In this multi-part series, I am going to reflect upon the cost-cutting measures I have implemented in my own life. This will span across many decisions that have been made in the past 11+ years, while living in a two-person household.
Oftentimes, suggestions from other writers come from a good place, but they may not have experience actually eliminating or reducing those expenses. My goal with this series is to provide first-hand information about areas where I have had to review and adjust to meet certain objectives. This extra knowledge may help you in considering whether to take the next step in reducing your own household expenses.
Today, I will highlight my process of cutting the cable, the alternatives currently in place, and the subsequent cost savings.
You have heard this often enough, “Cut the cable, it’s a discretionary expense that can go”.
This is one area that has been vastly advertised as a way to save money – something that I always overlooked. This is coming from someone that really enjoyed watching various TV shows on Bravo, Food Network, and the occasional Lifetime movies. It was always embedded in me to veer first towards vegging out in front of the television, rather than doing something productive. But then again, I was working during that time and everything was on auto-pilot, so that’s just how I spent my free time.
It wasn’t until late last year (2016) that I reconsidered this option, and mainly due to cost-cutting measures. I had been out of work for a few months, and I wanted to be proactive in reducing unnecessary expenses. Trust me, I attempted to get a discount or a plan reduction with the cable company – to no avail. Finally, the band-aid came off, after 10 years of having cable and a DVR. I cut it all – bye-bye cable.
Hello Digital Antenna + CBS All Access
At the time, I was paying approximately $65/month for basic + a few select channels + HD DVR.
After canceling, a digital antenna was purchased for $27. The antenna provides for basic network channels, and is useful if you want to watch a random show.
Additionally, I opted for the CBS All Access subscription for $9.99/month with no commercials. Using this television alternative, I am still able to watch some of the shows I used to watch whenever I choose – it works for me.
The only downside I have been able to note is that the network will remove seasons without warning and their library of shows is inconsistent and incomplete. For instance, they have all the seasons for NCIS: New Orleans, but only a few episodes of Big Bang Theory.
I inquired with a CBS representative and they stated that they did not have the rights to all the episodes. After further research, it appears I am back at the same conclusion. CBS apparently does not have all the licensing rights from all their production counterparties. Interesting concepts…
If you are interested in getting CBS All Access, that can be a setback. Though, there are enough shows to keep you entertained for a while.
Here is a list of shows that may be of interest and the availability as of the date of this article posting.
- NCIS (crime show) – All seasons available
- NCIS: LA (crime show) – Episodes from current season available
- Elementary (crime show) – No seasons available, will have new episodes later this year
- Salvation (sci-fi/political show) – 1 season available
- Star Trek (sci-fi show) – All seasons available (Hubs really likes these shows, so he has been watching all the seasons.)
- Big Brother (reality show) – All seasons available
- Survivor (reality show) – All seasons available
Let’s do the math…!
The net difference between regular cable of ~$65/month minus CBS All Access of $9.99/month is ~$55.00/month. To date, I have a total savings of ~$660 in the past 12 months. Also, take out the one-time digital antenna expense of $27, we are at a grand total of ~$633. It’s a nice chunk of savings that will continue to increase as time progresses.
The below chart shows the 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year savings using the precise figures, so this gives everyone a look into the savings that will accrue over time given that everything remains the same.
Related article: Real-Life Savings Series – Buying Gifts For Your Loved Ones
Cutting the cable or reducing your options is not for everyone. It took me 10 years to get to that point! Take your time and consider if the savings you would accumulate would make it worthy of a second look, and proceed accordingly. Tune in for another edition of the real-life savings series in the near future.
Read more about my mission HERE.
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Readers, if you’re a cord-cutter, any regrets? If you are thinking about cutting the cord, what is holding you back? Please share in the comments below!