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View Full Version : Cancel the cable? A budget related question.


pigletto
05-21-2010, 09:48 PM
I would love some opinions on this:)
Hubby is going back to school to get an engineering degree. We can handle it, but finances will be tight for the next five years.
I was thinking today that I would like a family gym membership. It would cover swimming lessons, gym time, kids programs, babysitting services if we want to take a class.. e.t.c.
The cost would be covered if we cancel our digital cable. Seems like a no brainer. I just haven't lived without cable before and it's hard to let it go.
So .. I would love your thoughts on this.
Are any of you t.v. free?

EclecticWAHM
05-21-2010, 10:08 PM
I would love some opinions on this:)
Hubby is going back to school to get an engineering degree. We can handle it, but finances will be tight for the next five years.
I was thinking today that I would like a family gym membership. It would cover swimming lessons, gym time, kids programs, babysitting services if we want to take a class.. e.t.c.
The cost would be covered if we cancel our digital cable. Seems like a no brainer. I just haven't lived without cable before and it's hard to let it go.
So .. I would love your thoughts on this.
Are any of you t.v. free?

We haven't had cable for 15 years now. Haven't missed it a bit. We can afford it, but it's just not where we want to spend our money. Even at just $50 a month, that's $9,000 we haven't wasted in the last 15 years. It's all about what your priorities are. There are other ways to squeeze money out of the budget, but this was a no-brainer for us.

Cheryllynn74
05-21-2010, 10:12 PM
Have you tried pricing a satellite service like Dish Network or DirecTV? They can be cheaper sometimes that regular cable. DH and I canceled ours for awhile a few years ago because I realized I was mainly watching local channels like ABC, NBC, FOX, etc. We got an antenna and were perfectly content. I eventually added it back to our budget, but signed up with Dish Network at a pretty cheap rate.

D&DDisney
05-21-2010, 10:13 PM
Happy to say that we've been cable/dish free for 15 years now. Best money saved!!!:cool1:

pigletto
05-21-2010, 10:25 PM
We haven't had cable for 15 years now. Haven't missed it a bit. We can afford it, but it's just not where we want to spend our money. Even at just $50 a month, that's $9,000 we haven't wasted in the last 15 years. It's all about what your priorities are. There are other ways to squeeze money out of the budget, but this was a no-brainer for us.

This is exactly how we are feeling. I feel like there is too much t.v. in this house anyway. Why not replace it with activity and experience?
It is just new territory for us.

labdogs42
05-22-2010, 05:36 AM
See, I toy with this idea, too, but I don't want to give up my cable internet!

kamik86
05-22-2010, 05:44 AM
We are thinking about it.

Here you can still have cable internet without paying for the TV (There is NO way we would give up the internet). I also want to give up the home phone that we only got because of the deal with the cable package (that has now expired and the price went up over $50 a month)

I'm not sure how much I would miss the cable. I didn't have it when I moved to my first apartment a few years ago but that was in a bigger city so network channels still came in with an antenna. That doesn't work out in the middle of no where. The way I figure it is we could always add it back if we are miserable...

kaytieeldr
05-22-2010, 05:55 AM
Would it be possible for you to cancel the cable, and replace it with free activity and experience? Walking, hiking, jogging, biking if you already have bikes... is there anywhere to swim free and safely in your area, and I realize that would just be in the summer?

That way, instead of replacing one expense with another, you'd have that little extra money every month to use for something else - treat, emergency fund, whatever. Just a thought.

sjs314
05-22-2010, 06:08 AM
I have been living without cable or any form of pay tv for the past 4 years since buying my condo. I wanted Direct TV but when they came out I had no line of sight because of all the trees, so I decided to just make do.
I am tired of listening to friends of mine and relatives complain about their money troubles and yet they pay out $100+ for TV every month. Seems to me that is the easiest item to cut in a household budget.
I do fine with an indoor tv antenea with a booster for the signal and now that we have gone to digital the channels are crystal clear.
Do I sometimes miss not being able to see certain programs? Of course but I enjoy the money I save more :)

DawnM
05-22-2010, 06:45 AM
We are considering investing in a more expensive whole house antenna in the near future.

It may cost close to $200 for the one we want, but we live in an area where there are a lot of trees and hills and a regular antenna isn't picking up anything.

Even at $200, the savings over a year will be almost $1000.

I am also reading about alternatives to the DVR that won't cost a monthly fee.

Right now we are keeping our Directv, but we may be tossing it before long.

Dawn

Judique
05-22-2010, 07:05 AM
I would love some opinions on this:)
Hubby is going back to school to get an engineering degree. We can handle it, but finances will be tight for the next five years.
I was thinking today that I would like a family gym membership. It would cover swimming lessons, gym time, kids programs, babysitting services if we want to take a class.. e.t.c.
The cost would be covered if we cancel our digital cable. Seems like a no brainer. I just haven't lived without cable before and it's hard to let it go.
So .. I would love your thoughts on this.
Are any of you t.v. free?

Not exactly tv free, but we just have basic $15 cable. That gives you very little here, other then great reception. However our internet is cable and we are not about to give up internet. I priced giving up the basic and found that the combo service of cable and internet was the same as internet by itself. So I'll keep basic. I do get extra channels on one tv because the cable company hasn't been able to screen them out yet. Just the way it is...not my doing.

pigletto
05-22-2010, 07:11 AM
Thank you for your ideas everyone:)
If I lived in the U.S. I would use Hulu for sure, and just download the shows we like for free. But there's no access in Canada.

As for getting rid of it and replacing it with free outdoor activity... that is a great idea and I know that would work for the summer and fall. But the winters here worry me a little. I suppose we could do it until then though.
I can get my cable internet on it's own so we wouldn't give up that.

Swmr359
05-22-2010, 07:49 AM
Are any of you t.v. free?

I grew up television free (not just cable free);we didn't even have the actual television until I was in high school and even then it could only be used to watch movies. Instead of watching TV we were reading or outside running around. I didn't start watching TV until I went to college. My parents are still television free, but they do watch shows on hulu or on dvd.

MMluvsWDW
05-22-2010, 07:57 AM
We just did this and here's what we did. I called cable (we have cable internet) and told them I wanted to cancel. They told me my internet prices would be going up if I canceled my cable and that basic local TV was 10 a mo, same as my internet would go up. So we got rid of everything but the 10/mo basic locals and haven't looked back! I was so nervous, I put it off and put it off. However, there isn't a show that I watched on TV that I can't watch on my computer and I'm finding that now that I'm watching on my computer I am watching less and less of the shows I watched on TV. We do have a subscription to netflix though and can stream for free for 10/mo. Might be something to look into. Go for it! You can always turn cable back on!!

chicagoshannon
05-22-2010, 07:58 AM
I grew up with just an antenna. It was no big deal.

DH are in disagreement on this very subject right now. lol Give up the cable and just hook up your laptop to the tv. You can see everything you'd ever want to watch that way anyway.

ilovebassets
05-22-2010, 08:05 AM
Get rid of the cable! You'll find it hard for about a week at most, then you'll be amazed that you ever paid for that crap. I wouldn't have cable in my house even if it was free. You would have to pay me to pump cable tv into my home.

mhsjax
05-22-2010, 08:06 AM
I guess I am the odd man out. There is no way that I would give up my cable, well, Direct TV. WE have given up a lot of stuff in order to save money. This is one area that I won't budge on.

WE are so busy during the day with 3 kids and their activities and running them around, plus all of their games on the weekends that I just love to sit back and watch TV at night. WE never watch local channels. My oldest watches Nat; Geographic, history channel and military channel and has learned a lot from them. I won't take that away. Plus I love my HGTV and BRAVO tv.

Anyway to each their own, but give me TV or give me death. lol

shortbun
05-22-2010, 08:09 AM
I grew up with just an antenna. It was no big deal.

DH are in disagreement on this very subject right now. lol Give up the cable and just hook up your laptop to the tv. You can see everything you'd ever want to watch that way anyway.

We have friends doing this. They love it and they are saving a ton of money.
I put the money out for cable and DVR because I go to bed so early that the good stuff is on while I'm sleeping. I've paid off all my debts, including my mortgage. Cable is my one guilty pleasure.

mrsklamc
05-22-2010, 08:10 AM
Trent Hamm writes a great blog called thesimpledollar.com, and he is a huge advocate of this not only because of the expense but also because:

1)Time is money and you can kill a huge amount of time watching TV.
2)They do healthier and better things instead of watching TV like play games as a family or make dinner together.
3) He doesn't like exposing his kids (or himself) to the advertising.

tlmcma
05-22-2010, 08:38 AM
I too would like to get rid of cable. I think I would be happy just watching local channels and using hulu. The only problem is that my husband insists that he would have no way to watch sports - like the Red Sox and Patriots games? He says those are only aired on cable channels. Is this true? Does anyone know of any way we could get rid of cable and my husband could still watch live sporting events?

PinkRhombus
05-22-2010, 08:40 AM
Thank you for your ideas everyone:)
If I lived in the U.S. I would use Hulu for sure, and just download the shows we like for free. But there's no access in Canada.

As for getting rid of it and replacing it with free outdoor activity... that is a great idea and I know that would work for the summer and fall. But the winters here worry me a little. I suppose we could do it until then though.
I can get my cable internet on it's own so we wouldn't give up that.


Hulu is a website and you should be able to access it from anywhere.

What I question about putting the money right back into the gym membership is....have you ever done this before? How much did you use it? What type of contracts are involved?

When making a financial change like you're getting ready to enter into, I wouldn't cancel the cable and immediately throw the money into some new expense. Wait a few months and save that money and see how things are going.

Something else to note, those childcare/babysitting rooms at gyms do not allow sick kids...one bit of a runny nose and they turn kids away.

tink fan
05-22-2010, 08:41 AM
We can easily afford pay TV, but do not have it and are not planning to get it anytime in the future.

We had dish TV about two years ago when my youngest was 6--the others were 8 and 10 at the time. We canceled it after about a year. We felt a weird conflict with it--that we should be watching it because we were paying for it, yet we didn't want to watch so much because it is not great to be glued to the screen everyday. My husband was waking in the middle of the night to check out what the markets were doing overnight. My 6 year old only wanted to watch things like i-Carly and Hannah Montana and not the PBS shows she had once loved because they were too baby. But she was imitating those shows and developing an "attitude" we didn't like. We ended up canceling, and it was the right decision for us. DD went back to watching PBS and loving it, which is certainly much better for her. DH realized that listening to the business report in the morning was just as good as staying up all night and worrying about something he couldn't help anyway. My boys really miss shows on the History Channel and Discovery, but I let them download the ones they really want to watch on Itunes, and we have discovered Hulu.

I know their friends and parents think we are kind of weird. (You go to Disney every year, you have a vacation home, etc, but you don't have pay TV?) To them it is a necessity. It it probably the way I was brought up, but I alway felt it was a luxury.

It is definately possible to live without pay TV. Try it, and you may be surprised.

pigletto
05-22-2010, 09:43 AM
I can access Hulu.. but Canadians can't download the content.

Your posts have given me a great deal of thought this morning. I think I will wait on the gym membership until the winter at very least and just try to drop the cable and pack our summer with other things to do.
It really has become a crutch in our household, so it's important to me to cut the amount of t.v. we watch. It seems like it is always on.. and I am the biggest culprit. I honestly think it just serves as a distraction from a million more important things I could be doing.
I am excited to call the cable company on Monday:goodvibes

ssawka
05-22-2010, 10:38 AM
No exactly TV free, but cable free.

I have added a good rooftop antenna for local stations and built a PC that is dedicated to the TV for DVR and Internet TV. Between Microsoft's Internet TV (through Windows Media Center), HULU (using HULU Desktop App), Boxee Plugins, and Netflix, why would I ever need cable? I can tell you though that this may not work for everyone, especially if you are into sports. The one thing that Internet TV does not work well for is live content.

I should add that although we do not have a cable bill, we do pay a $60 Internet bill (FIOS 25Mbps). However, between the Internet TV and Vonage, we basically pay $80 a month for Internet, TV, and phone. :thumbsup2

jstbcuz
05-22-2010, 11:16 AM
Ive been wanting to do this too.......but Im the one with the hangup. I love my football on Sundays and Monday night, and I love my Jayhawk basketball. Alot of those games are on ESPN, and I wouldnt be able to watch them. If anyone has any ideas on how to work this out, I'd love to hear it.

I do think cable internet is a racket tho.

disneychrista
05-22-2010, 11:25 AM
I would shop cable & dish plans. Maybe you could save money that way.

Also look at all the memberships that are available at the gym...Do you need to full bang Family memebership or is there a lesser plan that fits your needs just as well & saves you money?

labdogs42
05-22-2010, 01:50 PM
My Dh likes to watch Entourage on HBO and the new season is getting ready to start. Is there a way to watch HBO shows over the computer? Or through my Tivo, maybe? Tivo won't work if I don't have cable, right? Can you get HD shows without cable?

shamrock30
05-22-2010, 02:17 PM
My husband and I have never had cable. We get some stations with just our antenna, plus we buy a Netflix subscription off and on. We can afford cable, but have never felt the need for it. If we got zero reception from where we live, that would be another matter though.

mrodgers
05-22-2010, 03:28 PM
...especially if you are into sports. The one thing that Internet TV does not work well for is live content.
Bingo! If there was no such thing as hockey, you could take my TV, DVR, satellite, and everything related to TV and throw it out the window for all I care.

Chelley00
05-22-2010, 05:41 PM
We've never had cable (minus 6 months I was on bedrest and my dad paid for cable as a gift so I'd have something to do all day!) We have DSL internet which is cheaper than cable internet. It's all in your priorities

TxRabbit
05-22-2010, 06:28 PM
We haven't had cable or satelite tv for several years now. We were doing DirecTv for the Sunday Ticket for DH when we moved away from the home viewing area of his team. It had been frustrating to him to move into a competitor's viewing area because broadcast would show the home team games, of course, and he couldn't see his team.

Long long ago, DH decided that the football watching was dictating our weekends. He didn't want our weekend life to revolve around the football schedule. Our son just turned 4. He wanted other things to take priority over the TV.

NOW, we still don't have paid for tv. When we upgraded to a digital converter at the time of the change, we were so excited to get so many more channels! LOL.

If you decide to lose the bill, then you may miss things at first. I think I was the one that missed the shows the most, being an avid HGTV+ viewer. However, if you make the switch, you will find that you won't really miss it. And there is much that you will appreciate about not being hooked on a tv show.

The only thing that became really frustrating was when they switched Monday night football to ESPN. DH keeps saying how wrong that is. ESPN is the difficult thing. We are big soccer/football fans and the World Cup is only going to be broadcast on ESPN. Haven't seen if there is any other way to watch.

Once, I was able to find a Norweigian feed of ESPN on the internet for Monday night football. That was hilarious. It was poor quality but we were able to see the action.

btw, we could totally afford to do it. It's just not something that has enough value at this time to be worth the money. I think this needs to be the heart of your decision. If you make it for a reason other than money, then it will be easier to adjust.

ICF
05-22-2010, 06:39 PM
I guess I am the odd man out. There is no way that I would give up my cable, well, Direct TV. WE have given up a lot of stuff in order to save money. This is one area that I won't budge on.

Anyway to each their own, but give me TV or give me death. lol

I'm with you 100%!!

I'll skip meals before I give up my Direct TV HD package!! ;)

quirkymom
05-22-2010, 07:50 PM
I would say anything that gets you away from T.V. is awesome!!! We cancelled our cable 7 months ago. We are more family focused, active, and all around our house is more calm! Go for it... you can always turn it back on... if you must. :)

dellasgirl
05-22-2010, 08:28 PM
While we are not TV free we are cable/direct tv/dish free.
we have a outdoor antenna that picks up local channels plus we get quite a few pbs stations. We also have netflix and roko(which DH LOVES).
I do not miss having the extra channels--there was never anything on i wanted to watch.

Leajess99
05-22-2010, 08:51 PM
I would love some opinions on this:)
Hubby is going back to school to get an engineering degree. We can handle it, but finances will be tight for the next five years.
I was thinking today that I would like a family gym membership. It would cover swimming lessons, gym time, kids programs, babysitting services if we want to take a class.. e.t.c.
The cost would be covered if we cancel our digital cable. Seems like a no brainer. I just haven't lived without cable before and it's hard to let it go.
So .. I would love your thoughts on this.
Are any of you t.v. free?

We have not had cable in years and I really like it. My kids are not glued to it every chance they can and they do have a lot of DVDs they like watching. They do get to watch cable tv at their grandma's house but for the most part they prefer being outside playing, reading a book, or even playing the Wii.

Amandaj0831
05-22-2010, 11:14 PM
I have at various points and it wasnt that hard. It takes a few weeks to get used to it. While I was in college we could afford cable or TV so we went back and forth. I would do it again if we could get local channels here. I have tried even the $50 antennas here and we get nothing. So we pay for cable.

MickeyDisneyFan
05-23-2010, 11:22 AM
I too would like to get rid of cable. I think I would be happy just watching local channels and using hulu. The only problem is that my husband insists that he would have no way to watch sports - like the Red Sox and Patriots games? He says those are only aired on cable channels. Is this true? Does anyone know of any way we could get rid of cable and my husband could still watch live sporting events?

If you goto mlb.tv you can sign up for the full season for $100 you get every mlb game in every market for that price.

ICF
05-23-2010, 12:58 PM
If you goto mlb.tv you can sign up for the full season for $100 you get every mlb game in every market for that price.

if you have highspeed internet and want to watch them on the computer....

tlmcma
05-23-2010, 01:32 PM
If you goto mlb.tv you can sign up for the full season for $100 you get every mlb game in every market for that price.

Thank you! I will let me husband know - this may be sufficient for him. The sports is really the only thing holding us back from ditching cable!

JanyJan
05-23-2010, 01:47 PM
Sports is an issue for us too. Otherwise, we could easily ditch the cable/satellite. My DH isn't a fanatic, but he does like to watch the games (usually at night after the kids are in bed) on DVR. He can catch up in half the time by skipping all the commercials, etc.

kaytieeldr
05-23-2010, 02:01 PM
Hmm... if you can do that for baseball, it may be possible to do the same thing for the other pro sports as well? Go to the official/main sport website and see about signing up for ALL game broadcasts online for one set price?

Disney Vegas
05-23-2010, 02:03 PM
I don't know if anyone suggested this, but we had to and will have to cancel our cable again here very soon and it's fine because I watch all of my shows on the computer. Every basic station NBC, ABC etc. have full episodes on their websites :surfweb:except CBS...they refuse. But, that was a lifesaver for me.

leebee
05-23-2010, 02:14 PM
We like cable. Without cable in our area we'd have no reception at all, and we enjoy watching some shows, news, and sports programs. We turn on the TV when there is a show on that we all want to watch, and we turn it OFF when we have other things that take priority. Our little on/off switch works quite well, and we use it a lot:thumbsup2

mommy2_3
05-23-2010, 02:17 PM
we just downsized our cable. our bill was about $300 a month for cable, internet, and phone. we had all the features on phone, inculding long distance, we had 4 DVR's and 2 movie channels along with extra kids channels. we are now down to paying $100 a month for cable, internet and phone (about to be less cause we are getting rid of our house phone now that we have a prepaid cell) we have 1 DVR and basic cable. if there isnt anything my kids will watch on tv we pop in one of their dvds. they dont watch much tv anyway, they are to busy playing or running around the house.

Spacepest
05-23-2010, 02:26 PM
Our house has been cable free for the past 5 years.

The last 2 years we had cable we noticed we were DVR'ing everything, as we never had the time or schedule to sit down and watch our favorite programs live. And we haven't watched free, normal TV channels in years--our area gets horrible reception that makes them unwatchable.

We can afford cable, but for us it was a waste.

Here is what we do instead:
1. High speed internet. We can download programs from various websites to watch. (Plus I can read the local newpaper on line. )

2. Public library membership-our public library is godsend. We can borrow DVDs from them for free. Alot of the programs we were watching on History, Discovery, and Learning Channel have DVD releases that our public library holds in their collection. We soon were back to watching our old favorite programs minus commercials. So check your public library--you might be surprised what they have available!

So far, we have no reason to subscribe to cable again. Nor would I want to, especially when we start having children. I do not like what "children's programming" has become. I don't want my children watching shows with child/pre teen actors with attitudes they will imitate, skimpy clothing, etc. Nor do I want to have to listen to their "gimme's" after watching tons of commercials. Its easier to monitor children's TV watching if there is no public or cable stations available 24/7.

buckler
05-23-2010, 02:37 PM
I don't know if anyone suggested this, but we had to and will have to cancel our cable again here very soon and it's fine because I watch all of my shows on the computer. Every basic station NBC, ABC etc. have full episodes on their websites :surfweb:except CBS...they refuse. But, that was a lifesaver for me.

CBS puts full episodes of some of their shows online but not all of them. For example, Big Bang Theory and the Mentalist are not online but How I Met Your Mother and The Good Wife are available online.

crewmatt
05-23-2010, 03:33 PM
Really look at what shows/etc you like to watch. Then check, a lot of shows (but not all) are available online via hulu for free. You can also netflix or blockbuster online for fairly cheap. These would obviously require a highspeed internet connection (which depending on your area might come with cheap/free basic cable). The wife and I saved money by dropping our landline telephone.

Soben
05-23-2010, 04:25 PM
We went cable-free 6 months ago and it is fine. It was a little bit of an adjustment at first. I didn't watch that much myself, and I even missed it. If you can white-knuckle through the first few weeks, you'll be fine. The summer is the best time to start since there are so many other things to do. We did it in the fall....

StephMK
05-23-2010, 04:50 PM
I have been toying w/the idea of giving it up for months now but know I will get resistance from my family. I love the suggestion to rent shows from the library. They love Animal Planet & some others, I will have to see what is available. I know we all use it to just plop down & veg when there are so many other things my family could be doing.

Has anyone had any experience w/ESPN3.com? One major block for us is DH's love of sports. According to the site, it runs through any ISP that provides the service. Cox is ours & they do. I can't really tell though if this site provides all the regular sports. Baseball & college basketball are the 2 big loves. PP, thanks for the mlb.com suggestion, I'm checking that out too.

We have an old computer so there would be some expense to set up roku or a computer but still might be worth it.

TxRabbit
05-23-2010, 07:26 PM
2. Public library membership-our public library is godsend. We can borrow DVDs from them for free. Alot of the programs we were watching on History, Discovery, and Learning Channel have DVD releases that our public library holds in their collection. We soon were back to watching our old favorite programs minus commercials. So check your public library--you might be surprised what they have available!

I do not like what "children's programming" has become. I don't want my children watching shows with child/pre teen actors with attitudes they will imitate, skimpy clothing, etc. Nor do I want to have to listen to their "gimme's" after watching tons of commercials.

ITA with the local library! I LOVE ours!:lovestruc

I also agree with the child/preteen shows, but I want to mention, when we DID have the satelite, and DS was a youngun, we really liked the Noggin channel. They had some really cute shows. The network doesn't have advertisements. It's more like PBS with "ads" for the other shows on the network. Just as an FYI. I don't know if you can catch those shows online. I know they have them on tape/DVD.