A year ago, I canceled the cable portion of my media bill.
I was FREEEEEEEEEEEEE!
I was so happy, I could’ve flown away.
Actually, it kind of made me miserable for awhile. I called them up with the intention of them extending my 12 month promo price, which they stalwortly refused to do. The best they could offer me was a new 2 year contract for the next tier of cable. Instead of paying $110/month, I’d be paying $115/month with way more channels. When I explained to the service rep that yes that was better than $130 but was still more than I had been paying, she was entirely unsympathetic. I then played the trump card of just cancel the cable.
Everything I’d read online told me she’d cave and reduce my price back to what it was rather than lose it. That turned out to be a big fat lie. She canceled my cable faster than I could blink.
So there I was, with a reduced bill and no cable. What was I to do?
I dealt with the death of my cable in two ways.
Increased online watching
Ironically enough, now that I was only paying them for internet, I was using it more. Fortunately, I’m not big into shows that are only on HBO or some other locked channel. There has only been a few shows I’ve stayed interested in, so it was easier not to fall too far behind. Usually, I watched the episode the day after it premiered on something like ABCGo. If I waited too long, I wasn’t above finding other methods to watch it.
Occasionally, this meant I found somewhere online that had every episode on it and binge watched it for an evening or two. Or a whole Saturday, depending on my plans.
Speaking of plans, not having cable gave me a great excuse to free myself from the networks’ set schedules. If I went out for dinner or drinks on a Tuesday, I didn’t feel guilty for missing Agents of Shield since I was just going to watch it later anyways.
“But Gwen what about sports? How did you watch the Dodgeball Championships live from Las Vegas without access to ESPN 8: The Ocho??”
Well, I just watched them online. In real life, I’m a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan. If I wanted to get FSMW, I would’ve been on the highest cable tier and paying something like $150/month. So I decided it was worth it to be able to watch the games online and splurged on MLB.TV. Now, since I technically still live within their broadcasting range, games are blacked out for me. That would negate buying it, but fortunately there are ways around it. According to MLB.TV, I’m tuning in from Albania. Or Croatia. Basically, any location not US based and I can watch the games. That’s due to my VPN extension on Chrome. I then send the tab to my TV via Chromecast and voila! Baseball on my TV. Is it a slight pain in the butt? Yes. But it’s well worth it when I add up how much money I’d be paying otherwise.
Digital TV Antenna
For some things, the internet fails me. Streams of things like the Presidential Debates and the Superbowl are hard to find online. So, in January I bought a digital TV antenna. It works the exact same as the bunny ears I grew up futzing with on my Grandma’s TV. Except with about 100% less static and more channels! Now, I get the very basic channels, which comes in handy when severe storms are in the area and I need to see what the weathermen are saying. Spring in the Midwest is so great.
Let’s do the math to see how far ahead I am.
$890 in monthly charges.
$110 to MLB.tv
It should’ve been $1310 if I went with the $100/mo rate. If I go with the $130/mo rate, it would’ve been $1490 and if I include the $150/mo to get the baseball I would’ve paid almost $2000! Just to watch TV! That’s crazy! That extra $1k per year equals $10k over the course of a decade. That’s proof that little changes make a big difference!
For 2016 my expenses will be $950 total. It’s a bit less than last year since MLB.TV got a bit cheaper and I wasn’t paying a higher bill in January and February like last year.
Combining these savings with my savings from switching to Google’s Project FI phone plan gets me an extra ~$120 a month! Which means I can eat more food and not feel quite so guilty. Now the next major monthly expense to tackle will be my housing costs!
Have you cut the cord? What’s your experience been like?