Guest Post: Should you cut the cable cord?

October 4, 2012 — Leave a comment

Today’s guest post is from Cheryl Therrien over at Geek Girl USA. Not only is she’s a great supporter and friend, but she’s becoming one of the go-to resources for technology and specifically mobile phone app reviews. Make sure you check out her site! Also, her guest post couldn’t be more perfectly timed… we’re ready to cut the cord but will take her advice first. Enjoy!

Giant Scissors

When Dan asked me to guest post for him I was both surprised and flattered. What could I possibly have to offer this financial guru? After some thought the answer is what follows.

How much do you spend on entertainment each month? Perhaps we need to clarify just what entertainment is. Going to the movies. Check. Attending ball games to cheer for our favorite teams. Check. Sounds like pretty straight forward stuff, doesn’t it? But if you really think about it isn’t that cable bill you pay every month paying for entertainment? What kind of package do you have? Basic package? How many levels do you pay for each month so you can watch a movie on HBO or Showtime?

Cable companies know what they are doing. They have their hands in our pocketbooks with our permission. As an individual consumer it would cost you considerable more than you pay your cable company to buy the same series they provide in their packages.

My husband and I have been evaluating our alternatives for this kind of entertainment. The first thing we did was we reduce our subscription to the ‘Basic’ package. Huge savings right there.

Then we began to look at what we actually watch when we do watch TV. We made lists of those shows we watch and then started looking them up online. Some shows will allow you to watch the full episodes if you don’t mind watching them later on after they have aired. So you might watch the full episode of a program that aired a week or a month ago. We decided that this aspect did not matter to us. We rarely ever watch anything live. We record everything on the DVR. I SO love skipping the commercials.

Then we looked at sites like HULU to see which shows we could watch for free. HULU Plus runs something like $7.95 and you have access to additional listings.

Lastly we looked at those shows that have no free options. How much would it cost to pay for those individually from places like Amazon streaming or iTunes? Some series have options to pay per episode while others allow you to purchase the entire season and get a discount.

What did we learn from this research? First and foremost the cable companies really do know what they are doing. They put together packages very strategically. If you are attached to particular shows and you have a number of them, it is actually more cost effective to purchase a package from the cable company than to purchase only the shows you want to watch. Seriously…

Think about how much you pay for cable and then look at how much you would have to pay for the shows you want to watch if you purchased them yourself from the vendor you choose. Those few dollars per show or series add up pretty quickly.

If you are thinking about taking the plunge and ‘cutting the cord’, do some serious research. We have to decide just how important the shows we watch are to us, and if we can live without watching them. Most of ours are available for free or for minimal cost. However, when we start adding up those minimal costs for each one… well…

The conclusion: Most people will probably let the cable company can keep their hand in our pocketbooks. As for our household, we have not made the final decision yet, but we are getting close. At this moment we are still on the ‘Basic’ package. I am a big sci-fi fan and many of the shows I watch are not free. I am still undecided as to how important they are to me. Sci-fi provides me with a much needed escape when I am just too tired to read or write. It takes no effort to just hit the button on the remote and veg out…

So what do you think? Could you ‘cut the cord’ and live without cable TV? Have any great tips you’ve used?

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