Does Cord-Cutting Actually Save You Money?


Quitting cable is often touted as a way to save money. But does it really work? Can you really watch your favorite
shows and movies while saving money?

We explain how streaming saves you money over cable. We also break down the costs of the most popular streaming
services
and compare them to cable costs.

How Streaming is Cheaper Than Cable

In this money meme money gif, the character from 30 Rock is lamenting that he just loves t.v. so much

Before we cost-compare, let’s examine the ways in which streaming saves you money over cable besides price-point.

No Contracts

With cable TV, you generally have to sign up for a contract period of a year or more. This locks you into paying for
services regardless of how much or how little you use it. If you want to cancel before your contract term has expired,
you’ll typically incur a cancellation fee.

Streaming, by contrast, gives you total flexibility and control over your memberships. If you want to cancel one service
and subscribe to another, for whatever the reason, you can. If you want to take a break from service for a period of
time and then return, you can.

This keeps you from committing to paying for something into the future that, at some point, you may not use as much
or at all. And, in doing so, this also saves you money.

Watch On Your Own Time

Streaming lets you choose what you want to watch when you want to watch it. There’s no wasting your time channel-
surfing and getting sucked into something you had no intention of watching in the first place, or planning your
schedule around a live event or a program you can’t DVR.

Streaming sites often have custom-tailored recommendations based on previous viewing habits which makes finding
new movies or shows simpler too. Or you simply search for the content you like.

How does this save you time? It frees up more of your time to spend doing more fulfilling things than television, like
family, work and recreation. If time is money, streaming gives you a whole lot of money back.

In this image, a woman is using a hand fan, while battling rising utility prices.

Choose Your Own Content

Broadcast news and sports are primarily limited to local stories and events (not including those few big national
headlines).

With streaming, you can watch a much greater variety of more in-depth coverage of the news stories that matter to
you most and the live sporting events that interest you most.

You get access to a much wider array of news and sports channels than on cable.

Keeping Up With Technology

The future of TV shows and movies is streaming. Major networks developing streaming channels of their own and the
decline of movie theaters (COVID-19 notwithstanding) are both evidence of the seismic shift from traditional content
delivery, ie. from broadcast media to streaming.

As a result, technology is going to support streaming more and traditional content delivery less as time goes on.
To keep up with changing times and avoid having obsolete technology or not being able to use the technology
currently available, you’ll eventually need to make the shift to streaming anyway. And, the longer you wait, the more
costly it may be to accomplish.

But What About Internet?

Is your cable TV service bundled with your broadband internet? Do you have unlimited data on your mobile phone? If,
like many people, you’ve answered yes to both questions, you’re essentially paying for internet service twice.
Cutting the cable cord also cuts out the unnecessary expense of paying for broadband internet when you already have
a perfectly good wireless internet connection you can use for streaming.

And, if you want to stream on a larger screen than your mobile devices, you can always screencast or AirPlay your
programming from your phone to your TV.

Alternatively, you can unbundle your cable from your broadband and simply get rid of the cable and keep the
broadband. You’ll still save money from ditching the cable portion of that unnecessarily high bill.

Cost Comparison of Cable vs. Streaming

Direct replacement services for cable TV, such as YouTube TV and Sling TV, start at $25. These give you access to
most of the same live channels, news and sports you can get on any cable box.
Now let’s compare that $25 price tag with the costs of some major cable companies.

Costs of Major Cable Subscriptions

The following are the subscription prices for some of the most common cable services available, compiled by
comparison engine, Wirefly:

Cable Service Typical Cost

In this graph, typical cable costs are broken down by monthly service fee and max number of channels.
This cable service data was compiled by the comparison engine Wirefly.

You’ll notice a large range of costs for each service. That’s only in part due to the difference between paying monthly
or annually; it’s also because each plan offers a select number of specific channels.
To get even just one channel a particular plan doesn’t offer, such as the channel playing your favorite show, you can
only upgrade a whole tier in plans.
Note that many of these costs also reflect bundling with internet services.

Costs of Popular Streaming Platforms

Although costs for streaming services can change quickly, here are some current comparisons at the time of writing.

All prices listed monthly unless otherwise stated:
Amazon Prime Video – $12.99 monthly; $119 yearly
Apple TV Plus – $4.99
Disney Plus – $7.99 monthly; $79.99 yearly
FuboTV – $69.99 FuboTV Pro; $79.99 FuboTV Elite
HBO Max – $9.99 with ads; $14.99 without ads
Hulu – $6.99 with ads; $12.99 without ads; get the first month free with either plan
Netflix – $9.99 Basic plan; $15.49 Standard plan; $19.99 Premium plan
Peacock – $4.99 Peacock Premium; $9.99 Peacock Premium Plus
Sling TV – $35 Sling Blue $35 Sling Orange; $50 Sling Orange + Blue; get $10 off the first month with all plans

Note that many of these streaming services also offer free plans. They may include commercials or have other
limitations, but they’re still a great way to get started in streaming while saving yourself even more money when you
cut the cable cord.

In addition, many of these services, like Amazon Prime Video, also offer free trials allowing you to check out their
services and program offerings before you commit to paying to continue service.

This saves you money in two ways. It gives you a few weeks or months here and there of free streaming service, and it
lets you try before you buy, which is always a cost savings.

Final thoughts on cutting cable costs

There are only two things you need to do to watch all the programming you want when you want, take it with you on
the go and avoid paying for services and channels you don’t use. That’s to find the streaming platform or platforms offering the catalog of live and recorded programming you seek and, of those, find the ones that offer it on the technology you already own.

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