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Cutting the Cord and Living To Tell The Tale

tl;dr – You’ll save some money.  But not as much (or as quickly, or as easily) as you think.

Who knew ones and zeros could cost so much?

Bundled cable, internet and home phone service. Plus a couple of premium channels. Plus a monthly Hulu charge. Plus Amazon Prime. Plus mobile and data.  Put ‘em all together and you’re talking real money now.

$191.58 – TV, phone & internet

   $42.00  – Mid-tier Internet and modem rental

   $90.00  – Cable TV (300 channels, 2 receivers, “HD Content Fee”)

   $43.54 – Home Phone Service (Yeah, a landline.  Don’t Judge)

   $ 6.01 – Taxes, titles, fees, underbody rust treatment

$26.97 – Streaming video

  $9.99 – Hulu Plus

  $7.99 – Amazon Prime

  $9.99 – Netflix

$331.81 – Mobile phone & data

  $ 94.90 – My mobile plan

 $236.91 – My wife’s mobile plan (her, two kids)

My family talked about it and we agreed that there were far better things we could be doing with $6,600 a year. But in order to continue to consume the stuff we actually did watch (House of Cards, American Horror Story, How To Get Away With Murder), we knew we had to have a plan. Too, I wan’t interested in breaking the law to make this happen.  Which meant turning a blind eye to torrents, buying bootlegged screeners off the internet, or tunneling into my neighbor’s yard and tapping his cable line. Someone made the stuff I watch. Someone should get paid. It’s not my job to change the system.

The internet doesn’t fail to provide its usual snarled morass of deeply detailed, wildly conflicted information.  But a few resources I found useful in my initial research.

  • Slate shares a fairly simple calculator that gives you an approximation of savings if you dropped cable and used no streaming services.
  • The cordcutter subreddit covers the issue with its usual mix of good info and spittle-flecked rage. (Not surprisingly, debate is still raging on whether /r/cordcutters or /r/cordcutting is the One True Subreddit. )
  • Lifehacker has a quick rundown of cordcutting myths; worth a look.

The net-net is it’s made watching TV more complicated.  And the cost of entry is not trivial.  But it is doable with a little planning.

Coming next week: What Hardware Do I Need to Cut the Cord?

2 responses to “Cutting the Cord and Living To Tell The Tale”

  1. […] Last time, we ran down the total costs my family was paying out to various providers for television, data and voice services. And we determined that $6600 was way too much to be sending off to faceless conglomerates for whom “customer service” was a joke. But cutting the cord is not without its own costs. […]

  2. […] we look at the expenses of traditional cable compared to the costs of cutting the cord, the savings story is a compelling one.  And you may […]

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