Cable? Bundling? Really All That?

Worthwhile to Bundle?I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz around the blogosphere about cutting out cable to trim the monthly budget. I’ll be the first to admit I love my digital cable box, and I’d be hard-pressed to give it up without one heck of a fight.

I thought it would be worthwhile to look at alternatives to traditional cable packages. I want to discuss how they can save major dough on your monthly expenses. Of course, cutting unnecessary expenses is a must in this unstable economic climate, and saving the extra money can help bail you out if you find yourself in an unexpected situation that requires immediate access to a stash of cash.

Bundling: What’s the Appeal?

If you’re a regular cable watcher like me, then you’ve likely seen that super annoying commercial with the Stepford-esque couple who creepily knocks on new residents’ doors pressuring them to bundle. You know the one: they stare all wide-eyed and murmur, “We allllll bundle!” Freaky.

Bundling, of course, is paying one bill to your cable company, which covers a land telephone line, digital cable, and high-speed Internet service. For the purposes of this article, I’m going to assume you have a cellphone bill whether or not you have a cable package because, face it, we all need a cellphone these days.

The price will vary wildly based on region, cost of living, and provider, but I’m listing the stats for Brighthouse Cable in Alabama because it’s where I’m located. For the basic bundle, Brighthouse starts at $110. That includes one digital cable box with digital channels and free HD. It costs more to upgrade to a box with a DVR, however. This basic package also includes a landline with anytime unlimited nationwide calling and high-speed Internet.

The appeal, in a nutshell: one bill, easy monthly payment. Got it.

Alternatives to Bundling Your Cable Services

Okay, I know very few people my age who have – or use – a landline. Have you noticed this phenomenon? Those that do have a home phone typically have a bundled cable package that came with a phone number. Many people in their 30s that I know have the number, but they don’t even have a home phone in their home. What a waste! If you choose not to bundle, will you really miss the landline? I think not.

As for the Internet, when I was researching for this article, it was hard for me to find the price for Internet-only cable service. Interesting – they really want people to bundle. Ah – finally found it – $51 per month. You can also search for an alternative cable internet provider to save you additional money.

For television, if you’re not an avid watcher (or if you only watch children’s programming to keep you kids entertained like me), then Netflix or Amazon Prime Instant Video may be a better option for you. At $9.99 per month for Netflix and $79 per year for unlimited access to Amazon, it’s a deal worth considering.

Bottom line: depending on your needs, you could stand to save a boatload of cash each month and cut your cable expenses in half with a few simple changes.

Guess we don’t alllll bundle after all.