In 1993 my college roommates and I made the New Year’s Resolution to cancel cable and stop watching so much t.v. (which was done out of economic necessity more than a desire to spend more time studying). It’s a resolution I recently re-adopted for somewhat different reasons than I did 18 years ago, and so far I’m thinking it will end up being a lot easier now that, even without cable, I have more viewing options than VHS cassette tapes.
I was paying $112 for combined cable, phone and Internet service from Comcast plus $15 a month for a Netflix membership. Like a lot of Comcast customers I A) felt that there were no other options and B) got roped into using Comcast with a special deal that expired after I had been a customer for a year. About six months ago I called and threatened to leave, which got my bill knocked down to the current $112 for a fairly standard cable package with no movies.
Like a lot of people, I took cable T.V. as a given, a monthly expense that was categorized right along with utilities like electricity and gas. But the more I looked at my viewing usage, the more I realized I wasn’t watching $127 worth of television and movies per month. I called again and the only other option was to dump my phone service (which I combine with Google Voice for huge savings on my monthly cell phone bill) or scale down to the most basic cable package of 20 channels, most of which I didn’t watch with any regularity.
The Solution: Cancel Cable
I hemmed and hawed on this quite a bit but very quickly realized most of the “quality” time I spent watching television was either on-Demand programming or videos sent from Netflix. I was also losing money on my Netflix subscription, paying for video streaming service as part of my subscription that I didn’t use (Netflix has since separated the two services, but, for now, I’m keeping both the DVD’s at home option for the more recent releases and the streaming service for its convenience, which I’ll explain in a few paragraphs).
An offer from Verizon for phone and Internet service for $24.99 per month for two years with no contract, plus the ability to combine it with my cell phone bill, pushed me into a decision that a lot of friends have, so far, considered radical. I ordered a $80 wireless Internet player from Sony that would allow me to stream content to my television from the Internet. I cancelled cable the day my new phone and Internet service was installed.
Netflix will raise its prices later this year to about $20 for the service I currently have. Still, my new combined services costs $45, meaning a savings of $67 per month, or $804 per year. Here’s how I did it: