Cutting the cable TV bill - the alternative

What small tips and tricks have you found that made a difference in your personal finance life? What great article did you just read? Found a great blog?

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Mike Panic
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Postby Mike Panic » Thu Feb 19, 2009 12:39 pm

graphicgeek wrote:Mike, let me know if Understudy keeps working. I know that Hulu is making Boxee pull Hulu integration from their code.

Will do, I plan on futzing around with this and doing updates over the next few weeks.

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Postby sether » Thu Mar 05, 2009 8:06 am

This may be going in a slightly different direction than you intended, but...
My wife and I axed the cable and joined a gym. It is a real no frills kind of place, and by signing a contract we are paying very little monthly (less than a cable bill). The kicker is that ALL of their aerobic machines have individual tvs hooked on them... with cable. So, if we want to watch anything on tv, we just go to the gym. Now we get to watch our favorite shows AND get a workout in at the same time.

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Postby JerichoHill » Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:21 am

I so loved the last post that I've sent it to JD for the next links post
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Postby brad » Thu Mar 05, 2009 1:24 pm

It reminds me of a neighbor of mine when I lived in Vermont who set up a business making exercise-bike-powered electric generators. A lot of people bought them to help keep their kids from becoming total couch potatoes while watching television: the bike-powered generator charged a battery, which you then used to run the TV. After a while the battery would run down, and if you wanted to keep watching you'd have to get on the exercise bike and ride it for an hour to replenish the battery.

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Postby goldentraders » Fri May 29, 2009 11:47 pm

Wow!!! This is great... There's no TV in the office, useful for coffee breaks, just to kill the boredom!!! LOLs
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Re: Cutting the cable TV bill - the alternative

Postby Lori897 » Thu Nov 27, 2014 11:12 pm

Great idea, combining TV watching with exercise!
As another idea, we cut our cable completely years ago just as part of our frugal lifestyle, but it saves far more money than just the $50-100, (or whatever it is) spent on the cable bill. A study once showed how much more the average adult was likely to spend with each additional hour of TV viewing each week, though I can't provide a link.
But just from personal experience, no studies necessary, I still remember how different life was when I first stopped watching TV; I no longer -wanted- things. And the extra time allowed me to do other things in my life that also saved money; for instance, taking the time to cook meals rather than order out.

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Re: Cutting the cable TV bill - the alternative

Postby Multimastery » Mon Dec 08, 2014 5:36 am

This might be a good alternative to cable for some, but internet service providers will likely charge you a ton eventually - or throttle your internet service greatly if you use too much bandwidth.

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Re: Cutting the cable TV bill - the alternative

Postby GolfingGirl » Fri Dec 19, 2014 6:28 pm

We got rid of Direct TV when I decided to stay home after our 2nd child was born in order to save money. I won't lie, I missed my DVR and pausing live TV. But we did it for about 4 years and saved a bunch. We had Netflix at the time and subscribed to the Time Warner BASIC cable package of $9.99 (the one they have to offer but don't advertise). We got about 16 channels including the major networks.

Over time, our finances improved and when our telephone company offered a bundle with Dish for a good deal, we signed up. That was about 3-4 years ago and we are now trying to save money for vacations and are considering doing it again. Our bill runs $124/month. We could upgrade our Netflix account to include DVDs and buy another Roku stick, and possibly get the old cheap cable package back and not miss too much and still be $100 richer each month. I will mostly miss pausing live TV and watching the Red Zone NFL channel during football season. But to afford taking all 3 kids to Disney in 2 years, it is probably worth it.

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Re: Cutting the cable TV bill - the alternative

Postby RichardPapen » Sun Jul 10, 2016 9:22 am

My wife and I ditched cable last year. We are no longer sitting on the couch every night switching channels and complaining that there's nothing to watch. We have an antenna and use Sling TV to watch some of our shows on AMC. I'm in the process of trying to get a better deal for just an Internet connection.

The funny thing about cable subscriptions is that just about everybody thinks they're paying too much, but very few people do something about it. Do some quick math on how much you pay annually for cable and it's easy to see why cable companies are doing so well.

There was something in the news recently about Congress looking into how cable providers actually have much lower rates than they advertise. It seems like from what I read: ( ... e-company/), you really have to be serious about cancelling before you can get anywhere with them.

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Re: Cutting the cable TV bill - the alternative

Postby RetailerDepot » Fri Aug 26, 2016 4:56 am

Yup, I switched to SlingTV also. I pay around $26 per month with no contract. They just added the NFL Network to the lineup so cutting cable is a no brainer.
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Re: Cutting the cable TV bill - the alternative

Postby Smurfette » Mon Jul 10, 2017 5:26 pm

I'm bumping this old thread because I just cut the cord.

In a nutshell, it's been a mixed bag. It basically comes down to your tech savvy and TV viewing habits.

When i had cable, my monthly bill was about $115, for 1 dvr, 1 cable box, an entire tier of channels, and high speed internet. This was after regular haggling and veiled threats to leave the company. If i hadn't done that, the bill would have crept up to $150 a month.

About 3 or 4 months ago, i cut the cord. i bought a $50 Amazon Firestick, learned how to jail break it using a Youtube video and loaded some Kodi software to access a host of movies and TV shows. I use a combination of a TV antennae, Sling, Amazon Prime and an on/off subscription to Netflix. I pay $33 a month for Sling (blue package) and $8 for a basic Netflix package. My internet is $50 (I use their modem).

The good:
My monthly TV/Internet costs dropped from $115-$135 a month to $83-$93. This is significant, when you're trying to pay down debt like I am.
The Kodi movie library is endless!
The Firestick has an an assortment of interesting apps and channels
Getting Youtube on my TV set is pretty cool and adds a lot to what I can watch.

The bad:
I'm a sports fan and now must listen to my favorite baseball and basketball games on the radio.
About 2x a day, the Firestick loses the wifi signal and freezes. It's annoying to have to exit the program or reboot it entirely. If I had guests, it would be embarrassing. I have reset my wifi and called the Firestick help line. Hopefully this will improve.
I can't DVR programs
Kodi is not intuitive or user friendly

Overall, if you're mildly annoyed with your cable bill, call and haggle every six months or so. Ask for special deals.

If you're REALLY annoyed with your cable bill, call and threaten to leave the company; see if they will offer a special deal to retain you. If that's STILL not enough and you have the tech savvy to handle setting up a Firestick, etc., then go for it.
"A goal for every dollar and a dollar for every goal."

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