How I saved almost $1,000 a year by trading Cable TV for Roku + Sling TV + Netflix

15 Sep

After years of thinking about it, we finally “cut the cord” and got rid of our cable TV. It was a big and scary thing for us, but we are slowly getting used to the new setup and I wanted to share it with you in case you’re in a similar situation.

I also made this snazzy pinnable image in case you want to pin this post and come back to it later:

cutting-the-cord-pocketful-of-joules

We’ve been at our house for almost five years now, and the one drawback is that there are no FIOS lines in the area… which means that Comcast was our only option for cable television. I’ve griped about Comcast before, but finally got totally fed up with paying $170 a month for phone (that we don’t use), internet and cable TV. I tried to drop the phone service last time our contract came up for renewal, but it was more expensive with just the two services.

Here is what we previously had:
Comcast bill: $170.00 a month
Tivo service: $13.00 a month
Netflix: $7.00 a month
Amazon Prime TV: included in annual cost of Amazon Prime membership
Total: $190.00 per month

And yes, I know I could have gotten Comcast’s version of Tivo, but I really liked Tivo much better. I decided to do a little research to see our options before our contract expired in March, and found out that as long as I kept one service with Comcast, I could actually make changes now. So I did.

First, I made a list of television shows we watched and the networks they aired on. Then, I researched online where I could watch each show with a streaming service. I was leaning towards getting the Amazon Fire Stick, but a few friends highly recommended the Roku instead.

Here’s where we ended up:

#1: RokuFind it here, (price range: $50 – $130)
The Roku makes your television a ‘smart’ TV and allows you to access the internet, as well as your streaming accounts. It also has a bunch of free streaming channels built into it, including NBC, the CW and HGTV.

The cheapest option is a Roku Streaming Stick, which is the one we were going to go with. However, Sling TV was running a Roku special (more info below), so we ended up getting the Roku 2, which is their ‘high performance at a good value’ unit.

#2: Sling TVFind it here, (price range: $20 per month – $40 per month)
Sling TV is a way to access live television. There are three different levels to choose from:

  • Sling Orange ($20 per month) – gives you 25+ channels including ESPN, CNN, TNT, History, Disney, and more.
  • Sling Blue ($25 per month) – gives you 40+ channels including FOX, History, NBC, FX, USA, Bravo, TNT and more.
  • Sling Orange + Blue ($40 per month) – gives you all the channels they offer.

I cross-referenced our ‘frequently watched television’ list with each Sling level and determined that the Sling Blue subscription met our needs. On our list: Bones (Fox), Orphan Black (BBC America), Crazy Ex Girlfriend (CW), New Girl (Fox), Blindspot (NBC), Project Runway (Lifetime) and some random shows on Discovery, History, Disney Jr and HGTV.

When we did our purchase, Sling was also running a special where you could pre-pay the first three months of service and you would receive a free Roku 2 ($59.99 value). We found the deal here.

#3: NetflixFind it here, (price range: $7.99 per month – $11.99 per month)
Apparently we have an old version of Netflix, because we pay $6.99 per month. We’ve had this for a few years now and use it a lot. Jack basically doesn’t watch anything from our Tivo list anymore and goes straight to Netflix to choose his shows. For grown up shows, I love Orange is the New Black, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Kimmy Schmidt, and older shows like Chuck, Alias and Gilmore Girls. We really get our money’s worth of this subscription!

#4: Amazon Prime VideoFind it here, (included with the Amazon Prime membership, typically $99 per year but less if you are a student or have a university email account)
Since we already pay for Amazon Prime service – which is totally worth it to us – we get the Amazon Prime TV for free. There are tons of shows you can watch that range from Amazon Originals like The Stinky & Dirty Show to popular movies like Mission Impossible Rogue Nation and Interstellar. In the past, we haven’t clicked on this option as often as Netflix, but we’ve been getting more use out of it lately. I’m also able to download free movies and TV shows to our kindles to watch while we are traveling.

Our new price breakdown:
Comcast bill: $80.00 a month*
Roku cost: FREE (due to Sling special posted above)
Sling Blue subscription: $25 a month
Tivo service: $0.00 (cancelled)
Netflix: $7.00 a month
Amazon Prime TV: included in annual cost of Amazon Prime membership
Total: $112.00 per month

So, with our new services we are saving $78.00 each month, which is almost $1,000 a year! I received our new Roku last Friday and it was super simple to set up. It literally took me longer to call and cancel Tivo than it did to get the new Roku set up with our Netflix, Sling TV and Amazon subscriptions. The best part is that the Roku remote has a Netflix button right on it, so Jack is able to turn on the television and get to his shows all by himself. Which sounds super lazy, but it allowed me to sleep in past 9:00 over the weekend!

We are still getting used to using the new system, but I added some of our favorite shows to the ‘news feed’ area so that we will be alerted once the television season starts and we have new episodes to watch. If you have any tips, I’d love to hear them!

Have you cut the cord to cable TV? Which system did you go with and do you like it?

9/22/16 Update: I just saw that Mental Floss published a really good article on this subject too. Check it out here for some more in-depth information. Spoiler alert: they agree with what I did!

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post and none of the links are affiliate links.

*When I initially did an online chat with Comcast, they told me that the cost of just having internet/wifi/modem services would be $39.95 + $10 for the modem. Well, when I called them up to make the purchase, they said that was absolutely wrong. After spending about 40 minutes on the phone with them and talking to a supervisor, the final decision was that they couldn’t do any better than $80 per month (includes modem), but they doubled my internet speed for my trouble. Sigh. At least I’m paying them less than $170 a month.

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4 Responses to “How I saved almost $1,000 a year by trading Cable TV for Roku + Sling TV + Netflix”

  1. Jenny September 16, 2016 at 10:43 am #

    Sling TV sounds interesting! We went without cable for 2 years and survived but just recently got it back again haha.
    Jenny recently posted…Wedding Wednesday: 2 Months UpdateMy Profile

  2. Falon September 16, 2016 at 4:52 pm #

    We have been thinking about doing this for a while, and our main roadblock was sports and Bravo, but I had no idea Sling TV was a thing! I am definitely going to look into this because cable costs are crazy!
    Falon recently posted…Printable: Halloween Sweets and Treats to EatMy Profile

  3. Rachel September 16, 2016 at 9:45 pm #

    I feel like I could definitely cut the cord over summer because not many shows are on, but I love fall/spring TV! I’d like to save the $ but not sure I could commit yet, haha.
    Rachel recently posted…Fun Findings Friday #171My Profile

  4. ananda September 17, 2016 at 10:37 am #

    i am totally sending this to hubby because we barely watch tv and should really look at services you mentioned! =)

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