The days of paying through the nose for Cable, Phone and Internet are OVER! Sounds too good to be true? Well it isn’t and I can assure you of that. Why? Because I and countless others I know have done it. Why am I advocating it? Because I hate paying for something I can get for much cheaper or free. Most of all, I hate my service provider because they “own” me. They, and another provider control the entire market where I live. And I bet it’s the same in 99% of American towns. (cough cough Comcast, Century Link, AT&T,Time Warner….etc)So this is my way of getting back at them the best I can.
Let’s see if you qualify for saving a ton of money in just 1-2 hours of your time:
- Do you still have a landline phone?
- Do you still have a cable or satellite package to watch your television shows/sports/movies?
- Do you rent your Internet cable or DSL modem from your provider?
- Do you hate your Cable / Internet / Phone Provider and don’t know how to get back at them because you’re stuck in their Monopoly game?
If you answered “YES” to any one of the above and would like to see some immediate savings in your monthly bill starting now, then this article is for you! Let’s kick some Cable company butt together!
# 1 – The Phone
Let’s start with the most obvious one. A Landline Phone! If you answered “no” to this question, then congrats! You’ve joined the ranks of over 35% of Americans who no longer have a landline and only use a mobile phone (according to the latest CDC survey of December 2012). What does this mean? Well according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 91% of Americans have mobile phones that they carry with them everywhere. If that’s the case, then why waste money to have a landline? Some have legitimate excuses such as bad reception/dropped calls in their area and use their phone for their business, but for the majority of American families, there is no excuse to waste the additional $10-20 per month. Excuses like requirement for fax machine or 911 or long distance, are no longer true. For Fax systems I use an online tool called Fax87, for 911 I can just use my cell phone since I’m more likely to have it on me in case of an emergency than a house phone. As for long distance calls, I have been using Skype for many years. If you don’t use it yet, sign up for free and buy Skype credits now to make cheap calls internationally , cause you’ve already been missing out! You can have free Skype to Skype calls anywhere in the world, and long distance rates to land lines or mobile phones are extremely competitive. All you need is a computer that has a microphone, speakers and access to an internet connection. I use Skype nearly every day to connect with my family and friends in Canada and Europe. I even have the added bonus of seeing them because we both have webcams integrated in our computers. To get reduced noise and feel like I’m more on a phone than just speaking to my computer, I use (a slightly older version of) this headset. Its comfortable, the sound quality is is phenomenal and well worth the investment. Installs itself as you plug it in to your USB, no headaches! Another service I’ve used and that Dr. Nick MD, a fellow reader mentioned in the comments is: Google Voice! Thanks Nick for the addition. I used this for many years. One great thing about it is it allows you to call landlines and mobile phones in the US and Canada for free. This can be a saving over Skype in some cases, so worth checking out! As you can see, there are no more barriers and there are few reasons to continue to pay for a landline. If you’re unsure, just drop me a line in the comments section as to why you think you still need a landline phone and I will be happy to help you out with your situation!
# 2 – The Television
Ahhh, now let’s get into the bigger savings!! If you’re like me, when you signed up with your Cable Provider you probably signed a 1-2 year contract with what they call a “bundle” deal. Often this is any combination of Internet, Phone and Cable television. The first 2 years they suckered me in with this so called “deal” of everything for $99 per month. In the fine print however, my rate was to increase after the 1st year, so I figured I would test it out for 1 year and see. Lo and behold, by the end of year 2 I was now paying a tad over $160 per month for these services and even more frustrating for 94 channels I never watched, EVER! This is when I decided to get serious about it. My wife and I began analyzing our TV habits (shows, channels, timing etc). After doing some research, I realized I could cut out my Cable package completely. Why? Because I could get 95% of the shows we watch, in HD quality, from any device: our television, laptops, tablets or even our mobile phones…for only $7.99 per month. (options is chart below). Dropping the cable and the landline phone “bundle” and keeping my high speed internet yielded approximately $87 in monthly savings alone! That’s over $1000 per year people, $1044 to be precise!! Think about it. You can go on vacation for that kind of money. Or you can put it in your children’s savings account. If you’re still not convinced, you can read this quick and fun to read article that illustrates how cutting cable can amount to between $634k and $4.2 million in savings over a lifetime! You can get rid of those HD and Tivo boxes, because now you can watch the same content whenever you want, wherever you want. Pause it at home and pick it up by the beach on your tablet, or at the airport while waiting for a flight or in hotel room while on a business trip. All for $8 bucks a month! Here you have an abundance of choices and depending on what you watch you can pick and choose your packages. Below is a matrix of your options for the various services. Keep in mind this is static, so there might be changes to the services listed below at any time. I will do my best to keep it updated, but use the links below to open the provider’s website for up-to-date prices and information.
# 3 – The Internet
When I mention to my family that they can probably save $100-200 a year on their Internet bill they usually don’t take me seriously because they say “Pascal, I need to have internet at home, that’s the one thing I can’t cut out!”. Trust me, I’m not saying you should get rid of your internet. In fact quite the opposite, I’m saying: leverage the power of the internet to get everything you need out of it: Phone, Television and well, Internet! However, there’s 2 more tricks under my sleeve to save on this one item alone:
- The quick win: Do you pay a monthly fee to rent your cable modem and/or integrated router from your internet provider? I’m gonna let you in on a little secret they never tell you when you sign up. You don’t have to rent it! Comcast used to charge me $6.95 per month (that’s almost $90 per year) to rent my cable modem/router. So I went out and found the best price for a cable modem on Amazon–it works perfectly with Comcast (the same technology they would rent out to me at $7/month) and paid only $68.59 for it. You do the math, bottom-line it is less than a year to get my return on investment for a modem you can keep for probably 3-4 years! Here is the cable modem I use with Comcast: Motorola SB6121 As for the wireless router, I already had a Linksys router E2500 (It is fantastic: coverage is great, signal is reliable and most importantly it is very easy to setup, so I would recommend it for anyone.)
- Another quick win is gained by analyzing your Internet consumption needs. Too often (include members of my own family here) I notice people are paying for Internet bandwidth they just don’t need. Maybe when they signed up it was part of the bundle or maybe the tech person over the phone convinced them they needed SUPER high speed internet…or maybe you’re just one of those people who thinks by paying more you get more. (Guilty, here! ) Bottom-line, you can potentially get another easy $100 of savings per year if you are subscribed to “SUPER” high speed internet and you’re usage doesn’t warrant it. That’s why I’ve created a chart (see below in the Step-By-Step part of this article) as a guideline to help you decide what level/package of bandwidth you should signup for. Look at the usage column and pick the usage activity that you do that requires the most amount of speed. Keep in mind these are general guidelines to give you some direction and are by no means 100% accurate or guarantees. The best way to do it is to test out the slowest/cheapest package with your provider to see if the speed suffices. If you find it slow, then try bumping up a notch until you find the right speed. You really stand nothing to lose and your provider can make adjustments over the phone and prorate your bill.
Ready to save?
How do I get all/most of these savings in less than 2 hours of my time?
1.) Ready to get rid of your land line?
A) Need long distance? Use Skype as mentioned before in this article. Skype to Skype calls are free and for Skype to regular lines, the long distance rates are extremely competitive. Click here to sign up for free and/or to buy Skype credit to make cheap calls internationally
B) Need a fax? I recommend this Fax87. My father is a realtor and needs fax, so I set him up with this service and he’s extremely satisfied with the service. Easy to use, great service and reliable, plus he can download all his faxes to his computer without having to print them!
C) Call your phone provider and cancel today!
2.) Ready to cut your cable?!
A) What do I need to get started with online TV streaming? If you plan to subscribe to one of the online television services mentioned in the matrix below, you will need a device to play them on your current television. That is unless you decide from this point on to watch television on your computers and/or mobile devices only. Here is a list of devices you can use, but refer to the chart below to know which service works with which:
Having used nearly all of the above, I recommend the Roku or Apple TV (which I have) simply because they were built for that purpose, also their easy plug-n-play features, which allow you to subscribe to most of the online packages outlined below. I own an Apple TV, however if I were to buy today, I would go with the Roku 3 simply because it has more channels available than Apple TV. The bottom-line is you should look at which services you wish to subscribe to before choosing a device, that is unless you already own one of the above, then perhaps you can just jump into the next step!
B) What should I subscribe to? That depends on your tastes! I’ve built this unique one-of-a-kind matrix resource below to help you pick! I spent a lot of time creating it, so please, make use of it and share it with your friends and family.Use the links to take you to the various services and take advantage of their free trials (where possible), and most importantly to make the best decision possible about what you want to watch. I do want to disclose to you that some of the links are affiliate links, which means depending on the service you choose, I might receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps pay for hosting fees for this site, so I thank you in advance if you choose to subscribe through my links!
C) What about local channels? To keep local channels for the local news and live sports events like the Super Bowl, you can get access to national US stations (ABC, NBC, CBS etc…) using the Mohu Leaf Paper thin HD antenna (35 mile range). This antenna will give you your basic cable for free, in HD!
D) How to cut cable with your provider: You may want and wait until you go through the free trials of the below mentioned subscriptions, up to you! Either way, I doubt you won’t find something to your taste. Besides, even if you have to make a small sacrifice, just think of the money in your bank account. * Warning, they will try and convince you to stay, they may even offer you another year at the “starter” price for the bundle, but don’t fall for it. Enjoy every second of canceling it…and when they ask why….tell them the truth: “I don’t need to pay exorbitant amounts of money for cable tv anymore, there are other options available to me at a fraction of the cost!” Thank you. Bye bye. Ciao.
Streaming Options Matrix
Rent or Buy
|AmazonPrime||Rent or Buy||Movies, TV Shows & Kindle books||One of the most efficient options out there if you don't care too much about having the latest tv shows. Amazon Prime (yearly package) subscription carries a large amount of older (but not outdated) content. You can still choose to rent/buy newer individual episodes or movies, but have to pay additional.||Subscription: $79.99 per year / $6.67 per month [also includes free 2 day shipping on all Amazon purchases and free Kindle Lending club membership!] / Individual: Varies TV Shows ex. $1.99 to $2.99 per episode. Movies: $1.99 to $9.99||30 day Free Trial||Windows/Mac Internet Browser, Kindle Fire, Apple TV, Playstation3, Xbox 360, Wii, Wii U, Roku and more.||iOS, Android|
|Netflix||Rent||Movies & TV Shows||Netflix has an enormous selection of fairly recent content. It has full seasons of TV Shows and movies. It DOES NOT contain newly released movies or current episodes of TV Shows.||$7.99 per month||30 day Free Trial||Windows/Mac Internet Browser, Apple TV, Playstation3, Xbox 360, Wii, Wii U, Roku and more.||iOS, Android, Windows|
|Hulu Plus||Rent||Movies & TV Shows||Hulu Plus has the best selection (in my opinion), perhaps slightly less content than Netflix, but at least it's more recent. Hulu Also Hulu offers newer movies and keeps up with a lot of ongoing TV Shows (current seasons). User has ability to watch whole seasons and previous seasons. Hulu's only downside is light amount of advertising (30 seconds every now and then during tv shows), but I find it is well worth it to have current TV content available.||$7.99 per month||7 day Free Trial||Windows/Mac Internet Browser, Kindle Fire, Apple TV, Playstation3, Xbox 360, Wii, Wii U, Roku and more.||iOS, Android, Windows|
|Vudu||Rent or Buy||Movies & TV Shows||Vudu has some of the best movie options because it offers new releases and you can buy/rent in various on-screen image quality for different prices. There are some TV Shows but the selection is limited.||No subscription. Movies start at 3.99 for rentals and go up to 5.99 depending on quality chosen. Some movies available for purchase.||10 free movies when you sign-up||Windows/Mac Internet Browser, Kindle Fire, Apple TV, Playstation3, Xbox 360, Wii, Wii U, Roku and more.||iOS, Android|
|iTunes||Rent or Buy||Movies & TV Shows||Rent or purchase New Releases, Full Seasons or individual shows or movies on the iTunes store.||No subscription. Price varies - click here for the selection and pricing ex. $4.99 to rent a movie, $19.99 to purchase it.||n/a||Windows/Mac Internet Browser, Apple TV only!||iOS|
|MLB Package||Rent||Sports Live and Past Events||Regular and Premium Packages for Major League Baseball. Watch games LIVE or on demand in HD online. Pause, rewind LIVE game action with DVR controls. Also your choice of PiP, Spit Screen and Mosaic View ** See note under matrix about Mohu antenna||$19.99/month or $94.99/year for the Regular Package. $24.99/month or $114.99/year for the premium package.||n/a||Windows/Mac Internet Browser only for non-premium package. Premium Package supports: Xbox 360, Playstation3, Roku, Apple TV, and other devices.||Premium Pkg only. iOS, Android and Blackberry z10|
|NFL Sunday Ticket (Read Price column)||Rent||Sports Live and Past Events||NFL Game Rewind. Unfortunately LIVE games are not available, but they are made available immediately after they've aired on Television.You also get complete season archives! I get it, this could be a deal breaker for die-hard NFL fans. There are other not so white-hat ways of getting live games streamed online, but this is more for the tech-savy folks.** See note under matrix about Mohu antenna||Offer w/ Madden 25 game - $99 for the season. Doesn't require Direct TV subscription! )||n/a||Windows/Mac Internet Browser.||iOS, Android|
|NBA Package||Rent||Sports Live and Past Events||NBA League Pass for broadband-- select 5 teams to follow. The one issue is that some games on some networks might be blacked out if they are nationally televised. Here's an interesting article on it. ** See note under matrix about Mohu antenna||$28.99/month||n/a||Windows/Mac Internet Browser, XBox360, Apple TV. Roku (Game Time only)http://www.roku.com/channels/#!details/1508/nba-game-time||iOS, Android|
|NHL Package||Rent||Sports Live and Past Events||NHL GameCenter allows you to follow all the games, however, live games only when out-of-market. Otherwise avaialble the next day, along with season archives. ** See note under matrix about Mohu antenna||$49.99/season this last season.||n/a||Windows/Mac Internet Browser, XBox360, Playstation3, Apple TV. Roku and more.||iOS, Android, Blackberry z10|
3.) Ready to lower your internet bill?
# of Household Users
|Email, Reading Articles/Blogs/Newspaper, Occasional videos||1-5||3Mbps|
|+ add to above: Making Phone Calls/ Video Chat||1-5||3-5Mbps|
|+ add to above: Watching More Videos / Streaming Television (as described in step 2 above)/Streaming music||1-5||5-10Mbps|
|+ add to above: Large Amounts of content streaming simultaneously / large amounts of Data Download, particularly multimedia content||1-5||10-30+ Mbps|
A) Assess your usage using the chart (above) in this article and start testing out the speed that works best for you and your family. Do that by starting with the lowest amount of bandwidth you think you need, and work your way up if it’s not enough. A great site to test speed you’re getting is SpeedTest.net
B) Buy your modem and router. There is the option of buying them separately (like my setup described above in #3), or you can buy the all-in-one models, which are typically what the Internet providers rent out these days.
Tip: Figure your modem and your router will last you at least 3-4 years on average, if not more! So when you do the math, it’s well worth the investment.
Finally, I know there’s a LOT of information posted above, so if you have any questions whatsoever, please write to me in the comments below, I will be happy to answer! I certainly hope you enjoyed this article, and more importantly I hope that it saved you money and that you feel better about getting rid of those nasty monthly payments! If you found this article useful and it worked for you, I would certainly appreciate if you shared the link to the article / or use the link at the top of this page to “Like” it on Facebook. I thank you in advance! Also, tell me in the comments how your experience went, I would love to hear about it–and please, tell me how much you saved! If you have any additional tips or suggestions to share with the community, feel free to add them in the comments!
All the best and Good luck!