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So Why Haven’t You Cut Cable Yet?

cancelling cable


We cut the cord on satellite TV over two years ago. It took a long time to get to a place where we were ready to let go, but it’s been nothing but positive. Not only do we save money every month, we choose when and what to watch, resulting in way less TV altogether. Who has time to watch TV when there are side businesses to hustle, rental properties to be found, and family trips to be planned?

In fact, TV is one of the biggest time sucks known to man. In years past, I can’t count how many times I’ve turned the TV on for background noise only to find myself four hours later caught up in a Law and Order marathon. I can’t think of one benefit to having cable or satellite TV, and I’m going to shoot down every excuse today and ask why haven’t you cut cable yet?

Cutting Cable Does Not Mean No TV

At the end of a long day, I like to sit down and watch a show as much as the next person, but you don’t need cable to do that. With all the streaming and on demand options available, just about any type of show can be found for way less money than having a cable subscription.

Some of the options we’ve tried are better than others depending on what you like to watch.

  • Netflix is great for original shows like House of Cards or Orange is the New Black, plus there is a huge library of network and vintage TV shows. It’s nice because you don’t have to worry about missing an episode and getting behind. There are tons of movies on Netflix as well, but it’s not the best service for new releases. Netflix costs about $8 a month.
  • Hulu Plus is the service you want for following current TV series. For most shows, episodes appear on Hulu the day after they air. Hulu has grown to include some of their own original series, including highly anticipated The Way starring Hugh Dancy and Aaron Paul. Hulu is also around $8 per month.
  • Amazon Prime, while not originally marketed as a TV service, has really made great strides in their content over the past couple of years. Most people used to sign up for free two day shipping, but I would have to argue that TV services are a pretty good reason to pay the $99 yearly fee, which makes Amazon comparable to other options at $8.25 per month.

But I Like to Watch Sports and Game of Thrones!

Live sports was probably the one reason many die hards could not cancel cable in the past.  Although installing an antenna allows access to local network stations for free, you still didn’t have ESPN or live sports channels for the most part. Sling TV is a new service that does offer live sports plus a variety of other channels like HGTV, TBS, and the Disney Channel. The cost of Sling TV is $20 per month, so no reason to keep cable for one or two channels!

For lovers of premium movie channels, it is now possible to buy those a la carte with prices ranging from $4 a month for Starz to $14.99 per month for HBO. For cheapskates, remember that almost all HBO shows will end up on Amazon Prime if you wait long enough.

Won’t I Have to Buy a Bunch of Equipment to use Streaming Services?

You do need to have some sort of device to watch streaming content on your TV. Luckily, there are several inexpensive options. We have a Roku Device that cost about $50. You can also use an Amazon Fire Stick, which is portable and can be used during travel. There are also Apple TV, Google Chromecast, and several other streaming options for under $100. CNET has a nice list of rankings and which device might be best for your particular type of TV viewing.

Be Careful Not to Overload

While cutting cable is a very budget minded thing to do, paying for too many streaming options can negate savings. Most services offer a trial period, usually 7 days or a month for Amazon Prime. This should allow enough time to see which service works best for your needs. Don’t forget to cancel the ones you don’t want to keep.

Unlike having a cable contract, a nice thing about streaming is that you can suspend service anytime. We don’t watch much on Hulu during the summer, so that one is currently on hiatus at our house. When Scandal starts up again, I will reactivate our subscription.

Honestly, even if you do feel the need to pay for Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and HBO, the cost is still probably half of what you’d pay for the same number of shows on cable.

Is There Anything I Can Watch for Free?

Yes! There are a ton of ways to watch TV for free. Many networks allow you to watch recent episodes online for a period of time after their air date, and movies or TV series from the public library are always free. For a one time cost, you can also buy an an antenna and watch network and local channels without ever having to pay a dime.

If you are still unsure, I challenge you to take a month and write down every show you are seriously interested in and see if there is a way to watch it through streaming. Then, add up the cost of streaming services vs what you’re paying now. There is almost no way not to come out ahead by cancelling your subscription for cable or satellite TV, even if you have to invest in some new hardware up front. With all the available options, why haven’t you cut cable yet?

Have you found any benefits to cutting cable besides money savings? What is your favorite TV or movie gem you’ve found from streaming that you would never have watched on cable?

Image: Flickr


About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.


  1. One of the best things we’ve done was cut cable. We spend a lot less time mindlessly watching TV now and try to find ways to enjoy spending time together, not just in the same room as before. Also, Hulu Plus is one reward on Bing Rewards so if you use Bing for search, it is possible to supplement your budget more by getting it free! I couldn’t imagine spending $60-70+ for cable again. The only issue we run into is things like Brewer games which is hard since we are in the local market so the game are blacked out online. But my hope is that as the cable cutting movement keeps growing, these sorts of problems will be worked out and no longer a problem.

    • Good tip about Bing. I didn’t know that. I also hope that everything will be on demand at some point. It just makes sense.

  2. we still have cable. Mr Tre isn’t willing to give up his soccer. We tried streaming the games online but it didn’t work well and he got a virus on his computer every time.

  3. Well, we haven’t cut our DirecTV yet…but we’re very close to making that decision I believe. The biggest thing for me has been sports – specifically football. That being said, I just don’t have the time to watch NFL games like I used to because we’re just so busy. I go to the home games for K-State and the away games I can usually find some way to watch if I look hard enough for them. That’s made it much easier to see it’s a monthly bill we can significantly cut. Like you said, there are just too many options out there that can save significant money that I’d much rather have working for us in a variety of other ways.

    • I bet you won’t miss sports as much as you think. We did the free trial of Sling for the ESPN and Jim barely watched it so we cancelled. The one or two sports things you really want so see are year aren’t really worth paying the fee every month.

  4. Cutting cable was the easiest no-brainer way to save money. I don’t miss it one bit, but luckily I also don’t care about sports. I use a basic antenna when I watch to watch live TV and it works just fine, although I’d say about 99% of the shows I watch now I watch on Hulu the next day. I share the cost with a friend. I pay for netflix and he pays for hulu plus. I tried amazon prime for a month but I thought it was just overkill for me.

  5. We cut cable earlier this year (maybe it was in 2014? I can’t remember) and haven’t missed it AT ALL. Not even one bit.

  6. We have gone years without cable. We have a Roku with Netflix, and a digital antena for 5-8 network stations. We don’t miss it at all. Also, most of our friends our in the same boat. We talk with them about the latest Netflix original series rather than what we might be missing on the cable networks.

    • I’m hoping my daughter will grow up never thinking about cable or feeling a need for it. Maybe it will be a thing of the past when she is grown.

  7. We are perfectly happy with our Hulu, Netflix setup. I can’t think of anything I want to watch that I can’t if I’m willing to wait a while.

  8. I cut cable awhile ago and even though I thought I would miss it, I don’t. Most of the shows I watch are available to stream online through the networks. I’ve also gotten Netflix and am a big fan of some of their originals.

  9. “While cutting cable is a very budget minded thing to do, paying for too many streaming options can negate savings.” This is a good point, and a reason why some people are in for a shock when the cable pay structure collapses. Once everything moves into smaller subscriptions/streaming, it’s going to cost a lot more than people think. Sports in particular could become very expensive. I imagine college football subscription packages alone could cost hundreds or thousands of dollars per season depending on how much access you get.

  10. been sociallizing the idea….soon i hope 🙂

  11. I love how you talk about not overloading, and know when you’re more likely to use certain subscriptions. There weren’t many shows worth watching during the summer on Hulu, but come fall, I’ll be watching multiple shows the next day through Hulu. My husband favors the idea of downloading shows online immediately after they air.

  12. I know you’re right about cutting the cord. I’ve tried Netflix and Amazon Prime, plus Now TV (we don’t have Hulu here in the UK).

    Football (soccer) is the only thing keeping me tied in, plus the fibre cable broadband is fast and reliable.

    Probably only a matter of time though …

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