Married to the Empire

Monday, February 1, 2010

Why We've Dumped Cable--Again

When I first quit teaching to become a SAHW nearly 11 years ago, we dropped our cable subscription as a way to cut costs. We went 8 years without it, and for the most part, we didn't miss it. We decided 2.5 years ago to resubscribe. The price was decent, as we bundled it all in with our phone and internet. But as of today, we're cable-free again.

Here's the reason: We didn't watch it enough to warrant paying for it. Invariably, we'd sit down to watch something, flipping through the guide with 250 channels or so. And there would be nothing worth watching. Hundreds of channels with nothing on. We don't really have the time or desire to be tied to any TV shows. We're honestly not watching anything right now, as we gave up on Heroes this season. Doctor Who, which is a favorite of mine, was only on sporadically.

TV just isn't important enough to us to keep paying for cable service.

However, we're not without TV entertainment. I gave Steven an X-Box for Christmas (and paid very little!), which was the only thing he asked for. We can get Netflix through the X-Box, which is what we're doing. We have to pay an annual subscription for X-Box Live, which Steven told me was about $50. Add in the cheapest Netflix subscription at $8.99/month, and for approximately $14 each month, we have immediately accessible TV and movie entertainment. It's on our time. No waiting for the program to start when it's scheduled or having to remember to set the DVR.

Additionally, Steven installed an HD antenna in the attic this weekend, so we have local channels clearly broadcast into our home. We paid approximately $75 for the antenna. I've done the math. Even with buying an antenna and paying for Netflix and X-box Live, we're paying half of what we were for cable. Next year that number will drop even more, as the antenna was a one-time purchase.

But truthfully, this isn't actually about the money; it's about value. We re-evaluated our television usage and realized that we were paying for a whole bunch of nothing. No sense in throwing money away.

An added benefit is that it's a little less for me in terms of media overload. I'd taken to often watching reruns of That 70s Show at night, instead of reading, which I've missed. I can't do everything, and frankly, I don't want TV to be what keeps me from books. I'm even putting away the iPod at night so that I'm not tempted by that. As the saying goes, less is more. Indeed.


Sue said...

Less is more, indeed.
I've never had cable, but this past June also ditched the "free" stuff with the onset of digital TV. If I really want to watch something, I can usually catch it on Hulu, but there's really not that much to watch anyway! I don't really feel like I'm missing much (OK, I'll admit I kind of miss Law & Order).
Kudos to you for dumping cable!

Rhonda in OK said...

we gave up our cable too and I truly don't miss it.
we have an antenna on the roof and get about 25 channels from Tulsa and OKCity.
we have Netflix and watch a lot of it through a Roku box- they hook up to wifi, cost $80 and show Netflix and a few odd channels.

What I really like is we have no contracts on any of this. We also swithced to Tracfones - again, no contracts.

we like project runway and watch it on Lifetime on our laptop

Anonymous said...

Congrat's on giving up cable. I keep flirting with the idea but haven't work my self up to take the plung.

Thankful said...

You may not even need Xbox Live if you have a wifi router for your house. We have a PS3, which admittedly may work different, but we just had to log it into our wireless network to access netflix streaming (even if you are hard-wired, you could probably run USB from your modem to Xbox). My husband is the A/V expert in the house, so a Xbox may work totally different, but it may be worth looking into so as to save that extra $50 annually.

Catherine at Frugal Homemaker Plus said...

Great post!

We always said we'd get cable if we ever could get the "Nerd Package" with History, TLC, etc. However, we have changed our mind. It seems like every time we stay in a hotel, the quality of the TV has gone down! The library has provided us with most of what we want, and other methods the rest!

Thirsty said...

We've had bunny ears with big aluminum earrings for years. Not happy about it -- it clashes with my decor on so many levels, but more dis/un/im/not/anti happy with cable/satellite bills than with our disjointed living room decor.