How I saved $80 a month on my cable and Internet bill

I was reviewing my cable bill last month and was floored that I was spending $120 a month for a DVR, cable and Internet access. This blew my mind, and I set out on a quest to lower my bill without losing access to quality content (I like to watch educational shows and documentaries). I had a couple of requirements prior to heading down this road:

1. I needed to be able to view shows on the major TV networks.

2. Internet bandwidth needed to be sufficient to stream movies from Hulu, Netflix or Apple.

3. Wanted to be able to access on content on demand.

None of my requirements called for cable tv, so the first thing I did was cancel my cable and return the cable box. I replaced my cable with HDTV over-the-air service, which I am obtaining through a Leaf indoor HDTV antenna. This paper thin antenna works great, and I am able to pick up crystal clear reception from the major networks, as well as a number of other stations I didn’t know were available. Can’t beat free!

Cutting cable saved me $60 a month, but I started to wonder if I could do more. I went back to my bill and noticed that I was being charged $7 a month to lease a modem, and my Internet service was running me $43 a month. After a bit of research I realized you can purchase a modem, so I picked up a Motorola SB6121 SURFboard DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem (if you decide to buy your own modem make sure you get a model that works with your cable provider) for $40 and returned the modem I was leasing. This purchase will pay for itself in 6-months, and after that I will begin saving $7 a month. Nice!

So with two relatively minor changes I was saving $67 a month. Could I do more? Well it appears I could. I went out to a competitors website and started looking at their Internet rates. They have a plan similar to mine that was $13 less a month, so I called my cable provided and told them I was going to switch. They transferred me to their retention department who offered me the same plan as their competitor, which chopped another $13 off my bill. So if I you add up the $60 I saved from cable, the $7 I saved by purchasing a modem and the $13 monthly reduction in Interent service I’m now saving $80 a month! I still need to find a good way to stream movies and documentaries, and ideally I would like it to work with the roku digital video player. How are my readers watching movies and documentaries in the digital world?

7 thoughts on “How I saved $80 a month on my cable and Internet bill”

  1. Matty,
    I ditched my satellite provider a few years ago. My local ISP offered Fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) so I opted for NetFlix via XBox360 for my movie and documentary needs. I homebrewed my own HDTV antenna with 1×4 pine-board, a 75 Ohm to 300 Ohm matching transformer, steel coat hangers and an assortment of screws, nuts, and washers. I mounted the antenna in may attic and tied it into the existing coax feeds and never looked back. If you or any of your readers need the plans for the antenna, I’ll gladly provide.


  2. I used to have an HDHomeRun receiver to record TV shows over the air with my MythTV box. But then I switched to XMBC and it is indeed a breeze: all the TV content is freely available from the web-sites like, and XMBC has a plugin for almost everything. I can watch the most recent episodes of my favorite shows, various progams and popular news streams, etc. If there is a content on the internet, XBMC almost certainly has a plugin to read that.

  3. Matty,

    Congrats on the changes. :)
    I switched over to this configuration a couple of years ago (I was paying close to 150$ for cable + internet).

    I still have basic cable (which is necessary for internet access), but I cancelled my land phone and switched to vonage (a long time back). Being a heavy international caller, I get to make calls for free overseas, get vm to text to my email and it costs around 35$ with taxes.

    I stream to a roku device I bought 3-4 years ago for 100$. I have a netflix subscription, hulu plus and amazon prime (each of these cost around $8) which gives me access to a huge amount of entertainment on-demand (my four year old uses it the most).

    A couple of years ago I got a sony Google TV bluray that I use almost exclusively for the same purposes on my main TV set at home (only caveat is that hulu doesn’t work with the google tv).

    I ended saving around 100$ in all and should i decide to cancel some of my streaming options, I can probably shave off another 7-14$ a month.

    Am I happy? Absolutely…who’s got the time to watch standard TV anymore?

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