A Drastic Change in My Life

Last week my wife and I decided to make a drastic and radical change in our lives. It was a tough decision but after much thought we decided it was what was really best for both our finances and our family. WE CANCELED CABLE!  I know it sounds crazy but it turns out there really wasn’t any reason we had cable to begin with.

Think about it, why do you have cable? What do you really enjoy watching on TV? For us we love to watch shows like, NCIS, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men, Bones, Criminal Minds, and The Amazing Race. Do you know what all of these shows have in common? They are all big Network Television shows. Guess what folks, they still send that mind numbing goodness out over the air, and it is even in HD. I went out and spent $20 on an indoor lay flat antenna and I pick up ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox. Not only do I pick them up clearly, I get them in HD, FOR FREE!

To supplement our lack of cable television shows we did go ahead and sign up for NetFlix at the $8.99 per month pricing tier. With that we can watch unlimited streaming movies/television shows as well as have 1 DVD out at a time. So far it has worked out pretty well, we can watch movies and I have started watching Dexter and hope to start watching Mad Men shortly. The best part is I don’t have to bother with commercials and I can watch a season of the shows at my own pace.

Lets look at how much this drastic change is going to save me over the long run. I was paying an eye popping $197 per month for Cable and internet. We reduced that to $45 by eliminating cable and knocking our internet bandwidth down one tier. That is a per month savings of $152.00 which works out to $1,824 over the course of a year. That is a HUGE savings for not really much of  sacrifice at all.

Why do you keep your cable or do you?


1 Matt Jabs August 31, 2010 at 9:48 am

My wife and I did the exact same thing a few months back. We canceled cable and downgraded our Internet speed, and we also have Netflix which we stream over our Xbox 360. Our opinion? We like not having cable better than having it. We read more, talk more, and get more accomplished… and watch the TV we want when we want. I’ll never go back. Congrats on joining the club!

2 Mandy June September 2, 2010 at 6:30 pm

YES! Congratulations! You won’t miss it THAT much. Believe me when I say you’ll be happy to see that extra money coming into YOUR bank account and not theirs! My family and I cancelled our cable and ever since we’ve been so much more productive in our lives. Relaxation is no longer sitting in front of the TV. Instead, it’s taking a stroll outside after dinner.

3 Barb Friedberg September 4, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Hi Kyle, Interesting idea-I understand your thinking and see how it works for you. As I telecommute & my husband and I LOVE TV, we maximize the use of our FIOS TV; on-demand, Spanish language channels, premium channels etc.
We watch them all, and still have time for academic work/research, blogging, reading, & work!!!

4 Tracy September 7, 2010 at 8:22 pm

I think that I really like about not having cable (besides less commercials) is that we are more deliberate about what we watch. We can’t really just flop down on the couch and go channel surfing, we have to choose something that we enjoy.
I do miss international sports events like World Cup or the Olympics, though.

5 Tracy September 8, 2010 at 12:59 am

Cancelling cable is probably the smartest move to make for anyone. I personally would much rather have dish network or directv. Both companies are so much better then any cable company.

6 MoneyMan @ FinancialOdyssey September 20, 2010 at 11:07 am

That’s actually a really great idea. I never thought of substituting cable with netflix. I’m going to seriously consider this myself. I don’t really watch enough TV to keep paying for cable and I love to watch seasons of my favorite TV shows. Great Idea!

7 John September 23, 2010 at 9:35 pm

You paid way too much for cable to begin with, but in any case it is still not worth having the extra channels when you can get HD over the air.
I have canceled as well, but do wish I could still watch ESPN.

8 Donna Freedman September 26, 2010 at 10:20 am

That’s the topic of my upcoming Living With Less column on MSN Money. Specifically, the topic is about giving up TV pretty much altogether (although I mention Netflix/watching online as a good substitute). The people I interviewed who’d given up TV entirely said they are happier, more productive and more invested in their communities (i.e., they can’t believe how much more time they seem to have).
They also noted that they spend less because they’re not bombarded with commercials and product placement. Just sayin’.

9 Mandy June September 28, 2010 at 7:02 pm

How has the no cable life been? More productive I bet…

10 Nick October 1, 2010 at 11:49 am

great decision! my wife and I have been getting the free channels since we got married, and aside from the occasional sporting event we haven’t missed the programs we watch the most. You should take that extra money and build your own private banking system!

11 William Wilkie October 12, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Congratulations, I still have cable because my wife loves certain channels, like an English language Japaneese station that she enjoys because of the quality of their documentaries. I watch only 30 minutes of cable per day (the BBC news) and so I could easily get rid of it too.

12 Matt @ Matchplay October 14, 2010 at 8:37 pm

I kinda did the same thing. I put my Sat Dish on a vacation hold for 5 months (after the MLB season of course 🙂 ).

I’m going to get on board with the NetFlix myself, as it just came to Canada this month. I also have decent access to 5 or 6 channels via OTA or bunny ears.

Not only will I save real $$$, I should create some positive opportunity cost $$$ as well.

13 Pokeberry Mary February 4, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Very good idea. My kids did that. They are on a tight budget. They get netflix mainly. We have satellite, but we’re planning to downsize the package. Hubby likes to watch the Green Bay Packers so he pays for that, which is his ‘luxury’ as we don’t do much spendy otherwise and can’t live local to the Pack anymore.

14 Jorgygirl October 10, 2012 at 10:28 pm

My hubster and I did the same as you and for the same reasons about 2 years ago and never looked back. We love watching the things WE want, practically commercial free, and with no ads being forced on us like we have a 3rd grade education. Kuddos to you! Now we’ve had several friends looking to us to explain what we did and how we saved over $600/yr. All it takes is a little wit and some fearless action…

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