What’s up, my people!
If I haven’t scared you away yet from that Lexus news, you’ll be happy to know that there is some saving actually going down here ;) And as much as I never thought I’d say it, it’s coming from cutting cable! Egads!
But I gotta admit – I’m a convert.
I won’t try and convince anyone else to do it as we all have our ideal lifestyles (as alluded to in my not-at-all sarcastic post on the 7 best ways to save money E-V-E-R) but I did want to share a few thoughts so far in case anyone’s considering it… And I know you are because you can’t go a day without some $$ blogger talking about it! (Guess it was my turn?)
Some pros and cons so far…
#1. You do save money, but not as much as you might think
The biggest allure to cutting out cable is arguably the savings. But if you still very much enjoy your TV time as we do and/or the internet (how else will you get this Pulitzer prize winning blog at your house?), you’re unfortunately not going down to the $0.00 that most people associate with giving up cable. You might not even get it down to the $50 or $100 range!
That being said, you DO save money or else this cult following wouldn’t be nearly so cult anymore… By the time everything was said and done for us, we wound up dropping our bill from $145/mo to $100 and change, and then once Netflix and Hulu were in the picture, were back up to the $118’ish mark. Still a nice $30/mo in savings, but not nearly as drastic as one would dream of.
(I should point out, however, that due to our living instability we couldn’t sign any lengthy contracts which does make a pretty significant difference… In contrast, we just signed up for internet at our new place and were able to lock in a $69.99 rate along with a much faster connection! So if you can do the contract thing and/or don’t care about watching TV anymore, your savings can add up fast.)
#2. It’s nice not having to
call argue with your service provider anymore!
While most of my adult life I just signed up to the “bundle” and then promptly forgot about it, I wised up over the years and realized that if you don’t stay on top of them the bills will get out of control. And unfortunately that means calling them up every few months and making sure no foolery’s going on (I literally had a calendar item set so I wouldn’t forget).
Here’s a look at preceding 12 months before I finally had enough:
- Bill started at $170.00
- Called to try and get it lowered – succeeded in dropping it to $122.00!
- Called again a little later, got it down again to an impressive $91.00!
- Rates got jacked back up to $122.00, call this time failed
- Rates got jacked back up again to $145.00, call failed again – threw in the towel
Again, the no contract part didn’t help, but after scaling back to the lowest # of channels I could get as well as getting rid of the home phone line (we switched to Ooma), we were finally out of options and decided it wasn’t worth the hassle anymore. It was time to switch to the dark side and finally see what the fuss was about!
And the fuss was worth it… Total number of calls placed to Verizon since? Zero :)
#3. It’s also nice to be more conscious about what you watch
Since we simply swapped cable for streaming on-demand services (did I tell you we actually never had Netflix until last year? And that my mother had it before we did??? :)) we were still watching TV, only the *quality* became a lot better. So now instead of channel surfing and constantly trying to figure out what to watch all the time, we quickly move right to the good stuff and get on with it…
Though it hasn’t done much to curb binging ;)
#4. I very much miss live football – not gonna lie
It’s okay right now ‘cuz we’re still in the off season (but not for long – ack!), but the hardest part of dropping cable, at least for me, was losing all the live sports. I know you can get add ons like Sling and what not, but without trying to jack up the costs again rendering it all pointless you’re options are fairly limited. And it’s just not the same dragging your kids to bars to try and soak it in ;)
Is it enough for me to go back and sign my soul away again though? Absolutely not. I may try the antenna route again now that we’re headed to a new place with hopefully better reception (the last try failed miserably), but for now we just suck it up and do what we can… People say there’s more to life than football anyways, right? (RIGHT???)
UPDATE: We’ve now got ourselves an antenna, and it’s GLORIOUS!! 32 (FREE) stations including all major networks and of course now Redskins games :) And the picture quality is impeccable too! (Apparently cable compresses things where as OTA does not?) Best $16 I’ve spent all year.
UPDATE #2: Since this post came out there have been a number of new companies pop up that provide great alternatives to Cable TV for live sports!
#5. I still find it hilarious that we had to upgrade our TV to downgrade our service!
This is the one area no one told us about, nor did we see coming when starting this journey. But apparently if you still rock an old school TV without the proper ports and settings, you might need to shell out some dough for a flat screen. Which sounds exactly like the opposite of what personal finance professionals tell you to do, haha…
Here’s our old one right next to the new one after all our hacking attempts failed:
I think we lost half the viewing size, d’oh… But hey – it works in the 21st century now! And the cash from hawking the relic on Craigslist certainly helped dampen the blow…
So all this to say that a) we’re still cable-less, and b) we’re very much still enjoying it :)
The savings could be better, but after 10 months we’ve now banked roughly $300 and the next 10 will bring us an additional $600 too. All without altering our lifestyle much.
If you’re up for a little experimenting, it may be worth a shot! Not like the cable companies wouldn’t welcome you back with open arms, those bastards ;)
Who else is cable-less these days?
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Going without the live sports is a huge issue. We cut cable over two years ago though and have got by fine with an antenna and an occasional month of sling. Savings have been much bigger for us, closer to $700 a year IIRC. And the great thing is it saves that much year after year for you so it really adds up!
Yeah! One time work for future passive savings :)
Yup. My contract with Dish is up in 6 weeks. Fairly sure I’ll let it go, but if I can finagle a hefty discount, I might hang on through this football season.
Last year I paid a lot of money for NFL network. NEVER AGAIN ! now I am watching NFL online via NFLHDTV. COM . It’s the best tv broadcaster this year. :)
Going to a neighbor’s house to watch big games I’d always an option. It can be a way to make new friends in your new hood too. If they have kids, you can bring your kids and win points with your wife!
And maybe it’ll lead to some good financial discussions too if I’m lucky :) I often don’t come across people in real life w/out cable.
We’ve never had any form of cable since we were poor college kids when we got married and it has just become the normal and we don’t really miss it at all. Watching football is the only thing that we would really like, and even then just BYU games. Thankfully we have found an older couple that are die hard fans and love for us to bring our boys to come watch games with them.
Other than that we get by great with finding other free ways to get our TV fix taken care of: http://www.bandofsavers.com/2016/06/saving-tips-rent-movies-from-library.html?m=1
When you look for an antenna, get am amplified one. I even suggest the 60 mile Mohu one if you can (buy and return if the don’t work)
Thanks for the rec! I tried 3 different Mohu ones last year when they sent some over for the article I was writing (we ended up giving them away when they didn’t work for me) but I’d totally try ’em again in the new place. I feel like being so close to DC they have to work?
Be carful with the Leaf. That was the first one we tried, and it worked well for most stations, but there were a couple that we couldn’t get reliably. As it turns out, those “trouble” stations were VHF stations.
I came to find out that the Leaf is great at UHF signals, but not quite so good with VHF.
Finally picked up this Winegard (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003L76BJS/) and it’s been great. I even mounted it outside where the DirecTV dish used to be and used the existing coax. Can’t recommend it highly enough. Especially for the price.
We have been at it for about 3 years now and couldn’t imagine going back! We luckily live close enough to towers that our antenna works well. The one thing I do miss is baseball because the only way I can watch the Brewers is at a bar right now. But there is talk that they might be changing blackout rules so hopefully next year I will be able to start streaming it!
I second Tara’s suggestion for the Mohu antenna. Ours works great!
3 years – nice!
I cancelled my subscription with DirecTV just before Thanksgiving last year. I did get an antenna and I can get maybe 4 regular TV channels on a clear day. I also got Netflix but had to upgrade my internet speed to handle the streaming better. All in all, I saved about $35/month. Jay, you are so right – I am much happier with my new “normal”!! I don’t miss trolling the program guide to find something to watch, I can watch it on my time and I’m not a slave to DirecTV’s sneaky price hikes.
We are still in the magical introductory period where they lul you to sleep before hitting you in the face with a board.
We went without cable for awhile a few years ago, but I ended up going to the bar to watch Wild and Vikings games, was probably a wash or worse
This article is timely, as I have gotten my cable down to the basics (and the sports package). I watch enough good shows through my Amazon Prime account that Im happy, but the sports would be tough. Like J Money said it might only be a $30-40 a month savings and if I go to a bar to watch a game or games, I will likely spend more than that in a month and “poof” there goes the savings. I’m a baseball fan so I thought of listening to the games on the radio. Here’s the last part. I have a Slingbox, so my dad watches his beloved NY Teams from the comfort of his house in Florida, but he told me if I cut the cord he would just buy the MLB, NFL, and NHL packages. Hmm…maybe I should send him my Slingbox, and reverse the setup, since I will keep the internet?
We still have cable because we need it for the internet and there are no other options where we live without it. Besides, our apartment subsidizes the cost.
Even so, we never watch cable, outside of GoT. We watch Netflix instead – it’s easier to choose something you want to watch when you want to see it, and there’s no ads!
That IS funny you needed an upgraded TV to downgrade service. I agree Craigslist is the place to get them.We have a giant HD CRT from CL. We actually had bunny ears for a while, but now we get 5 free channels through our internet provider. Before that we were using bunny ears! I’m just thrilled we get PBS for the kids.
I have Netflix and Hulu – streaming only (and Amazon Prime – but that “doesn’t count” because I have been using that for years: “Hello Christmas shi/opping!” [see what I did there?] )
No box needed because ( again, for years ) I have a PS3, which has this software. So, I went down from tier three service from which I was paying $170 a month to internet ($65) plus Hulu ($9) – so, a $95 savings – I am sharing Netflix from a friend’s account, who did not mind having another user on it, as long as I didn’t add to the cost. They put in the password, and I never log off so I don’t even need to know it and they keep their privacy, unless I want to see what they are watching, which goes both ways *grin*. I think I watch shows something like once every three or four days or so. I am quite happy with it.
At some point I might try an antenna, but I get local news from their Facebook accounts (they do live streaming) or from their websites and that is pretty much the only thing I “need” locally.
BTW — this is about 2.5 years now. :D Considering I am still paying my son’s (very expensive) phone bill, which is soon to drop off my radar (within the next 6-12 months at most) It helps a lot. *grin*
That’s funny about seeing what each other watches! Hadn’t thought about that!
We cut the cord earlier this year and love it so far! Like you, we had to get a newer TV to make it work. One thing I would say about the antenna is to get a more powerful one than is recommended, because the normal channels will be more stable and you’ll also pick up some random channels you weren’t expecting. :-) Somehow we get the ACC network through the antenna and get a bunch of college games that way!
We are in month #3 of cutting the chord. Our provider is Cox Cable. We cut the cable, jacked up the Internet to the max, and kept the land line phone. We cut mor monthly bill from $165 to $107. Our set-up is a basic ROKU unit and we stream Netflix and as Amazon Prime customers we stream that as well when it’s free. When we had cable we had been Netflix customers in any case. Here are our preliminary results:
1. I’m THRILLED about the monthly savings
2. I’m THRILLED to “stick it to the cable company.”
3. I’m NOT thrilled by delayed TV but we’ve developed a nice little pattern
– HGTV is still live and that was one of our primary channels prior to the big cut
– Rather than watching Fox News we now watch the British Sky TV channel which is far more heavily weighted internationally. For domestic we watch ABC/CBS News when we can stomach it.
– For business/market news we watch clips of FOX Business, Financial Times, Bloomberg, Morningstar rather than streaming in CNBC all day on cable as we did before. This is actually a better solution than the cable option
4. Sports. This is a MASSIVE problem. I’m a HUGE baseball and NFL football fan and it’s killing me. Once NFL Season gears up it spells trouble. All slinging options eliminate my home team Washington Redskins. I’d do a contract with NFL Live if it were say only road games so and go to Hooters or something for home games so will have to see. This issue is not going to go away and it lessens my quality of life. Sorry, but I can only get so much joy out of looking at trees and freaking insects for entertainment. We also don’t fancy sitting around with neighbors playing Yahtzee as a substitute – it’s not. Go away.
5. Evenings have been OK with the Netflix and Amazon stream which other than sports was how we’d been watching anyway.
6. Overall? I can only answer that during football season
As Mr. Cousins would say, YOU LIKE THAT! YOU LIKE THAT!!
just try Youtube TV! thats how my bf and i watch the Red Sox games, and we live in Boston. $42/month and you can cancel anytime
Shoot me an email. I have resources for live football games. ;) You can watch your Redskins suck it up every week! (I think you’re a skins fan). I’ve gotten to watch my Chiefs do terrible for so many years, and they’re finally decent enough where I don’t feel like I’m just wasting my weekend.
hah! you’re on for Redskins vs Chiefs :)
I’m cutting our plan this week and football is my main concern. The rest I can do with Roku, and amazon prime shows, and netflix, but man I think football may be the deal breaker. I’ll try an antenna, as we’re supposed to be in range for most towers, but the maps show us on the edges of that range, so maybe I’ll try the Mohu one suggested by previous commenters.
We’ll see if I stay cord free once october rolls around and i’ve had a few months of football deprivation… Only time will tell.
We’ve never had cable. Antenna only. As more and more sports migrate to cable, it’s getting harder. Like watching the entire NCAA basketball tournament and then the final is on cable. :-( Our son and DIL live nearby and take mercy on us, and my mother recently sprang for DirecTV recently because her antenna coverage was getting so poor, so we have a couple options.
I was nodding my head through the whole list…except for #4. We’re not into sports other than some PPV stuff and the occasional hockey/football game…which we now stream or go to a local restaurant/pub to watch and make an outing out of it with friends (rare though). That definitely made it an easier switch. We’ve been cable free for about 7 years and couldn’t even think of going back.
One point to add? No commercials! The fewer of those we watch, the less stuff we want. Plus, they’re loud, intrusive and a time waster. I’d love to know how much money I’ve saved by not buying things I’d only think I “need” or want by seeing them on TV.
You have a good point about commercials. While I’m a minimalist and advertising has zero effect on me, I do think our current world of bombardment of advertising is a problem. However, it is not just TV…. blogs, newspapers, stadiums, billboards, affiliate links, etc… I recently saw a cartoon spoof that a teacher couldn’t write on her chalkboard in her classroom because the school rented it out for advertising.
I still see commercials with Hulu and the ABC app :( But def. nice w/out ’em on Netflix!
Since we moved, we only have Antenna – and a service similar to Netflix. Our internet speed is good.
Its funny to to hear people talking about shitty TV shows like American Idol now – totaly no clue what they are talking about.
Saves us ~10€ per month.
Hey! That show used to be pretty good! :)
I cut cable and am happy about it. I changed the tuner settings on my tv to antenna and put a paper clip in the antenna hole for local channels, $40 for Internet and $35 for PlayStation Vue TV service. I’m never going back to cable. My bill used to be almost $200
a paper clip??? hahahhaa..
We still have cable,because our bill is a fraction of the cost of a typical bill. part of the perk/benefit of working for a cable company. Once it runs out we will certainly be downgrading.
Here’s how we’ve been doing it for almost 2 years now
– 50 gigabit Internet for $64.99 a month – called them a few months ago and got it down to $54.99 – woo hoo
– my wife bought an HD antenna years before I even met her, you can get a decent one for ~$50. We hooked it up to a splitter and have broadcast tv in 3 rooms for free! Also, doesn’t the local NFL game always play on broadcast tv? I know the Giants and Jets games always have to be on our local stations. I assume the same for your area, the Redskins. Unless you’re not a redskins fan…
– $8.99/month for Netflix(obvious must have)
– $99/year or ~$8 a month Amazon prime(we have the Amazon instant video but don’t really use it that much).
– shared HBOgo subscription with my sister-in-law. She pays for this and uses our Netflix and Amazon instant video
– ESPN/other streaming sports channels – if literally anybody you know is willing to give you their cable info and they have ESPN, you can watch ESPN on your phone or tablet or have Apple TV or something similar. We have a Google Chromecast for this and its Amazing! Although you would need to have a smartphone or tablet of some kind for this to work properly. I hear Roku are pretty good if you need a standalone product
-if you can’t find your game – my wife watches Yankees games and the YES network doesn’t stream!(booooooo). This is where vipbox.tv is a wonder. It may not be the best quality…but it’s watchable and they have a stream for basically every game ever in every sport you ever knew or didn’t know existed. After closing a few ad Windows or just turning on pop-up or ad blocker on your computer, you can have any game any time. Is it totally legal? Maybe not, but I’m not going to cry too much about not giving the big media companies any more of my money if they over-charge for basic cable services(and sports in particular).
So there you go, for about ~$72 a month we have basically all we need. And if you wanted to throw in Hulu it might get up to $80-85, not sure how much Hulu costs these days. That’s roughly equivalent to what you need and slightly cheaper if you can find ppl to share with :).
Damn son, you’ve got a system going on! Thx for laying it out for us!
No cable for me. I do have a tiny 17 inch flat screen that is linked to my Roku. I have not actually watched netflix or amazon streaming in a few months. May be time to suspend them for now since I’m so focused elsewhere.
My internet costs are low $15, because I split it with roommates.
I haven’t had cable since freaking college. The only thing that really really sucks is not being able to watch sports games sometimes, but usually I can stream them totally legally*. :)
I haven’t had cable for many years, probably 7+? I built my own DVR and use a box from https://www.silicondust.com/ to capture over the air TV. I can capture two channels at the same time. I can skip the commercials. I can watch shows that come on while I’m at work. And best of all is no cable TV bill. There are a couple of exceptions. I will pay for cable the three months that world cup soccer is on. We’ll watch stuff on Amazon Prime and Netflix.
HAH! Hacker skills right there, respect.
Our cable bill kept going up every month. Then the box quit. They charged $110 to diagnose the problem & replace the box. A year later it quit again. This time it would be $120 to diagnose it. So we threw in the towel & cut the cord. That was 3 years ago. Funny, when I called to cancel service & told them why, I was told “oh, I have the authority to waive the $120 charge”. Too late! Bye bye cable. We installed an antennae on the roof & have enjoyed 30 free stations ever since. We hardly miss cable at all as so many stations we never watched anyway. They were raising the bill/taxes on it almost every month even when we had a contract & bundled the services.
I dislike the cable bill so much! I like you will call every year at my anniversary date! I sit and question my needs verses what promotions they offer. It is a bill that I would love to give up but we do find an entertainment value….if we watch 3 movies a month…it saves about $60 going to the theater granted they are 6 months old but it helps me justify that $145/month.
Our problem is that the *only* high-speed internet available is through the cable company, which INSISTS on “bundling” – it actually costs me MORE to have just internet, no cable, than to have cable, internet and phone.
When we dropped the phone several years ago, we also cut back to “basic” cable – and that involved an HOUR on the phone with the cable company, explaining that yes, I do know what “basic” cable consists of, and yes, that’s what I want, and no, it’s none of your business what I like to watch on TV (at one point, I ended up telling them I liked to watch the same programming that was also available through satellite).
Then we did some remodeling in the living room, unplugged the cable and just never plugged it back in. I called (again) to cancel the service (hey, maybe things change, right?), found there was a promotion going on, dropped my price by about $30, and still haven’t plugged the cable back in.
So. . . I’m paying less for an additional service I don’t want or need, and don’t even use, than I would for just what I want. Makes perfect sense, right?
Haha.. I don’t think anyone here is surprised by that :)
2 years no cable here. I don’t miss it at all. Of course having a nice OTA DVR, Netflix, hulu and amazon prime all help. Also helps I live in an area with both Comcast and Fios so I am always on a new customer internet price. I also mooch as many passwords as I can off of friends and family. I mean GoT & TWD are not optional.
I also have Ooma and to be honest while its rock solid and I use it for faxing occasionally I think paying even 5 dollar a month is too much for something I really don’t need. I’m probably going to cancel it soon, I hate the disruption of a ringing phone in my house. Ive had Ooma for about 4 years now and really just keep it for fax. But google doc sharing makes fax almost a non factor now.
I was gifted a Tablo and have to say its pretty awesome having an OTA DVR accessible at every TV you have a roku or apple tv at. However, I’m not sure I could justify buying it myself when there are significantly cheaper options available. My brother has a $30 DVR he got off of Amazon and he says it works very well. Heres the link if you are interested:
Also, for live football, I assume you mean MNF on ESPN. Get a roku and “borrow” a password for a family member for the ESPN app. Problem Solved.
Whatever you do DONT get Sling TV, its a good idea and terrible execution. Most of the time you will spend watching a black screen since their servers are constantly overloaded anytime football is on.
My month OOP expense for TV, internet an phone combined is roughly $45. Maybe $50 if you include my prime subscription. I estimate I have saved $2640 over the last 2 years
Interesting about Sling!!! We did consider it for a hot minute before continuing forward as-is… Never knew you could fax through Ooma either? Or that people still faxed? Haha…
We love not having to call dish network all the time to get the price to stay the same. I would be interested in the numbers breakdown for the $118 a month bill. Does that include internet cost?
Yes – the $118 was ONLY internet + netflix + hulu. No cable or phone line.
Confession time: I have cable, DVR, Hulu plus, and Netflix. I know, not very efficient. But I am stuck due to my love for sports.
For those who can make it work, a Slingbox is a great option to stream your favorite sports team’s games if you don’t live in that market.
I just canceled Dish yesterday. After about 2 years of only paying ~$20 they finally figured out I wasn’t going to pay any more. I’m trying to decide what to do about football. I’m deciding between a Tivo to DVR the games like I did with Dish or getting a Roku and NFL game pass. I don’t need to watch the games live, just need to watch them. What have others done for NFL?
We finally cut our cable a little over a year ago. Do not miss it at all. We have a very old school TV (from 1997). No flat screen at our house. We just hooked up a used Roku and we get Netflix just fine. We also have two backup 1997 TV’s in the garage when this one goes kaput, so no new TVs in the foreseeable future for us!
When Crapcast raised our bill from $129 to $178 (our one year anniversary of having their service), we pulled the plug on cable TV and home phone. The bill is now $69, and if I go contract I can drop it to $49.99 (so far I’ve resisted, but there are no other service providers in our little mountain town). We have Netflix and Amazon Prime, and we stream sports on a daily basis (that’s almost all we watch except for whatever series we’re following on Netflix). We’ve had great luck streaming but it really takes some tweaking to get it right and it can be frustrating at times, but it’s still much better than the terrible service and incompetent assistance we ever got from the cable company. We also bought Chromecasts for all the televisions (Costco twofer deal). No one seems to miss anything, including sports.
Just hooked up a Chromecast for my kids – so fancy those things :)
For NFL I went with Basic cable. 18.00 per month.
And to augment that I have NFL Rewind for 39.00 per year.
We cut the cord just over a year ago. Football was probably the hardest part about that. I’m a NJ person living in Phoenix, so I’ve always had the Sunday Ticket so that I could watch my beloved NJ Giants :)
What helped with giving that up, was slowly realizing that my time is money. I’m _spending_ 3 hours of my time on one football game on any given Sunday (and Monday, and Thursday, and the occasional Saturday). Plus, with the Sunday Ticket, who really only watches one game on Sunday?
Just like with money, I had to consider whether that was a worthwhile expense.
For every 3 hour football game, there’s 10 minutes of action. From the time the ball is snapped to the time the play is whistled dead, add that up and you get just about 10 minutes.
Most of the rest of it is commercials for crappy domestic beers and erectile dysfunction medications. I’ve got 13 and 11 year old daughters that I tried to get into watching football with me. How do you think that went over?
And of course, there’s the actual financial cost. I had to pay for DirecTV service. Then I had to pay for the Sunday Ticket (yes, I know that you can call and play the “I’m going to cancel” game… which I often did… but that’s just more of my time being spent). And as a fan, of course I had to buy gear. Giants shirts and hats and whatnot. I was spending a good amount of money on football. On the NFL. Supporting players that I’d read about complaining that they’re not making enough money. That they grudgingly signed a contract for $5 million but think they’re worth more.
I can barely afford to take my family of 5 to an NFL game to see these guys play in person, but I have to read about them bitching about not making the correct number of millions.
I’m not going to lie. The first season without the Sunday Ticket was rough. I still wanted to watch the Giants games if they were on a Sunday or Monday night (altho now that Monday Night Football’s on ESPN, I couldn’t even do that). But I found it gets easier quickly.
As far as cutting the cable itself, we bought an OTA antenna, a Tivo Roamio OTA, and just recently got Sling TV so that we can have some access to a news channel (CNN). We’ve always had Netflix, so between Netflix and Sling, our monthly out of pocket is $25.
Sure, we have to give up stuff like Game of Thrones. There were shows that we missed. But when we look at our ever-growing list on Netflix and the OTA stuff that we’ve got piling up on the Tivo… there’s more than enough to keep us busy.
The trick is focusing on what you do get, rather than what you have to give up.
If you can do that, you’ll be fine :)
Best line of the day right there – well said, sir :)
I haven’t had cable, netflix or anything else for over a year. Life is great!
**Accidentally pressed submit with the previous comment**
I haven’t had cable, Netflix or anything else for over a year. Life is great! We haven’t missed it one bit, and it’s saving us money each money, as well as time! We hardly even watch TV anymore.
We have never had cable. It was more a decision that was based on not wanting another time sucker in our lives. Yet the money savings is a bonus. The internet has plenty and is enough of a distraction! ;)
Nice. We still have our cable because we need internet. It’s pretty much free with internet. Our building is talking with a fiber company so maybe we can get internet without cable soon. Should be cheaper than what we are paying now. I’m looking forward to it.
We haven’t had cable for over 10 years, and haven’t missed it one bit :) And, now that we sold our house and downsized – our 52″tv doesn’t fit in the new living room, so we don’t even have a ‘real’ tv right now. We’ve been using a 22″ computer monitor with our chromecast when we really want to watch something! (the kids mostly use phones or tablets to watch youtube videos anyways) Yay for saving money!
HAH! I didn’t know Chromecasts worked on computers but makes sense… And these days most screens look like TVs anyways :)
We got rid of our satellite TV when we moved out of the woods to a rental where it wouldn’t work. That was in March 2010. Two of the apartments we’ve lived in since then offered “free” cable but we never hooked up our tv because we didn’t want the commercials. We aren’t big fans of watching sports, we’d rather play. We have been using Netflix for years and Prime video.
My husband discovered Halt & Catch Fire on Netflix last May. He wanted cable to watch season 2 when it aired. Instead I bought him season 2 on Amazon Instant Video. Paying $25 for the season is better than paying $50/mo for 1 show.
We’ve been without TV and cable for over 5.5 years. Booya!
Nice! I’ve thought about it, as my bill is $200/month or so w/ home security, but it may or may not be a business expense, and I love to watch me some tennis as I write :)
Anyone you’re rooting for at Wimbledon??
Haha…. is there anything you DON’T write off as a business expense?
We nixed cable completely. We already had Netflix, so it was a matter of switching from $100 cable (thanks to financing the in-laws in the guest house) to $8.99 for Hulu. We’ve banked the $92 each month, so we’ve saved roughly $2,500 in the past two years.
There are a couple of channels we miss occasionally (CBS shows, for example) but for the most part we don’t even notice. Thanks to Hulu, I’ve discovered shows that I wouldn’t otherwise have seen.
We did have to replace one Roku box so far, but it was more a convenience thing. Tim sits in front of a window that gets a lot of light during the day. So there were times that the box (which had to face him somewhat) had trouble registering the remote. At least we think that was the problem. So we got the newer one that plugs directly into the TV without a box, and it seems to work better.
Even so, $2,400 of savings seems like a fair deal to me.
This may not be helpful but if you just want enough TV to break the monotony you can limit your cable to basic which will cost $11.50 at Comcast and $19.00 at Dish monthly. You won’t much sports but you will get news, some comedy, and some music and artistic programs. And, though I left Comcast since I thought they were’nt truthful, you could “bundle” basic internet costs for $29. I may return since I’ve punished them enough, And the price is right!$40.50 for both services. Dan
I have gone 10 years without cable now. I haven’t even owned a TV during that time. My laptop / tablet combined with Netflix and HBO Now are my best friends.
Just tried going cord-less a few months ago, and there’s no turning back! I wish there was a little pill to feed to my cable bill to make it shrink down to a miniature size; but, that’s only in Alice in Wonderland.
For live sports, have you tried a HD antenna? We bought the Amazon Basics version for, like, $25, and it gets us ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS – just what you need to watch football! It’s not the most attractive thing, but it works. Though if anyone is interested in buying a HD antenna, I recommend first checking an antenna map to make sure you’ll get the channels you want.
We’ve also ‘cut’ cable and just use our Roku but we’re cheating a bit! In addition to the HD antenna, we use my parent’s netflix account and we use my boyfriend’s parent’s TV login in order to access HBO, FX, ESPN, etc. (aka apps that you can use only if you have a TV provider). We do pay for Hulu Plus as well as MLB TV, NBA TV, and NHL TV (we live out of market for all of our sports teams so we’d pay those costs regardless of if we have cable or not). We keep activating and de-activating our Sling TV. It seems great in theory but it never quite has the channels we want!
We enjoy watching, discussing, reading about TV and sports are very important to us, so for us, it’s worth it to pay for what we do pay for. Once the parent stream runs dry, we’ll figure out what’s truly important, but for now, we’d rather save elsewhere and pay for our sports and other subscriptions.
While all these subscription services may not be that much cheaper than getting cable, there is something to be said for not having to DEAL with the cable company every 6 months to a year to negotiate your bill!
And yeah, tried antennas before but no luck :( Hoping it’s better in the new place we’re moving to though!
It’s so gotten that I don’t spend much time in front of the TV. I moved my laptop to the kitchen table, away from the recliner, so I’m not in front of the TV anymore. My wife’s not into blogging and such, so she still watches more.
Our DVR took a bit of a hit in the last lightening storm. Didn’t burn it up, but it jacked the modem, and now everything lags behind pushing a button. She’s watching what’s recorded, if she can, then we’re going to see about having it replaced.
I want to cut back on the programming, as we don’t watch anywhere near the number of stations. I have to admit, I do like the satellite music though.
We’ll see what happens.
We’ve been cable-less for almost 10 years I think. Our youngest kid has a hard time understanding regular cable TV (“I don’t want to watch this, put X show on instead!”). No way I’d go back to the cable company. It’s about $100 to get a decent basic HD cable package that doesn’t even include the hundreds of channels that some people “need”. There’s the basic subscription, the upgrade to HD, and renting a few cable boxes (don’t think we can buy the cable boxes though we can buy cable modems to save $10/mo for internet).
I don’t miss it at all. We’ve flipped on broadcast TV occasionally (jeopardy and maybe a few hours of NFL several months back). Otherwise it’s netflix, youtube, and most recently Amazon Prime (did the free trial for 30 days; nice but the PLaystation 3 interface SUCKS!). Netflix pumps out more shows than we can watch even though we’re both freaking retired!
That’s funny about the kids not understanding :) It’s a new world for them! My 4 y/o is GREAT at operating our iPad haha..
Never had cable, recently added Sling this past year as the wife and I are avid basketball watchers. We pay $30 a month for internet and $20 a month for sling…$50 a month isn’t too bad.
Sling has ESPN which means you could get Monday night games this season, but idk how many your Redskins are scheduled for…there might be an add on for a certain NFL team but that is more money. Sucks you can only watch half the Thursday night games on network tv, what is an NFL junkie to do?
Sports is the main reason that I haven’t given up cable. It’s one of the few things that I like watch. The good thing is that my cable is under $70.
8 years without cable and 7 years with no TV in my house and I am still here and better for it. :)
I have watched more movies and documentaries in the past 8 years than I ever did when I had cable and the TV. Amazon Prime and Red Box have served me well. Amazon Prime membership was a birthday gift from a family member and she has renewed it for me for the past 7 years because she knows how much I use it and enjoy it. I also use Red Box as needed when I want to watch a recently released movie.
Cable was the death of me!! haha okay maybe not that bad but man oh man I am so glad to have got rid of that. Im still in the $70 total range of bills though if you include my internet/netflix/hulu!
I would take that over a $100 cable bill any day of the week though.
Not gonna happen here. My husband’s family does a Fantasy Football league together as a way to stay in touch. So, no way we could go without. That’s where the Need vs Gotta Have for life pleasurs vs Want comes in, lol!
No shame in that :) I’m all about using money for more joy in your life!
We “unbundled” our cable, internet and home phone 2 years ago. I switched to an independent ISP and OOMA. That took my bill from $240/month down to $151. I resisted cutting the cable because I loved HGTV. After multiple price increase in less than a year I got angry and cancelled cable entirely 1 year ago. Now my total cost for internet, phone and Netflix is $79.50 per month (saving $160/month over my original bill).
What surprised me the most is that I don’t miss TV at all! I thought I loved TV because it always seemed to be on. Now I love how nice and quiet the house is without the TV blaring.
We have Netflix and we can use our public library to access DVDs and Hoopla, but honestly we actually seldom watch anything.
Another side benefit is we do not see commercials tempting us to buy things. I’m sure that has saved us some money too!
We are on month 4 of no cable…don’t miss the $175/month for the “bundle”…added hot spot onto phone, antenna and hula and we are around $30/month.. watch live football…or go to the local bar..sine I’m saving $145/month…and i don’t miss it. I thought I would miss the dvr..but with streaming, I can watch whenever I want…Best decision!!!
You all should try my service. As long as you have a broadband Internet service you can stream live cable television networks such as AMC, ESPN, ESPN2, TLC, SKY SPORTS, DISNEY, DISNEY JR, TBS, HBO, and more for $35.00 a month. Price never changes I promise. CalL or text me at 417-895-9719.
I lived without cable for 8 years at one point but when I moved into my current place I decided to take advantage of a “special” rate.
3 years later and 2 rate changes I cut the cord again. Saving $69 a month. Plus I work from home so my company gives me a stipend each month to cover internet costs.
I’ll take it!! :)
Nice perk :)
We cut the cord to cable about 4 years ago. We use an antenna and Netflix BUT we have a vacation condo where our HOA covers basic cable. About a year after we owned it we realized we could watch our condo cable on the internet at home (1500 miles away!) SCORE!
Keep at it, J.!
I haven’t had cable since August 2011, and it’s been amazing! Read a lot of books and experienced a lot of adventures. I do have rabbit ears and get quite a few channels, but I rarely turn it on.
There’s a lot more to life than watching TV (I used to be addicted).
Fantastic that you were still able to negotiate with your provider to lower your bill when you were with them! I recently switched from Verizon to Sprint and saved me 40% off my phone bill at least for the next 2 years. Love saving those $$’s!
I would miss watching live sports so much too.. With Wimbledon going on, can’t wait to see my boy Federer win more before retiring! Sports bars are so expensive.
We all sound like we are at a southern revival singing the praises of cord cutting. It’s been 6 months since I ditched my cable bill and I have to say Alelujia!!!! Only thing I miss is the DVD for recording some favorite shows for easy access. I have Internet 100 Lightning Speed for $45.26 and Hulu for $11.99 with no commercials and Netflix for $9.99. My bill went from $ 185.00 to $67.24- Gooooal!!! I also have Amazon Prime which I pay every January but I mainly have it for free shipping . I also have two Mohu Antennas. I tried Sling TV but it froze way too often and was super slow —- so don’t even bother. Thank goodness we are only into soccer so football is not an issue.
Hoping to see your new pad soon because now that we are retired we can downside from 2,600 to 1, 300 sq feet – just need a little motivation cause I’m dreading the whole downsizing moving ordeal!
We actually JUST moved (haven’t even blogged about it yet) and it was not fun, haha… but mainly only because it’s hard to do with little kids in tow :) The packing/decluttering was actually great! Donated/threw out so much stuff and just ran out of time to do more so still have 10+ boxes to go through here at our new place to see what else we can shed… Def. worth the one-time hassle for future rewards :)
Last season Directv started offering NFL Sunday ticket as a standalone option for mobile devices and game consoles (like Xbox One). So you can still get live NFL games without cable/satellite but of course it isn’t real cheap!
I’d spend some money on a really nice antenna and give it another shot. Hopefully you’ll have good reception. Luckily when I used one we got NBC really good but the other channels not so much. You can live without Fox NFL Sundays but you got to have Sunday Night Football haha
We ditched cable back in January 2009, we did get Netflix instead. Never looked back, one of the best decisions ever!
We cut the cable 5 years ago and loved it. It was very freeing. I think there is too much drama on TV and it is just too easy to watch mindlessly. I also got rid of Netflix for the binge watching aspect. I would get tons of educational DVDs, movies and TV series at the library.
However, we recently bought and moved into a hotel and cable is non-optional. It is part of our dues. While I’m sure we could just disconnect it, the husband is loving it and we have 500 channels with full sports packages, etc… At first I was actually excited to have all the movie channels, Pawn Stars, and unlimited reruns of my favorite shows like Shark Tank. But a few months later, the novelty has already wore off and I’m bored of cable. Now, I can find quality viewing with TED talks, YouTube and TopDocumentaryFilms.com. And I hate contracts. I don’t even like giving my credit card for recurring charges like Netflix and Hulu.
It is all about simplification and freedom from limiting attachments for me, the money savings is a side effect.
I still can’t believe you moved into a hotel!!! And one you bought for that matter?? Excited to see your article on it :) (And I watch a new TED Talk almost every night! Great way to unwind from the day!)
This is an area where I am failing miserably. I have been able to lower all other bills but I can’t seem to cut the cable. And it’s all ME. My kids don’t even watch tv. They watch Netflix and mainly YouTube so they wouldn’t even care if we got rid of it. To be honest I barely watch tv either – but I do watch my BRAVO shows at night before I fall asleep. I think that is what I am hanging on to. That is bill way too high I need to cut it! <<<—- you know that song right?? LOL
One slight money saving thing we do and maybe you can take advantage of this – my dad is the one who has the Netflix account and we split the cost and both use it. Since you just need to sign in to use it you would just need to share the sign on credentials. You could save a little that way.
My wife was afraid of losing Bravo too :) But she’s made up for it with other stations, haha…
Our contract is up next month and we decided we will cut the cable. There is some haggling to be done to get a good internet price so I’m ready for that.
Football is a huge thing for me too. Luckily one of our neighbors cut their cable and got an HD antenna. The channels are crisp and clear so I would still be able to watch local and playoff games! He said the savings were about $50/month which is not groundbreaking, but still savings nonetheless.
And I would feel better not having my son exposed to commercials. The idea of dragging the kids to the bar is hilarious!
We have NEVER EVER had cable!! EVER! We just aren’t big TV watchers. I do watch local & world news, but other than that – meh. Just alot of crap on – too much reality TV. We’d rather read or actually DO something! I did want to watch the NBA finals so I just live streamed it on my laptop (while doing something!!). Can you even imagine how much we’ve saved over our 18 years of marriage? And it’s not to be “frugal” – we have just never really wanted it. Or the headaches that go along with it!!
Kudos J$ & family! I’ve been cable free for 7 years and I love it!
Nice job cutting the cable there my man!! Since I’ve had my own place for 5 years – never have had it. Just got denied multiple times to re-negotiate my internet price and moved to another provider – 12 months for $24.99 for 30 mb download speed, loving it. So at $25 + $10 for Netflix, I’m at $35/month for internet and entertainment. I know you probably need some faster speeds, but I couldn’t imagine actually having a cable bill right now and shelling out close to $100 per month in addition to what I currently am doing. That’s some serious cash! Congrats and hope you find out you enjoy it.
Lowest I’ve ever seen for internet – well done!
We’ve been cable less over 5 years now and our savings were significant because I don’t have to pay for Internet either. My job pays for it. We pay less than $20.00 month for television:)
We dropped cable/dish six years ago. We stream Hulu and Netflix for a total of $18.00 a month. We also have VUDU available for watching new releases when we don’t want stop by a Redbox. VUDU runs between $2 and $4 a movie on average. We spend less than $10 a month renting new releases and old favorites. Our internet is $50 a month through Cox. We can stream via three TVs, plus have our cell phones use our wifi, and use the laptops and tablets on the wifi all at once. Most people pay for far more internet service capacity than they actually need or use, and the ISPs count on it. It is worth it for most people to check their use history and see if they even need the service level they are at.
Another perk…I can log into my Netflix, Hulu, and VUDU accounts from anywhere which allows me to use my services when I am traveling, or when we are on vacation, provided I have wifi access which so far has never been a problem.
I loathe “appointment TV.” What do you mean that I have to be in my home in front of my TV at a certain time for content I already paid for or I don’t get it? Now I watch when I want to watch, and do something more productive with the rest of my time, without losing what I paid for.
PS-There is an add-on available for the Xbox One (costs around $100?) that allows you to receive local stations. Don’t remember what its called. Leaving cable is hard for some who still want the local news. I find I don’t miss it, in fact now after getting some distance when I do see it I realize most of it was just gossipy junk. But if you have to have it this is another option that doesn’t require having another device and another remote provided you have the gaming console.
PPS-Another benefit…we noticed about three months after losing cable that our children stopped asking for stuff they had seen in commercials because they no longer saw any. Since then we have noticed a dramatic change in their attitudes towards brands, trends, etc. People tend to blame their child’s school and peers, but really it comes from the media, and primarily TV. Our children are simply largely unaware because they don’t have commercial after commercial telling them they aren’t good enough or cool enough unless they buy whatever product, food, toy, or clothing item being hocked. In fact now when we ask them what they would like for their birthday or Christmas they really have to think, do research, and get back to us. Weird! The fact that we unintentionally broke the cycle of mindless consumerism for them has been such a gift, and well worth any adjustment that came with cutting the cord.
Original Monthly Cost: $200
Current Monthly Cost: Less than $80
No Longer Having Four Kids Begging for Junk: Priceless!
SO AWESOME ABOUT KIDS AND GIFTS/WANTING!!!
Also about “appointment tv,” haha… I like that name for it :)
My husband and I have been cable-free for 6 years! I don’t miss it at all… though we don’t watch a lot of live sports. When we do, we just head to a local bar — the cost of a few beers ends up being much less than the monthly cable bill. :)
I just moved to Vancouver on my own, and to cut costs I am without cable or internet! It saves me over $100 per month. However, I have increased my data plan on my phone to I can further feed my addiction to reading personal finance blogs which is completely and totally ironic.
BRAVE! :) Though honestly I’d love to try going without internet for a month just to get back to the peace of it all… I do my best to log off when not doing blog-stuff, but unfort. it’s pretty tied to it ;)
I have still able to live without cable for two years, and I am glad that I did, though I still miss those series on cable, but I am really fine with cable. It’s really a mind over matter. I can keep holding on to this decision.
We watch sports of all sorts (college football, college basketball, college volleyball, tennis, golf, cycling, Olympics etc.) and are deciding between Sling and Playstation Vue both on Roku right now. Thus far Sling has an awesome interface and with the upgraded channel package a few days ago might be the winner. The is around $50 for our packages right now, but we were on an expensive Dish tier to get all of the obsure channels. I’ve been watching the Tour de France for a couple hours this morning and will switch over to Wimbledon when it wraps. This sports watcher might finally not be reliant on $150+/month on Dish.
We’ve been without cable for a few years now. Don’t miss it at all. Netflix has everything we need!
I cut the cord over a year ago. Savings have been considerable; even better is the fact that most programming is superior in quality and commercial free. Even sports aren’t a huge problem — you just have to know where to find them. You know things are changing when Yahoo gets into the action, streaming a free baseball game daily with image quality sharper than ESPN’s.
Why anyone is willing to pay a king’s ransom for the privilege of watching ads on cable is beyond me.
I didn’t know that about Yahoo! I don’t watch baseball, but maybe they’ll start streaming NFL?
Loved the article, especially number 4. Have been without cable for a few years. One of the best decisions ever. Luckily, the UF Gator football games are also on the radio! The announcer is fantastic and brings the games to life. In some ways, I actually prefer listening. I also recently added on Showtime through Amazon Prime for a slight discount.
Radio! Like the good ol’ days! :)
We’ve always been cable-less, thank goodness! It works better if you aren’t into live action sports or if you need to see the latest and greatest shows. But we’re set up with Netflix and our Roku box for about $10 a month.
While I’m sure our cable wouldn’t be unreasonably expensive if rolled into our internet, the dastardly sales and pricing tactics cable companies use are so off-putting that we’ll never be customers.
We are inching toward cutting the cable. In response to the latest semi-annual rate increase by our provider, we slashed our service, eliminating channels we never or rarely watch and opting for accessing online a few channels we did watch. That cut our bill by about 20%. My takeaway from the experience: the fewer channels we have available, the more I like cable! Now what’s the message there to optimize my cable-happiness? :-)
Hi, try going over 13 years without cable, a phone, and the internet.
I’m not into watching sports… I go outdoors.. or play sports.. I haven’t had a cable bill in 4 years. Sadly I just think about the 8 years I did have one… but that was split among housemates, but still.. It wasn’t necessary..
I love your title to this article. We are so very spoiled and one of the major ways that comes up is our constant consumption of entertainment. One of our blogging friends this week wrote about how people in other countries hear us say we’ve cut the cable and they say “oh, tell us how how long you’ve survived without constant digital video streamed directly to your home. My, how you have suffered.” I’ve never paid for cable myself and I’d say one of my life goals is to never do so.
Anytime someone asks me what I’m reading currently I usually say I have no time because I’m on youtube and Facebook all the time. That’s the next thing. Thanks for the enlightenment J
Hah! I feel like I actually read that article too? We def. have it good whether with cable or not living in our first worlds here… The trick is remembering to really appreciate it!
Ah, the endless game of cat and mouse with your cable provider. I’m getting ready to start this dance in a couple weeks when my contract is up. I don’t think anyone could really say they enjoy that conversation! Sports would be the hard thing for me to drop. I would end up going to the bar to watch a game, which would ultimately increase my spending more than if I just purchased cable and watched the games at home. Trying to get live sports via streaming is very costly. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the cost of watching a game through a streaming service is way down within 5-10 years.
As always, thanks for the good read and the good laugh. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the upgrading your TV point, but who knows.
Hey J$, check my link above about dropping cable. Now that you have an HD set, just pick up an amplified antenna and you should be able to pick up most OTA local channels. I’ve never had problems getting FOX or CBS in the different areas I’ve lived, so you should be able to get a few games on Sunday. The antennaweb link is useful in knowing where your broadcast signals are coming from. Some antennas work better than others. You just have to trial and error the antennas and return the sorry ones back to the store.
You also could have gotten a digital converter box for your old TV. Plug antenna to converter, converter to old tv, voila a clear non hd picture on your old tv. Did this for an old lady neighbor once, and I was surprised at the picture quality (not as pretty as the hd broadcast though)
I tried a digital converter, but not with the antenna at the same time… Could very well have been a human error though, haha…
Thx for the tip on antennaweb.org – will check it out once ready to get back to testing again!
I thought my life would be miserable without Sky TV, I can honestly say i have never missed it. I share a Netflix and Amazon account between three of us (about £4 each for both per month), I can’t live without my super speed broadband, but with that I can stream whatever I like anyway. My bill used to be £130 to Sky TV alone, that didn’t include the phone line and internet. I got sick of Rupert Murdoch ripping me off and walked away!
I haven had a cable bill for over 5 years, going back to when I was single. It really is possible. I don’t know the exact number but I’m sure we’ve saved thousands of dollars.
Keep it going if it’s working!
I’m sure! And it’s people like you who’ve inspired me to give it a shot myself!
I bought subscription for $30/yearly and I watched NFL on ScreenVariety Tv right now. I can highly recommend it for you guys if you are in work or just don’t have tv around you
I cut the cable & haven’t looked back. After unsuccessfully trying to get my services and billings corrected by Frontier – who bought Verizon FIOS – WORST TRANSITION !! I dropped my cable & landline. Bills were $206.mo & now I pay $53.mo & have quadrupled my internet speed. I bought my own router because it saved me $75 compared to their price & was 1/2 the cost of renting it for $10/mo. I bought a firestick for each TV when Amazon had a 1 day sale in August & I have no complaints (the voice activated firestick is easier to use & saves a few seconds when in search mode). Trying Kodi streaming too. Over $150/mo now made avail for long term goals. If u don’t like it, they will open their arms & take u back…Frontier lost more accounts than they care to admit to!
We bought our router too for the new home and loving seeing the static low price every month.
It’s a beautiful thing! (especially since we installed a cheap antenna too – I get my NFL games back, and for FREE!)