Anyone who’s looked at the expenses section of my Net Worth reports can pretty easily tell that I’m not a very frugal person.
I’ve got an expensive apartment (well fairly average for the area but still expensive), a car payment, and a hefty entertainment budget among other things. Heck, I spent $40,000 last year if that wasn’t enough of a clue.
Up until this month I also paid for cable, the bane of every frugal person’s existence. It’s also the #1 cited item for people to get rid of when looking to start saving money (totally made that up, but it’s gotta be up there!)
Well, I’ve finally decided to join ranks and become frugal at something… No more cable for me!
Let’s breakdown the thought process behind this move, as my cable experience is slightly different than most “cable cutting” posts you see out there.
My Past Experience With Cable
A vast majority of all the “cut the cord” articles and posts cite the hundreds of dollars you can save by getting rid of cable.
While this amount of savings is absolutely true for the average American that has a cable bill, it’s a little different when you are young, single and have roommate(s).
For instance: my first year out of college I lived in a house with 5 other people (everyone had their own room that kept rent low!) Of course the more people you have, the lower your share of utilities will be as that all gets split evenly. Same thing for cable.
How much did I pay for high speed internet and hundreds of channels of cable? $24/month on average.
The past 3 years I’ve only had one roommate, meaning my share has been higher. Anywhere between $60-70/month on average.
My point of this is, by ditching cable I really wouldn’t have been saving tons of money, especially not during the first year.
The internet portion of the bill still needs to get paid for, meaning at most I would’ve been saving maybe $30-40/month.
While yes, I do realize that $30-40 is a lot of money to save each month, but at the time I watched a lot of TV (especially sports) and paying that price seemed worth it to me.
I fell into the trap of thinking “well, most people pay hundreds for their cable/internet but I’m paying half that so I’m getting a good deal…” (<– not the best way to think about that!)
With roommates that all wanted cable as well, it just simply made sense. Until recently that is.
Why I’m Ditching Cable
This year is the first year I’ve really set concrete financials goals for myself. As a naturally competitive person, I see it as competing against myself and really want to accomplish them!
The big goal I want to accomplish is the savings rate one. This means I need to keep my expenses lower than they’ve been in the past.
Unfortunately, my year long lease is up in August, and is set to rise at least $50 for the next year (seriously, I gotta get outta these HCOL areas!).
While in the past, I would’ve just set it aside as natural, and simply inflated my budget, this year I’ve got those goals I’ve still gotta reach.
Thus, when I found out about it, I went looking for ways to mitigate this increase.
Of course I could cut my entertainment/vacation budget by that entire amount, but those are things I enjoy and find worth spending money on.
I also could’ve taken it from the “Auto Other” line item that covers auto repairs/emergency’s, but do I really want to be short-handed for when those necessary repairs do eventually happen?
With this in mind, I turned my eye towards that Cable/Internet line.. hey maybe the time is right!
After all, I noticed my new roommate hardly watches TV at all. I figured I’d ask, and he was totally on board. See ya Cable!!
Aside from the obvious savings (disappointingly my bill was only cut in half, but hey at least it’s something) there was another reason for cutting cable.
I simply just don’t really watch it anymore. Since I started blogging and dove headfirst into the FIRE world, I’ve been spending most of the former TV time writing or reading content.
Essentially, instead of mindlessly watching TV I’m now learning and improving on my skills!
So why pay for something I wasn’t even using?
Will It Last?
That’s the big question, will it last, or is it just wishful thinking? After all, the one season I used to spend the most time watching TV is right around the corner…
That’s right, football season. As I played from elementary school through college, I’m a huge fan and love watching both college and the pro’s.
It will certainly be interesting to see how it goes not being able to watch any games at my apartment.
I can always just go to a bar to watch the games I want to see, but will that turn out to be more expensive than just paying for the cable?
I guess we’ll find out.
It’s exciting to think I’ll actually be able to go and do things on Sunday’s in the fall now. As the NFL games start at 1pm and go through the end of the day, it’s basically been an all day affair.
I’m not making any guarantee’s that having no cable will be permanent, but I’m going to use the next year as an experiment to see if I truly don’t need it going forwards.
After all, I won’t be completely devoid of TV. I’ve got Netflix and Amazon Prime to fill the void if I need a fix. Plus, does anyone watch a show other than The Office on repeat these days? (ok maybe that’s just me 🙂 ).
I’m excited to see how this goes! Wish me luck!
Do you have cable? Why or why not? If you do, have you ever considered getting rid of it? If you don’t how has it been without it?
11 thoughts to “Frugality Level Reached! – Ditching Cable”
As you have said before, it all comes down to what you value and what makes you happy. I don’t think I’d get rid of it, television is just a natural thing for me even though I don’t watch much anymore (I know that doesn’t make sense 🙂 ). I guess I just like the convenience of it being there if I want to use it.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that I watch far less TV than I used to. Sports was a big part of it as well (baseball, golf and college basketball for me), but even there I don’t watch nearly as much of those events as I used to. I’m thankful that, unlike you, I’ve never been big into football. I never understood how people could waste beautiful fall Sundays watching it all day. To me, it’s so boring. But to each their own!
I think for me an easier cut would be to the entertainment area as that is totally discretionary (although you can argue that cable is too!) and if you look real hard at it you can certainly find areas where you’re “wasting” money. Again, it comes back to what each person values more in their own life. If you feel this will make a difference in your budget and won’t affect your enjoyment and quality of life, it’s an experiment certainly worth trying. I’m thinking about doing away with my Netflix subscription. I’ve never been a big movie/TV show person aside for a select few. I look on there more for interesting documentaries on history or topics I’m interested in. But I rarely log on, probably haven’t in a month or two. Yeah, it’s a small amount of money but it’s still $140 annually. We’ll see what happens there.
So true Brian, it’s all a personal choice and about what you want to have in your life. I’ve been actively working to try and constrain that Entertainment category too, though that definitely has proven to be difficult. We’ve all got things to work on! 🙂
That would be a big one to cut for me. Best of luck with that. But it shows how committed you are to improving your financial path so I hope it does make a huge difference down the line
I think it’s probably a toss-up between cutting cable and bringing your lunch to work as to which one is the most-recommended way to save money. Too bad neither of those were options for me! 😂
It’s frustrating that you didn’t save a ton by cutting cable thanks to the cable/internet bundles (SO GLAD I found a fantastic solution for internet that doesn’t involve a cable or landline bundle or Comcast!), but hey, at least the savings slightly offsets your raise in rent! (Totally feeling you on the need to get out of the HCOL areas 😩)
I know it’s harder, but is there any way you could catch games online for the ones you really want to watch/don’t want to go to a bar for? And maybe the solution in the future after this year is to pay for a subscription where you can watch games without having to pay for a whole cable package.
I’m cheating and totally using my parents’ accounts for Netflix and Hulu, which is nice on the now VERY rare occasions I turn on the TV (Parks and Rec and lately The Good Place on repeat for me!). If I had to actually pay for those subscriptions I’d have to think about whether they were worth it. Or just hope my roommate had an account haha.
Yes I do think that there are online options to watch a few games so I’ll definitely be taking advantage of that this year! Also still on my family Netflix account 🙈 but I would still probably pay for that on my own just so I had something to entertain myself at my apt if I needed some mindless entertainment haha
We ditched it 3 years ago. The only thing I miss are certain sporting events, but not to the point where I’ve wanted to spend the extra money. I have a Tivo and over-the-air digital antenna, so I am able to watch some of the sports I want, as well as keep up on some network shows I like.
Congrats on taking the step!
Nice! I should look into that to maybe help bridge the gap and still be able to get a small fix of some sporting events
Booyah, welcome the Union of Cord-Cutters! Take your coat off and stay awhile 🙂
That’s the plan! Hoping it lasts longer than this experimental period 🙂
Hey welcome to the club! we are going on 4 years and it we haven’t looked back!
Wow four years is a long time! Hoping I can make it that long without it 😂