Cutting the cable cord without sacrifice

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Cutting The Cord

Are you tired of paying your cable bill? Do you only have one option for cable?

Do the prices keep going up but service keeps going down?

What can you do? You have to have internet, how will the kids survive without cable? What about Survivor? Idol? Not to mention Swamp Men and Monday night football! But what choice do you have? Live in the stone ages? Well believe it or not there are a couple of options. They won’t come completely painlessly or without some sacrifice but the end result could save you a thousand or a couple thousand  dollars a year without leaving the 21st century. Sound good? First decide what you must have and what is a treat. For instance, services you may have through your cable company:

  • basic cable
  • premium cable with a box
  • premium cable with a box and pay channels
  • high-speed internet basic service
  • high-speed internet – fast download service (insert technical name here)
  • phone-basic service
  • phone unlimited service
  • other bells and whistles

Before I show you how to cut the cord completely let me give you the easiest way to save on your cable bill. Ask. What? Ask. I have done this on several occasions with our cable company and it has worked every time. Some times worked better than others but they all worked just the same. Here is what you do before you call; closely examine your cable bill EVERY month. I am guilty of not doing this and because of my lack of attention to detail we were charged for a service for an entire year that I never authorized nor did I want! Because I let so much time pass I was not able to receive a full refund so check those bills monthly. I’m not sure what happens but every month my bill goes up a little bit here and there.

  • Next; Call your cable company and keep saying “customer service” to the automated teller until you reach a human. Once you finally reach a customer service rep kindly insist speaking to the Customer Service Retention Department. Here is where you have to put your poker face on. Explain to the service retention agent that your cable bill is just too high and you are afraid you will have to discontinue your service if you can’t get your bill reduced (and mean it) and ask what they can do to help you. They are called the retention department for a reason, to keep you. If you can not reach an agreement you can either say “thank you, I will call back at a later time”, ask to speak their supervisor and try again, or cut the cord and jump into the fire.

It blisters my buns that all of the great deals offered by our cable companies on the commercials are not for their loyal customers that have been with them, supporting them, month after month, year after year. There is always some tiny little print at the bottom of the fantastic deals stating “for new customers only”.

  • If you decide to jump into the fire but aren’t 100% satisfied with the no cord method of entertainment you can become a New Customer once again with your cable company after three months without service and qualify for all of the great deals they offer new customers. Just by doing this act alone you could save over 50% of your current bill.

When a good deal isn’t really good. When you first start out with your cable/internet provider I’m sure you received a great New Customer package that was good anywhere form three months to an entire year, then what? BOOM! The bill grew like my waste-line after the holidays, right? Then you started adding premium channels because by themselves they seem harmless, $4.99 here just a $1.99 there. Well all of those good deals are inflating your bottom line.

Ways to reduce your current bill without much change

  • Return the “box” to the cable company and go back to straight wired cable line. You will lose all of those high channels that  you never really watched anyway, but you will still have 60+ channels. Our cable company actually charges per-box you have in your home, but you can splice your cable line into 1000 different feeds if you wanted to and your bill would remain the same for basic cable.
  • Drop the speed of your internet to the basic. They will argue with you on this. They will scare you into thinking your computer will not run efficiently if you do not pay for the higher grade service but that is not true. The only time speed comes into play in my house is when my son is playing his very graphic interactive online gaming. But for my purposes it’s just fine.
  • Get rid of your home phone if you have a cell phone that works in your home or purchase a Magic jack

Are ya with me? So above are three suggestions you can do to save on your cable bill with your existing provider without cutting the cord.

Now, ready to get the scissors out?

This may seem like a confusing process and I promise I’m trying to make it as painless as humanly possible, hence all the details. Just keep focusing on all the money you’ll save and soon you will realize it’s worth it. Decide what you can’t live without. What you must have and what makes your house tick.

  • Home Phone?
  • Basic Cable?
  • Internet?
  • Movie Channels?
  • Local Weather?
  • Sports Channel ?
  • All of it?

Here is a step guide to cut the cable cord (or almost) to have pretty much all of it using; an Antenna, Internet Service, Magic Jack, Netflix,and  Hulu

First Step:   Antenna

If you answered all you need(aka want) is the  local channels/ basic cable then an antenna is your answer 1) Go to Antennaweb.org and enter your address to see what kind of antenna you will need for your location. It will also tell you what channels you can pick up with an antenna. For my location I need a high-definition antenna (click here to see example) . We have a lot of trees so we have to have a roof mounted antenna, but with it we can get around 30 channels! Once you have your antenna installed it connects to your regular cable line and sends the feed to all of your tv’s, the picture is clearer too!

Second Step:  Internet/Phone/Movies

In order to have the complete system I am talking about you will have to have internet. You can do this a couple of ways. Does your cell phone act as a mobile hot spot? If so, that is one way but not the most cost-effective or convenient.  You can stay with your current internet provider  but discontinue all other services . Or find another internet provider for the basic internet speed service. There are two internet providers in my area that offer service and they are the same price so it’s really 6 of one 1/2 dozen of the other. Home Phone: I suggest Magic Jack for your home service. Magic Jack uses your internet service to provide you with a home phone line (you need to have internet to use Magic Jack). It is easy to install, affordable, and cheap in comparison. I used to pay over $30.00 a month for my home line (that’s roughly $360.00++ per year). We need a home line because our cell phones that we pay a fortune for (that’s another story) don’t work in our house. Magic Jack cost less than $60.00 to buy,a one time investment,  only cost $9.99 for the year* and I receive unlimited calls.  After the initial investment it will cost me less than $20.00 for the entire year! That is a two-year savings of over $700.00 !!! Sign me up! Movies and the rest:  Ya still with me? Here is where you have several options but I’m only going to talk about three. You should now have your basic cable and local channels through your antenna so this last addition is just the icing on the cake. To get thousands of tv shows and movies you can go with one or two companies (or both). With this last addition to your services you won’t even miss your cable company. One is Netflix (click here for link). Netflix cost $7.99 per month* and offers thousands of shows and movies. The only down side to Netflix  is the TV episodes are not a live feed and you can’t watch the latest episodes. They are quick to add new shows but it’s just not the same. Plus all your friends can’t help to tell you how the season finale to Breaking Bad went before  you have a chance to watch it You can Add Hulu to your Netflix or you can just have Hulu. Hulu is the opposite of Netflix in my opinion. They both offer thousands of selections; Netflix has great movie choices but the current TV shows are slow to add, Hulu offers the latest TV show episodes but the movie choices have a lot to be desired. Hulu doesn’t have a live feed but you can normally watch the newest episode within the same week so you can keep up with all of the gossip at the water cooler. The cost is roughly the same about $7.99 per month* You can try each one free for two weeks, which I strongly suggest. You don’t need to sign a contract and you can cancel at any time. Bonus, if you go to cancel your subscription they will generally offer you another week or two for free! Lastly, if you are an Amazon Prime member you have access to free movies, tv shows, books and more. If you were unaware of this feature look under your Amazon Prime membership account for instructions. If you would like to learn more about Amazon Prime, click here. You receive free 2 day shipping, movies, etc.

Recap: How I went from $200.00 to $50.00 & still have it all!!

My cable bill before cutting the  cord was over $200.00 for: cable (no premium channels) , phone, and basic internet Now my monthly cost is $50.81 for:

  • 30 local channels (FREE with antenna)
  • Phone $0.83 per month with Magic Jack
  • Premium Channel movies $7.99 with Netflix
  • all of my favorite tv shows $7.99 with Hulu
  • $34.00 a month for my internet service

You can go even cheaper!! If you don’t need or want the whole package you can remove features (i.e. phone, Hulu, Netflix)  for even more savings. We could really live happily without both Netflix and Hulu but I am a stay at home mom and it makes me happy, you know what they say ‘happy wife, happy life’ !

In just one year we saved over $1,958.00!!!! That’s a trip to Disney World!!

 

So there ya have it folks. Simple? Not completely. Pain Free? almost. Worth it? Absolutely! Let me know how much you save from cutting the cord.

 

*at time of posting-cost and coverage may vary

3 Comments

  1. Jenny on April 27, 2015 at 10:55 pm
    We did this too. At first I thought I would really miss having cable but it's funny, I don't. Netflix has enough selections for us if we feel like watching something. And my teenagers don't miss cable one bit either! Great post on how to get started!
    • The Coastal Homestead on April 29, 2015 at 8:57 am
      Hi Jenny, My family is the same way. I did miss my local weather and the news but we bought a high def antenna and got over 28 channels, for FREE! The picture quality is better with the antenna than I ever received with cable, go figure. Makes me mad I paid all that money for 20 years.
  2. […] Cut the Cord: Get rid of cable and buy an antenna read: How to Cut the Cord by The Coastal Homestead […]

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