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I want to start this post by saying, I think watching TV is a terrible use of your time. Time is more valuable than money, and every hour you spend vegging out in front of a screen could have been time spent on building a business, working on a side hustle (like starting a blog), reading, or even just hanging out with loved ones. All way better options in my opinion.
And not only is TV a huge time suck, it’s also probably a waste of your hard-earned cash. It’s not uncommon to find cable TV bills in excess of $100 per month if you subscribe to premium channels, and even basic programming can be $50+ per month or more if you don’t “bundle”.
Am I saying TV is completely evil? No – and I’ll be the first to admit I love watching live NBA games…
But as with most things in life, moderation is key.
If you’re anything like me and have to have “live TV” (for sports, etc.) you should at least optimize it to pay as little as possible! At the end of this post, I’ll show you how I spend ~$8 per month for live TV, but before we get into that…
How Much TV, Is Too Much?
According to the NYTimes and Nielsen, the average American spends over 5 hours per day watching television. Are you kidding me?
I was shocked when I read those numbers! It seems almost unbelievable that people could spend that much time watching TV every day. I’m not sure where the exact line in the sand is for “too much TV”, but I promise, 5 hours per day is way over that line.
If this data is correct, that would mean the average American household spends ~35 hours per week watching TV. (That’s almost a full-time job!)
Imagine how much better off these people would be if they converted even half of that time spent, into other activities. If they took 1 of those 5 hours and spent it at the gym. If they took another 2 and spent it side hustling to increase their income, etc.
I encourage you to do this same exercise with yourself. How much time do you spend watching TV, Netflix, YouTube, etc.? Add it all up, and figure out your weekly number. The lower the better. If it’s a lot of hours, (15+) I’d highly encourage you to convert some of that time into more beneficial activities.
3 Ways to Reduce Your Cable Bill
If you’re paying monthly for cable TV, I’d wager that you don’t even watch 90% of the channels you’re paying for! It’s wasteful and inefficient – but the cable companies love it. For them, it’s the equivalent of having people who pay for gym memberships and never even go!
I’m confident that one day soon, content will be truly a la carte. Meaning, you pay only for the content you specifically want. (Only want to watch ESPN and TNT? Ok – that’ll be $5 a month.)
But until then, I’d highly recommend changing up how you consume your content. Here are 3 ways that you can reduce your cable bill TODAY.
1.) Cancel Completely
I’d recommend this as option #1. Canceling your cable TV service could immediately save you anywhere from $30-$100 per month. It doesn’t seem like much, but what if you could funnel that extra money into an index fund instead? In the long run, you’d come out way ahead.
What if instead of spending that money going zombie-mode in front of a screen, you bought books with it and read? I guarantee you wouldn’t regret it. In my opinion (and many others would agree), reading & continual self-education is the key to success. Or if you’re like m and don’t mind reading e-books, Scribd is an amazing service. It’s like a Netflix for books, and for $9 a month you can choose books from a gigantic library.
2.) Negotiate Your Current Bill
Another option is to try and keep your same service but negotiate for a lower price. This one involves a little bit of a time commitment, as I find it typical to spend anywhere from 45 min to 1 hr on the phone when I’ve negotiated with my tv provider in the past.
Luckily, my success rate for receiving bill reductions or statement credits have been high. If you’re a customer in good standing, chances are companies would rather keep you than lose you. Never negotiated your cable bill before? Or just want to learn how to negotiate better overall? I suggest you read this post I wrote on how to be more successful and convincing.
Even better: if your TV/internet provider happens to be Comcast, you can use an app I use, called Trim, to automatically lower your bills for you! A couple of my readers have told me they’ve been able to successfully lower their monthly bills with it, and it’s even saved me money on other purchases even though I don’t have Comcast in my area. You can check out my review of Trim here.
3.) Cut The Cord
If you don’t watch sports, chances are you’ve already done this. People are ditching their boxes and cords en masse, and opting to pay for just Netflix/Hulu instead. My guess would be for the trend to continue to accelerate and for cable TV to be completely phased out.
The only thing that’s kept customers tied down so far, is their need for live TV and sports. Sports programming is one of the few things that’s essentially necessary to watch in real time.
But in recent years, a ton of new options have been created for streaming live sports; essentially destroying the need for cable at all. DirecTV, PlayStation, and even Youtube all now have live streaming options. But after doing my research, I’ve found (in my opinion) the best, and cheapest, method…
How I Spend Just $8 Per Month For Live TV
Here it is: Sign up for Sling TV and split the account with 2 friends.
Sling has two different options for streaming content, either a “Sling Orange” $20/month plan that lets you stream on one device, or a “Sling Blue” $25/month plan that lets you stream on up to 3 devices. (Best part: no contracts!)
After researching, I found Sling to have the lowest monthly rates and the most simultaneous streaming options vs. their competitors.
NOTE: Sling Orange & Sling Blue have different channel offerings. If you’re planning on splitting the cost like I do; I’d recommend checking out their site BEFORE signing up, to make sure Sling Blue has the channels you’re looking for.
I can’t see myself ever paying for cable TV again. Personally, I try not to watch more than ~10 hours of TV per week, and if you are consuming even less, I admire you!
But if you’re an NBA/sports junkie like me, I hope this post at least saved you some cash on your monthly cable bill.
PS: Sling is currently offering a sweet promotion for new users. You can get a free Roku if you sign up for 2 months instead of 1. (I knew I would use it for at least 2 months, so I already claimed mine.)