Save Money: Cancel Your Cable TV

Last Updated Dec 23, 2010 5:41 PM EST

While Americans rush to buy 50-inch plasma TVs this holiday season, a fellow journalist friend - one who loves Mad Men and Modern Family, mind you - is thinking of ditching her cable package.

So how will she still get her prime-time fix? Simple, she tells me: the Internet. She can watch Modern Family on Hulu and Mad Men on AMCTV.com. And just like that, she's figured a way to save herself an average $75 a month in cable fees (plus the added costs of a DVR and premium channels).

More consumers seem to be following suit. Pay TV subscribers are declining, and according to a new survey by Forrester Research, people now use the Web more than their televisions. And get this - Netflix video streaming comprises more than 20% of all Internet traffic during peak web surfing hours, according to tech firm Sandvine.

Meanwhile, many television networks are providing full episodes online. And advertising dollars are also moving further online, according to a report by Rubicon Project. One source tells me that some advertising sales reps at the various networks are beginning to offer clients Internet placement packages that throw in TV commercial placement as a bonus.

An extra $75 dollars a month saved from forgoing cable can certainly add up. Saved each month for the next 30 years in a retirement account earning an average 8% annually, you're looking at close to $100,000 in retirement, all for ditching cable.

A considerable trade-off. Even if you pay $7.99 for Netflix's unlimited online streaming, you're saving a great deal. Take the next week to test how well you'd make the adjustment from watching TV on your tube to your computer or laptop. Here is a round-up of some of the top TV shows that you can find on both Hulu and Fancast for free. You can also try going to their respective networks. In many cases NBC and Fox, for example, will post full episodes online for free.
  • 30 Rock
  • Bones
  • Community
  • Family Guy
  • Glee
  • Modern Family
  • NCIS
  • The Good Wife
  • The Office
  • Survivor
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    Farnoosh Torabi is a personal finance journalist and commentator. She is the author of the new book Psych Yourself Rich, Get the Mindset and Discipline You Need to Build Your Financial Life. Follow her at www.farnoosh.tv and on Twitter at @farnoosh.

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