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How We Saved $700 by Cutting Cable …and Still Watch Great TV

Cut cable, save money, and STILL watch great TV! Here's how!!

Guest post from Abby of Just a Girl and Her Blog

When my husband and I decided to get serious about budgeting, one of the first things we cut out was cable.

Still wanting access to some form of at-home entertainment, we weighed our options and finally came up with a solution that saved us almost $700 this year while still watching great TV!

Here’s how we did it:

1. Investigate internet service providers.

When we decided to drop cable, we had the infamous “bundle” plan which gave us a reduced rate because we held our cable and internet with the same company. We were worried that we wouldn’t be able to find an internet-only option that made dropping cable worthwhile, but after a little bit of calling around, we were able to get a deal with Comcast where we paid $30 a month for internet only instead of the $103 we were paying for internet plus cable through Verizon.

2. Choose a video streaming service.

We looked at Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime. We ultimately chose Amazon Prime because along with video streaming, free two-day shipping, and the Kindle Lending Library were also included in the $79 yearly fee.

3. Meet Roku.

Roku is a little box that hooks up to your television and allows you to stream videos via your subscription service straight to your TV. It also offers additional TV and movie programming, a lot of which is free. (And have I mentioned no commercial interruptions?!) We purchased the Roku HD for $60.

4. Get a Leaf for local channels.

The Mohu Leaf is a flat antenna that we were able to mount behind our TV in order to pick up our local stations in HD. (Yep, high definition from a digital antenna!) My hubby especially loved this feature because he didn’t have to completely give up live sports.

We live in Pittsburgh (hello, hills!), so rabbit ear antennas weren’t really an option for us; however, since the Leaf gets about 10x better reception than standard rabbit ears, we probably would have gone with it anyway. We found our Leaf for around $40.

So let’s do the math:

$73 savings/month by dropping cable x 12 months = $876 – $79 (Amazon Prime) -$60 (Roku) – $40 (Leaf) = $697 in savings. And we don’t feel like we’re missing anything!

I was hesitant to start the process in the beginning because it sounded like a lot of work, but once we figured out how much we’d save without much sacrifice, it was well worth it. And since we won’t have to factor the cost of the Roku or the Leaf into next year’s budget, we’ll save even more!

Could we have saved more by getting rid of TV altogether? Yes. But for those of us who still like to have an at-home entertainment option, this strategy is a great way to go!

Abby Lawson is the author of JustaGirlandHerBlog.com where she shares her creative ideas, DIY projects, activities for the kiddos, and random happy thoughts. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA with her husband and two little boys, ages four and one.

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155 Comments

  • Lori F. says:

    So nice to see a guest post from a fellow Pittsburgher! However, I’m really wondering how to dump cable and still have the ability to watch Penguins hockey. If I shut off the cable, my husband would not be happy. The sports events are the ones that prevent me from pulling the plug. I did hear a news story the other night about a “game changer” in the cable industry that will make cable internet-based at a substantial savings. I can’t wait for that!

    • Shannon says:

      G-box. You can buy it online, Amazon, for about $100 and get anything you want. We are saving $1200 a year and watching the Blaclhawks in CA.

    • T says:

      Look into this because there are sport packages for cheap just like on cable. Sling tv has a few options and so do other apps on Roku. I dropped cable that was costing me over $45 a month. I got hulu and sling tv (free Roku if you pay 3 months in advance) and pay less then what I was paying with far more channels.

  • Bethany says:

    I just made the switch, my cable provider is Time Warner. Time Warner just signed a deal with Roku. If you subscribe to Time Warner TV services you can down load the TWC app on your Roku. You get access to most TWC channels and what’s on those channels live time. For FREE!!! So to break it down, I pay TWC $29.99 for internet, $19.99 for basic cable. I now have access to most channels and can watch my shows in live time, walking dead, army wives, duck dynasty ect on my Roku. It’s been less then a month for me but it’s working for me so far. My bill went from $145 to $50ish. Only thing I will miss is Red Sox games unless they air on Fox or ESPN.

    • Kelly says:

      On what service are you watching espn?

    • Muthusamy says:

      How i can go about to know more about Roku and
      Where i can buy Roku

    • Laurie says:

      I had Roku for about 4 days, once I subscribed to channels I wanted to watch, I was paying a couple dollars less than Directv. Was totally not worth it. At least with Directv, I could watch same day if I wanted too, also I DVR alot of shows to avoid commercials. Hated it!!!! Very hard to navigate around the thing

  • Linda says:

    If you have cable wiring in your house, get an HD antenna from Radio Shack and have someone connect it to your cable wiring to all the TV’s and mount it in the attic or on the roof. We get 20+ channels. I don’t miss cable or satellite at all. My kids and husband watch some things on Netflix or Hulu. My son was mad about not being able to watch Ninjago, but we found that you can buy seasons of it on Amazon. MUCH cheaper than paying for cable or satellite!

  • Lori B says:

    We use the Apple TV to stream to our TV. It is dummy-proof (for which I am greatful since our tech kid is away at college). It makes streaming YouTube, pictures and music from the computer, or apps such as Netflix super easy. We have not cancelled cable, but we do enjoy the wifi capability of being able to pick up our little AppleTV box and take it to another room and use it where we want. It’s easier than the Xbox!

  • Michelle W says:

    Hi Jess – Exactly what did you do “the same” as there are so many comments here and I am not sure which one yours is attached to. I live in the Philly area also and do not currently subscribe to an ISP or cable and need suggestions that can benefit me locally. I have HDTV’s and use an antenna but can never pick up PBS, Whyy and rarely receive a sigal for 6. Thanks!

  • Janice says:

    My family likes to watch sports on local tv and espn. Is there a way to still do this?

    • Joe says:

      Yes there is. Check out Sling TV. It’s $20 per month and you get ESPN along with a handful of other good channels. The only problem is that you can’t stream two different channels on 2 different devices at the same time…only 1 stream at a time. Also, service for many is sketchy, but it depends where you live. They have a 7 day free trial.

    • Sree says:

      If antenna doesn’t work, you get service from Sling. Sling provides live TV channels including ESPN extra $. If you have good Internet service, a Roku box or a Smart TV
      https://www.sling.com/package

      One of my friend is using and I’m planning to switch.

    • Ktbug says:

      We use an app of Roku called SlingTv, it has most of the common cable channels & ESPN & espn2, my hubby luvs it! Sling costs $20/month

  • Janice says:

    We live in NJ

  • Kathy Scott says:

    I wish Icould figure out how to do all of this!!! I am not at all technical! I am paying ridiculously high internet and cable with AT&T! !! I plan on retiring in the fall and lowering my bills would be a tremendous help!

    • Joe says:

      Just keep reading these articles and blogs about “Cutting the cord.” My plan is to keep my internet, get an HD antennae to get my local channels for free, I’ll get a TIVO with lifetime subscription for $300 to record programming while I’m not at home and then subscribe to a couple of lighter, low cost sources for tv and movies, like netflix, sling tv or amazon prime. You could start right now if you have a smart tv or a smart dvd player. If you have either, it will have an app for Netflix. Just click on it and sign up to start. With just that, you might get rid of your cable tv.

  • Rebecca says:

    we gave up cable TV five years ago and had Netflix exclusively for four years. Last October we subscribed to Amazon Prime and bought the Amazon Fire TV and now have 10 times as much to watch. Don’t miss cable at all especially since Netflix has its own tv shows now and those are some of my favorites!!

  • anna belle says:

    We are paying LOTS of bucks, over $110 month for DirecTV and get mostly 5-10 year old reruns, dozens of jewelry and sex product channels and lots of junk channels that are selling junk. There are only a handful of channels that have ANY current programming and half of those are liberal trash lunatics. I am going to go back to the main stream marxist media channels and YOUTUBE.

  • Virginia Chamness says:

    We just cut the cord this week. We had a basic plan with Dish Network which provided us with about 200 channels, no premium/movie channels. We did not have the Hopper or a DVR….just a basic receiver. We were paying $89.99/mo which included extra fees for our local programming and a 2nd receiver. We purchased a digital indoor/outdoor antenna which my husband has mounted outside and that has given us 14 local channels for about $65 (one-time expense). We are subscribing to Sling TV (a subsidiary of Dish) for $20/mo, plus an add-on package for $5/mo and Netflix for $8.99/mo. By prepaying 3 mos of service with Sling, we were able to get the $100 Roku streaming device for only $50. In a nutshell, we have paid out $115 in one-time expenses and will pay only $34/mo from now on. This is a savings of about $660/yr. Our internet service is through Frontier and is a bundle we have with our home phone service. The internet service is adequate for our video streaming. We are saving a great deal and only missing a couple of channels we watched regularly.

  • Linda says:

    That’s a great idea for people who live in the city but we have satellite internet and that would so eat up our bandwidth, but they are great ideas.

    • Jamie says:

      I was thinking the same thing! Works if you live where you can get decent internet! That would be amazing! 🙂

    • Sheila says:

      My thoughts exactly. I live in the boonies and my only choice for internet is satellite – very expensive and only get 10gig/month – so no streaming video for me. 😳 I have been begging AT&T to expand their internet service to my area just so I won’t have to deal with satellites stupid Fair Access Policy. Smh

    • Linda says:

      Regarding the satellite internet we’re lucky and qualified for the US internet recovery act so we get 27 gigs for $69/month that’s the highest we can go and we also don’t have to pay equipment fees but 27 gig isn’t enough when you have 6 people who use the internet some months we barely squeak by on bandwidth WITHOUT streaming anything.

  • Bridget says:

    I have never been able to afford cable. It was too expensive. I pay 60 a month for internet services with Time Warner. I cant seem to get that price lower. I stream stuff off the internet. I hook my old acer chrome book to my tv with a HDMI to HDMI cable. I search find what I like then play. I currently pay for a Netflix (10.00) Hulu (7.99) And Amazon (best deal ever). I watch documentaries on Youtube, Smithsonian, 48 hours, Dateline, and PBS. I am constantly search for new shows. I love music streaming from prime but I also stream regular stations. Freedom from all the cables.

  • Chenoa says:

    We’re interested in saving $$ too. Right now we pay $138 a month for cable, Internet and phone. Was just wondering if we switched to Roku, can we get the local channels (abc, nbc, cbs, fox) as well as tnt, usa, fx, a&e, disney,etc…?? Our promo contract with at&t ends in July. Any help would be greatly appreciated!! 🙂

    • Barb says:

      To get local channels all you need is a hd antenna. We bought a leaf antenna that mounts behind the tv.

      • Vicky says:

        What is a leaf antenna , where do You find That and how does it work?

        • Joe S. says:

          Leaf is a brand name for an indoor antenna. Look for it at amazon or walmart.com.

          I use an HD indoor antenna and cut back to Internet and phone package from Spectrum. I have Netflit and Slingtv. Saving 65.00 per month.

  • Flo says:

    We thought we would really miss the cable shows, but Roku plus cable internet/Netflix has been just fine. We have a $16 HD antenna but it only picks up the PBS stations. We bought the Roku stick when we got the flat screen LED at Christmas (big discounts on each of them) after we made the military son take back his big screen!! We lost the bundle discount when we dumped the cable tv, so our cable is still costlier (internet went from $60 to $72) than I would like but there is no alternative provider in our area. I love the opportunity to choose what I want to watch when I have time and the ability to come back and pick up right where I left off. This freedom means I am not a slave to the schedule and can stop and take care of something else at any time! (It sometimes takes a minute or two to remember that, but the new habit is coming along!)

    • Jane says:

      Go to http://www.amazon.com but make sure you get the right one. Make sure you live within so any miles from the tv station that matches the antenna you get. There’s several different ones so read the reviews. At least you can return if it is the wrong one.

  • Debbie says:

    It is important to note that rural areas do not have many options. There are no local TV stations. Cell service is spotty, Internet service may not be available or you are limited to 20 GB per month.
    I live in an area where you need 20 houses to sign up for cable before they will come out. We don’t have 20 houses in our area, let alone that will sign up. That’s eliminates that source for Internet and TV. Local TV stations are 100 miles away. We can get satellite service for TV and recently we have been getting “local” news. Before we had a choice of CA or NYC , we live in VA. We are not happy with our internet. It is slow and we have to pay additional high rates over 20 GB. Many people will be able to take advantage of these suggestions, but many others have no choice.

    • Joe says:

      I forget what it’s called, but you CAN pickup tv stations worldwide with a satellite dish and NO satellite monthly fees on a contract. I can’t remember the name, but look it up….for those who have dish now and can’t afford it anymore.

  • Jeff says:

    I feel your pain. I am now in the same boat. Decisions, decisions, decisions. Our Verizon FIOS contract will end on July 15th. We are seriously thinking to drop it; get some Roku’s, buy apps. Some have told me that Amazon Prime is worth looking into. I do have one advantage; I am an A/V Pro. I am a senior member on http://www.hometheaterequipment.com: Check this out:
    http://www.hometheaterequipment.com/home-theater-news-16/dvr-what-cable-cutters-have-waited-5162/
    Our web is: mrhookup.tv or .biz, etc. Read this post. IU think it will help you to make a decision. It’s a sad state of affairs, as I cannot even make up my mind where to go. Good luck to all, and keep sharing this important info.

  • Victoria says:

    I am just about sold on getting rid of Dish and getting a Roku. The only hold up right now is my husband’s sports. He loves them all and I do not. We have the tv in the living room and one in the man cave for all the sports on tv. Do I need 2 Rokus and will getting getting acces to Nascar, drag racing, football, basketball, baseball, golf, bowling, tennis, and soccer cost me more than than Dish?

    • MacKenzie says:

      Right now Sling TV has a deal that if you sign up for 3 months you can get a Roku box for 50% off or get the stick for free! It would save you on one Roku box. Sling TV has ESPN and ESPN2 plus many other channels that are great for sports fans. Check it out!

  • Mk LaRue says:

    I think it just needs to be mentioned that while Amazon Prime is an AWESOME service…the price on this is old. It’s actually $20 more: $99 total. It’s still a great deal working out to about $5 a month I think? Anyway, we have it (as well as the Amazon tablet, Fire TV, Fire TV Stick…lol. we may be slightly Amazon nuts.), I highly recommend it, just wanted to throw out there that the price has changed.

  • lynne irby says:

    can I still get HGTV, E, DIY, and other cable channels- watch the shows “live” or a day later?

  • Elisha McCutchen says:

    If you have a smart TV with the ability to stream to your TV already, would you still need to purchase the Roku? We would continue to use our Amazin Prime. Thanks!

    • Judy says:

      I have smart tv in my living room and there is no need for Roku the app for amazon and netflicks and others in on the app section of my smart tv as well as you tube and others my kids got small smart tv vizio for christmas and now no need to use xbox watch those channels on the old tv which were pretty old as a bonus I expect my power bill to drop a bit with the new tvs.

  • g andolina says:

    FREE! i do it all for free.

    I get my movies and TV series DVDs from the library. CDs too. They’ve just started steaming, so I have to find out what that’s about.

    I know when to ask by checking the DVD release dates sites, so I wait-list way ahead of time.. I use the computer for news.

    I would do Prime if they let me pay in installments, but they won’t do that. $100 chunks just have to keep going elsewhere when it shows up

  • Chrystal says:

    Sooooo what about not having a DVR? Not sure I could do w/out one 🙁

  • anjannette purgason says:

    I ditched cable long ago. I own a roku and love it.

  • Carly says:

    So great to read a post from a fellow Pittsburgher! However… I’m wondering HOW you found internet for $30/month! We also use Comcast, and the lowest we could get that would allow us to be able to stream runs us $80/month. I’m wondering if maybe since the article was written a few years ago, internet prices have gone up? Either way, once we switched to not having cable, we don’t miss it at all – it’s just a different mentality of TV entertainment – I don’t know why we ever felt we “had” to have cable! We never watched anything live anyway!

  • Laura says:

    I wish you’d tell us how to get Comcast internet for $30. Cheapest plan here is more than twice that. Was it a promo rate for just a few months?

  • Pauline Zelaya says:

    AT&T has a deal now if you get fast internet, they will give 140 channels of TV free for one year.

  • Kim says:

    I love the Hallmark channel. Anyway to get this without cable?

    • Jennifer says:

      I have heard of a network called feeln that lets you watch Hallmark movies and other family friendly movies for $1.99 a month.

  • Destiny says:

    Do you have any idea if these work in Canada?

  • Violet says:

    I checked on one of these antennas at Walmart and was told that I had to live within 40 miles of the station in order for it to work. Since I live in the country and am not close to any station, what can I do to cut my costs. I now have Dish for my tv and TWC for my internet.

  • Julie.dykstra@att.net says:

    Ditched Dish satellite 3 months ago. Replaced with Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube (has most of the cooking shows, and Lydia’s blog:-). Using Google Chromecast to cast them to one tv, and game consoles (xbox) to view on 2 other tvs. Paid in advance for full year of Netflix for approx. $68 (instead of $119.88:12 months x $9.99) by purchasing a discounted Netflix gift card on Ebay. Temporarily used CBS free month (and another free month when I tried to cancel) to finish up the current season’s episodes of CBS prime time shows. Was getting my Hulu subscription covered by Bing search rewards, but they have now dropped Hulu gift card as a reward. Looking for a way to save on the Hulu subscription – any ideas?

  • frances says:

    what kind of TV do you need to get hulu and Roku?

  • We cut our cable and use an Amazon Firestick I use Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu with it. We just started with Jelly Telly too. It’s Christian based with shows like Veggies Tales and What’s in the Bible. The money savings is so worth it!

  • Sarah Jones says:

    I have a Magnavox DVR. Had to stop using it when the cable company went to making everyone have their box to even “get cable”. Check Amazon. Cost ranges from $275-350 or so.

  • Lori says:

    I’ve been thinking about doing the same thing, but wasn’t sure where to start. Thanks for posting!

  • Melanie says:

    I’ve been thinking about this for a year. We pay waaaaay too much for cable. Have been trying to figure out what we can and can’t live with and it’s tough! This has inspired me to make it a priority!

  • Maureen says:

    We never have had cable. We have DSL for internet. We have used Netflix before it was streaming. We have used Antenna TV. We now also have Aetna Prime. I got a fire stick as an early mother’s day present

  • Nan says:

    Our bundle contract expires next month, so we are poised to cut the cable. Here’s the plan: sign up for most reasonable internet service available, subscribe to the least expensive tier of PlayStation Vue (has the channels we most prefer,) buy an Amazon Fire tv box (coordinates well with PSVue) and purchase Ooma to cover telephone landline need on the cheap. Waiting for Amazon Prime day in mid-July in the hope of saving more.

  • I cut back on cable channels and tried out some of these other suggestions. I was able to get my cable bill down to the same price as Sling and Netflix so that my husband could still watch his favorite channel Velocity! I couldn’t find it anywhere unless I had an account to sign in to. I would have been able to cut it completely if it weren’t for that! Love these ideas.

  • This is a great and informative post! We cut the cable last year and it was one of the best decisions we made! No more expensive monthly expensive bills! Now we use a regular digital antena and internet Tv service, which is super cheap and still watch our favorite TV shows! No plans to go back again to Cable TV!

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