How to Save $800+ by Cutting Your Cable

Cut it.

Just cut it.

Most “how to cut your cable” articles give you a laundry list of things to do… but let me tell you the secret…


Then, see what you miss and we'll figure out how to put it back. Better. Stronger. Faster.

How I saved $800+ by cutting our cable service and didn't miss a single show.

I Love Local Television

If you're one of the last people who watch the evening news, you're in luck. Your local television station is broadcasting a digital signal over the airwaves and you can pick it up with an antenna, 100% free.

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, or are happy watching their local TV affiliates, Stanford offers eight local stations for free via their Puffer service. Anyone can sign up, you don't have to be a student, and you get access to KPIX (CBS), KPIX+ (CBS), KNTV (NBC), KTVU (Fox), KQED (PBS), KRON (CW), and KGO (ABC).

  1. Figure out what antenna type you need (Go to AntennaWeb and enter your ZIP code)
  2. Buy it,
  3. Connect it to your TV,
  4. Point it in the direction AntennaWeb tells you,
  5. Watch local television absolutely free. (after acquiring the antenna)

I discovered I needed a “Yellow” antenna, or a small multi-directional, because all of the local stations were within 25 miles. Antennas are simple and only have a few factors: Indoor or Outdoor, Directional or Multi-directional, and Amplified or Not (Amplified). Basically, within 25 miles, you can get an indoor, multi-directional, non-amplified antenna.

If you're more than that, you might need some help to pick up the signal. Buy the type AntennaWeb recommends (not the model, just the type) from wherever you can get it cheapest.

It'll be a digital signal, 1s and 0s, either you get a perfectly clear signal or you get zero. No more twisting around rabbit ears.

Oh one last thing, the channels will be funky. HD channels are X.1 – my local NBC channel is 11. The HD channel will be 11.1.

I Love Live Sports

If you live in your favorite team's broadcast area (in market) – you are lucky. Or you never moved.

Either way, you can get it on local television using an antenna.

If you're out of market, you aren't missing by cutting cable. You would've had to purchase the league's special package and if you were paying for NFL Sunday Ticket, you probably don't care about saving money by cutting cable – the prices on those packages are ridiculous. Or you can cheat and watch sports online.

But let's say, for the sake of argument, you want to cut the cable and watch out of market games… you have three options:

  1. Go to a local bar and watch it there. You knew this already.
  2. If it's broadcast locally, you just need local television.
  3. Watch it online from an “illegal” stream.

Illegal stream you say? Never heard of that? What you want is Wiziwig. Google it. It will not be HD quality, it'll barely be standard definition quality, but it's free. Sometimes the feeds are straight satellite feeds and you'll hear the broadcasters make small talk during commercial breaks (that's kind of fun).

How illegal is watching the stream? This is a legal gray area but if you're worried, don't do it. Go to the local bar.

I Love My Shows

If it's on regular cable or local television, it's available online at the broadcaster's website or on Hulu. Past seasons will often be there too or available on something like Netflix.

Consider this… Hulu Premium is $7.99 a month (our review of Hulu). Netflix is $6.99 a month. Amazon Prime is $139 a year and includes all the benefits of Prime, including lots of free shows.

Cherry pick what services you buy to get the shows you want.

They are cheap compared how much cable services costs per year. Verizon FIOS's cheapest package is $55 plus equipment fees, taxes, blah blah – that $660 before you add in the ~$250 in fees, taxes, blah blah. $139 a year is cheap. Most other national cable companies are in that neighborhood too.

Finally, if you aren't afraid of streaming these shows, you can find most of them as streams too – just Google It.

I Love How Easy It Is

So you don't want to stream shows online, you don't want to buy an antenna, and you don't want to go to the bar with all those loud people.

The simplest thing to do is to get a SlingTV. (see if we think SlingTV is worth it?)

For $40 a month, you get live television with many of the cable stations you enjoy. And you get to watch on your tablet, phone, and computer. You can add other packages, like HBO, for an extra monthly fee. It's basically cable television light.

If your television doesn't have the ability to stream video from the internet, you'll need to pick up a Roku device (or Chromecast, or Amazon FireTV, I mention Roku because I'm familiar with it and have one).

And when you start stacking C-notes by the layers, remember who helped you out. 🙂

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