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My story begins 7 years ago. It was about 4 hours into a “Deadliest Catch” marathon one Sunday afternoon that my husband and I suddenly came to the sad reality. We were literally wasting hours of our lives watching men catch the same crabs over and over again. This was the fourth Sunday we had come home from church and vegged out on the show for hours at a time. Within a week we had ditched cable. From that day on our Sunday afternoons were filled with leisure activities like reading, playing games or in my case, crafting. To be honest, it was hard a first, but 7 years later, I’m pretty happy that we broke up with Cable. It’s led us to much more productive lives. The truth is, we still watch all our favorite shows.
Mindless Cable TV Eating…
Cable always reminds me of mindless eating. You know, eating when your bored. It’s like having a box of cookies. You could have one, but instead you just keep eating the cookies because they are there and you’re bored. If the cookies weren’t there, you wouldn’t eat them. Cable can be like this for some people. You just watch stuff because cable is there. If you didn’t have cable you might go do something else. Maybe even something productive. You might even take the money you’re saving without cable and do something fun.
The Break Up Quiz
Have you ever considered breaking up with cable? Cable is tricky. Some people really can’t live without it, but some of you can.
Let’s take a quiz to see if breaking up with cable could work for you:
1. Do you find that cable gives you a variety of viewing options but you still get frustrated because there is “nothing good on”?
2. Do you find yourself watching re-runs of shows you’ve already seen just because they are on?
3. Do you ever find yourself watching infomercials for new entertainment?
4. Are your favorite weekly shows available on regular television networks?
5. Are your favorite weekly show episodes streamed online?
6.Do you like the flexibility of watching all your favorite shows when you have time rather than when they air?
7. Could you save money in the long run by ditching cable and just having internet?
8. Would you be willing to pay to just watch shows you like commercial free?
If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, you may be ready to ditch cable. Just like with any other relationship, when you begin to think about dropping cable, you may find various fears and insecurities begin to rise. Let’s talk about those things now.
What will I do for media entertainment without cable?
- If I’m not mistaken, most popular television programs air on non-cable stations, so you should still have access to those.
- Several cable networks stream recent episodes of your favorite shows on their websites. You could still possibly get your fix that way.
- Consider spending a lot less than cable on a monthly online streaming entertainment subscription (Hulu Plus $7.99, Netflix, Amazon Prime).
- You can buy TV episodes without having cable.
My computer screen is so small, how can I get streaming online media on my TV?
- Streaming media has come a long way.
- For many years, I just hooked my laptop up to my television and used it as a giant monitor.
- This Christmas, my husband got me a Roku 3 streaming player. I’m writing about this device simply because it has greatly improved my TV/ Online entertainment experience! I’m not reviewing it for Roku. This is just an honest review for you.
- It’s a tiny box that hooks right up to our TV and comes with a remote control.
- As of right now I use it mainly to stream my son’s favorite Nick Jr. & PBS shows on Amazon Prime as well as many free Veggie Tales movies directly on our television.
- The remote control makes it easy.
- My husband watches all his favorite Youtube channels on our large flat screen from the comfort of the couch using a remote.
- A Roku also has a feature that allows you to control the TV from your wireless devices like tablets, computers and cell phones.
- To read more about how Roku works and it’s easy set up check out their website.
What about missing seasons of my favorite cable network shows?
- You may hate this idea but if you are willing to wait, you can enjoy seasons of your favorite shows for less than a trip to the movies.
- My husband and I simply wait for the entire season of the show to come out on Amazon Prime. We purchase the season for the price of a night at the movies for both us and we watch all the entire season, COMMERCIAL free, at our leisure over the course of a week or two. Then we own it and can watch it as many times as we want.
- If you don’t want to wait, you can usually buy the latest episode on Amazon for $1.99 just after it airs.
- I think that people sometimes look at the price of a season of a show and gasp. It literally is the same price as going to a movie and getting popcorn.
- Perspective people, perspective.
Will I actually save money?
- That kind of depends on your cable company.
- In most cases cable companies get people hooked up with “bundles” of services.
- That could be cable TV, land line phone and internet.
- Many times these “bundles” are presented as cheaper than just having internet but in general those are introductory deals. They will go up in 6 months to 1 year.
- Ask your cable customer service rep the regular price difference between bundles and just internet.
- Don’t forget that when you break up with your cable service, it may be time to consider breaking up with the cable company! There are many fast internet providers out there that do just internet and they do internet well. We used to use Clear internet for a flat $50 per month.
- You can also get home internet now through various phone companies.
- Shop around and see what kind of internet speed and price is a good fit for your life.
- I love Clark Howard and he has written an article about all the new alternatives coming to the world of cable & satellite TV that will save you big bucks! He even writes about how typically cable companies can be up charging you 600% for the programming you are watching! Check it out here.
Making the break up call.
If you have decided that cable isn’t a good fit for your life anymore, it’s time to make that dreaded call to your provider. I know, I know it’s hard. It’s going to be a hassle, but once you cut the ropes, you’ll be FREE! It’s a 15 minute conversation with a person you will never see or speak with again! You can do this. Go practice in the mirror if you have to and then pick up the phone and dial. Here are things to remember when you call.
- Remember, YOU ARE THE BOSS and it’s YOUR MONEY!
- No, you are not interested in finding out more about their special bundle offers.
- Yes, you understand that they can offer you a cheaper bundle but you don’t want it! You just want internet!
- “Why would you pay more for less,” the customer service person asks? “Good QUESTION!!!!” you reply, “Why am I going to pay more for less? Go ask your boss.” (In case you can’t tell, I’m being sarcastic here. This is based on actual conversations I’ve had with cable companies. lol)
- Stick your heels in the dirt, don’t be swayed and pick the best internet service and price that you can get.
- If you decide to switch companies all together, let them know that you have found a cheaper service and are going to switch. If they give you a hard time, simply ask if they are willing to match or beat the competitor’s price and if not, it’s time to move on.
I hope this post has given you some things to think about when deciding on keeping or ditching your cable service. If you can’t live without it, stick with it. If you can, go for it and see just how much more you can get done with your hobbies and favorite leisure activities!
Kim Anderson is the organized chaos loving author behind the Thrifty Little Mom Blog. She helps other people who thrive in organized chaos to stress less, remember more and feel in control of their time, money, and home. Kim is the author of: Live, Save, Spend, Repeat: The Life You Want with the Money You Have. She’s been featured on Time.com, Money.com, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Day, and more!