Cord-Cutting 101: How To Ditch Your Cable Bill & Save Major $$$

Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
Luke Bouma is the owner of CordCutterNews.com.

It is very likely you have had friends, or family, tell you they have become cord-cutters. Which probably raised many questions: “What is cord-cutting?” “How many people are really cord-cutters?” “Can cord-cutters really save money and still watch their shows?”

So what is cord-cutting and why do people become cord-cutters? The simplest way to explain cord cutting is that people are cutting the cord of traditional pay-TV, like cable TV, in favor of streaming their content and/or watching it with an antenna over the air.

Why would someone want to cancel their cable TV subscription? For many, the first reason is savings. According to the Wall Street Journal, the average cord-cutter will save $104 every month, adding up to a sum of $1,248 per year. If you cut the cord when you are 30 then, by the time you are 60, you will have saved $37,440 — assuming the cost of cable TV does not continue to increase.

There are other benefits to chopping the cord beyond saving money. My personal favorite is the ability to avoid commercials. Skipping commercials may not seem like a big deal, but according to the Washington Post, the average American watches approximately 160 hours of television commercials every year. By choosing commercial free services like Netflix, Amazon Video or ad-free Hulu you can save about six days’ worth of time every year just by ditching cable TV.

Another top reason people give for choosing to become cord-cutters is control. Traditional cable TV tells you when a show will be on and what channels you will be paying for. However, as a cord-cutter you can watch what you want, when you want it, and choose which channels you want to pay for.
There are a host of other reasons including a far better selection of content available to cord-cutters.
Often, many people become cord-cutters because they just don’t find enough quality content on cable TV to justify the cost to themselves.

How many people are cord-cutters?

Have you been considering becoming a cord-cutter, but are worried about being the odd one out? According to the Wall Street Journal there are 20.8 million cord-cutters in the United States who account for about 17% of US households. The Wall Street Journal also predicts that by 2018, 21% of American households will be cord-cutters.

Is cord-cutting for everyone?
The short answer to this popular question is "no.” It isn't is for everyone. As with all things, many are willing to pay a premium price for a premium experience. We see that in everything from cards to hotels — there are different price points for different people. Some people are happy to pay a premium price for their cable TV.

Learning Curve For Cord-Cutters
There is also a learning curve to being a cord-cutter. It will take a little effort to realize the benefits to
cord-cutting. You will need to research which services air your shows and whether they are free with ads or ad-free for a fee. Today’s society is hectic and it is sometimes nice to let others, such as a cable
company, take care of something for us. The temptation to simply pay a premium price to let the cable TV company worry about everything can be strong.

Yet, if you are willing to put a little effort into becoming a cord-cutter the savings and selection could be well worth it for you. You are likely already halfway to being a cord-cutter.

So, are you interested in becoming a cord-cutter? Well, we have good news for you: You likely already have many of the services and tools you need to become a cord cutter. The first thing you want to do is to look at what you already subscribe to. Do you subscribe to Amazon Prime for free shipping and books? Amazon Prime also gives you access to an enormous library of great movies and TV shows, including a huge library of older HBO shows.

What about Netflix? If you are like 60 million+ Americans, you already have Netflix — meaning you have access to a vast catalog of commercial free movies and TV shows.

Second, you need a way to watch services like Netflix on your TV. It is likely you already have a way to watch this, and many other great cord-cutting services, on your TV. Most newer TVs are smart TVs with apps like Netflix built-in. If you do not have a smart TV, you may have a game system like a Wii, PlayStation or Xbox in your house that can be used to stream content. We could go on, but the idea is this — you probably already have the tools and some of the service you need to be a cord-cutter. If you want more help, check out this Cord-Cutting 101 guide to help get started.

Becoming a cord-cutter is like switching from a Mac to a Windows PC. Everything is there, they both do the same things, but how they do it is very different. So, my number one recommendation is not to rush into it. Take your time get everything setup before you call and cancel cable TV.

A Warning
As with everything in life, you can overdo it. There is the temptation to sign up for every
service out there, buy every movie you want and just overindulge. Be careful to only subscribe to what you really want and remember, there are no contracts needed with cord-cutting. The same goes with streaming services. You can choose to get Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, DirecTV Now and many other services to stream live TV. However, while it may sound great to say you get 100 channels streamed to your TV, do you really watch 100 channels of content? It may not be worth it to use ALL the services available to you.

You can always go back to cable TV

Remember, there is really nothing to lose if you decide cord-cutting is not for you. Your cable company will be happy to welcome you back. Yet, if this new lifestyle does work, you could be saving $1,248 per year.

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