My husband and I have discussed for a few years now about whether we should cut the cable cord. But having that conversation was easier than actually taking action. We must have talked about it a handful of times a year. Usually after our cable service would go out unexpectedly or we saw a rate hike on our monthly bill. We would bemoan and groan and then do nothing.
Maybe I was dreading the actual cancelling of the service (who wants to willingly get on the phone with their cable company?) or maybe it was FOMO holding us back from taking the plunge. Or perhaps it was just the sheer convenience of it. It was a crutch to fall back on when boredom hit (boredom, something that I vaguely remember before kids).
As luck would have it, we were forced to finally make a cord-cutting decision as we moved homes. We have been living with my in-laws as our new house gets built, so there was no need for us to have cable while our home was under construction. It was the perfect opportunity to test out the cord-cutting life. I paused our cable service (who knew you could do that?) and we went the next four months without cable.
And guess what? IT WAS AWESOME. First of all, we have seen some major financial savings. We currently spend $20 for SlingTV, $8 for Netflix and $8 for Hulu (referral link) which brings us to a grand total of $36 monthly. Our cable costs varied from the lowest month costing $76 to the highest at $116 a month. Now, some would argue I’m not taking in to consideration my internet costs which power my online viewing, but we would have had internet service regardless of cutting cable or not. And I am also not adding in my Amazon Prime membership as, again, I would have that regardless of my cable status (because two-day shipping is magical). Being able to watch Amazon Original programming is just a nice bonus.
Another perk to being cable-free is finding some amazing new shows and series we would not have normally stumbled upon. Netflix, Hulu and Amazon each have their own original series/movies and they are quickly gaining in popularity. I am still able to get all of the network shows I loved on Hulu so I’m not missing out on anything there.
I’ve also found some really great shows for my kids to watch. I’m currently reliving a bit of my childhood with my kids as I watch the Magic School Bus with them on Netflix. And our newest obsession is Beat Bugs, a cartoon about the life of bugs set to the music of The Beatles.
To be fair, online TV viewing isn’t perfect. One downside we’ve run in to with cutting the cord is viewing sports. With what we currently use for online apps through our TV, live sports is lacking. Our SlingTV bundle offers us access to ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3 as well as the channels to watch most of the NCAA tourney. So we can get some sports programming, but not everything.
My husband is a NASCAR fan and those races air on the FOX network. That’s not a channel offered in our bundle (it’s either all ESPN channels or FOX, no option for both right now). There are ways around it, like using old school bunny ears to get local offerings, and once we move in to our new home we may look in to them. But for now he either misses out or has to go to someone’s house or a bar that is airing the race. Though he admits its a small annoyance in the grand scheme of things.
*SPORTS UPDATE: Hulu just announced a new live-streaming package for $39.95 a month that will include sports channels ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, Fox, FS1, FS2, and a few others. So that would be an extra $12 a month compared to what we pay now (if we ended SlingTV). My husband is currently contemplating his choices. More to come.
Because let’s be real. As parents of two kids we are busy as hell. Our Netflix queue is backed up and I’ve seen more episodes of Umi Zoomi than I have of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, House of Cards and The Walking Dead combined. I’m totally ok not paying a ton of money for something I’m personally not getting a lot of value from.
To say I felt a sense of satisfaction while packing up all of my cable equipment in a box to send back would be an understatement. It felt oddly freeing and a bit like I was giving my cable company a huge middle finger. Though, for a moment I contemplated going full on Office Space on my equipment to expel some rage I had pent up from all of the awful service calls over the years. But the $450 replacement fee kept me in check.
If you have debated the cable-cutting decision, try pausing your current services for a few months to see how it goes. I think you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to give it up.