We enjoy FiOS, fast, reliable internet service, lots of entertainment choices; but the bill – almost $250 a month. You can call Verizon, knock the bill down $40-50, but it climbs back up. This time, when I kill premium channels, we won’t add them back when a new series shows up.

Here’s what I dumped to get the bill down $100 a month:

  • The box that runs the TV we never use
  • The channels we rarely watch
  • The home phone that merely lets telemarketers ignore the Do Not Call registry
  • HBO. It’s cheaper to buy Game of Thrones, or wait until it hits Netflix or Amazon Prime

We also bought a Roku, a great idea that keeps getting better. Unlike Chromecast, Fire TV, and Apple TV, it carries almost everything. It’s a first step towards cutting the cord. Here’s why:

  • Run Netflix and Amazon Prime, we had subscriptions, but Chomecast won’t run Prime
  • Be a test for complete cord cutting at a later date. Got the Roku 4 for voice search and 4K TV support

So why not cut the cord completely? As boomers, we weren’t ready. This way we can get comfortable with what streaming services can do, then cut the cord later.

Next steps. Trial a few additional services, to see if we like what they offer:

  • Hulu Plus, to see newer content missing from Netflix or Prime
  • Sling TV carries News, Weather, local channels. May save $20-30 a month off our bill
  • PlayOn, a PC app which aggregates web video, lets you record to your PC hard drive, and share across your home network, so we can drop the Verizon DVR. We can also record from Netflix and Amazon Prime to watch later. Needs a suitable PC

What else did I learn?

  •  HBO and Showtime can be purchased independently.
  • They are available at different prices from different sources: HBO is $5/mo. more expensive from Verizon than going direct with HBO Now. Showtime is $20 from Verizon, $11 direct, and $9 as an add-on to Amazon Prime.
  • Verizon is willing to help you figure it out, they see the writing on the wall and their customer service reps are helpful.

So should you cut the cord?

Depends, what are you willing to give up, and what will it save you? Are you willing to access content differently? Are you okay with multiple small subscriptions, versus one large bill? Weaning yourself off cable bundles makes sense. Only you can decide.