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February 3, 2014

How We Cancelled Cable…And Survived!

As a guy, cancelling cable the week the NFL starts is no easy task.  But I’m proud to say we did it.  We’re only one week into our no cable existence but it’s going well so I thought I’d share our experience so far in case you want to do the same thing.

We’re not going completely without tv (we are American after all) so I’ll get into what we’re replaced it with below.  But before I do that I want to explain why we’re getting rid of it.

First of all, my wife is now staying home with our 3 daughters so we’re looking at the budget a little closer.  When you go from two incomes to one it forces you to prioritize what’s important which is good.   It’s so easy for many of us in Stapleton to fall into the trap of working really hard to make money to spend on things we don’t even have time to enjoy.  (we’re guilty but working on simplifying!)  I don’t know about you but we have all the bills on autopay so we didn’t even notice that several of them had crept up over time.  I think our cable bill was about $100 which seems excessive considering we don’t watch 98% of the channels anyway.

Second, with 3 kids and busy lives we don’t need to waste too much of our precious time on cable.

Third, I’ve been hearing for years from friends that they cancelled cable and could get most of the shows they like without it.  I just never explored how before.

So if you can relate to our rationale above what can you do to cancel cable and still have some tv options?  I am by no means the technology expert so this isn’t ground breaking stuff but here is what we did:

1.  Ordered Netflix.  We did this not long ago, which makes us the last people on earth to do it.  My parents even had it well before us but like I said, I’m not high tech.  Anyway, this gives us tv shows, movies and lots of programming for the kids.  I think this is about $8/mth for the plan we’re on.

2.  Ordered Apple TV.  We ordered Apple TV because we needed some type of device to stream our Netflix from our computer to the TV via our wireless network.  Apple TV also has some free programming and you can buy shows and movies from itunes too.  Maybe I haven’t explored it enough yet but I don’t see a lot of free stuff I plan to watch but the main purpose is it allows us to stream Netflix to the TV.  Apple TV is about $100 (buy it on Apple’s website and you get a $25 itunes gift card) but keep in mind this is a one time expense and there is no on-going fee.

3.  Purchased an HD Antenna:  Remember when you were a kid and your TV had those rabbit ear antennas you had to play with when the screen got blurry?  What we have now is kind of like that but better (less having to move it around).  We bought an RCA HD Antenna (here is one we bought) and it’s been working well to get us the basic channels (ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS,etc) several of which come in HD.  This cost us about $40.  I have a feeling there may be better options, such as putting the antenna in your attic rather than next to your TV, but this works well enough for us.

Helpful Hint:  To learn more about antennas and which stations you can expect to receive click here. (Thanks for the resource Henrik!)

So between these three items above ($140 one time expenses and $8/mth in on-going cost) we’ve eliminated a $100 monthly bill.  I still get quite a few NFL games (all broncos games) and most of the good college football games.  My wife gets most of the shows she likes but she is missing out on a few.  Overall though I’d say we’re pleased with the change and happy to save the money.

If you have suggestions about other TV options or questions please feel free to use the comments section below!

(Update 4 months after this was posted.  We’re still surviving post cable but there are glitches in the new system. Netflix freezes up sometimes and you have to move the antenna around to get some reception too.  So not perfect but good enough and we’re watching less tv which was the point)

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