Back in February, my husband Jeffrey and I canceled our cable. It’s not because we were running out of money and only going to the bare essentials, we did it because we wanted to. I know, crazy right? I have never been without cable–never. As in: not a day in my life had I gone without TLC, HGTV, A&E or the Food Network until six months ago. Why did we choose to participate in this experiment? Simple–$500.

One day, after doing some quick math when looking at our cable and internet bill, I discovered that if we were to drop our cable we could save $500 a year! If “Holy Cow!” was your reaction then you stole if from me because that’s exactly what I thought too. However, we weren’t going to totally throw ourselves back into the Dark Ages by doing this; we have Netflix. And Netflix only cost $15 a month as opposed to over $40. Even after discovering how much money we could save by dropping cable, I was still a little skeptical. Could Netflix alone really fulfill all of my TV-watching desires? We both decided to give it a try, and if our Netflix-only existence didn’t turn out to be everything we imagined it could be, we could just as easily get the cable back. And so, we boldly went where I had never gone before.

I remember the first day I came home from work after the cable had been shut off. I turned on the TV to see if the deed had been done, and indeed it had–nothing but snow on our TV.  I immediately started having some reservations: “What about all my favorite shows?? What about Barefoot Contessa, Property Virgins, 19 Kids and Counting? What about my beloved Criminal Minds??” I texted Jeffrey and told him I wasn’t sure if I could handle the separation. He, wisely, didn’t reply to my text.

I then got on our laptop and started scoping out what Netflix had to offer me as far as instant streaming went. I must admit, I was delightfully surprised. Netflix has all the documentaries I could ever hope to watch. I love watching documentaries; I like feeling like I’m actually getting smarter by watching TV. And it has a pretty descent selection of shows to watch–shows that I would have probably liked to watch on TV but was never around at the right time to catch. Now I can save them to our queue and watch them whenever I please (Lost!). There are also some TV series that Jeff and I picked up that I would have never watched but now really enjoy (30 Rock!). By the way, if you have a Wii or PS3, you can watch Netflix on a TV, so no huddling around the computer screen.

  • Netflix.  Stream netflix instant video to your TV through any number of devices, or watch on your computer.  Start a one-month free trial on any of their plans (including the DVDs-to-home plans) for FREE!  All you have to do is cancel your membership before the end of the month if you decide not to continue, and you’ll have 7 days to return the DVDs.
    • Watch unlimited instant video streaming $7.99 per month
    • Check out one DVD rental at a time $7.99 per month
    • Get video streaming and one-at-a-time DVD Rental $15.98 per month
  • Hulu Plus allows you to watch more movies and television shows than are available on the free Hulu network.  Unlike Netflix, Hulu has episodes of currentTV shows.
    • Hulu  is free and offers the five most recent episodes on over 1000 seasons of current and classic TV shows on your computer.
    • Hulu Plus allows you to watch entire seasons (over 33,000 total episodes to choose from) in addition to movies and documentaries on a number of devices for $7.99 per month.  Refer up to 10 friends per year and receive two-weeks free for every referral!
  • Amazon Prime. In addition to Free Two-Day shipping with no minimum order size, Amazon Prime members get unlimited streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows.  $79 is a bitter pill to swallow all at once, but if you do the calculations, it’s actually only $6.58 per month.  Amazon also sells additional TV show streaming for $1.99 per episode.

All in all, after having been six months without cable I’m surprised how much I haven’t noticed its absence. I have, however, noticed the extra $40 that we have in our checking account. And I have plans to automatically transfer that extra $40 each month into a savings account to build up a reserve. For anyone who’s thinking about ways to really save money without having it put a serious cramp in your lifestyle, consider trying our “Netflix only” way of living.

This has been a guest post by Stacie from Laramie, Wyoming
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 TV Savings $500 per year with Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime