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Cut the Cord

Cut the Cord on Cable: How I just saved $1,200 this year

I did it. I finally called it quits on my cable service and cut the cord. And it just hit me how much money I will be saving over the course of this next year by this move alone.

Cut the CordWhy did I wait so long?

The only real reason that I have had cable for the past 3 years is the insanely low bundle rate that I was given when I first signed up. When we first moved into our home I did my research and found the best rates in the area. After calling a sales representative to set up my service I was offered a TV and Internet bundle for $85 a month. This 12 month contract also came with free equipment and a $300 visa gift card. It was a fantastic rate and better than anything else I could find online.

Too good to be true

It was too good to be true though. Shortly after the technician who installed the service was done and gone things started malfunctioning. My access to the cable disappeared and I was stuck on the phone with customer service. I was informed that there was no way that I could have been offered such a deal and that the initial representative lied to me. After 6 hours on the phone with various levels of customer I was able to retain what was offered to me for the first 12 months.

Once the contract ended

Right at 12 months my bill skyrocketed. It went from approximately $100 after taxes to $280. There was no warning. It was just directly withdrawn from my checking account at the beginning of the month. I freaked out and spent another 2 hours on the phone with “Loyal Customer Retention”. I was offered various discounts that got the price back down to $120 a month which satisfied me at the time.

Rolling discounts kept expiring

These “Loyal Customer Retention” discounts kept expiring at different times throughout the year and kept causing me to have surprise increases to my monthly bills. Each time I caught one I spent another 2 hours on the one attempting to negotiate another way to keep my savings. It was just crazy. I had to actively try and stay ahead of the discounts expiring and it was eating a lot of time.

This past week enough was enough and I finally called and told them to completely cancel my service.

What am I doing now?

While I canceled my cable service, I decided to increase the speed of our internet connection. We also switched to another internet provider who lets us use our own equipment. This lets us avoid those costly equipment charges we were paying in the past.

My fiancé and I have had both Netflix and Amazon Prime since we were freshmen in college so we are not adding anything we did not already have. We are both more than happy to use these services as our source of movies and tv shows. On the average day we really only watch an hour or two of movies or tv. And to top it off, before cancelling our cable we had not used the service in 4 months.


 

How did I calculate my savings?

Over the next year we were going to have many of our discounts disappear and based on our previous track record I realized that I was quickly losing ground on our savings. Every time a discount expired the cable company would hit me with a large up-charge which I would then have to negotiate down for future bills. We were paying for channels that we never used and for equipment that should be considered prehistoric.

With our old provider our bill was sitting around $140 every month for 24mbps internet and 300 channels. Our new bill for 50mbps is going to be $54.99 and we are not locked into a long term contract. There will also be no equipment charges as we are supplying our own. Supplying your own equipment is almost always the best choice because you do not have to pay the additional equipment fees and the taxes on those fees. Besides, aftermarket equipment is almost always better quality and will help you take better advantage of the services you are paying for.

We picked up a fantastic modem for around $100 which will let us take full advantage our our new speed. We also decided to look into a new router as ours was a little over 8 years old and decided on the Netgear Nighthawk which has some fantastic reviews. These two pieces of equipment made a massive difference in our home.

Savings over our previous service

  • Internet/Cable Savings – $85 a month plus taxes
  • Equipment Savings – $15 a month plus taxes
  • Miscellaneous charges (you know, the ones no one understands)
  • Time on the phone with customer service (priceless)

Total Savings per month without accounting for the discounts expiring on the old service – $100

Are there any downsides when you cut the cord?

Some of my friends pointed out that I will no longer have all the sports channels, news stations, and HGTV. My response has been that all the sports that I like to watch can be found online. I read my news on the internet which does not pepper me with commercials every three minutes, and we are currently living through our own HGTV episode by remodeling our home.

Cutting cable may not be for everyone. In talking to people at my office I am now the only one who does not have cable.  For us it is a way to save a large amount of money every year and we are just giving up a luxury that we never really used. What are your experiences like with the cable/internet companies? Has anyone experienced the same issues I have? If so, what actions have you taken?

5 Comments

  • Dave @ Married with Money

    June 16, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    When we move, our contract will be up a few months later and I’m going to try to cut cable out. The Mrs. likes her fair share of Bravo and we love HGTV, so I’m considering picking up SlingTV or something like that so we can still watch the few shows we enjoy, but I’m estimating it’ll save us around $50/month.

    Not a TON of money, but worth while especially if it’s almost no change in our behavior.

  • Counting Quarters

    June 16, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    SlingTV is not a bad idea and definitely cheaper than cable. I got into a bit of trouble with the fiancé because apparently when I am traveling for work she watches HGTV. The rest of the time she uses Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video.

    I just set up the new router today and I am amazed at how much better my wifi connections are and that alone made me so happy.

  • Abhinav Thakur

    June 19, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    I feel this is a no-brainer. I have netflix and amazon prime. Never thought beyond those two. HBO has HBO GO now for Game of Thrones too. Almost every new movie is on Netflix within months. I guess the only thing one would miss out on if they lose cable is sports.

  • Counting Quarters

    June 19, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    Sports were the only thing I was worried about but then I realized that all the teams that I watch are never televised in my area anyways so I always have to go online to find them.

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