Roku. A lot of folks ask me questions and wonder if they could really cut the cord, so to speak.
Well it's very easy, and it was one of the BEST INVESTMENTS that I ever made. I mean, seriously BEST INVESTMENT because not only do I save money each month by not paying for the high cost of cable/satellite, but I also spend more time with my family, and I pay closer attention to what my children are watching.
So I'm going to provide steps to saving money, but first my story:
GG and I were spending more than $200 (almost $300) per month for cable/internet/cell phone with AT&T U-Verse. I thought we were saving money at the time because we had discounts, free movie channels, and it was bundled, so I was truly saving, right? Totally WRONG.
We were in the process of selling our house, and I told my husband that if we ended up buying a house that was larger with (possibly) larger utility bills and such, then we would have to cut something out, so we decide to cut the cord on our cable.
I researched internet services in our new hometown and found that Charter had the best deal for $30/month. I set up time for the installation and purchased a wifi-router since I didn't own one. The one we had came with our U-Verse package, so I paid $8/month to rent our router for like 2-3 years, so about $288 over time, yikes! I bought one for $109 at Walmart, and done. I don't have to pay for another one until this one burns out. I've already saved some money for the future with one investment up front. --> There are less expensive routers out there, but I needed one with a high frequency to emit across our 2700 sq. ft. home. Big house = more power and longer reach wifi frequency = more expensive. Here are some cheaper options and mine: Netgear Rangemax, TP-Link Wireless N300, and Netgear N600 Dual Band Gigabit (that's the one I own).
Next, I cut the cable at our old house, so we had no TV or internet for a couple of days. We went to the library and borrowed some books and movies to tie us over while we moved stuff into our new (to us) home.
The first week that we moved in, I signed us up for Netflix ($9/month), Hulu Plus ($9/month), and Amazon Prime ($99/year) which includes Amazon Instant Video. Each of these services offers a FREE trial-offer time period to see if you even like their services, and well I fell in love RIGHT AWAY with all the tv shows and movies as well as the perk of 2-day shipping from Amazon.
I also invested in our Roku. I chose the Roku 2 XD ($56) because it was the latest model at the time, but I know friends and family who prefer the Roku Streaming Stick ($49), which is kind of the latest and greatest.
On our Roku we are able to stream our paid monthly subscriptions to Netflix (endless movies and TV series), Hulu Plus (mostly prime time TV series), and Amazon Prime (lots and lots of movies and TV series, they just acquired HBO shows, too!) as well as several other awesomely free services.
These are just a sample of the channels I have on my Roku:
- Pandora - Streaming Pandora stations for free, I love Children's Indie
- Crackle - Free movies with short advertisements
- PBS - Free full episodes of shows and mini-series like Call the Midwife...
- PBS Kids - Free PBS kids full episodes of shows like Sesame Street, Clifford, Arthur...
- A&E - Free full episodes of shows like Duck Dynasty, Bates Motel
- Lifetime - Free full episodes of shows and movies like Army Wives, True STori...
- History Channel - Free full episodes of shows like American Pickers, Mountain Men, Ancient Aliens...
Know someone who pays for cable? Well if they let you borrow their account log-in you can also get these Roku channels for FREE:
- Disney Channel - Free full episodes of shows and some Disney channel movies
- Disney Junior - Free full episodes of Sophia the First, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Rolie Polie Olie....
- Disney XD - Free full episodes of Marvel Avengers, Phineas and Ferb...
- HBO Go - I love me some GOT, Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, True Blood... not to mention all the awesome new release movies
- Showtime Anytime - I can't get enough of Nurse Jackie, Homeland, Shameless...
Also, once you have an account with the above mentioned channels, you can stream them on mobile devices as well as iPad, Kindle Fire, and computers.
I found that after we cut the cord to cable, we were saving right away. Our AT&T U-Verse breakdown was about this:
- $45 - internet
- $180 - TV
OR $225 per month
Our TV entertainment now costs us:
- $30 - Charter internet
- $9 - Netflix
- $9 - Hulu Plus
OR $48 per month, plus $99/year for Amazon
Total breakdown : $57 per month, a savings of about $168 per month, and I will NEVER go back to cable.
THAT IS HUGE SAVINGS!!!!!!
So if you want to cut the cord on cable and save money each month while still enjoying the same awesome shows and movies, you need to follow these steps:
1. Sign up for the cheapest, best internet in your area ~$30/month (or more depends on your area)
2. Invest in a wireless router rather than rent from your internet service provider, see links above
2. Buy a Roku ~$50-60 (one-time purchase per TV)
3. Sign up for Amazon ($99/year), Netflix ($9/month), Hulu Plus ($9/month)
4. Enjoy your new TV service and put all the extra money you're saving each month towards your next vacation or rainy-day fund
My family and I cut the cable cord back in 2012. We have never rejoined the cable revolution, but I do have some updates worth sharing.
In 2014, we invested in the Roku Streaming Stick (paid $40 - now it's cheaper) for our bedroom television, so now we have two! We also invested in two VERY CHEAP Homeworx Super Thin HDTV Antenna (paid $9/each - now it's $7/each). This allows us to watch prime time television (American Ninja Warrior - my kids love this show) and morning and evening news when we want (like when it's snowing and we desperately want schools to close). We receive all of the prime TV channels (ABC, FOX, PBS, CBS, NBC, etc.) among several others we never knew about (CoziTV, anyone?).
This is what I currently pay per month to enjoy a cable free lifestyle:
Charter Internet - $69/month
Netflix - $9/month
Amazon - $9/month (annual fee of $99)
We are very fortunate that my parents share their cable login with us, so our family has access to these channel apps on the Roku (for free):
In addition to these apps, we have lots of other free channel apps on our program list from Netflix and Amazon to Popcorn Flix and Jim Henson's Family TV.
So as time has gone by some costs have risen (mainly, internet), but I still save money each month by not paying for cable channels.
My currently monthly spend for television entertainment is $87; this is a savings of $138 per month for us.
**My blog post contains affiliate links, so I may be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking one of my links.