Can Cord Cutting Really Save You Money?

Over the past few years “cord cutting” has been the hot phrase that customers have touted and service providers have feared. While the terminology might be relatively new, the concept of cancelling your cable or satellite television subscription in order to save money certainly isn’t. But is cord cutting a good deal?

Before you sever ties with your TV package, here are three questions to consider.

How many channels do/will you watch?

The biggest problem facing cord cutters today is an overload of content. Even though it may seem like a waste to pay for hundreds of channels you don’t watch, paying individually for those that you do can add up quickly. Because of this it may not be worth cancelling your package just to stock up on separate services.

Paying $20 a month for the lowest Sling TV offering (which highlights some of the most popular basic cable packages) might not sound like much but adding more channels ($20/month), Netflix ($10/month), or premium channels like HBO ($15/month) and Showtime ($11/month) can get pricey in a hurry. If you don’t mind not seeing every show that someone recommends to you — or waiting to buy seasons on DVD instead of paying a monthly network fee — then you can probably avoid all these add-ons. However it may be worth thinking about which programs you absolutely must have before you end up drowning in subscriptions. 

Do you have a bundled deal?

If you’re one of the few Americans who still has a landline, chances are it’s because of the deal you got purchasing cable, phone, and internet from the same company. While the promise of these bundles is that they save you money, they might also prevent you from getting a good rate if you try to boot one of your services. In many cases cancelling your TV package will raise the price you pay for your internet thus cutting into your savings. Be sure to take this into consideration when calculating what the best deal for you would be.

Did you try to negotiate?

Thinking about cutting the cord but don’t really want to? You might want to try negotiating with your service provider to see if you can get a better rate that will justify you keeping your current subscription. 

In addition to the aforementioned bundles, cable companies are famous for offering introductory pricing to customers only to raise the price you pay overtime. Use your rising bill as a reason you want to cancel your services and see what they say. It’s not uncommon for companies to play ball and make some changes to your pricing (or issue credits to your account) to keep you as a customer. Then again they might call your bluff so be ready for that as well — either way it’s worth a shot.

Overall there are a lot of benefits to cord cutting and paying only for the entertainment you consume. However, for families with different tastes or a passion for television, unbundling your channels might actually end up costing you more in the long run. Whatever you decide just be sure to run the math first and make sure you really are getting the best deal. 


Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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