A simple rule we all know about budgeting: make more money or cut expenses. In our case, making more money would mean working more hours and that wasn’t at all what we wanted. We want more time together, we kind of like each other, just a little bit. 😉 Since making more was out, we were on to cutting expenses. Cutting expenses is a really, really hard chore. We were not about to give up our date nights out, eating less was kind of out of the question, and unfortunately the water, sewer, and trash companies are not big negotiators. That left us with cell phones and cable. We both have iPhones so the answer seems pretty obvious, get rid of the phones. Don’t pay for internet on your phone if you have internet at home, right?! Seems to make perfect sense…in theory. If you have an iPhone (or any internet phone for that matter) you know how much of a time sucking, work avoiding, completely unnecessary yet completely necessary thing it is. So that’s definitely off the list of expenses to cut.
That leaves cable. Drop our cable?! Never. I needed to watch my Real Housewives, Lifetime movies,, and so many other shows that I’d rather not admit to watching (though I know I’m not alone). How would I ever be able to fold laundry again without having something mindless to watch or waste away a day watching a marathon of some show I’ve already seen 1,000 times?? Seriously, the thought of cancelling cable made us shudder. But when we looked at the numbers and thought: if we do this, we can have one more glass of wine on every date night. We were sold!
Since cancelling cable we have had quite the range of reactions from people we tell. Anywhere from , “Do you need money? Are you sure you guys are okay? You’re going to lose your house aren’t you?!” to “That’s awesome! What did you do? I need all of the details!”. So here it is, every little detail.
After a lot of research and deciding to be in this for the long haul, we went with Ooma for our home phone service. You might choose to use your cell phone only, but we needed a reliable, dedicated line for business and job purposes. Ooma is a VoIP (voice over IP) service that only requires the purchase of a base unit. The unit cost is $150, but you will quickly make that up the very small monthly fee of $3 to $4 to cover the cost of taxes and 911 service fees. We have had Ooma for over two years now and have nothing but wonderful things to say about it.
To make this all work, you will need the internet. Entertainment aside, with working from home and running our little business TheHumble Lemon it was critical that we had a very reliable, high speed internet connection. After a whole lot of searching we found that cable companies are on to us and are not very happy about it (big surprise, right?). To have only internet without cable cost almost as much as having cable AND internet. The whole point of this was to save money, and that just wasn’t going to work. Finally we found Clear wireless internet. There is no equipment to buy upfront, unlimited usage (this is huge because many cable company owned internet providers are now putting in place a usage cap to make it harder to cancel your cable and stream), and only $52 per month. The only draw back it that because this internet uses 4G and 3G cell internet, it is not yet available in all areas.
Now to the important part, TV. How will you ever get to watch all of those wonderful shows without cable and DVR? You will be very surprised to find out how easy it is to watch almost the same exact shows that you watch right now without having to pay. You might have to watch them a day later but you will still get to watch! To get local network channels (CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, etc.) in real time, we purchased digital rabbit ears. The FCC has a wonderful website detailing the different types of antennas available and their purpose. They also have an interactive map that will show you what channels you can pick up in your area. For what it’s worth, we went with a simple $5 antenna from Amazon.com to start and went from there based on what we could and could not receive. The best part about this is it’s free. Completely free (beside the antenna cost) TV! I know that just covers local channels and you seriously need your shows, the shows that are not on network channels, what about those shows?! Check out Hulu. It is amazing how many cable channels put their programming on Hulu only one day after it airs on television. One website, tons of new shows and movies and it is all for only $7.99/month. All you need is a streaming device, this could be a computer, a Roku, Apple TV, iPad, tablet of any kind, Xbox, Wii, and I’m sure there are more that I am leaving out. The Roku and Apple TV you can pick up for under $100 and both just plug into your TV using an HDMI cable and you are set to start watching (given you have a Hulu subscption). Hulu most likely will not satisfy all of your guilty pleasure fixes, but if there is that one show that you need but they do not have, chances are pretty good that you will be able to find newer episodes on the channel’s website. For example, we NEED HGTV and were devastated when we thought we would not have access, but were so relieved to find that they put full episodes on their website. These episodes are not always the most current, but hey we can still watch…and it’s free.
Since dropping our cable, we have found some great new shows to love, lots more time in the day, and an extra $80-90 a month. Think of what you can do with $80 extra each month, that’s an extra $960 a year!
Have you made the leap yet? What do you do?