Becoming a corporate dropout wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for living a frugal lifestyle and taking the money I saved and setting it aside.
The first step to starting a savings was getting rid of unnecessary expenses. One of the first places you can easily reduce or eliminate expenses is by getting rid of cable.
Luckily, cutting cable is easier now than it’s ever been. Just a few short years ago, it meant that you couldn’t watch your favorite TV shows any longer unless you went to a friend’s house, or waited several days after the air date for it to become available online. These days, you can watch our favorite shows the very next morning, or even sooner in some cases.
At the end of 2016, it was projected that 21.9% of all US households had cut their cable services.
I cut cable 3 years ago, and not only am I able to continue watching all the shows that I loved to watch, I’m saving a significant amount over what I was paying for my Xfinity package that I rarely ever used.
Once you’ve decided to reduce or eliminate your cable expenses, you’ll need to find what service you’re going to use to watch all your favorite shows and movies. If you’ve thought about getting rid of cable, you’ve probably seen that there are a TON of different streaming options and devices choose from. Kinda overwhelming, right?
In this post, I’ll touch on some of the most popular devices and services available so that you can start saving money and still catch all your favorite shows.
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Devices & Services
Roku comes in two different options: Roku and the Roku Stick. Roku is what I purchased when I got rid of my cable package, came at the recommendation of several co-workers and friends. The Roku Stick plugs into your TV’s HDMI port and is a great option for those who travel or want the portability function. Both are user-friendly and give you access to multiple instant streaming options such as a Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, VUDU, etc. Between the free and premium options, you’ll have over 4500 streaming channels to choose from, and you won’t miss your hefty cable bill.
Roku is my personal recommendation since this is what I use.
Amazon Fire Stick
Amazon’s Fire Stick comes in the form of a flash drive that you plug into your TV’s HDMI port (like the Roku Stick). Once installed, it allows you to stream content over your Wifi connection. Fire Stick gives you access to many of the streaming services that you might find on a smart TV, such as HBO Go, Hulu, Netflix, and Pandora, in addition to several other services.
Essentially, it turns a basic TV into a Smart TV without shelling out a bunch of money. A great feature of such a small, portable device is that you can take it with you when you’re globetrotting or visiting your grandma who doesn’t have cable.
My sister has the Fire Stick and loves its offerings.
Amazon Fire TV
Fire TV offers some of the same features at the Fire Stick, but if gives you a lot more goodies under the hood. If you’re into gaming or serious video streaming, Fire TV operates faster, giving you less delays. However, Fire TV is a better option for those with complex TV setups, like a home theater. Or gamers who want more than simple mobile games. Fire TV is compatible with Echo products. Similar to Alexa on the echo, you can use the Alexa voice activated remote.
Similar to the Fire TV (above), Apple TV also streams popular services like Netflix and Hulu and other top streaming services. Apple TV is a good choice for those who already have Apple devices and are familiar with their products. Both Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV have access to the ESPN app where you can subscribe to watch live TV. Apple TV also comes with a voice activated remote using Siri.
Chromecast gives you instant streaming options somewhat similar to the Roku Stick and Amazon Fire Stick, but wait, there’s more! (Said in my best infomercial announcer voice). It also works similar to an HDMI cable lets you add content from your computer screen directly to your TV. While it’s a cool feature, Chromecast appears to have significantly less channels than it’s competitors. But, it’s relatively inexpensive and a decent option if you don’t want/need access to a ton of channels. Here’s a list of Chromecast’s current channel list.
I’d never heard of Playstation Vue until recently when I saw a few posters on a frugal online forum talk about how they used it once they got rid of cable. I was intrigued and decided to do some Google searching on what exactly this thing is.
Vue is online service that is similar to your cable package, but over half the price. Vue offers a lineup of 45-90 channels that are very similar to what you’d you find from your cable provider, minus to skyhigh prices. Monthly packages range anywhere from $40 to $75. What makes PlayStation Vue a great alternative to cable is that you also get unlimited cloud storage, which is essentially like getting a limitless DVR. I don’t know about you, but I like this feature because my boyfriend is constantly deleting shows from the DVR so we don’t hit the limit. Compared to it’s competitors, Vue also gives you more access to local sports and news without the aid of a digital antenna.
Even better, you don’t need to own a PlayStation to use this service. According to PlayStation’s website, you can enjoy PlayStation™Vue on a variety of devices, including a web browser, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku streaming device, Google Chromecast, and on mobile devices.
I’m very interested in Vue and considering trying it out as a possible replacement for Roku.
Netflix is a great option if you love to watch movie and TV show marathons. While I don’t think it’s a good standalone replacement for cable itself, it’s definitely a decent add-on to one of the other services listed above. I have a Netflix account and very rarely use it unless I’m in the mood to watch a specific movie or show from an older season.
With that being said, Netflix does have several awesome original series that might be worth getting a subscription, such as Orange is the New Black, Stranger Things, House of Cards, and many more.
Amazon Prime Video
One of the perks of being an Amazon Prime member is that you also get access to the Amazon Prime instant video library. Amazon Prime Video is somewhat similar to Netflix in that you can stream movies and TV shows, but you also get access to Amazon original series, various HBO content, and lots of shows and movies. What I like about Amazon Prime Video over Netflix is that if want to watch a movie that’s not included in Amazon’s free video library, you have the option to purchase the movie and watch it instantly.
What I like about Amazon Prime Video over Netflix is that if want to watch a movie that’s not included in Amazon’s free video library, you have the option to purchase the movie and watch it instantly.
Sling TV is something that I’m continuing to see cord cutters talk about. Sling came out in 2015, so it’s one of the new kids on the block. While Sling does have a smaller selection than other services, Sling gives you the channels that are most popular, and ones you’re probably looking for anyway. In addition to that, Sling also gives you access to sports networks like ESPN and the NFL Channel, without signing a contract.
Let me say that again…Yep, you can get the NFL channel without subscribing to the Dish Network. There are also several $5 “add on packs” like the Comedy Plus Extra package which has MTV, TruTV, Spike, MTV2, CMT, GSN, Logo, TV Land – Channels that I consistently watch. You can get their lowest rate package which starts out at only $20/month. Not bad!
I’m going to add Sling to my furnished short term rental as an added amenity.
You don’t need to go broke paying for channels you never watch when you’ve got all these online streaming options. If you’ve cut cable, what’s your favorite service?
This post was proofread by Grammarly
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