Monday, May 18, 2009

Cut my cable? Maybe or maybe not...

For the record, I love television. I have somewhat quirky taste and enjoy everything from Project Runway to Star Trek, to almost every show on HGTV, to Gossip Girl. I also have a penchant for classic films. But for a few weeks I've been considering, if I could really live without cable. TV is a time-waster anyway and I normally do have other things I could be doing with my time. It's easy on a Sunday afternoon to sit down to watch one little episode of Millionaire Matchmaker on Bravo (another fav) and end up watching a mini marathon. Let's not even get started on addictive dramas like Law & Order that are always seemingly on in all of their iterations.

But I really feel like I can force my self to readjust to life without cable. I did after all grown up in a household with no cable. The television station I grew up on was the Philadelphia Public Television affiliate, WHYY. For years, with the exception of The Cosby Show and later the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, I had to ask permission to watch another channel other than WHYY. So life without cable isn't new to me.

But how much money could I possibly save if I cut the cable? I currently pay about $60 per month to my cable company. So my approximate yearly savings would be $720. Minus the fees that I will probably get charged to disconnect the cable, it's still not a bad amount of money. That money would be a nice addition to my Emergency savings or my Travel fund (I am determined to go on an International trip in 2010...). Or I could throw it at my debt.

Here are some reasons why I might go ahead and pull the plug:
  1. One less monthly bill and more money in my pocket.
  2. I miss many of the cable shows I enjoy anyway because I'm not home when they come on and refuse to pay for TiVo.
  3. My local library has a decent selection of films and TV shows though they are sometimes a year or two behind.
  4. I can fill the gap of shows I miss with Netflix (which is only about $10 with my subscription).
  5. I've already cut HBO (my only premium station) and so I already don't see series I like such as The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.

Here are some reasons why I might just let it be:

  1. People sometimes expect to be able to watch cable when they visit.
  2. I'd miss the news channels like CNN and MSNBC.
  3. The fee my cable company would charge me to disconnect my service.
  4. I'd miss special programming and series that aren't available on Netflix or some other source.
  5. I'd miss the Food Network and HGTV.
The reasons why I should just cut the cable seem to outweigh the reasons to leave it on. But I'll try a 2-week experiment starting June 1. If I can go a two-week period watching only what is available on network television (no cable stations), I will just pull the plug. Otherwise, I'll look at other items to save money in my monthly spending.


A Day in the Life of Mocha said...

I have thought about cutting my cable. I rarely watch tv now but I have downgraded just to the basic cable and the bills is pretty cheap..

but if you have the internet you can watch anything on Youtube and etc..

Post how the two week test goes..

PhilESkyline said...

I say cut the cable. I've been without cable tv for quite a while now. I never had anytime to watch my favorite shows and always ended up watching them online the next day...for free.

Many of the local networks replay the episodes online and with websites and services such as Netflix, Youtube, and Hulu you won't miss much. Plus the money you will save each month will be a great reward in the long run.

Be warned, the cable company will throw every deal in the book at you in hopes of keeping you as a customer. Free this for 6 months, unlimited that for 3 months, whatever it takes. Don't fall for it, stand firm in your resolve. Good luck with your experiment, I look forward to the results.

Money Maus said...

I couldn't cut my cable. Even though I rarely have the TV on just for kicks, I watch everything from HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel, Bravo, E, etc... But I always have roommates to split the bill with, which helps a lot. (The guy I'm dating doesn't have cable but keeps talking about getting it - he's always over at my place watching and when we're at his, it's always off so there's never any background noise unless we pop a movie in.)

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