How to cut your grocery bill in half and save $1,000s

After the main four things I do to build wealth rapidly, and after cutting my cable/internet and cell phone bills down to the bone, AND after taking 15 minutes to optimize my auto insurance, groceries are the next place I save big compared to my peers. Yes, grocery shopping doesn’t sounds like a sexy way to save money– although if you slim down doing it, maybe it does…?–, but it’s very effective, potentially saving you thousands per year.

The way my wife and I shop for food can be boiled down (get it?) to seven rules of thumb. Feel free to implement any of them, since all will help you get your food bills under control.

Pick the right grocery stores

Before we get into the rules, one of the most important things is to shop at the right places for the right things. Costco is an excellent all-around choice for everything, so if you wanted to simplify your life and do all your shopping at one store, embrace the public boon that is the Costco corporation.

If you live in a city or otherwise have access to a small vegetable mart (usually run by and frequented by immigrants), that’s a great bet for cheap produce. For staples like milk, meat, dairy, eggs, and canned or dried foods, shop the sale prices at chain supermarkets like Kroger or Safeway/Von’s. (Look at the weekly advertisements they mail to you for the deals ahead of time.) Asian supermarkets are great for produce as well as Asian staples like rice, coconut milk, soy sauce, etc. (Costco also has great deals on rice and soy sauce.)

Seven rules to slash your food bill

  1. Buy in-season fruits and veggies for $1/lb or less on average. If you’re really pinching pennies, stretch them by eating them raw, or only small portions of them cooked. The idea here is to maximize flavorful and healthy calories per dollar, and (non-grain/bean) veggies provide very few calories for the money, so you need to counterintuitively treat them as luxury items. Set yourself a veggie budget of around $20/week and you should be good. (That’s still 20 lbs of produce if you can stick to the rule!)
  2. Use vegetable/Canola oil for your cooking fat and salad dressing oil of choice, and more expensive oils like olive oil in smaller amounts for flavoring. Save and cook with meat fats that render out of your food (e.g.: delicious bacon grease. Great for frying greens or potatoes in, or even using in place of shortening in pancakes.) Vegetable oil is basically the cheapest per calorie thing you can eat, and fat is good for you, including saturated fat, so go crazy on it. If you have a source of free fat, like beef or pork fat that a butcher will just give you, render your own tallow or lard and freeze it for long-term use.
  3. Buy cheaper meats on sale. Make pork and chicken your go-to meat and get them at $1 – $2/lb. Get beef on sale ($3-4/lb ideally.) Eat fish & lamb sparingly. Get chicken with the bone-in and skin-on, and pork with the bone-in. These cuts are much cheaper, especially for chicken, but also tastier due to the presence of extra fat and the flavor from the bone. Plus, you can boil the bones to make much better broth than you can buy in the store.
  4. Make cheap carbs the bedrock of your meals, and buy them dried at $1/lb or less. (Note for Atkins/keto folks: if you’re trying to lose weight, sub the carbs for extra vegetable/animal fats instead, and up your vegetable budget as needed to soak up those fats.) Choose carbs that you like to eat like rice or wheat-based products like pasta and then buy them in bulk or when they go on sale since they’ll keep a long time. Rice is a great combo of taste, goes-with-anything, and ease of prep: just stick it in a rice cooker, add water, and set it. For the price, white wheat flour is the cheapest thing I’ve seen at ~30 cents a pound at Costco. White rice can be had at Costco for $1 to 50 cents a pound. Pasta can be found on sale for 80 cents to $1 per pound, as can rolled oats if you like oatmeal. Potatoes and bread are significantly more per calorie than rice, dried pasta, or wheat flour. Potatoes need to be around 20 cents per pound to be cost competitive, and pre-made bread need to be about $1 per loaf to match $1/pound prices for dried grains.
  5. Get full-fat versions of all dairy products, including milk, yogurt, and cheeses, and stock up when they’re on sale. Going full-fat is healthier, and will also cut your cost per dairy calorie by 30 – 50% because you pay the same price for more food, since the fat is now included instead of stolen from you in a flavor-robbing crime against humanity.
  6. When food that keeps is on sale, load up! When meats or canned/dried goods go on sale, my wife and I load up our cupboards and freezers. I once bought 50 lbs of dried beans because they were on closeout for 50 cents a pound, and we routinely buy 10 or 20 lbs at a time of, say, chicken thighs, when they dip below $1/lb. If you eat cold cereal for breakfast, wait for sales or shop generic brands to buy boxes at $2/lb or less. Besides keeping the price per pound of all our staples low, this habit means we always have something to cook at home. Thaw frozen things out on the counter overnight, or under hot water– in a sealed package– if you forget to thaw in advance.
  7. Treat yourself sparingly with more expensive items like chocolate, booze, pre-made baked goods, or pricier cuts of steak or fish. Use the savings you get from the core staples of your cooking to finance the fun stuff.

If you follow these rules, you can easily keep your per person grocery spending to $200 a month, and still eat like a king: healthy food, fresh fruit and veggies, meat or dairy at every meal, and great tasting ingredients. For a couple, that means a monthly grocery budget of $500 or less. For a family of four, $800 – $1,000 or less. That’s assuming you’re eating nearly all of your meals at home. Families that eat out more frequently can spend even less on groceries, although of course they’ll spend more on food overall.

Read on if you want to get even nerdier details on how to save money on groceries, including more recommended price points for various items.

Ward’s Better Tomorrow Food Filosophy

The simple idea in each of the above rules is to center your diet around foods that cost the least per calorie, and are also tasty, healthy, and not-too-difficult to turn into meals. Because I’m a huge financial nerd, I’ve already cataloged a lot of foods by cost per calorie for you here, including notes on where to get them (again, Costco often has the best prices.)

Shop Smart

Shop Smart. Shop S-mart.

The more generalized rules for smart grocery shopping are:

  1. Shop by price per calorie/pound/unit, favoring cheap ingredients over expensive ones for the bulk of your meals.
  2. Use the weekly ads that you get from supermarket chains to know what’s on sale where (and to build a mental list of best prices), and plan your shopping accordingly. Or, just shop at Costco for everything, and use Costco’s monthly flyers to get even deeper discounts on their sales.
  3. Know what a good deal is by keeping a mental– or physical– list of the best prices that things go on sale for (e.g.: $1/lb for chicken or pork, $1/dozen eggs, $2.50/lb butter, $0.50/pound for flour, $1/lb for pasta, etc), and know what stores to look in for what things.
  4. Load up like crazy when things are on sale at or below these best prices, especially if they’re not perishable or can be frozen. If you have the space, a used chest freezer is handy for really loading up on meats.

Americans spend about half their food budgets on eating out, and the other half on eating in. I suspect wealthier folks– most of you reading– skew even higher on the eating out spending, so let me say at the outset that the best way for most people to save money in general, and on food in particular, is to eat more meals at home.


Once you’ve committed to doing that, or if you already eat a lot of meals at home, the next logical question is how much should you be spending on groceries, and how to save on them?

Know what to have on your everyday shopping list, and what price to buy it at

Load up when things are on sale, only buying below certain $s/pound or $s/unit rules

Get most of your food calories from things below $1 per meal (per 750 calories)

Veggies: Load up on cheap, in-season produce at local veggie marts, or Asian/Hispanic supermarkets, and cook them in fat or oil to boost cheap calories

Limit spending on things that either cost a lot more per calorie, or else aren’t good sources of calories for the money. The cheapest way to fill up is through fat, grains, and starchy vegetables like potatoes. There is a reason these are the staples of every single population, especially of the poor. Green, really any non-starchy, vegetables at most US supermarket prices might be/feel healthy, but buying them in excess won’t fill you up, and thus won’t help your food budget.

Meat: eat mostly skin-on, bone-in chicken and pork for $1 – $2/pound

For meats, the clear winners in terms of cost-effectiveness are bone-in, skin-on chicken and also pork (usually bone-in too.) At large supermarket chains in my city you can routinely find skin-on bone-in chicken thighs, leg quarters, or whole chickens for $1 a pound on sale (sometimes even $0.80), and even at full price it’s usually under $2/pound.

Delicious pork shoulder roasts, great for tacos, boiled dinners, or even St Louis steaks, can be had rarely for $1/lb, and often for $2/lb or less.

Even in the US where beef is relatively inexpensive, it usually costs at least 2-3x more than chicken or pork, and often much more if you’re going for higher-quality beef. Hamburger at $2/lb is a good deal, as are beef roasts for $3/lb. Occasionally Costco has T-bones or other steaks for ~$6/lb if you wanna splurge. St Patrick’s day brings cheap corned beef ($2.50/lb after the holiday) and often $3, or $4/lb, brisket that you can corn yourself if you’re so inclined.

Lamb and fish are even more expensive per calorie than beef. Shrimp and shellfish even more so. Beef, and especially lamb, are also terrible for the environment, if you wanted an extra incentive to cut back on those (sadly) delicious red meats.

Dairy & eggs – Look for weekly sales and load up, freeze butter and cheese when it’s on deep discount

Certain perishables that people use everyday like milk are hard to stock up on, but you can save a few bucks here and there by glancing at the weekly store ads you get in your mailbox. Sour cream, cottage cheese, cream, half and half and other fairly perishable dairy products should be bought like milk. (Sour cream unopened in the coldest part of your fridge, generally the back, will keep a long time.)

Eggs, however, keep for weeks or longer in your fridge, so load up when they go on sale. In Washington State, when a major pandemic is NOT in progress, large eggs can be had for $1/dozen on sale, or at least $1.50 – $2/dozen. At Costco here they’re always about $2/dozen.

For good quality cheddar or similar non-fancy pants cheeses, sales on 2 pound blocks can get you $3/lb, and you rarely should have to spend more than $4/pound. Darigold and Tillamook are excellent brands frequently on sale in the northwest.

Butter is usually $4 or $5 per pound, but in certain times of year and often during baking season (i.e: November) it’ll go on sale for a deep discount close to $2 or $2.50. Buy several pounds then and freeze it until you need it, ideally wrapper in gallon ziplocks to protect the flavor for longer storage. Buying unsalted butter gives you more cooking and baking flexibility since you can always add salt.

One of my two favorite financial bloggers, Mr. Money Mustache, has similar recommendations here.

So go out there and save big on your next grocery outing! And if you haven’t already, check out your local Costco. You’ll probably be an evangelizing convert like me for them once you go a few times.

How to start cooking for yourself

I’ve often mentioned that being able to prepare your own food is a key financial skill. I’m finally going to put my money where my mouth is– or my mouth where my money is?– and offer some super easy, basic recipe ideas to inspire those who almost never cook to start making a few more meals at home.

I’ll break these down by meal times, but there’s nothing wrong with breakfast food for dinner or vice versa!

selective focus photography of pasta with tomato and basil
Mmmm… a home-cooked meal!


Dinner is probably the meal that most people go out for or get takeout. You’re tired, you don’t want to think, and you’re hangry after a long day of work. Pasta is a great answer here.


The sauce

Get a jarred pasta sauce, or plain tomato sauce (29 oz can per 1 lb dried pasta), 1 lb of dried pasta, 1 lb ground meat, and any fresh veggies or spices that you feel like adding. Fry the sliced veggies (diced onion, say) in oil on medium/med-high, then add the ground meat. Cook the meat until no longer pink, then add 1-2 minced/pressed garlic cloves and your spices (dried basil, oregano, or garlic powder if you didn’t add any fresh garlic), fry another couple minutes, add a splash of red wine if you have it open, then dump in the pasta sauce. Simmer for at least 10 minutes on low.

The noodles

While you’re frying the sauce, boil a few quarts of water in a large pot and dump in the dry pasta when it comes to a boil, boiling it per the package instructions. Taste a noodle to make sure it’s the doneness you like, then drain it in a colander or strainer.

Serving the pasta

Either plate the noodles individually and ladle the sauce on top, or if your frying pan/Dutch oven is big enough, toss the cooked pasta in the sauce and service it on a hot pad on the table and let guests grab their own with tongs or a large fork and spoon. If you wanna get fancy, serve with grated Parmesan or pecorino romano cheese. I get these in whole wedges from Costco and then grate them finely with a food processor, cheese grater, or microplane zester. You can use the pre-grated stuff found in the grocery store, but it’s pretty tasteless.

That’s it! Package the leftovers into individual serving size tupperware for lunches at work or home the next day. The sauce will taste even better the next day, so feel free to make it in advance. It also freezes very well, so make a bunch and save yourself some future effort!


Tacos are a staple at our house. You can combine virtually any meat or veggies you have on hand with a starch like rice or tortillas, and make tons of different Mexican-inspired combos to suit everyone’s tastes. I recommend soft corn tortillas like these, but use flour if you prefer.

Pre-cooked grocery store/Costo chickens are really convenient for tacos. Just slice or tear off the meat and serve. You can spice it up with some garlic, powder, chili powder and ground cumin. Diced a white onion, then rinse it, and dice some cilantro for the traditional topping. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream as well for that extra gringo flavor :). Diced tomato or thinly sliced cabbage or lettuce also makes a great topping.


Easiest, no-cook options – Sandwiches and salads

Bread, sliced up meat or lunchmeat, mayo, mustard, lettuce/tomato/cucumber, BOOM = Sandwich! Just omit the bread and add more lettuce and some dressing to make it a salad :). Costco chicken is again a great choice for salads or sandwiches.

Suzanne’s Thyme Salad Dressing

Store-bought salad dressings are universally awful, so make your own in 5 minutes:

  • Blend together either 3 large OR 5-6 small/medium garlic cloves with
  • 1/4 cup bottled mustard (country dijon is my favorite),
  • 3/4 cup vinegar of any kind (I use plain white vinegar; the original recipe called for white wine vinegar)
  • 2 cups vegetable/Canola oil (don’t use all olive oil because it will be bitter)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon (tsp) salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon (Tbsp) dried thyme (or rosemary, or the herb of your choice– triple the amount for fresh herbs)

Leftovers make a great lunch

Leftovers packed into individual tupperware are my go-to when taking lunch to the office. Tacos work too, especially if you just microwave some cubed up meat from a prior dinner and serve with any of the fixings described above. Or, sub rice for the tortilla to make an easy-to-eat-at-work taco bowl.


Easiest, no-cook options – Cereal and smoothies

Some milk and a bowl of cold cereal is easiest. Looks for store brands and sales of your favorite boxes. Quick-cooking hot cereals like quick cooking oats or cream of wheat are also easy to do in the microwave or on the stovetop. Add cinnamon and brown/white sugar as you like. Dried fruit like raisins or apples are nice additions, or sliced or chopped nuts.

Plain yogurt with fruit or made into a blended smoothie with banana and other fresh or frozen fruits of your choice (plus a couple ice cubes if using fresh fruit and you want it colder) is a good grab-and-go option.

Breakfast cookin’ – Eggs, bacon, and more!

For the weekends, buy some eggs and fry them over-easy, adding a little oil to a non-stick pan, gently cracking the egg into the pan so as not to break the yoke, frying for a minute or two on medium-high heat until you can flip it over and fry the other side. Serve with fried bacon, sausages, or vegan ‘sausage’ patties like from Morningstar (available at Costco.) I like to slice a tomato or two in half and fry it in the bacon fat, or fry some thinly-sliced cabbage in it as a veggie side.

Fried eggs go great with rice too if you want a Filipino-style breakfast like we often make. (Bonus points if you use longganisa sausage as your meat of choice, available at many Asian supermarkets. Spam is also great.)

There you have it, a couple menu ideas for every meal of the day. Get cooking and save big!

How I save thousand$$$ a year WITHOUT sacrificing lifestyle

Here’s how I overcome the two main reasons saving money is hard for people:

  1. Inertia (aka mental laziness)
  2. Loss aversion to cuts in lifestyle
wood typography business design
Seize the day and make just one change that will save you $100s or $1,000s per year!


Overcoming inertia– which is just a fancy way of saying ‘changing your habits’– is often where my clients get the quickest spending wins. Changing your automatic habits is often more about spending a little time to, say, shop for a better deal on something, or change your banking structure to build wealth by default, vs having less stuff or less experiences.

How do you overcome spending inertia? You can start by figuring out your spending, and then do one of these things which don’t involve any sacrifice of your lifestyle.

Cancel stuff you don’t use anymore

Here’s a few examples to motivate your own saving:

  1. Cancel any subscriptions that you no longer use, or use so rarely you’d never miss them. Never use Hulu anymore because you spend all your time on Netflix? Cancel it. Write down all your subscriptions– look at your last months’ credit or debit card statement to find them all– and then make notes on the costs and which ones aren’t worth it anymore, then cancel them. Click this Google query and replace the word ‘Netflix’ with your subscription to find out how to cancel it.
  2. Bought a gym membership but never go? Cancel it, and optionally substitute with some body weight exercises, or buy some (used) home gym equipment.
  3. Bought something you don’t use anymore? Sell or donate it to free up space in your home.

Substitute with a free or cheaper option

Substitution is another great way to cut costs without cutting fun.

  • Optimize your auto insurance to protect yourself for less.
  • The library has free books, ebooks, audio books, streaming movies (yes, you heard me!), and other freebies like digital subscriptions to paid services like newspapers or Consumer Reports. Sign up for a library card at your nearest branch and see what they have to offer.
  • Cut your cable bill down to nothing through negotiation and dropping unnecessary services like modem rental.
  • Get something used or free from neighborhood marketplace sites like Facebook’s Buy Nothing groups (find your local one), Nextdoor, Offerup, or, if you must, Craigslist.
  • Switch cell phone plans to Consumer Cellular (I use and recommend them) or other small carriers like Ting. Google is getting into the act too, but I hear they charge extra for WiFi hotspot tethering. This takes a couple hours of time to port over your old number, but the savings will be several hundred a year for many people and most couples on a family plan.
  • Mooch! Ask your friends and family if they can add you to their streaming subscriptions. I get Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and Spotify all for free thanks to the generosity of my friends and family. You could also offer to split the cost with someone– or swap services– but many people have open ‘spots’ on these subscriptions and are happy to add close friends and family.
  • Do something yourself instead of paying for it. Yard work, simple car repair and maintenance, dog-walking, cleaning, or even making your own hard apple cider are all skills you can do with a little time and interest. YouTube is your friend if you want to learn new skills. DIY’ing has other benefits like exercise, building confidence, and using different mental skills to keep that brain sharp. You also save the time it takes to shop or coordinate the service you pay for. Invest in yourself and save!

Loss aversion due to fear of lifestyle cuts

Remember that nearly every spending cut you make can be instantly and easily reversed, so there’s no risk in trying something out and seeing how it goes for a few weeks! A few of my clients are initially resistant to talking about spending cuts because they think it will mean a reduction in their lifestyle. We often overestimate the happiness we’ll feel when engaging in ‘retail therapy’, but their concerns are legitimate. I try to get around this reluctance by recommending spending cuts that have small lifestyle cuts, or lifestyle impacts that are unknown, but can be easily tested and rolled back if clients find that they miss whatever they cut out.

Reduce the frequency of repeat purchases, or delay an upcoming purchase

A great way to minimize the hit to your lifestyle is to just do a little bit less of something, and see if you really miss it.

  • One of my clients cut her housecleaning service from once every 3 weeks to once every 4 weeks. This made no difference in her happiness– and probably little noticeable difference in her apartment’s cleanliness– but it cut her cleaning bill by 25%!
  • Delay your next haircut, massage, mani-pedi, or other personal care service.
  • Delaying the purchase of your next car is a big way to save money. Changing cars every 10 years vs every 5 years will save you tens of thousands of dollars. Investing that difference over time will add up to hundreds of thousands. Driving my cars into the ground is one of the best ways I’ve built my financial independence.
  • Even just delaying routine purchases like a new cell phone or laptop will add up over time. This assumes your old devices work just fine for you: don’t put up with glitches that are actually wasting your precious time or frustrating you!

Buy one thing at a time instead of subscribing

Ramit Sethi describes his a la carte method of just buying things when you want them as opposed to paying a recurring subscription fee. This method works great for things like streaming services (just buy one movie at a time), gym memberships (buy single use passes), or any other subscription service that you use infrequently.

This method works because we overestimate how often we use our subscriptions, and we rarely never do the math to see if it would be cheaper to just buy one thing at a time vs subscribing. Gym memberships are notorious for this. I was occasionally going to a 24 Hour fitness years ago, and then I actually looked at how often I went, which was only once every 2 weeks! I immediately cancelled my $40/month membership and switched to using $10 day passes instead, saving me $20 a month.

I do the same thing with streaming movies. If there’s one I wanna watch RIGHT NOW that I can’t get through the library– or through one of my friends’ or family’s subscriptions that I freeload on– then I just pony up the $3-4 and stream it, no sweat. I probably do this less than once a month, so I’m saving compared to paying $12-$15/month for another streaming service.

Simply jot down the cost of your subscription, divide by how often you use it to get the ‘per use’ cost, and then cut the ones that are more expensive than buying a la carte. Or, just cut them anyway and trust that buying a la carte will make you think twice about using that service and thus save you money anyway. You can always re-subscribe later if it doesn’t work out for you.

Make small changes at first

Some people try to cut everything down to the bone all at once. “I’ll never go back to Whole Foods and will buy everything on sale or at Costco!” they say, and within a week they’re back to cashing their whole paycheck for organic tomatoes and trendy skin lotions. Instead, start small to build habits you can actually stick to. (That’s also why I recommend small annual increases to your retirement contributions.)

  • Turn your thermostat down by 3 degrees in the winter, and up by 3 degrees in summer if you have AC. This will save you at least 10% on your heating bills, reduce your greenhouse gas emissions, and you’ll barely notice it. Just throw on a Merino wool sweater when it’s cold out– or move around a little more— and bank that extra cash.
  • Pack your lunch for work one extra time per week.
  • Make one more meal at home per week instead of ordering out.
  • Host drinks or dinner at home for a change instead of going out, and encourage your friends to reciprocate.
  • Say ‘no’ to one expensive travel plan (*cough* friend’s destination wedding) that you can’t really justify going to.

Where will your next $1,000 in savings come from?

Pick an area of your life that you can spend 1 – 2 hours on right now to realize some significant savings, and share what you do and about how much you’re going to save in the comments.

I have 10 great savings tips if you need more ideas, plus two more for homeowner’s.

How to cut your cable bill down to nothing

High-speed internet and streaming services are making cable a thing of the past. Here’s how you can slash your cable bill dramatically.

C’mon! Everybody’s doing it!

Cut the cord

The first step is simple: cancel your cable service, keeping only internet. You should also negotiate your internet bill as low as you can. Use the current promotional prices offered to new customers as a starting point. If you have more than one internet provider in your area, check their prices and mention them as a negotiating tactic with your current provider.

When you cancel cable, you will also cancel any modem rental fees, DVR boxes, and other fees companies like Comcast like to tack on. If you don’t have your own cable modem, buy one that includes both the modem + WiFi router in one device for simplicity. You will save around $14/month meaning you’ll likely break even in less than a year, and using it is dirt simple.

Buy a HD antennae to get high-def local channels through the air for free. If you live in an area with really poor reception and can’t get those local channels (and you actually want them), you can ask your cable provider for Limited Basic cable instead, which just gives you all the free channels for a small monthly fee. Don’t let them upsell you for a more expensive service when you do this.

(Definitely try the HD Antenna solution first though! Paying $40 one-time is way better than paying $10 – $20 per month forever.)

Add back the things you really want to watch with lower-cost streaming services

Decide what shows & movies are actually important to you, and buy streaming services to replace them. Use the streaming services you might already have, like what you get with Amazon Prime, to see if that is enough for you (and cancel any subscriptions you don’t get enough value from!)

High-def Netflix is $14 as of writing. The Hulu/Disney+/ESPN+ bundle ($14 as of writing) is a great deal for families and those who still need some sports. Disney has all the Star Wars, Simpsons, Disney movies & cartoons, Marvel, and Pixar content, and a lot more. Hulu has TV & movies. HBO Max offers their own content at $15/month if you like their shows & movies.

The best way to use these streaming services is by mooching off a generous friend or family member, or splitting the cost/swapping services with them. Most services let you create and share at least 4 or 5 accounts, so make some deals with your friends & family and save big. Maybe you get Netflix, they get the Disney+/Hulu bundle, and you each create a user account for the other person. Do this for your other streaming services like music (e.g.: Spotify.)

Watch free content

YouTube has tons of free content including news and comedy shows like Last Week Tonight with Jon Oliver completely free. For excellent free news, download the PBS app for your smart TV.

Apps like Tubi or Pluto TV have a lot of movies & TV you can stream with commercials.

Use your library!

My library in Seattle offers a huge library of classic and contemporary movies through the Kanopy and Hoopla apps. Just get a library card, then use your card info to link your library account to those apps to get access. You can even link multiple library accounts to the same apps, so if you’ve moved around a lot, keep those old library accounts to use all the digital content wherever you live now.

The library is great for Kindle/ebooks and downloadable audio books too, not to mention physical books and DVDs that you can check out if a streaming version of something isn’t available.

Making it work: get all those apps on your TV

If you already have a smart TV (one with native access to the internet), just download the apps for all the services mentioned above, especially for free content via YouTube, PBS, Kanopy/Hoopla/Libby (via your library), Tubi and Pluto TV. Or, plug in an Amazon Fire TV stick to make an older HD TV ‘smart’.

Contact your cable provider right now to cut the cord or reduce your bill

My advice is to 1) cut the cord first without worrying about missing some content because you can always add it back with another quick phone call, 2) then look into all your free/mooching opportunities, and 3) only add new paid services once you’ve waited a month to see whether you really miss the stuff you’re no longer getting.

You might just find yourself watching less TV and doing something more fulfilling and productive with your time, which isn’t a bad thing!