How I canceled cable and gained a new outlook on life

When my husband and I began our journey out of debt, our monthly bills were overwhelming. Of course, we were paying for all of the regular stuff like our mortgage, utilities and various insurance policies. However, we were also paying for things that we knew we wanted to live without — credit card bills, furniture that we had financed, magazine subscriptions.

I also like to remind myself that I once bought a Kirby vacuum from a door-to-door salesman for $1,300. And worse than that, I financed it! Add that to the list of ridiculous bills I was paying at the time and you might get a better idea of where we started.

Before Baby Steps

Anyway, our first step getting out of the mess we'd created was to determine what we really needed. As we sorted through it all, we began cutting from our budget anything that wasn't completely necessary and using the money we saved to pay off our outstanding debts.

The weeks and months went by, and we happily continued on this path until there was hardly anything left to cut. And that's when it happened. My husband made a plea to cancel my final hold-out. On a rainy Saturday morning, Greg hid behind the couch and made the suggestion that we cancel our cable television.

Feeling vulnerable and defensive, I refused to acknowledge his frugal and thoughtful advice. “But, what am I going to do every evening from 8:00 until midnight?!” I simply couldn't even imagine a life without all of my favorite programming. Or maybe it was that I didn't want to. After all, I was faithfully watching several reality television shows as if it were my part-time job. I just wasn't ready to let go of that perceived responsibility.

An Addict Lashes Out

Despite the fact that we were forking over $80 to the cable television company every single month, I desperately wanted to keep our cable television package just the way it was.

“Our television bill is part of our entertainment budget,” I reasoned as I watched 10 consecutive hours of the “Real Housewives of New Jersey.”

Even as I said it, I knew that my argument didn't really hold water. No matter how hard I tried, it was hard to defend the expenditure while we were still deep in debt. After all, we still owed on credit cards, our two cars, and student loans. My husband was right. At that point in our lives, cable television was an unnecessary luxury. “Once we're out of debt, we'll reward ourselves by getting cable again,” he promised.

Although I didn't really want to hear it, I knew he had a point. He always does. Although television made for some fun and mindless entertainment, we were just paying too much for the privilege. So after some consideration, we decided together that it would be wise to cancel our cable package until we were out of debt.

I was definitely sad, but Greg convinced me that temporarily cutting our cable would provide an additional incentive to pay off all of our stuff. I agreed, although begrudgingly, and he called and canceled our package before I could change my mind.

The Search for Cheaper TV

Since we live near our state's capital, we hoped that we could get some of the major networks with a regular old antenna. Fortunately, it worked. A $40 antenna allowed us to view all of the major networks … most of the time.

Of course, our new set-up meant that we sometimes had to walk across the room to adjust the antenna for better reception. However, at least we could tune in to the weather, and my daughter could watch Saturday morning cartoons this way. I had to admit that the inconvenience was definitely worth it considering the fact that our television bill had been so drastically reduced from $80 to zero.

A Whole New World

A few months later, we discovered that we could get some really cheap TV by buying a Roku box. A Roku allows you to stream shows through the Internet and onto your television via channels like Netflix or Hulu. We ordered our Roku from Amazon.com for $60 and signed up for Netflix for $7.99 per month. Doing so allowed us to watch tons of documentaries and old movies. In addition, Netflix also offers entire seasons of kid's shows and cartoons for the little ones we had at home.

After a few months, we added Hulu to our Roku box for an additional $7.99 per month. The addition of Hulu meant that we could watch a lot of shows that are shown on the regular networks. Finally, we could catch up on some of our favorites like “Parks & Recreation,” “Kitchen Nightmares” and “Master Chef.”

Although our new set-up wasn't completely free, we were now paying $15.98 per month for television instead of $80. Our $64 savings came in handy as we tackled all of our remaining debt. Using the snowball method, we paid off our credit cards and unsecured debts first. Then we attacked my husband's student loans. After several months, we were able to begin making additional payments on our car loans as well.

Learning to Love What We Had

In the meantime, we began to love our new television setup. Sure, I missed some of my shows at first. However, I quickly realized that wanting something did not make it a need. I also learned that most of the shows I was obsessed with weren't really adding any value to my life.

I also learned to like the fact that I could no longer turn on the tube and watch whatever was on. My Roku with Netflix/Hulu made me choose each show consciously instead of always getting sucked into countless hours of pointless reality madness. I now felt more in control than ever and the result was that we ended up watching higher-quality television overall. I also found myself watching a lot less as I embraced other hobbies and projects.

Progress With a Twist

Eventually, we paid off every last one of our debts aside from our mortgage, and we emerged on the other side with a new outlook and new priorities. In addition, we came out of this process in a position to start adding to our savings.

Although we had earned the right to start paying for cable again, neither of us was all that interested. We found that our new system met our needs just fine. It didn't matter that we could now afford to have cable. We didn't want it. Although I'm still a reality television junkie at heart, I found that I no longer want to devote that much time or money to the cause. And now that we haven't had cable for a few years, days and weeks go by without us turning on the television at all. Of course, I still like to be entertained — but I have found other ways to occupy my time that aren't so expensive in time or money.

Do you have cable television? If so, are you happy with how much you're paying?

More about...Frugality

Become A Money Boss And Join 15,000 Others

Subscribe to the GRS Insider (FREE) and we’ll give you a copy of the Money Boss Manifesto (also FREE)

Yes! Sign up and get your free gift
Become A Money Boss And Join 15,000 Others
guest
107 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
William Cowie
William Cowie
6 years ago

Man, I’d love to do that, but about all we watch is sports (note the royal “we”) and ESPN has so far not been available on anything except the high-priced cable/satellite providers…

Juli
Juli
6 years ago
Reply to  William Cowie

Yup, this is us too. I could give up tv completely with no problems at all. But my darling husband has literally never lived without ESPN, except for a couple months when he was unemployed and I forced him to give it up. Seriously, you would have thought he was going through drug withdrawal. So unfortunatetly, we are stuck paying way to much for the fancy satellite package.

David Hunter
David Hunter
6 years ago
Reply to  William Cowie

Instead of “watching” sports you could be “playing” sports.

My wife and I haven’t had cable since August 2011. It is the greatest thing EVER! We bought a pair of $20 rabbit ears that work great, when we want to watch TV.

Ever since getting rid of cable we have been more active and we have been reading a lot, which has helped our careers, which in turn means more moolah!

I think you should all rid yourselves of cable TV and go out in the world to see what you are all missing.

Live Life Adventurously!

David

Eric
Eric
6 years ago
Reply to  David Hunter

That really doesn’t make sense. I play a lot of sports and watch a lot of sports. I’m a sports fan but does that mean I need to play more sports and watch less? I would think most sports fans like to watch sports and play them too. Playing on a softball team is a bit different than rooting for your favorite baseball team.

David Hunter
David Hunter
6 years ago
Reply to  Eric

I’m not a sports guy, so I don’t know what I’m talking about. Sometimes I just ramble things that don’t make any sense. :-\

BP
BP
6 years ago
Reply to  Eric

Eric- Respectfully, your argument sounds a little like a ESPN-aholic in denial 😉

David
David
6 years ago
Reply to  William Cowie

Depending where you live, you might want to check out aereo.com. They let you stream and record over the air channels for $8 a month, which could help cover some of your live sports concerns.

Servius
Servius
6 years ago
Reply to  William Cowie

Look into ESPN3. Don’t know if it will work with your ISP but I found I could watch most of the games from my favorite college team online for free.

Derek with MoneyAhoy.com
Derek with MoneyAhoy.com
6 years ago

Great story! This is exactly what our family did (except we used a recycled Wii to stream the Netflix).

We found that we only ever watched local TV shows that could be had for free or HGTV. Why the heck would someone pay $70/month for HGTV? So, we cut the cord and haven’t looked back.

Also, we have so much more free time to spend together as a family, AND our kid’s brains aren’t being poisoned by all that crazy advertising!!!

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
6 years ago

Ugh. I suspect this is going to turn into a anti-TV rant in the comments? Before it does, can’t we just agree that different people spend their entertainment budgets differently and the takeaway here is to get the best value for your dollars? I have basic cable but I’m considering other options this fall. It’s a challenge here in Canada because we don’t have as many free/cheap options as in the U.S., and antenna reception in apartments isn’t that great. Many of the people I know who got rid of cable rely on ethically questionable means to get U.S. content,… Read more »

nicoleandmaggie
nicoleandmaggie
6 years ago
Reply to  Holly Johnson

Haha, I totally read episode recaps too, if there’s something that *everyone* is watching. It saves so much time.

We also sometimes watch things on double-speed with the subtitles on. Cuts movie time in half!

That’s life with small children. (When 6-year-old-asks-too-many-questions DC1 was away with his grandparents for a week, we luxuriated in watching Big Bang Theory dvds without subtitles at regular speed. DC2 is still too young to ask about the sex jokes.)

Here’s our The Do You Watch TV post: http://nicoleandmaggie.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/the-do-you-watch-tv-post/

Barb
Barb
6 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

Thanks you Elizabeth!! I would go further and say that there is some darned good programming on television and that using a DVR guarantees that you control the TV not the other way around. I’ve never watched the real anything, but I do watch Bluebloods, the Good wife, The Following, The Bridge, the Killing, Copper and Longmire just to name a few. There’s a darned good reason movie actors are turning to television regularly and often.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
6 years ago
Reply to  Barb

Totally agree about the PVR. Someone gave me an old one they no longer wanted, so I happily use it to record what I want and watch it when I want. I even tape the local news so I can fast forward through all the preamble and commercials.

Many of the shows I watch are Canadian or British, so they’re a bit harder to find online.

Ve
Ve
6 years ago
Reply to  Barb

My family no longer has a DVR to cut down on the cable bill, and frankly, without it, having cable at all seems like a waste.

Ed Mills
Ed Mills
6 years ago

We kicked cable to the curb 4 years ago and feel the same way. We refuse to pay good money and still have to watch TV commercials. Also, what’s the point of having 500 channels that you NEVER watch? Digital rabbit ears, Neflix and Roku solved our problems too. Congrats to you guys, you did what the majority will be doing soon.
Plus, you saved a ton of money…and time.

Ed

John S @ Frugal Rules
John S @ Frugal Rules
6 years ago

Yea, we’re still holding out. It’s largely due to sports. If I could find a way to get college football without ESPN I would cancel it yesterday. I know…I know. 😉

fobia
fobia
6 years ago

I cut the cable a few years ago and haven’t looked back…
Since I personally view the price for cable to be ethically questionable, my sleep is not disturbed over the means we use to get our content.

All tv shows and movies come down primarily through newsgroups and occasionally torrents/direct downloads.
All sports are streamed and enjoyed live downloaded later if its a game I don’t want to miss.
Antenna used to fill in the gaps on any local live events we want in HD.

This really equals to less TV and more Life.

CK
CK
6 years ago

Door to door salesman? What century is this? I’m close to 40 and I’ve never had a door to door salesman knock on my door. And who is crazy enough to spend $1300 on a vacuum?

BTW yes I have cable and need my GoT and Dexter.

lmoot
lmoot
6 years ago

I gave up cable 4 years ago. I just got sucked into tv shows and movies that I didn’t plan on watching. I stream now on the internet, and may get an antennae one day. I like it better this way b/c I only end up watching what I planned on watching. (although having all of the episodes at once has made for some wasteful marathon days!) One thing I miss however, is commercials; not b/c I like to watch them, but that’s usually when I got my chores done. It was like a race against time to get things… Read more »

Juli
Juli
6 years ago
Reply to  lmoot

I dvr almost everything I watch — rarely do I watch something when it is actually on. And I have made this very same statement! Sometimes I will not fast forward through the commercials, just so I can get up and get things done.

Jane
Jane
6 years ago

Our path was very similar to Holly’s. We weren’t in debt, but we just didn’t like paying $80+ dollars for cable and DVR. We cut it over a year ago and have been extremely happy. The difference is that I watch as much television as I ever did; I just pay less for the privilege. We have Netflix, Hulu, and a Tivo to record certain network shows that don’t show up on Hulu. This comes up to about $30 a month. Mind you, this is totally a luxury, but we have no debt except mortgage. If financial hard times hit… Read more »

Danielle
Danielle
6 years ago
Reply to  Jane

Thank you for your comment, I was beginning to feel alone! I feel I watch the same, if not more, tv than I used to because access to the programming comes at my convenience and is portable. We use Hulu/Netflix and stream them through our Xbox, computer with HDMI or use the app on our phones. Besides the fantastic savings, I’m also able to see programming I would have otherwise never looked twice at (whether it was because of conflicting time slots or I didn’t think I’d like it). Also, not having to sit through endless commercials is a great… Read more »

Sara
Sara
6 years ago

I am 24 years old and have never owned a television, subscribed to any form of cable, nor do I feel the need to. The situation is the same for almost every one of my friends near my age. When we all left for college in the mid-2000s and spent 4+ years without television, Netflix, Hulu, DVDs and individual tv channel websites made it easy to keep up with our favorite shows. Upon graduation, none of us ever saw the need to switch to a more expensive system. The only exception I know of is for Game of Thrones –… Read more »

Kelsey
Kelsey
6 years ago
Reply to  Sara

I’m in the same boat. I’m 25 and have never paid for cable. I feel like personal finance for our generation is pretty tough. I, like a lot of my friends, graduated smack in the middle of the recession and, as such, have lived frugally ever since I’ve “been on my own.” It’s nice that folks like Holly were able to cut back on things in order to dig themselves out of debt, but what do you do when there’s nothing to cut and you still have tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt? My husband and I… Read more »

Debi
Debi
6 years ago
Reply to  Kelsey

I agree with Holly. If you don’t have children, maybe you should each get a second, part time job. In addition to the extra income you’ll have less leisure time. That means you won’t feel as deprived if you don’t have extra cash for entertainment. You won’t have time for it!

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
6 years ago
Reply to  Sara

We don’t have as many streaming options here, but my habits definitely changed when I got an old PVR. I don’t have to watch shows when they’re on TV — I can watch them anytime I want. I’m surprised at the stuff I end up deleting because it never seems important enough to watch.

Canada’s a bit behind when it comes to TV options, but we’re getting there. I wish we could get Hulu and better Netflix here!

smirktastic
smirktastic
6 years ago

I would cancel cable in a heartbeat, but my sports-nut husband won’t even consider it. 🙁

William Cowie
William Cowie
6 years ago
Reply to  smirktastic

Are you my wife writing under a pseudonym? 🙂

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
6 years ago
Reply to  William Cowie

Ha ha ha, my wife and I watch sports together.

Life is good. 😀

Cheryl
Cheryl
6 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

My husband and I gave up our jobs and moved across country with adequate savings after a seven year plan to do so. When we settled in we knew we had to pinch pennies till our finances improved and we found jobs. We automatically ordered internet services to aid with our job searches, but cable was one thing we knew we’d have to do without. Though we are now employed, we continue to delay adding that expense, but the one thing we both desperately want is the ability to watch the upcoming football season without a cable or satellite services!!!

Pat
Pat
6 years ago
Reply to  smirktastic

That’s my problem. He’s gotta have those ESPNs. And the Golf Channel.

megan w.
megan w.
6 years ago
Reply to  smirktastic

With Roku you can subscribe to different sports channels. I don’t know what they cost because we don’t have them but we get ads for them once in a while. So it is possible to have a Roku and sports too.

Courtney @ FamilyGoneHealthy
Courtney @ FamilyGoneHealthy
6 years ago

We got rid of cable 3 years ago and don’t even miss it! Honestly, with full-time jobs and two young kids, we don’t even have much time to watch it anyway. I would rather be outside riding bikes with my girls 🙂

Erin
Erin
6 years ago

My husband and I have never had cable, though we do watch a lot of television. We actually invested in a full-out PC that’s hooked up to our computer via an HDMI cord. I installed XBMC on it, which lets us manage a lot of our media (and has a Hulu plug-in) and works with a remote, and we use windows media center’s Netflix app. Between a netflix instant subscription and a hulu plus subscription (and I admit it, a borrowed HBOGo password), there is nothing we want to watch that we can’t. It is /amazing/ what you can get… Read more »

Lucas
Lucas
6 years ago

No cable here! The only time I have had cable was in college and the first year out of school as my roommates wanted it. Other than that we have not had cable (last 8 years).

TV provids almost no value to me so I try to minimize it. I do watch shows on hulu occationaly and buy/rebox movies that i want to watch. But it is at my control rather than being controlled by the TV networks schedule.

Michelle
Michelle
6 years ago

We do have cable, and it is around $50 per month. We get hundreds of channels, plus Starz and HBO. For some reason, a cable bill doesn’t bother me that much. However, I’m sure I would be thinking differently if our bill was over $100 like it seems others are.

Slackerjo
Slackerjo
6 years ago

I stopped watching TV on a regular basis about 4 years ago. I have no cable and a 22″ TV that sits unplugged most of the time. I spend more time dusting it than watching it. I determined that TV was bringing too much negativity into my life. I decided I did not want to get sucked into the world of biker gangs, the 24 news cycle or wealthy/desperate housewives. It’s not that this form of entertainment is bad (many of these shows are very well written and acted) it’s just not good for me. So my decision to cut… Read more »

Sarah
Sarah
6 years ago

My husband and I dropped cable a little over a year ago, and have Netflix / Hulu / Amazon Instant Video instead. It’s saving us something like $50 per month.

Like this article touched on, I feel like the fact that I have to actually choose what to watch, rather than passively accepting whatever is one, has had positive effects. I don’t watch as often, and when I do it’s far more enjoyable than it had been before. I’ve ended up watching a lot of high-quality shows I wouldn’t otherwise have watched because they aren’t airing anymore.

Kurt @ Money Counselor
Kurt @ Money Counselor
6 years ago

I think cable is the worst value item we buy. Lowest quality for the $. We will be following in your footsteps soon I hope!

HKR
HKR
6 years ago

We went without cable/satellite for a few years, then came back to it with a $14.99/mo ultra-basic pack with Dish that has 14 channels (including my favs HGTV and History) plus local. They recently bumped it up to $20.99/mo, which still isn’t bad. We haven’t ever had internet either, and were content with going to wifi hotspots for what little we needed, but now my husband is starting his own business and we’re finding we actually need our own connection. We’re getting the net installed this weekend and will be cutting the Dish simultaneously. We got a really nice antenna… Read more »

Cindy @ GrowingHerWorth
Cindy @ GrowingHerWorth
6 years ago

I kept cable way longer than I should have, back when I followed True Blood religiously. I’d often find myself zoned out for hours watching HGTV and marathons of Top Model as well. Then during the “off season”, I decided to refinish the hardwood floors. Eight months later I realized the TV was still unplugged, and I hadn’t even missed it. I finally said goodbye to cable. I eventually plugged the TV back in and setup the DVD player. I do love my movies! And recently my father and BF realized you couldn’t watch any regular stations at my house,… Read more »

Edward
Edward
6 years ago

I cancelled a few months ago. The reason I gave when they asked was that “TV was getting too stupid for me.” After watching many episodes of “Storage Wars”, “Duck Dynasty”, and (sorry, Holly) “Real Housewives”, I realized that absolutely *anything* else I put into my brain would be better than that junk. Intellectually, it’s really bottom of the barrel. I’ve come to wonder why so many people have realized that it’s important to keep their body fit, eat healthy and workout, yet treat their brain (which is arguably the most important organ) like a dirty, old sponge they can… Read more »

SavvyFinancialLatina
SavvyFinancialLatina
6 years ago

We also cut our cable out. We really don’t miss it because we have Netflix and Hulu. It’s savings us about $60 a month. Now if we could only get cheaper internet.

EMH
EMH
6 years ago

Cable, including HBO and OnDemand, is part of our condo assessments so I don’t have a choice. Since I live in a large complex we get a discounted group rate which I am told is $45/month. On average, I watch 2 to 3 hours of TV a day which comes out to less than a $1/day. I guess I could help a child in Africa but I do love HBO, AMC, Sundance, IFC and some of the programming on FX such as Louie and Always Sunny. If we didn’t get a discounted rate, then I would probably follow your footsteps… Read more »

PawPrint
PawPrint
6 years ago

Okay, here’s the truth. I miss my cable. When we moved to a higher cost of living area we gave it up. We have an inside antenna, but we live in an apartment so the reception isn’t great. Every time a car passes by, the picture breaks up. Pretty annoying. We did get a Netflix subscription, though, and are finding a lot of old PBS series that we hadn’t seen. Frankly, I get a lot of exercise during the day and kind of enjoy sitting on the couch next to my sweetie, watching mindless entertainment.

Matt @ Your Living Body
Matt @ Your Living Body
6 years ago

I went without cable for a number of years when I was in college. I have it now but for the most part my wife enjoys it more than me. The only thing I really missed when I didn’t have cable was sports. So far there is NO GOOD WAY to keep up with sports when you don’t have cable. And that’s a problem… Judging by most of the responses on here, sports aren’t that big deal to you all but I enjoy watching my favorite teams. Other than that, when it comes to me, I’d rather read a book… Read more »

Anurag S.
Anurag S.
6 years ago

I have pretty much the same setup as yours, the only difference is that I have a Aereo.com account to watch basic free-to-air channels. It is $8 but I like it since 1. I tried but could not get it using an Antenna, and 2. the quality is consistent and it comes with a free 20 hr DVR.

I have also cut my home phone to zero using Google voice with OBItalk.

Philip
Philip
6 years ago
Reply to  Anurag S.

Aereo just announced that they’re coming to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex in September, so I’m super excited to try them. I’ve heard about it for the last few months and have only heard good things.

Mrs. B
Mrs. B
6 years ago

We got rid of cable when I became unemployed 2 years ago. We used NetFlix, Hulu and life-line (We have a bundle with phone and internet). As soon as I got another full time job 6 months later, not only did we subscribe, but we went with the full digital + DVR combo. So we tried it, did not like it and find other ways to cut expenses. But if tight times come again, we know we would survive just fine without cable TV.

SwampWoman
SwampWoman
6 years ago

Cancelled cable about three years ago. Can’t get the local stations because they’re too far away to receive through an antenna. So, we watch Netflix on the television and local news on the computer. *shrug* I don’t miss it at all.

Ely
Ely
6 years ago

My favorite shows are only available via cable. Still, it’s not worth $50+/mo just for BBC America.

krantcents
krantcents
6 years ago

My cable and internet is combined! I do not like my cable company because they act (arrogant) like they have a monopoly. Since I have practically no debt (small mortgage & car loan) and I will have both paid off in 3-4 years, I view cable as my entertainment. I may change in retirement in 4 years, bu tI doubt it.

tam
tam
6 years ago

No cable since 2008. Use Netflix and Amazon Prime. Cable co. kept increasing fees and decreasing channels. Got fed up and cancelled. No regrets, not going back. I have instituted a Netflix hiatus, however, because being able to watch an entire season of and show in one sitting has turned me into a couch potatoe.

Brandy
Brandy
6 years ago

I looove my cable. We all read and are well educated and well rounded people but its our entertainment. Its the only vice we spend on. We are debt free, paid cash for our house but cable/internet/phones is our biggist bill. But I feel its worth it.

Janice
Janice
6 years ago

Like many others, I cancelled cable. I have a netflix account too. My antenna pulls in a LOT of channels inasmuch as I live high up, so that’s a bonus. However, there are free streaming services like filmontv (for basic local channels, like ABC, CBS, Fox, PBS, etc.) if an antenna doesn’t cut it for you, AND…drum roll, please, free TV streaming for many of the cable hot shows from tv-series.me. I’ve watched Homeland, Newsroom, The Killing, The Bridge, etc. thru that. So, no I don’t think this is about TV bashing at all, just more about cutting the bill… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
6 years ago

I have the opposite problem to most people here.

I just moved to a rural home. Satellite internet is extremely slow and overpriced, so forget about streaming. NO STREAMING ANYTHING.

As I said a moment ago, my wife and I watch sports together (association football, aka “socceer”), so I’m looking down the barrel of a 2-year satellite TV contract. OUCH.

I DON’T WANNA.

But how else am I going to get the Premier league, the Bundesliga, and UEFA champions league in the middle of the sticks?

Believe me, I’m looking….

If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears.

Emily @ evolvingPF
Emily @ evolvingPF
6 years ago

I love your description of how you reacted to Greg’s suggestion! We also have an antenna, a Roku, and Netflix, and have no intention of going back to cable. Really, most of the programming is crap! Netflix allows us to be much more selective when we want to zone out. We still watch the sports we want, too, from a combo of sources.

BD
BD
6 years ago

I got rid of my television & cable 8 years ago (being unemployed will do that to you.) I did not miss it though, since I rarely watch TV. A few years ago, I picked up Netflix for $7.99 a month, and it’s been the perfect solution, since it has movies as well as TV shows. And to one poster up towards the top who implied that people without cable pick up their shows through less-than-ethical methods…well, I never have. I either use my Netflix which I pay for, or once in a blue moon I’ll buy an episode of… Read more »

Jane
Jane
6 years ago
Reply to  BD

“I do not download illegal content. That’s just wrong.” I don’t disagree with you, and I shy away from doing so. But that doesn’t mean we never do it. Game of Thrones is a case in point. It is no coincidence that it is the most pirated show ever. There is no way to watch it if you don’t have cable. In order to support the show, we end up buying the DVDs at a later date. I also take issue with the $1.99 per episode price point. This is too high. For a 23 episode series, that is more… Read more »

BD
BD
6 years ago
Reply to  Jane

I’ve never even seen one episode of Game of Thrones. Neither have many of my friends. *shrug*

I agree that it would be nice for TV episode prices to go down to something lower than $1.99 on Amazon, but I simply just don’t buy them very often. Maybe I’m weird…I just don’t see the allure in most programming these days (especially most reality shows, as well as competition shows such as American Idol…why is it so popular?).

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
6 years ago
Reply to  Jane

There is no way to watch it if you don’t have cable.

Erm, you could wait a few months and rent it off Netflix.

Jane
Jane
6 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

BD – I also shake my head at a lot of what is popular these days, but I certainly watch my fair share of TV of questionable value. If someone finds it relaxing at the end of the day to watch B-level stars in garish outfits dancing on stage, who am I to judge? El Nerdo – I would be fine with waiting, although it is much longer than a few months. Try a year. Regardless, my husband is one of those rabid book fans who probably has all the GoT’s family crests and countless characters memorized. I can barely… Read more »

Barb
Barb
6 years ago
Reply to  Jane

With all due respect, of course there is a way to watch it. the same way I (who do have cable but no pay channels did). wait till it comes out on DVD or netflux or see if it gets released on demand.

I certainly agree that cable companies have monopolies blah blah blah-but either pay for it or wait-in my humble opinion. In our case, we will, quite simply, get the pay channel and watch GOT and then cancell it.

Jane
Jane
6 years ago
Reply to  Barb

Barb, with all due respect, there is no way for people without cable to watch Game of Thrones legally when it is released. Full stop. I and any other person who gets it other ways are fully aware that if we wait a year, we can then watch it with a clear conscience. That’s not the point. The point is that we don’t want to wait a year. Yeah, yeah, entitlement, but I do believe I already pointed out that huge caveat. Of course, we could not watch at all, but who does that benefit? I guarantee you HBO and… Read more »

Emily @ evolvingPF
Emily @ evolvingPF
6 years ago
Reply to  Barb

@Jane, What you’re saying is that stealing is OK because you really really want what you’re stealing and the provider has made it impossible for you to get the product – unless you actually pay for it. The network has done a great job promoting its product to you. Just because other people are stealing the content doesn’t make it right. “There is no way for people without cable to watch Game of Thrones legally when it is released.” Serious suggestion: Go over to a friend with cable’s house to watch GoT episodes the night they come on or later… Read more »

Jane
Jane
6 years ago
Reply to  Barb

Emily – I object to the use of the term stealing when referring to copyright infringement, and I am certainly not the only one. Here’s a law professor in the New York Times explaining why you shouldn’t conflate downloading with actual stealing (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/29/opinion/theft-law-in-the-21st-century.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0). Downloading is definitely a morally grey area, but let’s tone down the absolute language. This is coming from someone who had her wallet physically stolen from her car less than a week ago. Now I don’t have my wallet or the $800 he drained from my account. I assure you that what he did is much different… Read more »

Barb
Barb
6 years ago
Reply to  Barb

Sorry, but justifications aside, you are taking something that is supposed to be paid for and getting it for free. You may be offended at the word stealing, but there it is. While the producer pay think its a good thing for you to steal content, I doubt the network does and I surely doubt that GOT needs any more publicity or word passing than there already is. All kinds of justifications exist for doing illegal things. To answer your specific question I do not sign a contract. I add a channel to my basic service and I call when… Read more »

Jane
Jane
6 years ago
Reply to  Barb

I am not offended at the word stealing; it is legally and semantically incorrect. The only way I could steal a television show is if I took the one and only copy of it and refused to give it back. Or if I took the story and claimed that I rather than George R.R. Martin wrote it. That’s stealing. If I take someone’s wallet, do they still have it? No, it is no longer in their possession. That is why legally copyright infringement doesn’t so easily fall under the realm of theft. Copyright infringement is illegal and wrong, but it’s… Read more »

Cindy @ GrowingHerWorth
Cindy @ GrowingHerWorth
6 years ago
Reply to  Barb

If I’m understanding correctly, and it’s only stealing if I take their “one and only copy”, then I could technically go into Target, or Best Buy, or where ever and take whatever I wanted, so long as it wasn’t the only copy? Merriam-Webster, stealing: to take or appropriate without right or leave and with intent to keep or make use of wrongfully Piracy fits the definition of stealing, even if you disagree. Someone, or rather many someones, should have made money off of your ability to watch it. I’m sorry, but if someone is taking away money I should have… Read more »

Jane
Jane
6 years ago
Reply to  Barb

Since at this point, I feel like I’m stuck in a much less amusing version of “Who’s on first?”, I think we should just agree to disagree and leave it at that. 🙂

Andrew
Andrew
6 years ago

It is a great time to be alive. We are already seeing the “start” of a major disruption in traditional pricing options for cable. Netflix is a start, so is Amazon Prime and Hulu. The Roku handles this fine. Also on tap is the Billionaire playboy with more money than common sense who is movie material in his own right (sitting on a fortune from Coca-Cola). Although FilmOn is a World Wide the platform and is already serving geo-restricted local television in thirty major US markets including New York, New-Jersey, Connecticut, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, Washington DC, San Francisco,… Read more »

lmoot
lmoot
6 years ago

I just want to jump in and mention that streaming is different than downnloading (and uploading)…at least in the eyes of the law, though some may argue it’s just as unethical. With streaming you do not own a copy of the product, which means you cannot sell or distribute it. You are witnessing an illegal upload and if the interested parties get it removed you will no longer have access to it; The law can go after the uploader and the hosting site, but to date they have not made streaming illegal, mainly because it is so difficult to prove… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
6 years ago
Reply to  lmoot

Whoa there, not all streams are created equal. Netflix, Hulu, MTV.com, whatever, etc, provide legal streaming video.

Streaming refers to the technology, not to the act of piracy. Which of course ALSO happens with streaming. But it’s not exactly the same thing.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
6 years ago
Reply to  lmoot

Streaming can be illegal. A lot of content is licensed in the U.S but not here in Canada, but there are ways to “trick” one’s computer into appearing as if it’s from the U.S. to access the U.S. version of Netflix, etc. There’s a lot of debate as to whether proxy servers are illegal and/or unethical. I’ve never wanted to watch anything that badly that I’ve waded into this grey area.

Adrian
Adrian
6 years ago

I tried to do what you did, but in our case it was a colossal failure and we ended up going back to cable. Apparently our Roku box is “allergic” to our router so we never could get it to work right. I spent hours on the phone with the techs. I finally had to set up a second router, but that was hit and miss too. Plus I was frustrated that a lot of the shows I wanted were not on Netflix or Hulu, so I finally said to heck with it and switched back. I kind of regret… Read more »

Smooth
Smooth
6 years ago

I’m all for cutting out cable, but unfortunately, Comcast has a stronghold where I live and it would cost about the same for me to just subscribe to internet vs the internet/cable bundle I have. And I’m a student that needs internet at home.

For those of you with no cable and just internet… who is your ISP?

Mrs PoP @ Planting Our Pennies
Mrs PoP @ Planting Our Pennies
6 years ago
Reply to  Smooth

Try to find out who your local DSL provider is. Our DSL provider doesn’t require us to pay for a landline even though the internet signal comes through the phone lines. Our current DSL price (1.5 MBps, I think) is $34/month. Promos at various times have had that even lower (lowest was $13/mo), but that’s the lowest we can find in our area right now.

Smooth
Smooth
6 years ago

Thanks for the reply! I forget all about DSL. I have Netflix so I stream video quite a bit. Do you? If so, how does DSL speeds work for you?

Philip
Philip
6 years ago
Reply to  Smooth

We have AT&T U-verse for both TV and internet, but we were internet-only for quite a long time.

Cat Alford (@BudgetBlonde)
Cat Alford (@BudgetBlonde)
6 years ago

Awesome Holly! We haven’t had a TV in 3 years, and it has been amazing! We just watch shows on our computers. 🙂

Danielle @ Young Adult Personal Finance
Danielle @ Young Adult Personal Finance
6 years ago

Great article! My Husband & I are currently living without cable. We cancelled it earlier this years because we are trying to save to buy a house and the extra money that we save each month will definitely come in handy. We still have Internet so we just connect our computer to our TV with a DVI cable & watch movies or Netflix. It’s just as good as cable but costs much less. 🙂

Karen
Karen
6 years ago

We cancelled our satellite about 6 weeks ago, when I realized that we were paying more than $50/month so I could watch local channels, HGTV, and Food Network (my husband doesn’t really watch TV). We signed up for limited basic cable (local channels only) at $13/month, and I’m fine with it so far. There is only one program I watch that isn’t available on the local channels, so I stream it on the iPad. Works for me.

Michael | The Student Loan Sherpa
Michael | The Student Loan Sherpa
6 years ago

I got rid of cable a couple years ago… and I haven’t really missed it. I especially haven’t missed the bills.

sara
sara
6 years ago

It’s too bad about the financing, but I bet that Kirby will last forever.

Jane
Jane
6 years ago
Reply to  sara

Everyone I know who has one of those super expensive, indestructable vacuum cleaners does not really use them. The reason is because they are huge and unwieldy. They end up spending the bulk of their lives in a closet unused. We had a Kirby representative come to our door a few years ago. I didn’t have enough sense to not let them in our house. After over hour of sales pitching, he did leave without the sale. I basically just said, “There’s no way in heck I’m going to pay $1,500 for a vacuum cleaner.” He saw the writing on… Read more »

Holly@ClubThrifty
6 years ago
Reply to  Jane

I bought it at a time in my life when I wasn’t concerned about my finances =)

It is a really nice vacuum, but it is hard to use because it is so heavy. I can’t even take it upstairs in my house. I have to ask my husband!

I agree abut buying a used one on craigslist. I see them on there all the time.

Airi
Airi
6 years ago

We dont have TV coz i think we dont need it, there is computer anyway 🙂

Clint
Clint
6 years ago

Here’s a tip for those of you keeping cable simply for the sports programming.

You can get MLB.tv for $130 a year.
You can get NFL Season Ticket code with a $100 Madden NFL 25th anniversary (PS3/XBOX) from Amazon. This is normally $300 a year.

My family has managed with Netflix for the last 6 months and we have just switched to Amazon instant video (with prime) and will likely try the NFL season ticket for this year.

leeann
leeann
6 years ago
Reply to  Clint

We tried every option listed to cut our T.V. bill down to $15 (still had everything we watched w/Dish basic). The beestings plopped a “free” FOUL HBO show (NR) on my DVR, Twice. DUMPED DISH. Still cannot scrub it out of my brain :'(.

Dabbled with Prime/Hulu a bit, but no ratings locks stink. Didnt continue it. Savings have paid off my student loan!

We are now t.v. free. It’s wonderful. The peace is so indescribable. like a vacation at home every day. ~signed a recovered DVR show hoarder.

Jon
Jon
6 years ago

Great post! We unfortunately can’t get the antenna (here where we are in CO we sit between two mountains and wouldn’t get reception), but we decided to go with the cheapest option, which runs us about $20/month. Mostly, we like it for the live sporting events, which is why we keep it. But we have found that life without a ton of TV options is great… leaves more time for the things we actually enjoy!

elcee8
elcee8
6 years ago

I haven’t lived with cable TV since living with my parents in 1999. College, being poor and couch surfing after college, living in Peru for 2 months, Grad school never allowed me the time/luxury of owning a TV or having cable. It has been 4 years since grad school and living on my own. My apartment doesn’t have a TV. I pay $34/month for internet, $8/month for netflix, and I read books. If I want to watch a movie on a tv I go to my brothers’ place (they have several TVs in their house), that happens about once a… Read more »

Tracee
Tracee
6 years ago

Netflix is the BEST! We stream it through our PS3. Tons of cartoons, TV and movies. The TV and movies are usually a little older, so if there is a show we really love and want to watch right away to avoid spoilers, we buy it per episode from Amazon. Hulu is a little trickier. You can watch most shows for free over hulu.com (and if you are so inclined, you can hook up your computer to your TV and watch it on the big screen). But if you get a Hulu subscription, you get access to more shows, and… Read more »

shares