Cut the Cord on Cable…Forever

14 May

I’m pleased to have Sean Bryant from offer the following guest post for my site. Sean is the founder of One Smart Dollar where he helps his readers increase their net worth one dollar at a time.

Photo by Alyssa & Colin via Flickr

Photo by Alyssa & Colin via Flickr


There was a time when I thought I could never live without cable. Now I’m starting to rethink that idea each time I open up my bill and my stomach drops. Cable prices have become outrageously high over the past few years. It is not unheard of to spend $80 or more per month just to watch television. Most of us would say that is a pretty absurd amount, but why is it so hard to actually cut the cord and drop our cable service?

For me there is one main obstacle standing in my way, and that is my love for sports.  If I were to drop cable then I would lose my access to watch all of my favorites on ESPN. For those of you who are a little less reliant on your sports fix, here are some great alternatives to cable.

Watch Network Shows Online

No matter if you are looking for the latest episode of Real World or you want to see Ashton Kutcher on Two and a Half Men, you can find it online.  Most television networks now stream their shows online, so there is no need for cable if you can find your favorites.

To make things better you can even hook your laptop up to your television using VGA cables. Your laptop will need to have a decent video card or else the picture will be a little hazy. You also won’t have the ability to watch in HD.

Sign up for Hulu Plus or Netflix

If you want to have access to both your favorite television shows and also movies, then you can sign up for Hulu Plus and Netflix at a fraction of the cost of cable. There is a free version of Hulu, however, the television episodes are a little limited. With Hulu plus you pay just $7.99 per month and you have access to the entire current season plus prior seasons.

Netflix allows you to watch television shows and movies instantly at home for just $7.99. You can also get DVD’s by mail for an additional $7.99 per month. It also allows you to add Blu-rays for an additional $2.00 each month.

Use Apple TV, Roku or a Gaming System

Watching TV online is great if you are by yourself, but it can be a little bit of a pain if you are watching with the whole family or a group of friends. That is where items like Apple TV or Roku come into play.

For just $99 you can purchase an Apple TV box and you will have wireless access to all of the content on your iPod, iPad or iPhone right there on your television. This is a much better option compared to using a VGA cable to connect your laptop. If you want to watch a show that is not available for free online, you will still need to purchase it through iTunes.

If the $99 price take of the Apple TV is a little out of your budget, you could look into a Roku which does virtually the same thing for only $50.

I don’t play a lot of video games anymore, but I am thankful that I have a Playstation 3. Not only does it serve as my Blu-ray player but it also gives me access to online content.

Use Redbox

If your family is more into watching movies than television, Redbox is the perfect alternative for you.  You can rent DVD’s for a little over $1.00 per night and there are often Redbox coupon codes that will allow you to save $0.50 or even get movies for free.

Final Thought

Just because the cost of cable continues to go up, it doesn’t mean you need to give into the cable companies.  If you have tried other ways to save money on your cable bill and its failed, then it might be time to cut the cord altogether.  You will be pleasantly surprised by how much extra money you will have at the end of the month.

Have you cut the cord on cable recently?

6 Responses to “Cut the Cord on Cable…Forever”

  1. Grayson @ Debt Roundup May 14, 2013 at 4:05 pm #

    I got fed up with my cable bill and we dropped them over a year ago. It was a great decision and we have been fine without the sports. Yes, we miss them, but we have an antenna and get the big events. The savings more than make up for it. We also stream to our TV through my gaming system, but if your laptop has a HDMI output, then you can stream high def as long as your computer can handle it.

    • Sean @ One Smart Dollar May 14, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

      I think my biggest issue would be not having the Big 10 network so I could watch my Iowa Hawkeyes play. 🙂

  2. Catherine May 15, 2013 at 2:02 am #

    I would LOVE to cut cable. I don’t watch much TV and when I do it’s something that was DVR’d – what’s the point?! My husband loves cable though and would probably die without 108363 hockey games going on at once. We live a pretty cheap life, it’s one luxury we have.

    • Kendal May 17, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

      The number-one reason people don’t cut the cord on cable is because of sports channels. I can understand your frustation but also agree with your point about it being a luxury you can afford thanks to your other frugal habits. Kudos!

  3. DC @ Young Adult Money May 16, 2013 at 10:57 pm #

    While I haven’t cut the cord on cable yet, I’m excited about all of the new resources out there that will bring down the overall cost of entertainment that was previously only on cable. With these alternatives in mind, I think cable will have to eventually lower prices to stay competitive.

    • Kendal May 17, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

      Agreed. In fact, I shared an article with Sean about a new bill that will allow “a-la-carte” cable TV where people pay for only those channels they choose to watch. It’s a pipe dream at this point but it makes total sense to me. When that day comes, I’m absolutely signing up for A&E, HGTV and Discovery. For now, I’m sticking with over-the-air channels and Netflix.