Guide to Ditching Cable Part 4 – Cutting the Cord
Well it is official – we finally ditched our cable and have cut the cord! It has been many years coming and it took a while to work up to it. But I finally took all of our DVR boxes and equipment in to our local service center and dropped our cable.
I have decided to document the steps we are taking to ditch our cable here to show how easy it is. I like to plan and test things out and dropping our cable was no different. I wanted to make sure we had a viable alternative to cable tv – which we believe we do now.
Here are the first 3 articles I wrote leading up to cutting the cord, showing how we prepared for dropping our service.
- Part #1 – Streaming Devices (Roku, Amazon Fire TV Stick, etc.)
- Part #2 – Streaming Services (Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV, etc.)
- Part #3 – Using the Yidio App
Once we were comfortable with the different streaming services like Netflix and Hulu and had a means to watch them (ie. Roku) – we took the next step.
Our Cable Bundle
We have been using the same service provider for cable, internet, and phone for years to save money through a bundle package. For many years we were happy with the service. The problem was that the bundle pricing kept inching up every couple of months. Then we got hit hard at the beginning of the year with our bundle rates going up above $200 per month.
After our rates went up at the first of the year, I called a couple times trying to get our rates lowered. Since we had been long time customers who paid their bill on time every month – I figured it was worth a shot. In the end, the cable company was not willing to lower our rates, so we ultimately took the next step.
Monthly Cost Savings from Cutting the Cable Cord
When I first called our cable company to drop service, I was told that it would be cheaper to keep basic cable (along with internet and phone) for the bundle pricing. According to the lady on the phone, keeping basic cable would save us about $30 a month compared to just having internet and phone service. Say what?
I asked her to double check the numbers and told her that I guess we would just keep the bundle package and save the $30. I was kinda ticked about having to still pay for a service that we would not be using but saving the money was more important.
The good news is that when I went and dropped off our cable equipment, the service rep asked me if we really wanted to keep the basic service? I explained the information that I had been given on the phone and turns out it was wrong. The lady on the phone was still charging us for all of the DVR boxes and equipment each month – even without the service.
Turns out that the internet and phone bundle was cheaper than keeping the basic cable service with it.
Cable, Internet, Phone (before) – $205 per month
Internet, Phone (after) – $95 per month
Monthly Savings by dropping cable – $110.
Real Savings – After Adding Streaming Services
Even though we are saving $110 per month by ditching our cable, we need to add back in our monthly costs for the streaming services we signed up for. I had documented before that by adding monthly subscriptions for Netflix, Hulu, and Sling TV – we would be paying $39.97 per month.
I had also mentioned that we are not including our Amazon Prime subscription in these costs – since we use that for other benefits. I consider the Amazon Prime Video as an extra bonus.
One other thing I would like to point out is that all of these cable alternatives would not be possible without high speed internet. There is just no way around it. Fortunately, that is part of our new internet/phone bundle for $95 per month.
Here is a breakdown of our total monthly costs for our cable alternative –
- High Speed Internet (and Phone) – $95
- Streaming Services – $39.97
- Total Costs – $134.97
Real Monthly Savings ($205 – $134.97) = $70.03
Note – Anyone who does not have high speed internet and is thinking of dropping cable for alternative tv options needs to consider the added costs.
When we first started out with our plan to ditch cable, my goal was to save $100 per month. What I did not realize at the time though was our discount we got for internet and phone in the past (by having a cable bundle). This means that when the cable was taken out of the bill, the phone and internet savings were not as big.
There may still be some options to get closer to $100 in savings. My next step is to try and get our internet costs down (while not losing any speed). I have started to investigate other internet options in our area.
Another thing we are considering is dropping our phone as well. We really don’t use it – ever. Except to get solicitors calling asking for donations. Our cell phones work just fine, so we don’t really need a home phone – except for my work. I need a local number to forward my phone when I telecommute. My cell phone is a long distance number.
Finally, we may eventually drop Sling TV ($19.99) if we decide it isn’t worth the cost. We signed up for the free Roku 2 offer by prepaying for the first 3 months. I like it because it gives us an option to still watch sports on ESPN and ESPN2. But is it still worth the ~$20 a month? Not sure yet.
As of now, we are on pace to save $840.36 annually by ditching our cable. These savings will be used in part to help us reach our short term goal to invest 20% of our income in dividend stocks. Every little bit of savings counts!
Have you ditched your cable? What advice can you offer to those looking to do the same?