Cut The Cord
There it was, sitting in my mailbox. It looks innocent enough. A plain white envelope with a little bit of red and black ink sprawled across it. I can see my name peeking out through the clear plastic window of the envelope. Every time I see the envelope my nose immediately crinkles in disgust. My Comcast cable bill!
I hate this bill. Of my monthly bills it is the third largest, eclipsed only by my mortgage and car payment. My Comcast bill is nearly $150 a month (it also includes my internet bill). About 65% of the money due each month goes towards paying for cable television. I end up paying Comcast nearly $1500 a year to watch cable television.
Now if my family watched even 10% of the nearly 900 channels Comcast gives us then maybe I wouldn’t grumble while I write them a check each month. Most people, including my family, watch only 10 or so channels out of the hundreds their cable television provider offers them. Paying all that money for channels we don’t even use seems wasteful. And as a savvy spender wasting money really chaps my hide.
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I don’t want to spend over $100 a month on anything that I don’t get my money’s worth out of. So as someone always looking to save a few extra dollars I looked into ways to cut the cord, my cable cord, and the findings surprised even a savvy spender like me.
There are tons of ways to watch cable for free or nearly free! I found over 40 websites that allow users to find and watch TV shows, movies, music, video games and sports. An estimated 17 percent of the total weekly viewing audience watches at least one or two episodes of a full-length TV show online. Last year, that percentage was 12 percent, and next year it is forecast to grow to 21 percent.
Major networks are even providing their content for free online. With an ever increasing selection of high-quality TV shows and programs coming online it’s becoming even easier to ditch the cable or satellite TV bill. Now with online options such as Hulu, Netflix, broadcaster websites, or Apple’s iTunes I can see why.
All of these options cost way less than my monthly Comcast bill. Hulu.com has the most tv shows available from all major networks for free. Netflix or Blockbuster Online costs around $8.99 a month to receive movies, most TV show’s complete previous seasons, documentaries and video games.
You can download most movies or TV shows from Apples iTunes for $1.99. This option at first glance may seem to not provide any savings. Though if you break down how much you’re paying to watch your favorite shows you can see the savings. For instance if you’re paying $100 a month to your cable provider and you watch 7 shows that air once a week, then you’re watching 28 shows a month. That works out to $3.57 a piece. iTunes is cheaper than that.
Websites like Hulu provide TV shows, movies (blockbusters as well as less main stream films), video games and more for free download. Besides Hulu there is a ton of other websites building up their downloadable content. While researching cheaper ways to watch TV and movies I stumbled across a many websites that allow users to download TV shows, movies and more for free. Fair warning, I have not personally tried out all of these websites, but they all offer some type of free TV content.
If you could watch your favorite shows for less wouldn’t you try it? Yes of course! And hey what have you got to lose. If you cancel your cable and decide you don’t like saving money you can always call the cable company and sign back up!
But Nancy if I cut the cable company and watch my 10 or so shows online then how will I find new shows to watch? Easy… Instead of wasting time and money by channel surfing check out websites like TIOTI or Fancast.
Websites like these are like search engines for TV shows and new movies. They allow you to watch the shows you already love, and browse other popular shows. Both sites allow you to browse by genre, channel or go through shows A to Z. TIOTI also notifies you when new episodes of your favorites shows are available and then sends you recommendations for other shows you might like!
Other arguments against cutting out cable have been the fear of missing live sports programs like Monday Night Football or the current NBA playoffs. First off all sporting events are broadcast for free at all sports bars and restaurants. Why not enjoy a night out with friends and watch a sporting event for free! But if you want to watch these games from the comfort of your couch you can still do that without paying the cable company each month. You simply need to purchase a TV antenna and digital converter box to pick up free over-the-air television signals. Both of these purchases will be less than the cost of one month’s subscription to your local cable company. Use AntennaWeb to find out what signals are available in your area and what type of antenna you’ll need to capture it. Using an antenna will also allow you to watch your local nightly news.
Still others might argue that watching a television show on your 55 inch LCD flat screen is way more enjoyable than watching it on a 17 inch laptop screen. Many laptop owners do not realize that you can easily hook most laptops up to a TV. If you have a lot of audio/video equipment already then you may already have some or all of the cables needed to connect your laptop to your TV.
Most newer laptops come with an S-video output built-in while newer TV’s have an S-video input. If you have these then all you’ll need is an S-video cable. These can be found in varying lengths and qualities at Best-Buy, Radio Shack, or any other store where electronics are sold.
Older laptops may have the older video output, which is typically yellow in color. If you have an older laptop and an older TV you will probably need a standard video cable which usually has yellow connectors at each end. Again this cable can be bought at any electronic store.
So cut the cord and cut your cable bill. In 2009 an estimated 600,000 people did exactly that. So you’re not alone. And just think of what you can do with all that extra walking around money you’ll have! Hopefully you’re listening to my friends Mark Patricks and Marc Charles and investing it! Check back next week to find out more ways to cut costs, increase your income and gain financial freedom!
Keeping Money In Your Pocket,