If you are thinking of canceling your cable subscription, then you aren’t alone. This trend has gained some serious traction, especially among millennials — and including, for almost three months, your truly.
My story with cable television packages is nothing special: for years, I forked over nearly $150 for an overpriced cable, internet, and phone package. Then, in an effort to eliminate unnecessary expenses from my life, I followed the advice of a close friend and “cut the cord.” In the end, I realized (as many people who make this decision do) that there are some serious advantages to a traditional cable package. Nowadays, I am once again a proud cable subscriber — though it is certainly worth mentioning that I now pay only a fraction of that $150 I mentioned earlier.
Typical as my experience may be, there is still a lot to learn from it. In fact, I would venture to say that the information found below could easily save you hundreds of dollars per year — it certainly has for me!
Why I Cut the Cable Cord
The very notion of “cutting the cord” sounds satisfying. In the vivid and hilarious words of Brian Barrett from Wired magazine:
“I picture myself wielding cartoonishly large gardening shears, poised to sever the nearest coaxial cable. I rejoice in the thought of my newfound freedom, of sending my Charter Spectrum account to that great big cancellation form in the sky.”
Brian certain isn’t alone in this sentiment. However, as I will soon explain in detail, reality is often a bit more complicated than our optimistic imaginations would like us to believe. All the same, let’s take a quick look at a few of the most important reasons why I decided to cut the cord. (Odds are, if you’re thinking of doing the same, you have already considered at least a few of these points!)
1.My Cable Service was Overpriced. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, I was originally paying upwards of one hundred and fifty bucks per month for cable, internet, and landline services. And that’s too much, no matter how you cut it. My budget couldn’t handle it — and unless you are one of the star actors that us cable subscribers love watching, you probably can’t afford it either. These kinds of packages make cutting the cord sound appealing. Moreover, there are affordable internet-based alternatives out there, which brings us to our next point:
2.Netflix Offers a Huge Catalog. The world’s most popular movies/series on-demand service boasts a collection that, played end to end, would last for 35,000 hours. (Or roughly 4 years, for those who are curious.) This astounding number could convince almost anyone that Netflix would make an adequate substitute for a cable subscription. (Especially when you take into account other video streaming services such as Vimeo, Hulu, and even YouTube!)
3.I Don’t Watch Much TV Anyway. They say that the average American watches an average of over 5 hours of television per day. If that is true, then you can definitely count me in the minority. (And studies have shown that most of my fellow millennials are in the same boat, as younger generations tend to watch less TV than older Americans.) Though I love watching a classic movie, a big sporting event, or even bringing a series every now and then, you are more likely to find me reading articles on the web, chatting with my friends, or participating in other activities.
4.Everyone was Doing It! Last but certainly not least, I will be the first to admit that a bit of peer pressure might have played into my decision. Lots of young people are cutting the cord — but as we will see in the next section, that doesn’t necessarily mean that this is the smartest choice.
Why I Changed My Mind — and Got a Phone/Internet/ Cable Package for Under $50!
Cutting the cord felt like a liberating and financially intelligent decision. Within the first week of making the switch, however, I was already beginning to doubt myself — and within a few months, I had gone back to cable. (Albeit with a much more customer-friendly package.) Here are a few reasons why I became so disenchanted with my new cable-free lifestyle.
1.My Internet and Landline Costs Went Up! Cost was one of the primary reasons why I decided to stop paying for cable. What I didn’t take into account was the fact that my cable came in a bundle with my internet and home phone services. When my next phone and internet bill arrived, I was shocked to see that the price of these services has gone up significantly, thus offsetting a huge chunk of my alleged “savings!” That’s when I started doing some research and realized that…
2.Cheaper Cable Options Exist. Most Americans overpay for their cable, internet, and telephone package. This fact inspires many financially savvy people to cut the cord — but it should inspire them to look for better packages. With a well-designed cable price search engine, such as the one offered by com, you can find internet packages for incredibly affordable monthly prices!
3.The Netflix Collection is Selective. Streaming rights are expensive — more expensive, even, than the rights to release a film on DVD. (Which is quickly following the dead-end path of the floppy disk.) And this has influenced the evolution of the Netflix catalog tremendously. Before 2007, when the company focused exclusively on mailing DVDs rather than online streaming, the Netflix collection had carved a niche in the works of the so-called “forefathers of cinema.” Albert Hitchcock, Sergio Leone, and François Truffout headlined the list of influential classic directors, accompanies by many of their contemporaries. Nowadays, none of these directors appear at all. Unless a film or series is going to be popular enough to cover the tremendous cost of streaming, Netflix isn’t going to include it — and this means that their supposedly enormous collection is becoming more commercial and homogenous with each passing month.
4.I Love Live Events. Unless you are into pirating (which is both highly illegal and highly virus-attracting) you are going to have a hard time finding live streams of important events such as the Super Bowl, New Years Eve in Times Square, important world events, etc. For me, this was the final deal breaker. After I missed the 2016 world series all because I didn’t have a reliable television connection, I went to Bundle Your Internet and found a provider that met my needs for under $50. If you currently have no cable service — or if you are overpaying for your cable bundle — then I encourage you to do the same!