My Frugal Decision to Cut the Cable Cord and Save $1,656 a Year

My wife and I had been debating the idea of returning that Cable Box. And we started the New Year by returning our cable boxes and stopping our cable TV service.

The decision wasn’t easy.

We knew we would lose all those channels that we’d been watching for many years: The Food Network, Bravo, CNN, Fox, CNBC, Discovery, etc.

But the big question was: When do we actually have time to watch all these cable channels?

If we were going to watch less TV in 2015, then we had to make the decision to cut the cable cord, cold turkey!

So that’s what we did, and we’re actually feeling very good about it.

I purchased a Clear Stream 2V Indoor/Outdoor Antenna for $99 from Best Buy (retails for $139), plus about 80 ft. of coaxial cable. And I was able to get the major television networks in crystal clear HDTV!

Note: I purchased a Winegard digital antenna from Home Depot, but quickly returned it after finding out it wasn’t performing ideally, and for some reason I couldn’t get CBS (and ABC wasn’t very clear, either). Investing in an outdoor digital antenna and already having a Motorola Signal Booster really helped considerably, plus installing the new antenna outside rather than inside really helped.

Notes on the Transition

1. Going to save $138 total each month.

2. Had to invest about $150 in an outdoor Digital Antenna and about 80 ft of coaxial cable. I already had a signal booster purchased years ago, so I used that between the antenna and the TV. I had to experiment with locations until I found an ideal spot.

3. I was able to get 30 channels. 18 Spanish channels. 12 English channels. Almost all of them in clear HDTV quality, broadcast through the air waves! I’m finding out that HD is compressed 70% through cable, while HD broadcasted through the air is 100%. It definitely seems crystal clear, but we’ll see how things go if the weather is less than ideal.

4. The Good News: No monthly Cable TV bill. A savings of $1,656 a year, minus the initial investment of $150. Planning on watching less Cable TV anyway, and focusing on other things that are more important. And I can still get the major networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CW, PBS) and local stations. Plus I can still watch TV shows off the internet if needed (like Walking Dead and Ghost Adventures).

5. The Bad News: No Sports on ESPN (although I’m hearing that ESPN might be broadcast through the air, rumor?) But the big sports events should be found on the major networks. Will kind of miss certain cable shows, but the idea was to watch less TV.

6. Alternatives: Signed up for a trial of Amazon Prime, which can be made available on our Smart TV by downloading the App. More shows are being made available online, so we are research all the alternatives by finding shows online and via smartphone.

I’ll update more on this project in future posts. One possible purchase would be a pre-amp splitter to separate the digital antenna signal to other TVs in the home.



Carlos Rull

Carlos Rull is a musician living in the San Diego area. His interests include Yoga, Eastern Philosophy, Zen Buddhism, and Gardening. He plays drums, piano, and composes New Age & Ambient music, and his albums are available on iTunes and

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