For the last year or so, my husband and I have gone back and forth discussing whether or not we should cut our cable expense. A hundred extra dollars a month in our pockets sounded really good, especially now that we have another member of the family. The downside would be the lack of sports my husband would be able to watch. But last month we finally decided to do it. It was a lot like pulling off a band-aid. The initial sting was a bit painful, but eventually, you forget all about it.
Here’s how we did it:
- Research, research, research. We looked into all of our options for streaming programs which included Roku, Google Chromecast and Apple TV. Once all the pros and cons were weighed, we decided to go with the Roku. We liked the various options Roku offered, as well as the price and free channels it already came with. The best way to describe Roku is that it looks like a tiny box that hooks up to your tv and internet. When you turn it on, it displays a series of apps such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, etc. All you have to do is sign up for accounts with these sites and then you can stream shows right from your tv!
- After we bought the Roku, we immediately began our free trial with Netflix. To our surprise, there were more television shows then we were expecting. It’s great for catching up on older series that you may have missed.
- Next came Hulu Plus which also offers a free trial, but unlike Netflix, it’s only a week. While Hulu Plus is great for watching more recent television episodes, I must admit, I was a bit disappointed in how they claim to carry certain networks – particularly Bravo and E! The article I read explained how they now carry episodes from these networks which was music to my ears given the fact that these are the two networks that probably take up most of my television-watching time. Unfortunately, once we got Hulu Plus, not only could those networks only be streamed on your computer (not the Roku) they only feature clips of shows from these networks – not full episodes. So I’ve had to say ‘goodbye’ to everyone from all the Real Housewives, as well as Chelsea Handler, Reza Farahan and his Persian posse, Andy Cohen and many, many more.
- During these free trials, we still kept cable just to be sure we were comfortable with our new entertainment situation. It wasn’t until my husband went on our cable provider’s website to look at our account when we decided enough was enough. For two + years we had set up automatic pay for our cable. Well, come to find out, they increased both our internet and cable multiple times over those two years and never notified us, so now we were looking at a balance of close to $300. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
- During our call to cancel our cable, we made sure we upped our internet speed. Since Roku runs off your internet connection, a fast speed is of the utmost importance.
- Now that cable was history, we lost all of our local channels and if I didn’t have my mornings with Kristie and Wayne, I would not be happy camper. Luckily, all we needed was a digital antennae. These range anywhere from $20 – $70. We ended up buying two, one for the bedroom and one for the living room. The antennae purchased for the bedroom was of the lower end (similar to your typically rabbit years) while the other was much more expensive. My husband was sold on the fact that the more expensive one would be able to pick up more channels. Well, it doesn’t and because we have our television mounted, we can’t get away with purchasing the cheaper one for the living room, so the expensive one is here to stay.
- The final step was to purchase another Roku for the bedroom, since we already knew we liked the first one we bought. Now we can watch the same channels in the living room and bedroom.
Since cutting cable, I have noticed that I really don’t miss it all that much. For all the shows that I can no longer watch, I have found new ones to replace them. It really has been one of the better decisions we have ever made and I’m really happy with how easy it all was. The initial start-up cost is a bit pricey. I think we spent around $180, but in the end, we are saving about $1,200 a year. The biggest change I have noticed is that watching a full episode of anything is next to impossible with a newborn and when we do get a chance to watch something, I usually fall asleep 10 minutes in, so that could very well play into why I don’t miss cable as much as I thought I would.
This USA Today article/video series on cutting the chord was very helpful in starting to process to getting rid of cable. Got any questions that I may not have covered? Just leave a comment in the box below!