Stepping out into the new year, Topher and I decided we needed to go on a diet — a debt diet that is.
Like so many other people, we finished up the year with some credit card debt. You know what I’m talking about — that emergency card that you had to use when something big popped-up, like a large car repair or a pet surgery. Then you maybe added an emergency pair or shoes that you had to have to go with your dress for that certain party, and when you absolutely needed a weekend away to recharge your marriage?
Those kinds of things ended-up totaling more than you thought once that January credit card statement rolled in.
So we decided to pay it off as soon as possible because who wants to pay any extra money on interest? So for the next few weeks, I will be sharing with you some ways we are cutting back our spending so we can get that card paid-off ASAP.
The first way is on cable. Can you believe how high it is now?
We sat down with our cable bill and realized we were paying $85 a month for cable service and a DVR from our cable company.
We decided things had to change, so we came up with some solutions.
- List the shows you watch. We sat down and listed the shows we watch to determine if we could receive them using an over the air antenna, or if we needed to find another way (like through a streaming service).
- We cancelled cable. This was big! Once you cut that connection, you’re forced into action; otherwise, we could have talked it over for another couple of months.
- We installed an over the air antennae. This enabled us to still be able to DVR (using our existing TiVo) most of the shows we follow on ABC, CBS and NBC, CW and FOX. (Like General Hospital, Modern Family, Shark Tank, etc.)
- Purchase a streaming media player. There are all sorts of products on the market now that can stream media, such as Roku, an XBOX, a Playstation, Smart TVs, and most blu-ray players. In our case, we have a Playstation on one TV and a Roku on another. Each can stream our shows using a variety of services.
- We used streaming services. We already had a yearly subscription to Amazon Prime, which not only gives you free 2 day shipping year round, but also gives you all sorts of streaming media services that let you watch tv shows, movies and music — it’s $100 a year. We also have Netflix, which we don’t absolutely have to have, but between Amazon and Netflix we have a wide selection of movies to choose from. There’s one thing still out for debate … Topher loves Walking Dead (on AMC), but in order to watch it on Roku, you have to either buy a season for $35, buy each episode for $4, or wait until it’s available on Netflix (in a year) — but even spending an extra $35 leaves us WAY under where we were.
Here is how we broke it down:
|What we saved by cancelling cable:||$1020|
|What we spent for the over-the-air antennae (one time charge):||$45|
|What we spent on a Roku box (on sale):||$30|
|What we spent on Amazon Prime:||$100|
|What we spent on Netflix (for a year):||$96|
In the years to come, it will be even more per year since Roku and the antennae were one time costs!
So I’d encourage you to take a good look at your cable bill and ask if you truly need your TV through that company.
Like a lot of others, we signed-up a long time ago when a “bundle” promotion was going on, but after a few months, the price started creeping up and up. We finally had enough and cut it out.
Stay tuned! I’ll share more tips for finding savings over the next few weeks.
Linda J says
Do you believe in serendipity? I do now. I just had this conversation with my daughter yesterday. I live on a fixed income and must cut back on expenses. The various increases in EVERYTHING this year are killing me! My point, you just gave me so much information that I desperately needed and didn’t know where to find it. Thank you so much. Every time you share the seemingly unusual, you help someone (like me) more than you know. THANKS!
Glad I could help Linda! Great minds think alike!
Denyse @ Glitter, Glue & Paint says
Great break down, Shanna! I have Roku and love it. I wish I could cancel cable but when you have someone that watches ESPN your fighting and endless battle. LOL
Shannon @ Fox Hollow Cottage says
Awesome tips on how to get the shows without cable!!!
Kari Baker says
We just cancelled cable a couple of days ago too. Would you mind sharing the brand of the antennae you bought. I bought one at Home Depot but am only able to pick up two local news channels, FOX and NBC (which goes out a lot). I love to watch Kelly & Michael show but can’t pick up the station. I’m planning on returning this antennae and would like to look into the one you used. Thanks in advance!
Hi Kari! The antennae we use is the RCA digital flat antennae.
Sue at Blu says
Kudos! I am that person you mention who is taking months and months to get this going. Guess I am intimidated by installing an OTA antenna in tornado alley!
Hi Sue! Since it goes indoors we have had not problem with it!
I am very interested in doing this also. My husband enjoys watching sports, can any of these options provide ESPN type channels? Thanks for any input provided!
ESPN does have some streaming options available, but it varies by location and sport. Probably best to check it out if he wants to watch the game live. There are also “season passes” available from some services that will let you stream college or professional sports as they happen — but those typically come with a fee (but still a major savings from full-blown cable). Google might be your friend on this one.
Great ideas for knocking that cable bill out. We live in a remote area…on the plains in fact, any idea if we will be able to use your idea?
That’s a tough one to answer. We live in the city and don’t have any issue receiving all the channels available to us over the air. Before you get too far down the road, you might try to find an antenna at a big box store that has a pretty liberal return policy (like Walmart or Target). That should give you a chance to hook it up and try it out, but still allow you to return it if reception isn’t what you hoped.
Nancy @ Artsy Chicks Rule says
We are so on this plan, we just haven’t pulled the trigger yet!! We have a new “smart” TV, Roku, Playstation, Amazon Prime, Hulu and Netflix already! lol Need to just do it! (sports has been the only hold up!)
We pulled the plug on cable several years ago and I don’t miss it at all. All the shows we watch are OTA, so it just didn’t make sense to have that monthly bill. We also use Tivo to record what we want to watch and have a Netflix subscription. The only thing I can recall buying was the Mad Men series when it became available on Amazon at the end of the season. My daughter also disconnected her cable several months ago. It really is a good way to save money if you can do without it.
What are you using to receive internet to run the streaming services.
We use ATT for internet.
We cut down on our cable bill last year too! I called to cancel because all we ever watch are sports, and they lowered our current plan to less than $25 a month! So it might be worth a try for those of you who have it for sports. Yes, it’s better to cut the bill out entirely, but for some of us, that would cause an expensive divorce. LOL!
thanks for the great idea my contract runs out with cable shortly n we will be checking into these options.thank you
Certainly Sondra! Have a great weekend!
Christina S says
We actually buy our The Walking Dead episodes on amazon the next day for $1.99 or you pay for the season (still charges you the next day) at $1.89 an episode.
I will have to let my hubby know. He is a huge Walking Dead fan!
I’m planning to do this too. I’ve wanted to for a long time but I can’t like without my HGTV and Cooking channels and hubby wants his Adult Swim on cartoon network so it wasn’t really possible until now. Last week I heard about a new service called Sling (www.sling.com) that gives you some cable only channels for $20 – $30 a month!! Even with adding in Hulu, Netflix and HBO Go (he must have his GoT!) It’s still something insanely cheap like $50 a month. That will save us over $100 a month!! Granted we won’t have a DVR but Hulu plus helps there. Here’s the channel info from their website FAQ:
“The Best of Live TV” base package includes 12 Nielsen-rated sports, lifestyle, family and news networks, including: ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, ABC Family, and CNN for just $20 a month.Plus you get access to our extensive VOD library.
In addition our Best of Live TV package, you can also subscribe to the following add-ons for only $5 a month:
• Kids Extra – Channels include: Disney Junior, Disney XD, Boomerang, Baby TV, and Duck TV.
• “News & Info Extra” – Channels include: HLN, Cooking Channel, DIY and Bloomberg TV.