Cable is Dead

Sorry for the lack of a post last week. We’ve been doing a lot of fun house projects and I ended up forgetting to write a post until too late. Luckily, that means I was working on things for future posts. Things like installing a bathroom vent fan and chandelier, and installing ceiling fans in 2 rooms in our house. All fun items that I’ll get to write about as soon as I get around to finishing them.

This week I want to continue along with the Intro to Finance series. The topic this time is cutting the cord. Just doing a quick search shows me that introductory cable tv packages can be $20 to $60 per month. And that’s just the intro rate. Pretty darn expensive and not something I would recommend to anyone who is not already independently wealthy.

Honestly, even if you are independently wealthy, there are a lot better ways to spend your time than watching TV. You can go for a walk, read a book, listen to a podcast, or do any number of free activities. But, since I enjoy watching TV and movies I figure it is only fair to offer up some ideas for how to do so cheaply. 

The best, and most free (that’s proper grammar right?) way to watch television or movies is by renting them from your local library. The library is a fantastic place. Allyson and I have been working our way through the entire 30 Rock series by renting seasons from the library. I guarantee you that there is an unlimited supply of great shows and movies available right now. This may mean waiting for a series to come out on DVD, but that’s okay. Just do some of the things I listed out earlier while you’re waiting.

If you absolutely cannot survive by watching 3 month old movies or tv shows a year after they come out, there is a decent option. Obviously, there are a ton of streaming services available these days. The thing is, if you aren’t careful, you’re going to quickly find yourself bundling Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and Amazon Prime. That’s pretty much a cable package. All of the streaming services have huge catalogs of movies and tv shows and they are making great, original content consistently. If you absolutely need a streaming service, narrow it down to one and explore their infinitely vast collection of shows. As soon as you watch everything on one service you can switch to another (which should be impossible). Of course I would never recommend sharing accounts. However, it’s worth noting that some, if not all, of these services allow you to use multiple devices to access your account. Maybe you’ll forget to log out while you’re at a friends. And maybe they’ll leave $5 at your house every month when they come visit. Who can be sure?

What about live sports? That can be a tough thing for a lot of people to give up. It is hard for me personally. If there’s a specific team and season that you like to follow, the cheapest way to get every game is to find a local sports bar that shows the games. Ideally it’d be within biking distance and you could watch every game for the price of a beer/drink. Plus you’ll be surrounded by pleasant people all yelling at the tv together. Another option is to look into specific streaming packages for specific sports. If you are a hockey fan, you could get an NHL pass for your specific team. Keep in mind that these sport specific streaming packages are extremely expensive. If you have debt, you shouldn’t even consider this an option.

You can also watch sports via Hulu or Youtube TV. I’ve heard good things about Youtube TV. It looks like it’s around $55/month. Definitely not cheap. But you can record shows/sports and watch them later. This may be a great option, especially if you live in the market of your favorite sports team. Again, it is not a great option if you are still working your way out of debt. In that case, it’s a bad option. Real bad. 

So there you go. A full blog post on some ideas to scratch the visual media itch with options ranging from free to stupid expensive. If you have other ideas for ways to cut the cord, I’d love to hear them in the comments!

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