Cut Cable to Save Costs, Or Even Banish TV Entirely?

In 2016, cable TV companies made $81 billion revenue from subscriptions.

Eighty-one billion dollars in revenue. In a single year.

Believe it or not, that was a bad year. Two years earlier, in 2014, they made $99 billion. They peaked just shy of the hundred mark, then Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and all the others started taking market share away, and the number began to decline.

In 2016, Netflix made an estimated $4.8 billion in North American subscription revenues.

Entertainment is a valuable business. And an expensive cost.

Each of these numbers has another side to it. If the average bill is $1000 per year for cable, then $81 billion is 81 million subscribers, give or take. Each of these people swaps $1000 per year in return for the ability to consume countless hours of their free time watching mostly reruns of shows.

How much do you spend on cable? How much can you save if you cut the cord? What are the alternatives to cable that might save you a ton of money?

Some links in this post are likely to be affiliate links.

Cutting Cable – The First Step

Think about what you watch on TV. You probably have a couple of favourite shows, but what you watch is determined by what you have available on your subscription.

That’s what makes you a “sticky” customer. You don’t want to lose access to the things you currently watch so you’re willing to continue paying. This despite the fact that there are plenty of good things to watch on other networks.

Take a step back from these temporary addictions and consider the cost of what you watch.

  • How much is your cable subscription?
  • How much do you pay per eipsode watched?
  • How much time do you spend watching TV you don’t really need to watch? What is the value of that time? If you didn’t have cable, would you spend that time doing something that has greater value to you?

Pick an Alternative to Cable

You don’t need several alternatives, one service will provide you with enough television that you can waste many hours of your life in front of that box without the need to pay anyone else any more money. You can always suspend one subscription and start another if you feel the need to switch up the content.


The biggest contender out there is Netflix, with it’s enormous library of content and it’s pipeline of self-financed productions. You would need to break world records of TV binge-watching to consume everything they have, and there’s enough variety to ensure there’s something for everyone.

Amazon Prime

Another serious contender is Amazon Prime. You may already be paying for this and not using their video and music offering, because you get access to their free 1-day delivery by joining up.

Amazon are putting a lot of effort into their Prime Video offering, with large budgets dedicated to the production of future content. For the moment the content feels less broad and varied than what you can find on Netflix, but it’s better value because you get more for your membership than just streaming media. Expect big improvements during 2019 as Amazon become a more serious competitor to both cable and Netflix.

You can sign up for a free 30-day trial (one month of free movies!) by clicking here : Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

Amazon also offer 30-day free trials of the following services:


Hulu were an early mover in this area and they’ve also jumped headfirst into the self-made content arena, meeting huge success with The Handmaid’s Tale, which I love because I’m a fan of the book.

See offers from Hulu by clicking here.

Get a Digital Antenna

You can also get access to FreeView by purchasing a digital TV antenna, or getting a television with one built-in. This gives you free access to local television channels for a one-off cost that’s often below $10!

The real cost of this source of entertainment is the advertising yuou’ll ahve to watch in return for your free movies and TV. Perhaps you’ll also want to invest in a digital recorder of some description.

You can check out TV antennas on Amazon by clicking here

Go Extreme – Replace Cable TV With Life

I’ve done this for protracted periods of my life – gone without TV altogether.

As a species, we humans are not that great at self-control, and I know that the presence of a TV in my home means that I will watch it more than I need.

That’s why my TV is presently in one of my rental apartments, and not in my own living room. In this way it both increases the satisfaction of my guests, and removes the temptation to do unproductive things in the evenings.

While this may sound extreme if you’ve never done it before, I strongly recommend giving it a shot. DIsconnect the TV and put it in a closet for a couple of months. Cancel not just cable TV, but also Netflix, Hulu and the rest. Then spend a few moments writing down what you’d like to do if only you had more time.

A few suggestions:

  • Yoga or Tai Chi
  • Going to the gym
  • Building a budget and a financial plan
  • Planning and preparing meals
  • Writing the first draft of a novel
  • Building a website on a subject you’re interested in
  • Starting that side hustle you’ve had in the back of your mind

The ultimate hack here is to recognize how much time your TV steals from you, and use this as an opportunity not just to save some money, but to reclaim a large chunk of time you’ve sacrificed to short-lives entertainment that costs you more than money.