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6 Reasons I Want to Cut Cable, Save Cash

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I’ll begin with addressing my own concern and letting you know that I have cable. I have U-Verse and wish that I didn’t. My cable bill in my previous house was $100+ for 3 cable boxes and internet as a bundle package. Yesterday, I searched for cable/internet packages for my new house-hack and was offered $165 for 4 tv boxes and internet. That’s more than my student loans, more than half of my car payment, and entirely, utterly ridiculous. I know that we can all also find tons we would do with our money if it weren’t tied up in a cable bill.

I have cable only because I am renting rooms in my home to other people and marketing housing that comes with Hulu Prime, rather than cable, would probably sound a bit odd to renters. If it weren’t for that reason, I would not enter a cable contract again. If you are considering ways to save larger amounts of money, here are my pros and cons about cable:

I need to save money

I don’t want to save money, I need to save it- which means that I need to make some sacrifices. The more intentional that I become about my finances, the more I understand the value of making larger monetary cuts. For example, cable can easily cost me, at the least, $1200 a year. I could significantly decrease my debt with $1200 a year, buy assets or make investments, or maybe even take a quality, week-long vacation abroad- all by eliminating cable. When I examine all of my expenses, cable gets chopped.

I don’t watch many channels

Confession: I think I watch what is considered bad TV. My TV is probably stuck on only a few stations, including Bravo TV for Real Housewives episodes, the Gameshow network for Family Feud, and FX since the American Horror Story season has started again. (Are there any other junk TV watchers out there ๐Ÿ™‚ ). My TV screen pretty much never even sees any other stations. So I don’t need to pay for 250 channels, many of which are seldom viewed. Do you know about many channels you watch? If so, do you feel that the number of channels are worth the cost?

Don’t watch much live TV

I think that cable still has a major advantage over options such as HULU, Roku, and Amazon Stick because it offers consistent and quality live and local TV programs like the news and sports games. If you are a big sports fan, this may be something to consider and is what my boyfriend is still debating. Missing out on local programming does not bother me much because I opt out of watching the news and don’t need a play by play of sports games. My boyfriend has pulled up streaming for NFL games on our Amazon Stick, and I must admit that there was a noticeable difference in the quality. However, since I’m not the biggest sports fanatic, watching a sub-par football game without cable is worth the sacrifice.

Technology can frustrate me

If you substitute cable for an option like Amazon Stick, then you may spend some time programming the stick. My boyfriend programmed the amazon stick at his house and it took about 15 minutes. Although this is not necessarily a long time, the task seemed tedious and I did not want to do it. If technology like this can frustrate you as it can me, you may want to take this into consideration. (There are options of purchasing jail-broken Amazon sticks that already come programmed that I have seen on resale sites like Craigslist, but I cannot vouch for this as I have not done it).

Is is just me, or are HBO and STARZ pretty bad?

I recently stayed with someone who had HBO and Starz and browsed these channels for a few days. I think that HBO showed that yawn-worthy horror movie “The Boy” 4 out of the 5 days that I turned to it. I would turn to Starz once a week for the show “Power”, but that’s about it. I seldom saw programming on these stations that piqued my interest and simply didn’t think its worth the extra payment in a cable package. (Plus, I believe that most of the movies and programs shown on these stations are on Amazon stick anyway.)

Weighing the value of my entertainment and time

I recently had some spare time, and one of my goals was the finish a new season of a show that I started watching (and now I’ve gotten hooked on the Good Doctor and have given myself a new addiction, great!). I say this to illustrate that I enjoy laying on my couch and watching TV and value this relaxing time. However, I’ve recently given thought to how much more productive I would be if I substituted some of my TV watching for other time fillers.

As a teacher, I firmly believe that we should never stop learning. Since I’m serious about my financial goals, I want to time reading books about finance rather than watching TV every afternoon. Since I want to invest in more real estate, I could spend time going to conferences rather than binge Mr. Mercedes all weekend long. I thought about taking a cooking class at one point, and could put the money saved from cable into my cooking class. So I don’t believe that $1200 a year is worth all of the other things that I could be doing with money and do not want to pay that much for this form of entertainment.

My verdict

There are several reasons why someone may or may not choose to have cable, as well as many alternatives. The amazon stick is the alternative that I am familiar with and would chose if I could eliminate cable. This could result in a difference of a $1200 cable bill per year or a 1-time $100 purchase fee and the yearly cost of WiFi which could be about $360 a year ($30 a month). The cost of cable does not support my financial goals and I would eliminate it if I could, as I think that an alternative would be best for me. Does anyone use any cable alternatives? How do you like them and how do they save you money?

 


20 Comments

  • Reply Shana Joy |

    I cut cable and I am really not missing anything. There are some factors that come into this. I have a firestick, hulu, netflix (paid by T-Mobile) and SlingTV. I also had a login to my parents cable so I am not missing the shows I love on HBO and Starz. It still is a big amount including internet paying $124. Still cutting that expense out has saved money.

    • Reply Ashley L |

      Shana, super smart! I did not know that T-Mobile could get netflix free (I’m AT&T), so great way to get an additional free option. My boyfriend and I use my dad’s NFL package login too, :). I have not heard of SlingTV though and will look it up- is it as good as the others?

  • Reply Taira |

    We cut cable and have Netflix, Hulu and Amazon which we stream through a smart Blu Ray player. We have 3 toddlers so upgrading our DVD player was the most economically option at $80 and they can watch their movies and we can stream everything else. We also bought an HD antenna for $40 so we still get local TV for news and our local sports teams. We went from a $197 a month for cable and internet to $69/month for internet and streaming services.

    • Reply Ashley L |

      Taira, the local channels have been the main thing keeping my boyfriend from getting rid of cable. I’m going to mention the HD antenna to him. That is a huge cut and I like that idea for sports. Does it work well for the most part?

  • Reply Jean |

    If you are renting to college students, they probably will not care if you have cable as long as you have internet at a good speed. I think most young people have the same outlook as you; they don’t watch much live tv. I would think that most young people would already have a subscription to Netflix or Hulu (or know how to access their parents’!) so they would be able to still watch their shows. You would also need to make sure that you had good reception for the network channels (i.e. a decent house antenna, or individual antennas in each room).

    Another option would be to hook up cable in one or two of the bedrooms, and charge a little bit more for it. Not sure if that would make that much difference on the overall price to have less boxes, but something you could look into.

    I cut cable several years ago, and the only thing we miss is sports. I have an Amazon Prime subscription which gets me access to videos on Amazon, and subscriptions to Hulu & Sling. The last two subscriptions cost me about $35/month.

    • Reply Ashley L |

      Jean, I looked into the cable hook up- thank you! I actually was able to negotiate a pretty good deal for four boxes for about $80, so I’m pretty glad I was able to get a reasonable price for that. Someone else mentioned sling- and if you can get both for about $35- this definitely seems to be a quality option.

  • Reply MW |

    I’m with Jean– I think having WiFi included is a pretty good deal and you could skip cable. Alternatively, since you already have the cable hookups in the house, you could always leave it to individual tenants to get their own cable.

    Have you done a competitive analysis to see what others are doing in your situation? Get on Craigslist and do some checking, then set prices and market accordingly.

  • Reply Angie |

    Make sure you budget for the full rate and not just the promo rate. $165 seems incredibly cheap for 4 cable boxes and internet. Are you sure that is an internet that would be capable of supporting 4 students streaming and downloading? I pay $70 just for regular internet with no cable and it is pretty slow at times.

    I’m interested in the in’s and outs of this extreme house hacking. Not just on the PF side but also the non-money related items and issues. It’s for a certain type of person for sure. Make sure you start from the beginning treating it like a job and have clear cut rules and boundaries.

    • Reply Kili |

      Agreeing with Angie.
      There is a lot of potential conflicts with several flatmates.
      Have you lived with several flatmates before?
      What worked well, what didn’t?
      How do you plan on handling e.g
      – visitors of the renters? (Including your own visitors)
      – the cleanliness of the common areas and the rooms?
      – stocking up on things such as toilet paper, washing detergent, soap etc.?

      When are the renters supposed to move in?

      Good luck with your endeavors!

      • Reply Ashley L |

        Thanks for the positivity and support, Kili! I lived in this type of arrangement in college, which I think is pretty common for that time, and so my best friend and I moved in together. To describe how that turned out, we are still best friends :). I also rented out the ground floor of my townhouse once. That floor was actually designed as a roommate suite and she had her own bathroom, so we barely saw each other and that went well for the most part. She was clean, paid on time, etc. The only issue we had is that the day she moved out and I was out of town, she did not put the alarm on (and I am very adamant about always turning on the alarm), and the house was robbed. That was pretty rough, as you I’m sure you can imagine.

        I actually outlined rules about visitors, cleaning, etc. in the lease and in the house rules. One young lady does have a boyfriend and I let both of them know about visitation before they signed. So far both are very nice and considerate. We also have a cleaning schedule that outlines what needs to be cleaned and whose week it is. I think this will help with any possible discrepancies.

        As far as moving, 2 have moved in and one is still preparing. So far everything has gone smoothly. Everyone seems to be responsible and nice. I will try to post and again and update you once everyone is settled in next week!

    • Reply Ashley L |

      Angie, thanks for your interest in the house hack! Yes, you are right- I have to be very intentional and prepared for this type of living situation. It’s much different than living on one end of a duplex and renting out the other. It’s a much more of an intimate “roommate” type situation. I haven’t had this kind of roommate living arrangement since college, whew. (I did rent out the bottom floor of my townhouse at one point, but she was on her own floor so we barely saw each other). The good thing is that everyone has their own bathroom and closet and that eliminates some of the issues that would come from having lots of shared space, from my experience. So far, I’ve had to establish some house rules to establish expectations for things like noise, cleaning, etc and everything has gone smoothly. I also set down with everyone to explain the lease, since, in that regard, its much different than someone just bringing in a roommate into an apt that they are renting. So far everything is going well. I plan on posting an updated about it soon and will keep you updated. Thanks!

  • Reply Mindy |

    Agreeing with what was said above re: many renters preferring a zippy internet and less interest in cable due to so many online viewing options.

  • Reply Megan |

    The upside to having HBO is getting access to HBO Go. It means that I can stream any of the shows anytime. I never watched what was live. If you don’t have cable, you can still pay $15/mo for HBO and mostly be coming out way ahead.

    Between Netflix, Amazon, and SlingTV, cable was an easy no for us. We had the lowest package for a while because the rate for the bundle was better than the rate for just internet. When that wore off, it was time to go. We had access to Amazon Prime shows anyway because we use that service for the shipping benefits anyway.

    • Reply Ashley L |

      Megan, It seems like the netflix, amazon, sling TV combination is a popular option for many that have already made the smart move of cutting cable.

  • Reply Walnut |

    Just going to throw it out there that using someone else’s login for certain types of entertainment packages is not a frugal solution. It’s often times fraudulent, and if it’s not straight up fraud, then it certainly is a cheapskate move.

  • Reply Katie |

    Our cable bill for our bundle got up to around $250/month and we pulled the plug. Bought an Ooma for an additional phone (about $100 for the unit, then about $5/month), and we use Sling, Amazon Prime and Netflix. I’ll never go back to cable. I doubt it would make that much of a difference to the people renting, but when you look at the bill coming to about $1,200/year that’s over two months of rent from one of your housemates. Is it really worth it when you think of it that way? Especially if you don’t use it? I also was annoyed with the steps it took to arrange the different services and program our Roku and prime sticks, but around me, there are people who actually have made that a side hustle. They’ll come in for about $100 and figure it all out for you, set up the accounts and program all your devices.

    • Reply Ashley L |

      Katie, yes $250 is getting very steep. It’s amazing how much its costing. One of the young ladies did ask about the cable and many of the renting offers in the area (judging from site like Trulia and hotpads, etc.) have cable/wifi included in their rent. To be competitive, I just decided to stomach the costs. I will let you know how everything goes once everyone gets moved in, actually starts using the services, and I get the first bill.

      And wasn’t programming the prime sticks frustrating?! I was trying to help my boyfriend. He had to watch maybe two videos to figure it out, and I just gave up. Programming the sticks is a smart side hustle because I definitely don’t want to do it. There are so many creative ways find a side-hustle.

    • Reply Ashley L |

      Katie, I hope you don’t mind that I mention you and the side hustle you brought up about programming Amazon sticks, in my next post- that is pretty clever! I was actually going to write about my new side hustle/ different side hustles. If so, just let me know and I’ll leave that out- you just brought up a good idea.

  • Reply drmaddog2020 |

    I cut the cable cord two years ago and Will. Never. Go. Back. I got so sick of internet/cable not working and having to wait around all day for no one to show up. I have Sling (for HGTV, food network, history channel, and Comedy Central), Hulu, Netflix, Amazon prime and an HBO subscription. I also have a digital antenna for network stations. I was usually watching shows after the fact anyway, so there isn’t much change for me. Fast and solid internet would be way more important to me than cable. There is so much good content out there that isn’t on pay cable.

    • Reply Ashley L |

      Seems like you have a solid setup so you don’t miss a thing. Cable is getting ridiculous, so this bundle options sounds great. Someone else mentioned the digital antennas. I hadn’t thought of that and the local stations are my boyfriends major concern. Do the antennas work well for the most part?

So, what do you think ?