I’ve cut the cord, but should you?

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By: Tom Schulte

I am frugal. Better yet, I am cheap. You’d find me in outer space before seeing me seated in one of Fenway Park’s premium sections. And while a cheap mentality does wonders for a financial plan, that is not necessarily my main cost-conscious driver. Instead, it’s the idea of unnecessary expenses that keeps me up at night.

One of the more cost-effective activities I have chosen to partake in for the past 2.5 years, which has gotten quite a bit of attention recently, is cutting the proverbial cord. ‘Cutting the cord’ is a reference to no longer paying for cable through providers such as Verizon Fios or Comcast. While I do still require these companies to provide internet access, the monthly price of service can be anywhere from 30%-85% less expensive. I find that through online streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, HBOGO (just to name a few) and network television applications (apps), I have more than enough content to satisfy rainy weekends and the before-bed television show.

One of the only, but largest hurdles to cutting the cord revolves around having the proper device(s) to stream content. You can use SMART TVs, gaming consoles, laptops (with an HDMI cord), Apple TV, Amazon Fire Stick, Google Chrome, among other streaming devices. If you are without any of the listed devices, the Amazon Fire Stick can be purchased for the affordable, one-time price of $39.99. Another possible pain-point after cutting the cord can arise from the initial lack of service. Unfortunately, broadcast companies and streaming services do require compensation for accessing their content, but at a much more affordable rate without the middle-man (cable providers). From anywhere between $2/mo-$12/mo, you can pick and choose specific providers such as ESPN or Netflix. Alternatively, you can collaborate with friends and family to share streaming access. Between myself and the rest of my family spread across the northeast, in aggregate we were subscribed to four separate cable packages, three Netflix subscriptions, and two HBOGO subscriptions. Today, through streaming technology the six of us all use the rights to a single cable package, Netflix, and HBOGO subscription.

Is cutting the cord right for you? The short answer is that it could be. Though the technology is relatively simple to use, I could see people not getting use to the lack of traditional live cable TV. My father is one of these individuals—enjoying nothing more than mindless channel flipping on Sunday afternoons. Conversely, it does not take a mathematician to realize that the yearly savings generated from cutting the cord can supplement a winter’s vacation to Miami or Red Sox tickets to Game 7.   

If you’d like to get further into the nitty-gritty of cord-cutting, including how I am able to watch each and every Syracuse basketball game (including exhibitions, which even the Rolls Royce of cable packages would exclude), I’d love to chat!