If you’re looking to reduce your monthly expenses, you’ve probably heard about “cord cutters” who’ve ditched their cable or satellite TV for more affordable options.
In 2010, while working as a writer/producer for CNN, I got rid of cable once and for all.
Read more: How I save money in every budget category
Cut your cable or satellite TV bill in half!
When I was in the news business, I always had a TV at my desk, so I felt like I had access to enough screen time as part of my job.
The last thing I wanted to do was go home after 8+ hours of work and watch more TV!
Cutting my $100 cable bill and replacing it with an old-fashioned antenna was one of the strategies I used to pay off my mortgage in two years.
Fast forward to 2017, more people are abandoning pay TV because the alternatives are improving.
On his radio show recently, Clark Howard suggested that people pair an antenna (for local channels) and one or more streaming services.
To illustrate how much money you can save, I wanted to share my personal TV/internet bundle:
- AT&T high-speed internet: $40/month
- Digital antenna: $30
- Amazon Prime: $99/year
- Netflix: $9.99/month
- Hulu $7.99/month
The grand total is $824.76 a year, but that includes my high-speed internet service, which I would need anyway to write stories for Clark.com and MichaelSaves.com.
Now, let’s take a closer look at each of these services:
AT&T high-speed internet: I pay $40/month for 50 Mbps, which is perfect for uninterrupted streaming across multiple devices: TV, computer and cell phone. I used to pay $70/month for gigabit service, but I wasn’t getting anywhere close to the speed AT&T advertised. You can go to SpeedTest.net to compare your actual internet speed to what you’re paying for from your service provider. As a result of overpaying for nearly a year, AT&T agreed to waive a $99 installation charge. I just had to ask them to do it.
Digital antenna: The purpose of the digital antenna is to get your local channels, such as ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and PBS. I don’t remember exactly when I bought my digital antenna, but I know it cost about $30 at Best Buy. As you can see in the picture below, I’ve attached it to the wall behind the TV set. Nobody can see the antenna unless they’re specifically looking for it. I’ve had great results with this antenna in both D.C. and Atlanta.
Mohu Leaf antenna:
Amazon Prime: At the start of 2017, I signed up for Amazon Prime for the first time ever to see what all the fuss is about. The shipping benefits are great, but I haven’t really found too many TV shows and movies that have been interesting to me. I’ll give this experiment some time and update this post if anything changes.
Netflix: Unlike Amazon Prime, Netflix has a lot of great content, including original dramas and comedies that my friends are always talking about. I canceled my service when I started Amazon Prime in January, but I signed up again in April because I missed it so much. I also thought it was pretty cool that Netflix gave me a free month when I re-joined.
Hulu: I decided to give Hulu a try as well after finding a great deal on Gilt. I’ve only had it for a couple of months, but I do enjoy it so far. Since I don’t have a DVR, I like how Hulu offers a lot of current TV shows after they’ve aired. It’s great for binge-watching on the weekends.
I should mention that I tested out DirecTV Now, the streaming service from AT&T, but I canceled it because there were far too many glitches.
There’s a free trial for DirecTV Now, and all of these services, so there’s no risk for trying them out.
And if you’re a sports fan, you may also want to consider Sling, which includes live streaming of ESPN. Read more about these options in this article I wrote for Clark.com.
Have you found a cheaper alternative to cable or satellite TV? Tell me about it on Facebook.
Read more: Cash back apps: Ibotta vs. Checkout 51