Cutting the cable connection to coax connector illustrating retired people cancelling cable TV service

How My Family Saves Over $2,000 a Year as Cord Cutters


Cutting the cable connection to coax connector illustrating retired people cancelling cable TV serviceSo I thought it was time to give an update on how my family is doing as cord cutters. I have talked about this in the past, but it has been awhile.

Now my family does not only cut the cord on cable but we’ve also ditched landlines and even cut the cord from our old cell phone provider. Altogether we save over $2,000 a year by being cord cutters.

Here is how we did it:

#1 We ditched DIRECTV…

We paid DIRECTV about $112 a month for just TV. We already had been paying for Netflix for shows and Amazon Prime for shipping. The only thing we added at the time was Hulu because of poor over-the-air reception.

So our bill went from $112 to just $7.99 a month. (I don’t count Netflix and Amazon because we had already been paying for them for many years so these were not new costs. I also already owned the Roku player.)

Note: This was years ago. The cost for that package is likely more now.

Savings: $104.01 per month or $1,248.12 per year

#2 We dumped the landline!

It has been so long since I had a landline I had to research what Comcast was charging for landline phone services lately. I was shocked to see that you can pay as much as $44.95 a month for just a landline from Comcast. I did see that the national average is still about $20 a month for the basic limited local calling.

So let’s take the national average right now at $20 a month for the savings.

Savings: $20 per month or $240 per year

If you really need a home phone, check out Ooma Telo for free landline calls. Want to learn more about ditching a home phone for VOIP? Check out our guide to home phone service.

#3 We ditched the old cell phone service!

My family paid at least $172 per month for our Verizon wireless plan. (We often went over our data!) Now we switched to a prepaid plan that costs $110 a month.

Savings: $62 per month or $744 per year!

I personally recommend Ting Wireless or Straight Talk for prepaid plans. You can learn more about ditching your high cost cell phone service in our guide on how to save money on your cell phone bill.

Total Savings: $2,232.12!

Update: I recently switched back to Verizon because of work. I need Internet no matter where I am for breaking news. So I switched to Verizon’s new Unlimited plan. It added about $15 a month to my bill, but it was less expensive than buying a hot spot. Now if it was not for my job running Cord Cutters News I would have stayed with Straight Talk.

Yet there is still one more cost I need to cover. I am a huge football fan, so I would be willing to pay for Sling TV’s $25 a month plan during football season to access all of the ESPNs. Paying for Sling TV from September through January costs $125. (Note: I recently tried to get ESPNU for my parents, and Comcast wanted $140 per month.)

When I count in Sling TV for football season my savings drops to $2,110.12! Still a huge savings every year!

OK, there is one last cost for us: season passes. On average my family has purchased two or three seasons of shows on Amazon that we could not get through other legal means. These seasons averaged $20 to $30 a season. (I am a huge “Silicon Valley” fan from HBO, but I’m not willing to pay for HBO for just one show.) Now “Silicon Valley” Season 3 in SD (how I buy it) is $18.99 or $24.99 in HD. For this demonstration let’s say it is $30. So three seasons a year at $30 each is $90.

New total savings is $2,020.12 a year! The best part is that is an overly conservative savings estimate because we typically do not spend $90 a year on shows! However, even if we did the best part is we own them and can rewatch them at any time.

A young woman is sitting in her kitchen and is loking at her receipts at home while using a smart phoneSo what can you save?

I often get asked two questions from people thinking about cord cutting: What about Internet? What about other streaming services? So let me address these two big questions.

Internet

For my family it was less expensive to get Centurylink without the bundle from DIRECTV. So when we ditched DIRECTV, there was no change in our cost of Internet. However, I often hear people worry about the price jump of Internet many cable companies threaten if you leave. The jump is on average $10 a month if you unbundle your service. Even if you save just $60 a month by not having cable TV that is still a $50 savings even after they raise your Internet bill!

But I have a way around that… Check out other options for an Internet service provider. Every year or so I often switch back and forth between my local cable company and DSL service to get the best deal. It takes a few hours a year but I often save a bundle.

Just be careful of deals that offer you TV, Internet, and phone or premium channels for less than Internet only. Often these deals lock you in to a long contract and the price starts to go up in just a few months. Remember they won’t give you more for less without a catch…

Other Streaming Services

Now I just use Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime with the five-month addition of Sling TV; however, I know that setup is not for everyone. That is what is great about cord cutting. Unlike with cable TV you can build your own bundle.

My first suggestion is to look at what you already pay for. There are somewhere between 10 and 20 million US households that are cord cutters and 68 million Netflix subscribers, so many cable subscribers already pay for Netflix. The same thing is true with Amazon Prime, because tens of millions of cable subscribers already pay for Amazon Prime.

That is not a new cost, so cutting cable is pure savings; however, look at what is right for you. Maybe you do not want Hulu or Amazon, and Netflix with PlayStation Vue or DIRECTV NOW is a huge savings for you at $35 or $40 a month. That is still a lot better than the $112 I paid to DIRECTV.

If you are an AT&T Wireless Unlimited customer, you may also want to look into DIRECTV NOW. AT&T is currently offering $25 a month off DIRECTV NOW for Unlimited customers. That could make DIRECTV NOW’s 60+ channel package just $10 a month.

Remember you don’t need every service out there. Just pick the services that work best for you.

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  • mau47

    I wish I could save that much, My bill with Verizon was $170~ previously including their top tier package that included every channel except Starz, a landline and internet. Now I am paying $70 for just internet and $35 for DTVN so I end up saving about $800 a year. I already had Hulu, Netflix and Amazon (mostly for the shipping, don’t really care about video) so I don’t really count them.

  • HiroRoshi

    Some alternatives to the article…

    – Used to have Ooma for phone but switched to Obitalk with Google Voice. Far better voice quality and much more flexibility. Obitalk also cheaper box than Ooma with no monthly charges (unless you add 911). Might depend on area/ISP but Ooma had an annoying lag when I last used it.

    – Cut costs by rotating services. Netflix for a month or two, then HBO Go, then Hulu, then CuriosityStream, etc. Rotating instead of subscribing to 4+ at once can save you quite bit over a year yet you still ultimately get access to all the content.

  • Robert Smith

    Comcast here in N.H. is brutal. They know if you are a cord-cutter and they punish you with higher internet service fees. The only alternative we have is DSL through Fairpoint which is no option at all, very poor customer service along with slow internet speeds.
    Verizon FIOS, where are you?
    Comcast is evil.

    We have Ting cellphone service with T-Mobile as the carrier. It’s OK with some savings over verizon. I like it but then again, I don’t use data, just talk minutes.

    • Pebo Bryson

      I have Comcast in NH and I pay $59.99 for Blast Internet 200 down. I suggest you go to the xfinity reddit and message one of the mods or just post in the sub. They will give you a proper deal for internet only.

  • Respected Citizen

    Dad just pared down his triple play to just the internet and his bill dropped $167 per month, which is $2,004 per year.

  • Vegas Steve

    Been paring down over the years. I went with Ooma (couldn’t talk the wife out of a landline) and it costs under $5 a month. I’ve had it for several years and quality/connection is solid. Put up an antenna & get all the locals, subbed to Amazon Prime. Currently have Netflix, but that comes and goes depending on what else is on. Looking to SlingTV for football season. My bill for DirectTV (several years ago) was $85, Internet thru Cox cable was $80 (started at $50 and they kept taking a yearly increase). Switched to Centurylink fiber for $60 a month lifetime price & double the speed. Overall, I’m figuring I’ve saved thousands over those years.