Return to The Money Mentor Blog

Your guide to cord-cutting

A family cuts the cable cord to save money.
November 14, 2018

By Kathryn Pins

Many people save hundreds of dollars by moving from cable or satellite TV to streaming services. It can truly be a smart way to help with family finances, but sometimes it’s not worth the switch. We’ll break down some of the costs to help you decide if cutting the cord is beneficial to you.

What are the cord-cutting costs?

You’ve got a ton of options that can add up. Remember your goal is to save money, so be choosy. Here is your guide to cord cutting costs:

Streaming services

Streaming services offer on-demand content of both original content and TV shows and movies that have already aired. Each has its own benefits and exclusive shows. If you’re unfamiliar with one, take advantage of its free trial. If you’re not on board, don’t forget to unsubscribe to the service before the trial period ends. Here are the basic packages for the most popular streaming services:

  • Amazon Prime Video: $8.99 per month
  • HBO: $14.99 per month
  • Hulu: $7.99 per month
  • Netflix: $7.99 per month

Note: There are more expensive packages with more features that could increase the cost.

Internet television

These services let you watch live TV with a subscription. Many of them offer different packages, including sports packages. Here are the basic packages for the most popular internet television services:

  • PhiloTV: $16 per month
  • PlayStation Vue: $40 per month
  • Sling TV: $20 per month
  • YouTube TV: $40 per month
  • Note: There are more expensive packages with more features that could increase the cost.

Higher internet bill

Satellite and TV providers are all about bundling their services to entice people to save on their products. When you “break” your bundle, your internet-only bill will go up. Don’t forget to factor this in!

Antenna

An antenna will give you access to your local network channels including ABC, CBS, CW, NBC, FOX and PBS. These are beneficial when you need to get your local and world news or for big events like elections, award shows and the Super Bowl. An antenna can cost as little as $20.

When you should not cut the cord

If you add up the services you want above and it’s more than your current bill, then stick it out with cable. Streaming services cannot completely replace cable. There will be some tradeoffs.

If you’re happy with your package and your options, you should stick it out, especially if you’re a big sports fan. Many of the internet TV companies are limited in games. Here’s a great example: we’re a Packers household in Chicago. (I know, dangerous territory!) One Sunday, we wanted to watch a game, but the network and our internet television plan were playing the regional game, the Bears game. If we wanted to purchase a service to watch it, we would have paid almost $300, while that service is free to DirectTV subscribers. We had to sacrifice the game to stay on budget. The moral of this story: it can be easy to pay more for streaming than cable or satellite.

Cord-cutting can be a great way to spend smarter because it allows you to customize your viewing experience. Just make a mental list of what you enjoy before you cut the cord. 


Kathryn Pins is a marketing content specialist at Alliant. She’s passionate about finding and communicating meaningful financial information with Money Mentor readers. Kathryn is a saver who gets more excited about certificates and her Roth IRA than shopping. When she does spend her earnings, it’s on furthering her education, travel, unique experiences, and loved ones.