How to Save Money » Frugal Living

Is it time to break up with your cable company?

In an effort to pay off debt and/or start saving more money, many people are looking for ways to cut back on their expenses. Are you one of these people?

When my husband and I were trying to pay off our credit card debt a few years back, one of the first things that people suggested we get rid of was cable TV. The thought had never even crossed our minds because – what are we supposed to do if we can’t watch TV?!

Ahhh, how times have changed.

Breaking up with your cable company is one of the first suggestions I give to those that ask me how they slash their expenses. Cable TV such an unnecessary luxury that so many people think is a need when it’s really just a want.

The difference between needs and wants is that one of them is crucial for survival (housing, food, clothing), while the other is not (cable TV, eating out, the latest gaming system).

Although there are many areas of your budget that you can cut back on, take a good hard look at your cable bill first. Do you REALLY need to be paying that bill every month, or can you say goodbye to cable TV?

If you’re ready to let it go, prepare yourself for a fight from your cable company. They make lots of money off of you and will not be happy to hear you say that you no longer want to give it to them. They will likely try to entice you with free gifts, lower bills (for a limited time), and things of that nature. Stand your ground and don’t let them change your mind.

I encourage you to take a look at these 10 legal alternatives to costly cable. There are so many ways for you to watch the shows you enjoy for FREE (or very little money). Don’t give your cash to the cable company, where you will be paying for a handful of shows you do like and dozens (or more!) of shows that you don’t.

Have you cut the cable TV cord? Was it worth it?

Comments

  1. Gena

    I’ve thought about it, but I can’t bring myself to cut the cable! My husband is a big sports fanatic so he would miss watching sports and I’d miss watching all my reality TV shows. At least I get free PVR πŸ™‚

  2. Don

    We cut the cord in ’09 and have never looked back. 90% of what we watch now is OTA & Netflix. The other 10% is via the Internet and the odd $5 DVD at Wal-Mart.

    Only thing I really miss is F1 racing but not enough to pay for cable.

    We’re very happy with having cut the cord & proud to no longer be supporting a big greedy cable company.

  3. Lori

    We cut our satellite bill about three years ago. When my husband called to do it, they tried anything to keep us. The guy’s last offer was a free YEAR of satellite! We still turned it down, and then the guy said he really couldn’t have given that to us anyway, he just wanted to see if we were serious.

  4. TL

    All these suggestions in this and the Squawk Fox article are good ideas, however, some of us have huge internet bills that would be even higher if we used our computer for free TV or movies. Remember it is only free if you don’t have to pay for the internet πŸ™‚

  5. katie

    I just wish Netflix Canada was as good as I hear it is in the States. I keep being told to check out certain shows on Netflix but they don’t show up on my list!

  6. Christina

    With the exception of 3 months in the dead of winter in a rural location with two children under the age of two- we’d never had cable in 5 years of marriage. We did however, get cable in December and got a promotion which ended up costing us $17/month for 6 months. We decided to do it as a treat with the understanding that when the time is up it’s gone. The cost is truly one that is a want not a need.

    Personally, I found Netflix very disappointing and due to our location we not receive anything with our antenna.

  7. tracey

    we cut the cord over a year ago!! we use OTA and netflix (which we just got about 2 months ago–mostly for the kids! ) my husband built us our own PVR–so we don’t miss a thing–we are happy that now when we are watching tv–we are watching only things we enjoy!! it was a great decision!!

  8. tracey

    oh yes!! and at the same time we cut with the phone company too!!! we have freephoneline.ca –i actually think it might have changed its name recently–but because we don’t get a bill–i can’t check it!! πŸ˜‰ its fantastic!! so we only have an internet bill –we went from $160/m to 60!!

  9. natalie

    happy that our cable is included in our strata fees πŸ™‚ when we move or if, it will be a change to have to pay for it after almost nine years of included.

  10. teachermum

    Not likely to happen here. We already use most of our internet usage per month and while we did just get Netflix, the shows my husband likes to watch are not available for us to watch (no sports) otherwise. Most of the time we watch DVDs anyhow, but he enjoys shows on History, Discovery and TLC. Me? I’d have kept our old antenna and been happy with what one of the new ones would bring in!

  11. Marie

    Great post!
    We cut the cord many years ago. Sometimes I miss watching some shows, specially on PBS or Discovery Channel, but not enough to pay for cable every month, it’s just not worth the price.

  12. Squawkfox (Kerry)

    Hi Cassie! Thank you so much for sharing my post. Hope your readers save a lot of cash by cutting the cable! Love love love, Kerry

  13. Helen W

    Unfortunately its impossible if you are a sports fan (other than hockey that is). This is something that you cannot get anywhere else. My son is a basketball fanatic and I think removing cable would cause mutiny in my household. He watches several games a week. Though if it became a real financial hardship then hard things need to be done. Definitely something easier to do with younger kids in the household. If you have teenagers that have grown up with it then it would be a very tough sell. Teenagers do NOT hold back when they are upset about things lol!! And everyone thinks toddlers are hard…. πŸ˜‰ However, we did threaten Rogers with leaving if they didn’t reduce our bill and that worked. We were absolutely willing to go to Bell if they did not come through.

  14. Marianne

    We had cable for free in an apartment we lived in once for about a year but other than that I’ve never had cable or satellite.. ever. We currently use a mix of antenna, internet and netflix. I agree that Netflix is somewhat of a disappointment but it is getting better. I like it for kids stuff. My in-laws are real tv watchers and when their kids come over they get bored quickly so it is nice to be able to put Netflix on and let them pick out something to watch. Mostly we watch all of our favourite channels on the Internet. I even watch channels that I get over the air on the internet because it is more convenient to choose when I want to watch a show rather than have to watch it at a certain time. We do not have a bandwidth cap so it does not cost us extra. (If you do you may want to check out some of the smaller internet providers as many of them do not have usage caps). We are not sports fans though if we were we could watch some sports like hockey and football over the air. I also watch the Olympics via the antenna as well as figure skating. πŸ™‚

  15. Lindsey

    I’ve often thought about cutting the cord on my satellite and with things being tougher I’ve definitely been looking into options of what to cut back on, however, almost every one of those options you were required to have an internet connection, which isn’t really possible for me. I live “in the middle of nowhere” at least where high speed internet is concerned and can only get either dial-up (which I already get for free through work or I wouldn’t even have that) or one of those sticks which are incredibly limited and I wouldn’t be able to watch very much. Am looking into cutting back on my home/cell phone costs.

  16. Georgina

    I wish my mum and brother would allow me to cut off the cable for at least 6 months. Perhaps, I’ll aim for June until October that way they can watch hockey, Bachelor/bachelorette, and all other stuff. I’m the only one in the house that doesn’t watch much tv but then again I have a handful of hobbies I enjoy which definitely helps me as well as university courses πŸ™‚ Wish I could get mum onto reading books or suduko and way from Cornation Street πŸ™‚

  17. Rebecca

    In December of 2010 my family got rid of our digital cable service from Rogers. We’ve since saved approximately $1100, which is pretty astounding. It was hardest for my dad, as he spent a lot of his time watching TV, but now we all enjoy spending more time doing other things like reading.

  18. Karen

    I can’t remember when we did have cable, but we did give in for the Olympic Winter games in Vancouver. The cable company gave us a great deal. It was the right thing at that time as we were flipping through three channels at one point trying to watch finals of all our favourite sports. We did get rid of it once our deal was finished. It was a nice treat, but we found we were mostly watching the local channels anyways which are free, although with the digital change over we did have to make a homemade device to get things to come in more clear. We are not into the summer games as much so I am not sure if we will do it for these games. You can watch many shows online with less commercials which I truely enjoy.

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