After months of hemming and hawwing, I did it. I cut the cord and cancelled my cable.
Honestly, it wasn’t that drastic of a change. I don’t spend a ton of time in front of the tv, and when I do, it’s when I’m on the treadmill or the bike trainer and I’m watching something I recorded on the DVR. I almost never watch live TV.
I already have a Netflix streaming account which I can watch on my TV through my Blu-ray player and once I cancelled cable, I also signed up for a Hulu Plus account so I can watch current shows on my TV as well.
I also dropped the phone line, which I only had because it was pretty much free with the package I had. I rarely used it, so it was no big loss.
My biggest concern was the need for local news during big events and the desire to be able to watch Notre Dame football. Conveniently, ND home games are shown on NBC, and my favorite news is also NBC, so I really just wanted to be sure I had that channel. After doing some research, I picked up an indoor antenna. I luck out in that I live in an area with a lot of very strong digital TV signals (check yours here) so I didn’t have to worry about mounting an antenna on top of my house. My tv is located in my basement, so I have the antenna mounted to one of the windows near the ceiling (which means the antenna is basically ground level). I wasn’t sure how well it would work out, but after a few days, I’m absolutely delighted. I get amazing signals. I need to sit down and figure out what channel is what network, but that isn’t a hard project. And honestly, it will be rare that I sit down and watch something live. The antenna I bought was around $40, so it wasn’t a huge expense.
I’m not sure how much of a difference this is going to make to my bottom line. My cable account was costing me $143 a month. In January, my promotional rate ended and it was going up to around $180. There’s a chance that I would have been able to get a new promo rate, so I’m going to calculate it at $143. I haven’t seen a new bill come through from the cable company but I’m going to take a guess and say that it’s going to be around $70 because they’ve started gouging for internet only services. I’m hoping it will be less, but I never know what fees are going to get tacked on until they actually bill me. I added the Hulu Plus account for an additional $8 a month. So far, so good.
I’m sure I will also be saving a tiny amount on energy costs. Let’s be honest – I never remembered to turn the cable box off. I would turn off the tv, but that cable box was always on. I’m not sure what kind of power that pulls and it may be insignificant when all said and done, but it’s still savings on some level. It just may be hard to quantify.
I may look into Amazon Fire TV if I find that I’m missing the shows I can’t get online and want to purchase and watch them on my tv through Amazon. And I may be purchasing shows online if I really miss them. I don’t see that happening to very many shows though. I can wait until they’re available on Netflix.
I’m tempted to splurge and get a DVD option with my Netflix account. There are a bunch of movies I want to see that aren’t available streaming, and I haven’t wanted to spend the extra money. It’s not like it’s a big commitment – I can upgrade for a month and then downgrade again if I find I’m not using it like I wanted to. But I’m not making that change now. I’m going to see how the financial side of this plays out.
Cutting the cord was something that I debated for far too long. Now that I’ve done it, I see just how easy it was. I can’t imagine I’m going to seriously miss TV. And if I do, I’m going to take a look at my old cable bills. The enjoyment that I got certainly wasn’t worth all of the added money.
Ditching cable tv might not be for everyone. It’s all about how much you use your cable package and what it’s worth to you. If you get a ton of enjoyment out of it, that’s fine! You shouldn’t feel guilty about it. But if, like me, you find that you’re watching a lot of recorded tv, check into whether you can get those shows online. Look into how an indoor antenna might work in your home. Never hurts to research!
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.