you do that, you’re going to just eat that savings up with some other cost that you’ll never be able to account for. So that’s what I’ll be doing–pretending that I’m still paying $155, and sock the savings into a separate account. Hopefully at the end of the year, I’ll be able to have cold hard cash in my pocket that won’t be in Comcast’s pocket! :)

Final Results??

My family has found countless things to watch on Hulu Plus, Netflix, etc.,, and I haven’t heard any complaints. Not from my 6- and 3-year old. Well, hubby complained a little bit around Week #2 and #3, telling me he “likes things simple” and why did I have to go and get all these monthly paid things (i.e. Netflix, Hulu Plus, etc), and doesn’t it just end up being more than cable, anyways??!? (I think he even threw in an expletive, too, lol).   No, sweet hubby, it doesn’t compare. He doesn’t realize we’re saving money, and hopefully if I am able to shuffle the savings into an account, I’ll have something tangible to show for my results.

The local programming has been sufficient for us, too. I really don’t watch a lot of TV anyhow, but the occasional “live TV” background noise that I like is there for me when I want it :) I’m addicted to Breaking Bad on Netflix (I know, I’m way late!), and I feel like now when we watch TV, it’s not just mindless flipping through 250 channels of nothingness.

If I had it all to do over again, I would make the same choice: GET RID OF CABLE!

**UPDATE** – It’s now October 2014, and it’s been a whopping 17 months since I got rid of cable, and you know what?? I STILL don’t miss cable! Subscribe so you don’t miss the update I am going to be posting soon to update you on my recent cable debacle and why I think Comcast is THE.WORSE.EVER. Stay tuned!

 

A Few Last Things……

1. You will need fast internet speed. Streaming movies and other programming requires a really good internet speed. Roku recommends a broadband Internet connection with a speed of at least 1.5 Mbps (for example, such as mid-level DSL). You can connect Roku to a wireless network, or use Ethernet. A friend of mine had Comcast internet 20 mpbs and his Roku kept freezing up. He upgraded to Verizon’s 50 mbps and had no problems. I haven’t had any glitches, either, with the 50 mbps.

2. If you need phone service…..you may still end up needing a bundle with internet and phone from a provider. In our case, we had a phone connection in our old bundle, but never bought the phone to actually plug in. Oops :). We now have no phone connection and just use our cell phones. But with small children and a need to have something for emergencies, my next experiment will be to try out the Magic Jack Plus to see if it will be a good option for our family. At only $30 for a year of service, it’s much cheaper than getting phone service with other companies.

3. There are free ways to watch your favorite programs/shows. Most networks have full episodes on their website. Go check out their site. I know that HGTV has full episodes! Hulu also has many free shows.  Hulu Plus just allows you to stream via your Roku, iPad, devices, etc., and has more episodes (or full seasons) of many shows, whereas the free Hulu.com may only have the last few episodes. If you love sports, FirstRow lets you stream live sports.

4. If you’re dying without cable TV……….If worse comes to worse, you can always sign back up for cable. You tried it. That’s all that matters! And Amazon has really great Return policies. You’re only loosing shipping costs if you decide to send back the Roku and/or antenna. But honestly, I doubt you’d ever these alternatives to cable!

 

So are you ready to break the cable trap?

If so, then I’ve put together a step-by-step plan for you over on Lift.do, which is a free app that allows you to set goals and plans for yourself. It’s actually pretty cool. Go check it out, and try to “Save Money: Get Rid of Cable” plan. Good luck!!

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing today, so you don’t miss the next post!

 

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About the Author ()

I'm a mom to 3 young boys, ages 6, 3, and 1. Managing a household of 5 people makes life complicated. Get Your Life Straight is a blog for people like you and me who know that it's time to get our life back on track--from eating right, exercising more, budgeting, losing those last 15 pounds, and spending more quality time with family. Join me in the quest to get your life straight.

Comments (79)

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  1. Iain says:

    I did this a while ago.

    The only problem here in Canada is that we don’t get Hulu plus or Amazon Prime video.

    Other than that you can save a ton of money by not having cable it’s crazy.

    I have the roku2, but it still works like a charm.

    • Serena says:

      Iain, did you see Leslie’s comment below? He said there is a company that you can pay $5.00 a month and it gives you a US IP address so you can access Hulu Plus and stuff! His parents use it, and they love Hulu Plus! Might want to look in to that! :) Thanks for commenting!

  2. I definitely admire your dedication to save money, Serena – it sounds like you jumped through a lot of hoops to get to your solution. Putting together that kind of multi-level solution takes effort, not to mention (as you mentioned) some time to get used to getting your entertainment from different sources.

    You did mention that you dropped the land line phone connection (which you weren’t using – so good call on that!). I’m curious to know whether you queried your cable company to see what they could offer you with just cable and internet? I would guess the deal would be crappy, as those guys seem to only like to bundle all three together, but I’m still curious. :)

    So the million dollar question is…how is it working out for you? Are you still getting death stares from your family or are they happy with their choices with the new solution?

    • Serena says:

      I’m so stupid–duh! I forgot to follow up with how things have been working for us! LOL. I had to go back and edit my post to include a few comments on that. Thanks for pointing it out! As for how it’s going, VERY WELL indeed! The first 24 hours I was convinced I HATED the Roku and I ended went into Amazon and submitted a request to print the paperwork to return it! :) I didn’t give it enough time, though. After playing around with it, there are so many interesting things about the Roku, that it’s just fun to sit and flip through the many things it offers. Hulu Plus and Nexflix are great. Amazon Prime is good, but their movie selections are crappy from what I have scanned. A lot of their things are paid, like $1.99 per episodes that you can watch for free on Netflix. But I like the free 2-day shipping incentive, so all is not lost. You’re right, it took a whole hellava lot to get to this point, but I’m glad I did. I feel like a trailblazer! You should have seen me when I dropped off my Comcast boxes. I literally screamed out the window as I drove off, “Bye, Comcaaaaast!” LOL

  3. Jantje says:

    I just don’t turn the TV on to start with, only for news occasionally. Getting rid of it here in Germany would mean to get a satellite connection and that is way more expensive and more boring channels.

    So my advice is, just watch what is really of value and put a clock next to you with a timer.

    • Serena says:

      So it sounds like you HAVE to have cable there, huh? Well, if you see Leslie’s comment below, there’s a site that offers a US IP address for $5.00 a month and it would allow you to access Hulu Plus, Netflix, etc! Bye-bye, cable! :)

  4. Hey Serena,

    I see a few people saying they can’t get things like Hulu plus, netflix, etc because of the country they are in. Just wanted to point something out. I was in Colombia and couldn’t use those services, UNTIL I found out about http://www.unblock-us.com. For $5/month, they give your computer a US IP address so that you can use all the US services you want to use.

    So I got it for my parents and they are LOVING hulu plus now. That might be worth mentioning for people who are overseas who would want to cut cable.

    • Serena says:

      Leslie, AWESOME tip there! My brother-in-law lives in Ghana, West Africa, and he was saying that he can’t watch those programs because of his international IP address. I surely will pass this tip on! In fact, I’ll go back and EDIT to make sure I include it! Thanks for that! :)

    • Iain says:

      Yeah, I have heard of some people using a VPN as well to do the same thing.

      Thanks for pointing it out Leslie.

  5. Allen Maddox says:

    We cut the cable a while back, but gave in and got a dish. One of the reasons is that we live so far from any TV transmission towers we need a big antenna on the roof.
    Mostly I watch Netflicks and free Hulu on my computer. I only watch TV once a week at best. My wife has a few shows she watches. The rest of the time the TV is off and not used. With paying for 300 some-odd channels it is a waste.
    In defense of the cable and dish companies, they have to buy thier feeds in bundles. If they want to broadcast, lets say, TNT, they must buy and broadcast a bunch of crap channels too.

  6. Lin Clauss says:

    We are in the “process of” getting rid of our cable actually. We reached our limit of hassling Time warner cable for lower rates and gave them the boot. We ended up picking up the basic package for DirectTV which we love and need for our new addiction to Game of Thrones (they had a free hbo package so why not lol) Once our plan is up its gone for good though. We have the Roku HD which I think is the model or two before the 3, which we loved until we found out that it doesn’t work with our new insignia TV!! By the time our direct tv wears out we will just get another one that works, or hopefully, roku will patch it so it works. I love hulu and amazon prime though. I really wish someone would come up with a nice cable plan that lets you pick the 20 channels you actually watch for a cheap price. That’d be a huge perk for us at least. You post made me ramble this much haha it’s not my fault!

    • Serena says:

      Wow, I have no idea that Roku 3 doesn’t work with Insignia! I wonder why that is? Have you considered just paying per episode for Game of Thrones? I do like HBO GO, though, and love how they have alllll the episodes from every season, every show. I wish they would just come out with a paid membership, like Netflix. I would LOVE that!
      No worries with rambling! This is an interesting topic that deserves a lot of discussion! Thanks for commenting!

  7. Derrick says:

    Hey Serena,

    I have a TV love hate relationship. Since I don’t have cable TV and my TV has sat unplugged in my closet for the past 6 months, I tend to watch it in spurts. For philosophical reasons, I believe too much TV is not a good thing. I don’t miss it.

    I have more time for designing, education, reading, visiting museums, programming and spending time with family.

    We are told that we need TV all the time. How untrue.

    Interestingly, I head to the library and check out DVD’s as a way to get my TV while saving a few dollars.

    Derrick

  8. Savannah miller says:

    I would love to save all this extra money if you have Direct TV though be careful when I dropped my bundle with them and my phone bill, they sent me a bill for $400 when I called and asked what it was for they gave me some crazy story about paying a discount fee and that I had to pay a bunch of other things. Needless to say I got rid of them and switched to a different company.

    • Serena says:

      Yeah, Savannah, there’s all these little tricky things cable companies do when you try to cancel! That’s one thing I have to give it to Comcast for, though–at least with them, I wasn’t locked in to any contract and I could leave any time. If you’re going to get dinged for canceling, though, it’s best to just finish out your contract first! Thanks for commenting!

  9. Bianca says:

    I was brought here by the Mom Bloggers Support group on FB, nice to see some new blogs pop up!

    I would love to break our contract with our cable company (Directv). Unfortunately it’s like $300 to “buy out” the end of our contract..so we stay with it. Once it’s up though – we’re out of there!

    • Serena says:

      Hey, Bianca! Thanks for having me in the Mom Bloggers group! And yeah, that $300 fee is crazy. I think it should be illegal to make people stay as a customer. I mean, with emails and blogs, anything we subscribe to, there’s always an easy “UNSUBSCRIBE” option, right? But when it comes to cable companies, sometimes it’s not so easy. Seems unethical on their part! Thanks for commenting!

  10. Erica Ardali says:

    I know this makes perfect sense. But I just can’t do it. All my favorite shows are on cable and none are available on hulu – and I’ll wait forever for netflix.

    • Serena says:

      Erica, I hear ya. It’s definitely not for everybody. One show I love to watch (and I’m almost ashamed to admit because it’s such TRASH tv, is Bad Girls Club on Oxygen). This is one of those shows that isn’t immediately available and you have to wait, like, 2 months for the freakin’ episodes to become available! ANNOYING! But, I actually like making myself wait for some of these things I enjoy. It’s like delayed gratification is making me a stronger person, overall. HAHAHAH

  11. We ditched cable ages ago, and even that was several years after we stopped watching live television in favor of a PVR. I don’t miss it at all. (Well, except for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. That I miss.)

    • Serena says:

      Suzi, what channel is the Macy’s parade on? Isn’t it like NBC or something? You may have missed it, but you can either get an antenna (depending on where you live), and verrrrry soon, a company called Aereo is about to start renting out antennas stored in their own locations that would allow people to watch LIVE local programming via the internet. It’s only available in NYC and Boston right now, but 21 other cities this year will be available. You should look into that, so you can watch live TV and get the parade. We’re using the Mohu leave antenna and can get about 40 local channels! Including NBC for the parade!

  12. Rebecca says:

    Been going back and forth on this issue, but we are all TV junkies in one way or another. And where I live, we only have Mediacom. They have no competition (except from the satellite companies, which we can’t do because of too many trees in our yard), so they basically charge whatever they want. Didn’t know about Aereo though, will have to check that out!

    • Serena says:

      Yeah, definitely keep an eye on Aereo! I’m so intrigued that, even though I am happy with the Mohu leaf antenna, I will try a free month of Aereo to see if I like it, and if I can get more channels than the 40 we pick up now. I like that they have a DVR, though, and you can record, and watch via your iPad, computer, etc. We need more companies like this! :) Thanks for commenting!

  13. Tori says:

    OMG! This is would a disaster for my family! lol

    • Serena says:

      HA! Yeah, your family may kill you for taking away their TV! LOL. I thought for sure that hubby would hate it, and even though he was a late adopter, he’s pretty much on board now!

  14. Monique says:

    We haven’t had cable for years and we don’t miss it.

  15. We got rid of cable 2ish years ago. We now have a Roku and get Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, and Netflix. The savings is so worth it. Plus, I love not having to watch as many, if any, commercials.

    • Serena says:

      Hey there, Heather! You’ve made a good point: we all adjust, even if we think we could NEVER do without cable, we’re all pretty adaptable, and we would adjust to the alternatives to cable! :) Glad you’re saving money, too! I hope I can actually shuffle that savings into my account!! Thanks for commenting!

  16. Jocelyn says:

    I’m going to share this w. my hubby. It looks like I am in the same TV viewing area as you. We won’t be able to ditch Comcast for Internet though. Our HOA has some sort of contract w. them, so FIOS isn’t available in our community. But maybe the Xfinity would be faster than the package we have now. We already let go of our landline a few years ago. What about PBS shows?

    • Hey, Jocelyn! Our condo was the same way, I believe. We were in a condo a few years ago and I don’t think we could change providers, either. But now we’re about 3 miles away in a single family home and we’re Verizon Fios eligible. As for PBS, we do get those local channels, and with the Roku, there is a free PBS app/channel and we get all the episodes there, too! :) Works well for us!

  17. Really interesting, thanks for sharing this! :)

  18. Serena,

    I love this article (and you know I do). I have a couple of suggestions for folks to consider. The new Roku 3 when combined with the Netflix subscription can turn into something very special. We get a couple of DVD’s a week out of Netflix and I put them in my Mac Mini. They get stored in my hard drive and I send them back. Now instead of us being a slave to the DVD’s schedule we have that DVD there waiting for us to watch at our leisure. They can be watched on the Roku using Plex very conveniently. I would suggest checking it out.

  19. Michael says:

    Great article. I have 3 kids…addicted to Cartoon Network…will I be able to see their favorite shows.. Thanks again for this article

  20. Noelle says:

    You didn’t mention Apple TV! I don’t have cable, but I have an internet-ready TV, and a Netflix account. I can access Netflix via Apple TV (One time cost of $99 w/remote), and could choose to subscribe to Hulu, but don’t yet. I can also connect with my iMac to stream music through the TV.

    I haven’t tried to access local channels yet, although, I seriously don’t watch that much TV. I really only use my TV to watch movies via Netflix, using my Apple TV :)

    Thanks for writing a great article with many options for people!

    • Serena says:

      Noelle, I’m sorry I am JUST now seeing your comment on my post about getting rid of cable! GASP! Forgive me! :) Yes, Apple TV too is a great option for people. A friend of mine has it and loves it. I probably would have gotten the Apple TV if I hadn’t already purchased the Roku! I love Apple everything :) Sounds like your set-up works well for you! No cable bill! YAY!!! :)

  21. Letia says:

    When we found out a year ago I was about to be unemployed we reviewed what we could cut out. ~I know I was lucky I had a month to plan, not everyone gets this much time before they’re laid off~
    The bundle cable, internet & phone was #1 on our list.
    I really thought I’d miss the cable but what I found was I didn’t not at all. What I did was flip through channels looking for something “good” to watch and rarely finding the elusive good show to watch. This was confirmed on my visit to my daughters. I was babysitting my grandson one night and found myself reverting to my old behavior of flipping through channels. I flipped it off and picked up a book to read.
    I watch movies on Netflex, Hulu and my local Hastings store has great deals on renting DVDs not to mention a fabulous kick back if you return them by the next day by ten pm. http://www.gohastings.com/
    Do I miss having cable nope :)

    • Serena says:

      I’m right there with you, Letia! So awesome you were able to cut it out without missing it, PLUS having that time to consider your finances before being laid off. Are you back to work now? At least you know that you can survive without cable. We humans adapt pretty easily, huh? We fool ourselves into thinking we need more than we really do! :)

      Serena
      Get Your Life Straight
      “Save Money: Get Rid of Cable”

  22. pattii102 says:

    Had a fight with comcast a few minutes ago… took 2 more stations off my digital economy. I’m not a big tv watcher; however i do enjoy a few shows. I am only looking for basic with a few extra channels such as discover, history, and a few more. If there is anything I can do without all this mumbo jumbo I’m reading, appreciate your comments. Otherwise, I may just cut the cord and stare a blank tv…

    • Serena says:

      So frustrating, Patti! Okay, seriously, follow those steps above and see what you can do to either get a better plan or just to get rid of it and switch to Verizon if you can. And if you cut the cord, trust me, you won’t be staring at a blank TV :) Get yourself a streaming player like the Roku, and the subscriptions to Netflix, at the very least. There’s a lot of programming you can watch! There is a Discovery “channel” on the Roku where they show full length programs. It’s not ALL the programs, but it’s a good number of them. What other channels do you like? See if you can go to that channels webpage and watch full length programs for free. I bet you can! :) Keep me posted!

  23. Deb says:

    We probably should cancel cable TV! My husband rarely watches TV because he’s working all the time. When I do watch it, I tend to watch stupid mindless stuff than I wonder why I did that. Then I go and do it again. So for us, it would be saving money but more important, making better use of our time and energy by not wasting it on dumb TV. And we don’t have kids so that’s not a factor. Most entertainment I want, I can get over Hulu.

    • Serena says:

      Hey Deb! I say give it a try for 3 months. Or even a month! Think of how much money you can save just by cutting it off! :) sounds like you’ve already made the decision ;)

      • Deb says:

        I’ve signed up for Netflix because of your post and am really happy watching movies on my own terms! And so many choices. Honestly the Comcast on demand movie selections really stink. And I’m sure we’ll do Amazon Prime. I already emailed my husband telling him we gotta get rid of TV cable (um, we do TALK, he’s just out of town now! :). Not sure we need the box things because we don’t watch much TV as it is. We have a big internet-enabled TV in the basement and need to get it set up with our home’s wifi, then we’re good to go. Awesome feeling to cut the cable cord!! Thanks for all this info! Deb

  24. andrea says:

    Hi Serena,
    I want to do this! So, I used your handy antenna link and found that I’m all blue and purple…looks to me like I’d need a roof mounted antenna to get any station signals. Am I right or am I reading the chart incorrectly?
    Thanks!

    • Serena says:

      Hey there! Yeah, you might just need a roof antenna. I had a friend get a roof antenna (the friend who inspired me to cut cable and make this blog post) and he is 100% happy with going the roof antenna route. He gets all HD channels, on all 5 of his Tvs in his house. Antenna will last 20 years he says! I think he paid about $500 for the installation and antenna combined. Just used a general contractor I think. Also, you could just try the Mohu leaf antenna and return it if you aren’t satisfied what you pick up! :) Good luck!

  25. Pat Begay says:

    I love your idea. My brother in law and I have been trying to explain to my husband how much money we would be saving if we did this. My parents have even tried explaining this. How did you deal with, sorry to put it this way, the grumblings of your spouse?

  26. Lynn says:

    I have dish network so I am stuck. It is bundled thru Century Link with land line and internet,,,,about 190.00 a month and as you said 250 channels I don’t watch. Went to the site you suggested for antenna but it said my area has no access. Am NW of Orlando and North 80 miles from Tampa I am trapped!

  27. Chris Walker says:

    Wow Serena thanks for such a great article, you covered virtually everything there is to cover. I am going on 4 years without cable (with the exception of a small spell where someone else lived with me that insisted on having it) and it is a great lifestyle choice that I am happy I made. I have been so inspired by it that I started a website on it myself to help people through the process, show them the different devices and services available, and just generally discuss the matter with other people that are interested in it. I hope you don’t mind the cheap plug, and I would love to her your thoughts.

    Get Rid Of Cable

    • Serena says:

      Hey there, Chris! Yeah, it’s a pretty thorough article, and I always add to it new stuff when I come across it. Checked out your site. Looks good! Here’s to getting rid of cable! I have saved nearly $500 so far, and it’s sitting in a little savings account. It’s amazing to see the money adding up, and to think that almost went to Comcasts’ pocket. LOL

      • Chris Walker says:

        Thanks for the feedback, it is still a work in progress, but I am happy with it so far.

        I wish I was as good at tracking my savings as you are but over the years I can estimate it is several thousand as my cable bill was in the hundreds. But honestly for me it was more about the content and I find I enjoy my content much more this way… both being able to watch when I want, without (or with limited) commercials and having it be a lot more portable. If they offered a product I wanted I would consider getting it… but they just don’t and they don’t seem to care so I have decided to teach them a lesson in capitalism 101 and take my business elsewhere lol.

        • Serena says:

          Jeez, I’m sorry, Chris, I’m just now seeing this comment. I loved putting the $80 a month into a savings account and seeing it grow! I just wiped it out, though, in prep for a trip to Disney in December. Now I have to work to build it back up!! :)

  28. Kelli D says:

    I have had both Hulu and Netflix for many years. I also bought a Roku player about 2 years ago and silly me I STILL have cable. I have really been considering ditching cable lately though. The only reason I have put up with it this long is because I needed internet for school and cable bundles came with great deals. I have graduated now, so I can deal with slower internet. Maybe I will be responsible and put that saving on my student loans (not). Now to convince the hubby…

    • Serena says:

      Hey there Kelli! Sorry so late to respond! Yes, convincing the hubby can be the hardest part, especially if he’s a big TV buff. My husband still occasionally complains, but for the most part, he’s getting used to not having cable. I don’t think anything of it now, I’m so used to it! Hope you’re able to come up with a more cheap solution! :)

  29. Jamie says:

    Hello,
    I was thinking of cancelling Comcast Cable TV and just keeping the Internet for streaming Netflix, etc.

    IS there anyway to avoid keeping internet and get rid of comcast altogether? Seems like most of these would need internet to stream.

    Roku still needs internet to function, so really you aren’t getting rid of cable.

    Just a thought. I would like a way to get rid of EVERYTHING and if possible, stream/surf for free.

    • Serena says:

      Jamie,
      You’re right–we all are still paying for cable, it’s just cable INTERNET instead of cable TV. I haven’t found a way to pull in free internet unless you’re somehow able to steal it from Comcast or Fios! LOL Or, of course, going to Panera Bread or McDonald’s, some place with free WiFi, whenever you want to surf, without having to pay for it yourself!

  30. Kevin says:

    Serena,

    You may have reply to these questions in earlier comments, I haven’t read through the 63 comments yet.

    First, live TV. The antenna allows you to connect to the prime broadcasters. Any issue with weather degrading the signal?

    Second, I’m a college football junky. Most of the live stream apps for computers, smart phones, tables require a cable provider (I need to do a little research might just have to pay for ESPN 3 or something). Do the services you use ROKU, HULU etc have sports channels? Specifically Fox Sports (multiple regions), Fox Sports 1, ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN 3, ESPN U, NFL Network including NFL Redzone?

    Third, Do you have smart TVs in multiple rooms? Use an XBOX/PS3 or WII to connect to the apps (usually requires a paid account through MS, Sony etc)? Can you use the same antenna for local station in the other rooms?

    Thanks for the very informative post. I’m so sick of having to live with either Time Warner or ATT for TV. I’ve been thinking of getting a Smart TV and seeing if we could live with that option over cable. My biggest concerns are Live TV (no way my wife could wait to watch Survivor and I have to watch NCAA Football live).

    Kevin

    • Serena says:

      Hi Kevin! Sorry for the delay in responding. Regarding LIVE TV, I haven’t had any problem with reception when there is weather. We still get all the local stations. If your wife likes watching Survivor, she will be able to watch it with an antenna. For multiple rooms, you’ll have to get multiple antennas (if you’re going for the small ones like the Mohu Leaf we use). If you have an HD antenna installed on your house (maybe about $500 total, including installation, I believe), then you would be able to get local programming on all your TVs in the house. That’s what my friend did and it’s working very well for him. I didn’t want to kick out $500 for that, though. I’m happy with just one antenna. We don’t use one in our bedroom. We rarely watch TV there.

      Regarding sports channels, I’m not a sports person so I haven’t checked out the sports apps much. From what I can tell you, though, there are no live sports apps that I have seen. If anything, there are just highlights and clips. I think you’d pretty much have to have an internet provider. I have used the free site Front Row Sports for live boxing matches on Pay Per View, though! :)

  31. Daniel S says:

    Hi Serena.
    I am going to make the cut as well. Only It looks like FiOS may not be available. And Comcast is showing to be the cheapest I can find for Internet only 20MBPS. It starts at 39.99 for 12 mo. I guess it goes to maybe 50.00 after that. I just want at least 20MBPS and WiFi so I can just watch on demand video and Youtube and use Magic Jack to replace the phone line included in my expensive triple play pack. Any other suggestions on where to find expert advice on who to get internet service from?
    Thanks!

    • Serena says:

      Hey there, Daniel! Seems like Fios and Comcast are the big players in internet service providers. Does AOL offer anything?? I’m not sure. But now you’ve got me wondering. I think I am going to have to research this!! I’ll keep you posted!

  32. Larry Dillon says:

    I’m in if I can get ESPN and HD local channels without cable. Say it is so?

  33. Good for you! I dropped sat t.v. because I’m paying 3 times as much money for half as much programming as I was getting ten years ago. I’m not a math wizard but that was a no-brainer. I was paying close to $1,000 a year for trash; that kind of money can buy some serious DVD’s and I can see exactly what I want to see.
    I live in too rural an area to pick up antenna television; been thee, done that, didn’t work.

    • Serena says:

      Do you try Netflix? I find that I like it much better than Hulu Plus. I mean, I like Hulu Plus, but I’m not sure what it offers other than the free Hulu. If you do get Netflix, check out “Orange is the New Black” and “House of Cards.” EXCELLENT show! Good for you, too, for canceling! It’s been a year now since we canceled. No looking back!!!

  34. I gave up cable and miss it…seldom. If I want to watch t.v., I’ll watch DVD’s and watch what I *want* to watch, *when* I want to watch it. No fast “anything” here so my options…aren’t. That’s okay; I figure for $90/month I can buy a LOT of British mystery and PBS DVD’s.

    • Serena says:

      My husband feels like you–he misses cable sometimes. It’s been exactly a year for us since we ditched cable, and I can’t believe we saved $1,000 from doing that! Everything you want to watch is online! :)

  35. Jasmine says:

    These ideas all sound great with a minor investment in equipment. That being said, I can’t help thinking it’s only a matter of time before all these cheap services like Hulu will start to jack up their prices. I also think the cable companies will jack the cost of the internet way up to make up losses. It’s not like we haven’t seen it happen before, everyone switched from Verizon to Comcast for that great $99 per month triple play. Now it’s costing me $177, and their wifi beyond sucks.

    • Jasmine says:

      Oh and I forgot to mention Comcast is buying out Time Warner? They’re about to take over the internet, can you say monopoly?? I can’t even get FIOS in my area, and was told we never will. That only leaves Direct tv, with Verizon DSL, whoo boy..

  36. maggie says:

    I am not a big TV watcher but do have cable but want to get rid of it.
    I am single and do not have kids. I love the idea of the Roku but why do I need the mohu leaf if I have Roku?

    LLOVE YOUR BLOG

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