Easy Guide to Cut Cable Yourself
Have you always wanted to “cut the cord” from your cable provider but had no idea how to do it or where to start? I’m going to help you achieve the perfect cable-free TV set up. A little over a year ago, after YEARS of talking about getting rid of cable, we finally did. We cut cable and our bill went from $240/month to $80/month. If you like saving money and hate wasting money, this is the post for you. Below you will see some of the equipment and services we bought to cut cable ourselves. Purchasing just a few of the linked items can help you transition to the world of cord cutters with little pain, and a lot of saved money.
Surprisingly, most basic cable stations can be picked up with an HD Antenna! We don’t live near any major city, but we are still able to pick up 14 channels. We get the basic networks (Fox, NBC, etc.), the CW, PBS and PBS kids, and some movie channels that have old movies on them. Since I like watching some live sports, the HD Antenna allows me to watch all major sports. If there is a particular game that I won’t get, I usually go to a local bar and buy a couple of beers. The cost of a few extra drinks in a year is way less than the cost of cable.
The antenna I linked was very easy to set up. I just have it laying flat on our TV stand. I would not recommend you put it on any wall. We did and it ripped the drywall (oops) but luckily our TV covers that spot of the wall so nobody can tell shhhh.
There are several options here (Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV) but we decided on the Fire Stick due to the lower cost and because it was the only device that could get Twitch.tv. If you don’t know, Twitch.tv is a website that started so users could stream themselves playing video games. Today, in addition to the video games, you can find cooking channels and poker channels which are increasing in popularity. Amazon owns Twitch.tv and only allows Fire TV to stream its content. Even though I don’t play video games like I used to, I still enjoy watching people play them.
There is also a lot of “free” tv and video content that you can get through your Amazon Prime account. Accessing it through Amazon’s hardware is very easy to do. Menus are easy to navigate, and the response time is very fast. Right now, the 4K Fire TV is the same price as the Fire Stick. At the same price, go for the 4K version, but if you miss the sale, just stick with the Stick (haha..).
Alternatively, you can purchase a 4K TV with Amazon Fire TV already enabled. We didn’t go this route because our TV was already new enough (not 4K but that was fine with us). If I was starting today without Fire TV and my television was outdated, I would just spend $400 and get a 4K TV with Fire TV built in.
Another nice feature through Amazon is the ability to use something called “Prime Channels.” These are apps enabling you to subscribe to additional channels that you can manage with your Prime account. We get HBO for a few months a year (Game of Thrones & Westworld). At the end of those seasons, it’s a few button clicks to cancel the channel.
This is the go-to streaming app in our house. Because you have the Amazon Fire Stick, setting up your account is very easy. Netflix is the first place we go to when we are looking for something to watch. They are pumping out TONS of original content (it’s not all great, but a lot of it is good). They have old seasons of current TV shows. And they have the entire series of many of the best TV shows of the last 20 years. They also have a lot of content for kids, which is going to be more and more important to us as our kids grow up.
We don’t currently subscribe to Hulu, but have in the past and enjoyed it. It allowed us to keep up on current shows that would typically be available the next day to stream. This was how my wife stayed up to date on The Bachelor, and how I watched episodes of Rick and Morty. If you have some cable TV shows that you can’t live without, but can’t always watch the live airing, Hulu is a great option. In our area, a monthly Hulu subscription is less than the cost of an HD cable box with DVR capabilities. Hulu has also been creating their own content, one of which, The Handmaid’s Tale, won the Emmy for Best Drama 2017.
I’m not talking about YouTube TV or YouTube Red. I’m just talking about the regular website. There is so much incredible content about any topic your heart desires. Over 400 hours of content is uploaded every minute to the website. No doubt that most of it is not what you are interested in, but if you just limited yourself to the best 0.01% of content, that gives you 2hr 24 minutes of top content every HOUR. You will never run out of interesting things to watch. I highly recommend searching in YouTube for the topics you most enjoy learning about, and start there.
The Final Cost and Total Monthly Savings
A year ago we went from 2 HD DVR Boxes to 2 Fire Sticks and an HD Antenna (we were already paying for Prime and Netflix) and we covered the cost of the Antenna and 2 Sticks in 1 month of cut cable savings. Our total costs before we cut cable was:
Cable Package – $120 (including fees)
2HD Box Rentals – $30
1 DVR Service – $10
Our total start-up cost for the equipment was:
2 Amazon Fire Sticks – $80
1 HD Antenna – $40
So after we cancelled, we saved $40 the first month, and $160 per month, every month after that. Our internet costs ($80) stayed the same because I negotiated with them (aka threatened to change service providers).
Using the Rule of 173 we can calculate that the expected return on $160/month after investing it is $27,680 after 10 years. That’s enough to take a family of 4 to Disney world SIX times!!
$160 x 173 =$27,680
I plugged the numbers into the handy website calculator just to double check..
What About Internet?
Now that you have cut cable and bought all of your hardware, you will still need some internet service provider that offers fast and reliable service for your streaming.
During the cord cutting process, I negotiated for Verizon Fios, 100/100 with the router fee waived (saving an extra $10/month). We have been able to stream 3 devices (never tried more) at HD quality without any lag or buffering issues since we changed to 100/100. If you are curious what providers and speeds are available in your area, I HIGHLY recommend you check out All Connect. It is a website that pulls providers and plans available based on your zip code. It makes it much easier to compare prices and speeds.
When all is said and done, and you decide to cut cable, you can expect to pay ~$40-80/month on your internet and tv. I highly recommend you save that money in an Index Fund ETF like VTI. You can expect to (potentially) have tens of thousands of $$$ after 10 years of diligent saving. The best news is that you can save that money and you won’t even miss it.
Stop Waiting Cut Cable Now
With all of the options available for you, the best time to cut cable is today. Use the guide above and start saving, join the growing cord cutting movement.