Cutting The Cord

A money-saving trend that started with millennials is now starting to connect with moms and dads trying to tighten the family budget. They’re getting rid of cable or satellite and opting for a much cheaper option: streaming TV and movies.

Lydia Rogers and her son, Noah, are big movie fans. They skimmed the shelves at Best Buy for some of their favorites. It’s entertainment to help replace the cable package they got rid of about two years ago. “I really don’t miss it anymore,” Rogers said. 

The Rogers’ use a Roku Box and subscribe to Hulu and Netflix to stream most of the TV shows and movies they want to watch. They replaced a monthly cable bill that averaged more than $120 a month with one streaming device for a little as $50 and two types of streaming media services for $16 a month. Rogers said, “My husband’s work… they were cutting his hours down. We had to start cutting the fat. What can we get rid of to help save us money?”

Susan Floyd with Egners Tax Service has experience helping families with their finances. She suggests people write out monthly expenses over ten years. “A lot of times, people will go and say, ‘Well, I don’t really need this,'” Floyd said. Cable has become one of the first things to go for families trying to trim their budgets.

Floyd suggests rerouting that money to pay down debt or stack up savings. “You can also say, ‘Well I need to really figure out what can I reduce now so that I can put some money back for my retirement.’ Because, we gotta’ think about that in the future. It’s gonna make a difference,” she said.

TV lovers who cut the cord but still want to catch local news and sports shows can use a HD antenna to pick those up for free. Other than that, there are plenty of streaming devices that will pull up almost any television show. You just may not be able to watch it when you want to. 

“You can catch up pretty quickly, and if you don’t…What’s more important? Family time, or the TV?” Rogers said, 

Rogers said it’s a sacrifice for savings, saying, “I’d rather put my family first, so we cut it out.” Though, the family members don’t feel like they’re missing much.

If you’re wondering what you may miss out on by cutting the cord, that depends on what device and streaming service you decide on. If you’re a news junkie, your best option is a HD antenna for local and Sling TV or Playstation Vue for networks like Fox News or CNN.

If you can’t miss entertainment shows, you need to subscribe to Netflix or Hulu. Sports lovers can consider a Roku. It has more sports channels and apps than any other device right now. But, if you watch a variety of programs and you need to watch them when they first air, cable is still your best bet.

There is another option that may cost more in the beginning, but will save you money in the long run. In Princeton, the trend is moving toward Smart TVs. They come with a bigger price tag, but they’re equipped with wireless technology and apps for streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. The smart features take the place of devices like Roku or Amazon Prime.

King’s Great Buy’s Plus store manager Jon McConnell said they’re easy to set up. That satisfies millenials and even their technology-challenged customers. “The young people, they always want a Smart TV. The older folks, it’s definitely catching on. They’re getting to where they’re tired of the cable companies, even in this small rural area. It really is helping out cut those bills in half,” said McConnell.

Smart TVs range in price from about $250 to more than $3,000 depending on the size and technology. Any device for streaming television or movies does require wireless internet. That stipulation rules out the option in some rural areas.

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