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

Best of 2017: 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 serviceToday we continue our look back at the best cord cutting stories of 2017. Today how I saved over $2,000 by becoming a cord cutter.

So 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.

Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more news, tips, and reviews.

Need cord cutting tech support? Join our new Cord Cutting Tech Support Facebook Group for help.

  • Michael Young

    You don’t count your Netflix or Amazon because you have been paying for this, but count a landline that you haven’t paid in years. This is contradictory.

    • Aaron Dugger

      You’re right the numbers would look a little different if he included Amazon and Netflix. I think in most cases people are already paying for Netflix though and when you’re considering whether to drop cable/satellite to save money, I don’t think Netflix factors in really at all with that decision in my opinion. Now if you don’t pay for Netflix and are considering signing up while dropping cable then it absolutely factors in. For Amazon, let’s be honest, nobody pays for Amazon Prime for the movie streaming, people use it for the free 2 day shipping and discounted prices on general shopping items. The Streaming movies/shows is just a slight benefit that few people actually use.

      It’s just how you look at it. I pay $7.99 a month for Google Music right now, when I’m figuring out how much I’d save by ditching cable TV and looking at what I’d use to replace it, Google Music doesn’t factor in to that equation at all. I think that’s basically most people’s stance on Netflix as everyone who’s subscribing to that would be whether they also pay for cable or not.

  • SanityChecker

    Rotating as a ‘nomadic streamer’ is a great way to save more money. That is subscribe to Netflix one month, CuriosityStream another, DTV Now another, rotate back to you favorites or try something new. Much cheaper way to go than subscribing to several in same period.

  • Fred Koot

    Espn isn’t on the $25 Sling plan

  • Garry

    I have DIRECTV NOW, NETFLIX and Amazon for shipping. Cost $62.06. I share with my daughters house, have two streams. So it is $31.03 each. I have line2 on my iPhone for $14.95 unlimited talk and text over wifi. I also have ATT 10 cent a minute plan for when I don’t have WIFI on the same iPhone. I pay $26.50 every 3 months for that and minutes rollover if I don’t use them. I have over $200 accumulated over the years. My total $55.61 a month.

  • CordCutting2017

    Cutting the cord for TV in 2017 even for a partial year adds up. My promo was expiring with Comcast and my bill initially when I signed up for HSI/Preferred plan with tax was about $100/mo all inclusive since I owned my own CM and had a Tivo which alone will save someone 40-50 dollars a month outside of a promo period. Well when the promo expired my bill was pushing $165/mo. I trimmed down to internet only after coming up with a plan on how to get content and slashed it to $41.45/mo for 55MB speed internet only.

    I started off with getting an antenna $10 and doing a few trials of different services for a few months testing them out and seeing how they fared in comparison to “cable”. A couple of them were alright but, the biggest issue was not having all of my addictions through one provider for under $50/mo combined. I came close to figuring out the magic math and package blending but, most of my content was actually broadcast stations with the antenna. Well, watching live TV after years of DVR viewing wasn’t going to cut it. Took a loan from my savings from cutting TV out of the bill and came up with a DVR solution through a mini-pc and a couple of HDHomeRun boxes hooked up to it and a Plex Pass subscription while it was still on sale.

    While I’ve managed to save $120/mo on TV costs I did spend about the same amount getting my content solution together w/o adding monthly recurring costs like some of the other device providers for an EPG subscription. I’m at a break even probably for the year considering the cutting took place mid May and now it’s 7.5 months later. I have to admit I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to technology and didn’t half ass the solution to just to have to go back and do it again later.

    I picked up the mini-pc for ~$600 but opened a new CC that gave me back $150 of that as a spend bonus.
    The 2 HDHR’s direct from SD $129 w/ shipping.
    Plex Pass $120 for a lifetime subscription.
    MCEbuddy for removing commercials (before Plex added the feature last month) $30 (lifetime)

    7.5 x 120 ($920 cutting TV) + above ($729) = still saving ~$200 this year

    A new Tivo or the like could easily run about the same w/o the ability to us it for anything other than a DVR and still having commercials to deal with. Tivo’s for cable though pay for themselves pretty quickly when you factor in the $30+/mo for DVR equipment and service.

    Plex has improved so much in 2017 between commercial cuttings and implementing live broadcast streaming / pausing like a traditional DVR. I expect 2018 to bring some more improvements to Plex and its functionality. Cord cutting not only saves you $$$$ but, if you like to tinker with technology it can be a fun little project as well.

  • BigO

    We had Netflix and Amazon for years before getting rid of cable – and added Hulu about 6 months before doing so. As such, the only real “extra” expense was a slight increase from our ISP. I wish we could cut our phone line, but I need it for work.