cutting the cable

We finally pulled the plug, well mostly.

The one holdout on our monthly expenses was the cable “bundle”. We (stupidly) signed a (stupid) contract that had us at $99/month for phone, cable and internet for a year, and then it jumped to $144/month for the second year.

We also have a TiVo which I adore (almost a much as my hubby), which is going as well. That’s another $12.95/month.

After reading a post on Lifehacker I convinced my TV loving hubby to give up the cable in favor of an Apple TV and Boxee. With these 2 things we can stream any show we can find on the internet. The big losses are the shows on HBO and Showtime that we love, but we can always purchase those through iTunes or as a DVD set at the end of the season (I prefer to watch things this way anyhow).

The total investment was $242, and some time.

The savings is approx. $90/month. (we also downgraded the home phone)

Payback time: less than 3 months, and if we sell the TiVo box we currently have it may be even quicker.

The cable company did charge us a cancellation fee for breaking the contract which we tried to negotiate but they wouldn’t budge. Since we are paid into March though the services will be pro-rated and we will owe only a small portion of the $150 fee.

I think the other benefit to not having TV is that we get more stuff done. When we were in the process of remodeling our previous home we cut all the services for 7 months. When we were there we were cleaning for showings, or getting it ready for sale, so there was no time to watch TV. We purchased one DVD set (Rome) and watched it super late at night.

We’ll be weaned onto Apple TV since the cable is not shut off yet and the TiVo doesn’t shut off until 2/24. (we’re paid through then) I think the kiddos will have it the hardest but considering the glut of other electronics in the house I hardly think they’ll be lacking in activities. It may finally make movie night an event instead of a frequent request.

Do you have cable? Is it worth the fees for you? If you could tally up the hours you use it versus the cost how much would it cost you per hour?Does anyone need a Series 3 TiVo? ;)

Kelly

About Kelly Whalen


Kelly Whalen is the founder of The Centsible Life, a blog where motherhood and money meet. Her goal is to help readers live well on less. Kelly is a mom to 4, and loves that she can stay at home with her kids, and still pursue her passions for writing, personal finance, and social media. You can often find her on twitter and Facebook talking money and motherhood.

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  • http://www.thepassivedad.com The Passive Dad

    I’m curious if the Apple TV streams High Definition channels too? This would be a wonderful investment if it did. We currently subscribe to At&t and have a plan for $79 with HD channels. I would love to get rid of that bill.

    • Kelly

      PassiveDad, it does stream HD movies and TV shows.
      From what I have read the selection is decent, but limited, and the quality is good.
      For more info check out Apple’s video.

  • http://www.thepassivedad.com/ The Passive Dad

    I’m curious if the Apple TV streams High Definition channels too? This would be a wonderful investment if it did. We currently subscribe to At&t and have a plan for $79 with HD channels. I would love to get rid of that bill.

    • Kelly

      PassiveDad, it does stream HD movies and TV shows.
      From what I have read the selection is decent, but limited, and the quality is good.
      For more info check out Apple’s video.

  • Kelly

    Great comments, thanks!

    Stephanie, I wouldn’t mind being TV free, but the hubby would never have it, so this is a good compromise for us. :)

    We have so much we can get online, or purchase cheaply from iTunes or Amazon that I don’t know if Netflix would be worth it for us.

    Melanie, great idea! We’ve been watching WAY too much TV with the kids lately since one or the other of them has been sick. We’re looking at antennae options once the DTV switch happens.

    James, that’s great that you find yourself getting more done without the TV. I feel the same way when we take the plunge. I just don’t think I can justify paying for cable anymore ever, we get almost all the content we enjoy free, and the few premium channel shows we enjoy we’ll just purchase on DVD.

  • Kelly

    Great comments, thanks!

    Stephanie, I wouldn’t mind being TV free, but the hubby would never have it, so this is a good compromise for us. :)

    We have so much we can get online, or purchase cheaply from iTunes or Amazon that I don’t know if Netflix would be worth it for us.

    Melanie, great idea! We’ve been watching WAY too much TV with the kids lately since one or the other of them has been sick. We’re looking at antennae options once the DTV switch happens.

    James, that’s great that you find yourself getting more done without the TV. I feel the same way when we take the plunge. I just don’t think I can justify paying for cable anymore ever, we get almost all the content we enjoy free, and the few premium channel shows we enjoy we’ll just purchase on DVD.

  • James

    I watch so little TV, that I wouldn’t miss it. However, my wife won’t budge on this one, so she has to have DirecTV. I am on the internet, or reading(free library books!), and would only miss sports.

    I have found that I get alot more done now, since I pretty much gave up watching television.

    Besides, your cable can be put back on later, after you are debt free!

  • James

    I watch so little TV, that I wouldn’t miss it. However, my wife won’t budge on this one, so she has to have DirecTV. I am on the internet, or reading(free library books!), and would only miss sports.

    I have found that I get alot more done now, since I pretty much gave up watching television.

    Besides, your cable can be put back on later, after you are debt free!

  • Melanie

    We’re going to kill cable, too. We’re debating the phone issue, we need to research the prepaid ones. We have Netflix for $9/mo, 1 DVD at a time, but the unlimited instant stuff is pretty good. We go through 2 Dvds per week, so 8 per month!

    We have an old Tivo that we bought the lifetime license for, so right now we’re loading up on Nick and Noggin shows to burn. We’ll still have PBS and the Netflix, so I think J will survive.

  • Melanie

    We’re going to kill cable, too. We’re debating the phone issue, we need to research the prepaid ones. We have Netflix for $9/mo, 1 DVD at a time, but the unlimited instant stuff is pretty good. We go through 2 Dvds per week, so 8 per month!

    We have an old Tivo that we bought the lifetime license for, so right now we’re loading up on Nick and Noggin shows to burn. We’ll still have PBS and the Netflix, so I think J will survive.

  • http://girlnextdoorfinance.wordpress.com stephanie

    Oh, one thing I forgot to mention – even though a netflix movie sometimes sits around for a week or more, I think I still save money by having netflix. Even though my per-video cost might be higher than, say, renting a movie from those red box things, I rarely if ever go to the theater or rent a movie from a place in town, since I have the option of waiting a little longer and getting it from netflix (and I only buy a dvd if I absolutely love a movie). So I guess it guilts me into not spending any additional money on movies – I know that I will never (well, very rarely anyway) spend more than $14 per month on movies!

  • http://girlnextdoorfinance.wordpress.com/ stephanie

    Oh, one thing I forgot to mention – even though a netflix movie sometimes sits around for a week or more, I think I still save money by having netflix. Even though my per-video cost might be higher than, say, renting a movie from those red box things, I rarely if ever go to the theater or rent a movie from a place in town, since I have the option of waiting a little longer and getting it from netflix (and I only buy a dvd if I absolutely love a movie). So I guess it guilts me into not spending any additional money on movies – I know that I will never (well, very rarely anyway) spend more than $14 per month on movies!

  • http://girlnextdoorfinance.wordpress.com stephanie

    I haven’t had a tv in nearly 2 years and don’t miss it at all. I pay $14/month for netflix and occasionally watch tv shows online. I’m even thinking about downgrading my netflix from the 2 at a time unlimited package down to the one at a time, because I often have a dvd sit around for a week or more before I have a chance to watch it. I think the nearest equivalent for me to watching tv is surfing the internet – but even then, most of what I browse are personal finance blogs, so I’m still gaining a lot even when I’m “wasting time.” I can’t imagine how I would find 2 or more hours every day to watch tv, although I guess when you have a tv it just sort of happens. Also in a year or so I’m moving in with a friend who has netflix videos streamed straight to his xbox, at which point we can cancel one subscription AND watch movies with a click of a button at any time (they might have a similar program for video consoles your family already owns). I can’t imagine why anyone would pay for cable if they realize its so easy (and cheap) to “rent” dvds or a tv series. :)

  • http://girlnextdoorfinance.wordpress.com/ stephanie

    I haven’t had a tv in nearly 2 years and don’t miss it at all. I pay $14/month for netflix and occasionally watch tv shows online. I’m even thinking about downgrading my netflix from the 2 at a time unlimited package down to the one at a time, because I often have a dvd sit around for a week or more before I have a chance to watch it. I think the nearest equivalent for me to watching tv is surfing the internet – but even then, most of what I browse are personal finance blogs, so I’m still gaining a lot even when I’m “wasting time.” I can’t imagine how I would find 2 or more hours every day to watch tv, although I guess when you have a tv it just sort of happens. Also in a year or so I’m moving in with a friend who has netflix videos streamed straight to his xbox, at which point we can cancel one subscription AND watch movies with a click of a button at any time (they might have a similar program for video consoles your family already owns). I can’t imagine why anyone would pay for cable if they realize its so easy (and cheap) to “rent” dvds or a tv series. :)

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