Since it’s a new year, I figure I would post this up. It’s the first thing you should do to save your money and your sanity in 2014. If you still have cable, please read this. And then let me know why.
Today, I’ve got a special offer for all the wonderful readers of iHeartBudgets. I am going to give away a 4 day cruise to the Bahamas to everyone who reads this post! You read that right, 4 days of all-inclusive fun in the tropic sun, visiting places like Jamaica and Nassau. Swim with the dolphins, eat like a king and let your worries melt away. All you need to do is cut the cable and home phone!
Cable is Ridiculous
How many channels do you have with your premium cable package? Do you even know? Do you know what’s playing on channel 766 at 8pm on Thursday? You should. You’re paying for all that goodness on the QVC channel that you never watch and for the whole channel dedicated to infomercials that gives more TV time to Chuck Norris to hock the “total gym” than he ever saw with Walker: Texas Ranger. You are paying for hundreds of channels you will never watch playing crappy shows that no one should ever lay eyes on.
Enter: The internet.
Invented by Al Gore sometime in the 90′s, the internet has grown exponentially. They have even put TV shows and movies on someone else’s servers so you can stream them to your computer. Not only that, but many of your favorite shows can be viewed FOR FREE using the show’s network site or by simply looking it up on HULU.com. If you want a more premium service, Netflix and HULU Plus both off a paid-for service that allows you to watch entire seasons of your favorite shows and a bunch of movies from the convenience of you home computer (still MUCH cheaper than cable). Heck, they’ve even built in those applications into TV’s, digital media receivers, and even video game consoles like the Xbox and Nintendo Wii.
Here’s how we do it.
We have internet only through the local cable/telecom company for $45 a month (after taxes/fees). We used to get a slightly better deal, but we had to call every six months to try and get it lowered because our “deal” ran out. I got sick of it, so I went with a cheaper plan, but it’s still quick enough to allow us to stream our favorite shows/movies. We downloaded HULU Desktop (not an affiliate link) and created a quick account to keep track of our favorite shows. THIS IS COMPETELY FREE! We then “subscribed” to our favorite shows and ones that looked interesting.
Now, we go to our “queue” when we open the application, and it tells us how many “unwatched” shows we have available to watch. Shows usually arrive about a week after their LIVE air date, so we kind of know when to expect a show to come up. There is no rush and no need to be home with the TV on at a certain time to watch the show. We also don’t have to worry about recording it, because it’s recorded and ready for playback whenever we want. They do typically remove shows after the season is over, so we try to watch within a week or two for the show popping up in our queue. We have followed shows this way for 4 years now, and we don’t miss cable one bit!
For movies, we have a couple of options. Right now we’re on a Netflix free trial for a month because it also came with a $50 coupon to restaurants.com. SWEET SCORE FOR DATE NIGHT! We can watch movies featured on there, but let’s be honest; their streaming selecting is not great. Their DVD service still offers the better titles, so you can go that route if you choose. Most likely, we’ll cancel the service. The other option is your local Redbox movie station. There are over 33,000 Redbox kiosks nationwide, so I’m sure there’s one near your home. They have a better title selection for movies than Netflix, and for those who don’t watch a ton of movies, it’s a cheaper options. It’s something like $1.29 for a DVD rental for one night. The last option we don’t use anymore (because I can’t get my free subscription anymore) is the Xbox marketplace. The Xbox marketplace had a great selection of movies, and we watched movies on that for a year. It does require a $5 a month subscription to Xbox LIVE and you still have to rent the movie, so not the cheapest option, but still CHEAPER THAN CABLE.
You really do NOT have any excuse to have a home phone these days, unless you are running a small business with a home office. And even then, it’s not a home phone, it’s an office or work phone. Cell phones don’t have long-distance fees, can access the internet and should take care of all of your telephone needs at home and away. The only reason people typically get a home phone is because the stupid cable companies decide you need one as part of their “bundle”. Why? I really don’t get it, but the only explanation I can come up with is that they want to assign you a phone number that they can sell to every spammer on the planet who only seems to call you during dinner just when you are about to bite into a juicy cut of meat! Do they only work between the hours of 5-7pm? Seriously?! But really, cut the cord (literally) and ditch the home phone service. Since you’re cancelling your cable, there is no package deal for this anymore and you can “Cut. It. Out.”
So now that we’ve decided that cable and home phone are for those people who like companies to hook up a vacuum to their wallets and suck every last dollar out in return for infomercials, let’s look at the real cost of your cable “bundle.”
Internet/Cable/Home Phone Bundle Deal = $100 a month for 12 months. $120 a month after that. Let’s also tack on 15% for “taxes and fees” to land us at an even $115 a month.
Internet Only = $45 a month after taxes and fees……forever.
Savings = $70 a month.
So you can cut the cable and home phone today to save yourself $70 a month! Now, you may be thinking “whoop -dee-doo, $70 flippin’ dollars, who cares?” But it’s $70 a month savings. Every Month. Forever. That’s $840 a year savings by cutting out hundreds of channels you don’t need (we won’t even get into the time suck that cable is). That’s puts you in a nice interior cabin of a very nice cruise ship that’s setting sail for the sunny Bahamas about this time next year. Can you hear the ship’s horn biding farewell to all the broke people who are stuck in their homes watch reruns of “MASH”?
So be brave today. Take back your life and your money and say “sayonara sucker” to the cable company. Tell them to take back their “bundle” of junk and have them hand you back your bundle of cash. And the best part; you won’t regret it for a minute. There are MUCH easier ways to watch your favorite shows and movies, and they won’t affect your budget in the slightest. And while you are enjoying life free from the grips of your local cable company, rest east at night knowing you are going on a sunny Bahaman cruise less than a year from now…
Comments: Have you “cut the cable”? If not, what channels can you not live without, and have you checked to see if you can watch those shows using another, cheaper service? And, be honest, how many of you have watched the entire Chuck Norris total gym infomercial? Be honest now…