Last year, I signed a two-year contract with my cable provider and was assured I’d pay the agreed upon amount for the entire 2 years. Well, of course, they lied and when the second year hit, my bill shot up to almost $200 for ONE month. Are they crazy? In my head, I went straight into my Training Day character Alonzo Harris’ voice “Who the F@*k do you think you are F@*kin with?!”
I immediately cancelled their service and looked into other options. Here’s what I came up with.
TV antenna (internet-free). Talk about completely cutting the cord! I know, I know. It sounds retro, and you’re probably kicking yourself for not keeping your antenna from the 80s, but antennas are now digital so you’d need a new one anyway. In some areas you can get as many as 40-60 local channels, which provide a lot of popular shows, you’d just have to watch the shows while they are on (no pause or recording, GASP!) like we used to back in the day. If you have internet service, TV Guide will keep you current on what shows are playing at what times or you could really go old school and read your Sunday paper. Antenna TV quality is as good as HDTV, plays live events like the Superbowl and Oscars, and is more reliable in bad weather than cable or satellite, without the monthly bill.
Mobile HotSpot. If you don’t watch a lot of TV and have unlimited data with your cell phone plan, you can use your phone’s mobile hotspot as an internet source to stream shows. It may be worth it to consider purchasing more or unlimited data with your phone provider considering most internet-only cable plans are at least $50/mo (+ taxes & fees). This is also a great option if you spend a lot of time away from home because your shows are always with you.
Streaming. Streaming has a few levels to it, but once you have your system down, you’ll be at the corner of Frugal & Easy Street.
- You can get basic (I’d recommend about 18-24 Mbps) internet service for around $50/mo depending on your area.
- The second step with streaming is to buy a device to stream through. These are one-time purchases, not monthly bills. Gaming consoles like Playstation or Xbox, computers, tablets, and smart TVs and even your cell phone are all good options. If you’d like something cheaper you can go with a Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV or Amazon Fire stick media player. These 3 media players have channels pre-loaded onto them so all you have to do is plug it into your tv and boom! You’ve got channels.
- Instead of using a stick, you can sign up with subscription services.
Subscription websites. These websites require a monthly payment, but when bundled, can still be lower than a cable bill. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, SlingTV (includes ESPN), HBO Now or Showtime have almost any show you’d like to watch. Note that many shows may overlap with some of these services.
Free Websites. There are a few websites that provide full episodes of many shows & movies and are completely free! YouTube, Tubi TV, Crackle, and SideReel are some of the best (and legal) sites to binge watch a plethora of shows. Also, don’t forget about network channel websites. NBC, ABC, and others play full episodes of shows a week after they air.
Cut back on your internet bill. Yes, there are ways to lower your internet bill. Buying your own modem instead of renting one will save you $5-10/mo (although you have to pay for the modem upfront). Make sure you aren’t overpaying for internet speeds that you don’t use by taking this internet speed test. And if you are one of the rare people that loving having a home phone, you can unbundle your service by buying a home phone box that utilizes VOIP (voice over internet protocol) calling AKA free phone service (you still have to pay monthly taxes totaling about $3-4/mo.).
So there you have it. Everything I’ve learned in my search to cut the cord. I don’t think I’ll ever go back. F@*k you cable! Ya done son!