Cutting the Cord

So between the tax increase (thanks for NOTHING stupid town) and the new minivan (thanks for NOTHING fetus) (just kidding) our budget is feeling a little pinched.

By “budget” I mean “dollars left over in our bank account three days before payday since we seem to be totally incapable of planning or predicting exactly how much we’re spending despite spreadsheets, software and having made pretty much the same amount of money for the last 2 years.”

And by “a little pinched” I mean “I’m considering selling my gold for cash. If I could just remember where I buried that chest of pirate’s booty.”

Unfortunately our largest expenses are all fixed – mortgage, car payments, insurance – so we’re taking a really hard look at our optional expenses. Since we can’t really stop eating or bathing and I would probably DIE without internet (not an exaggeration at all – I NEVER exaggerate) the service on the chopping block is cable.


Growing up, my parents refused to pay good money for TV when it was available for free right out of the airwaves. Of course “available” is a relative term that often meant Dad climbing on the roof to reposition the giant antenna so we could watch whatever channel was currently broadcasting the documentary about soap in English.

We spent a lot of time at other people’s houses who did have cable outside.

When I went to college I was THRILLED to learn the dorms included cable – INCLUDED!!!!! – although I’m pretty sure my dad called to ask if he could get a discount on room & board if he had the connection turned off. Don’t worry, roommates, I’m sure he would have climbed up on the roof of the dorm to install a giant antenna for us.

With that kind of traumatic TV past, I’m having a hard time giving up my cable. I am in fact, throwing a little bit of a hissy fit about it. I don’t CARE that we have Netflix. I don’t CARE that almost every show I watch is available online. I don’t CARE that I can buy a season pass to almost everything else on iTunes for a fraction of our monthly cable bill. I don’t CARE that we have a super-fast desktop designated media computer attached directly to our TV so I can watch all the online shows ON MY ACTUAL TV. I don’t….oh. Well, when you put it that way, I guess I’m being a little unreasonable. Fine.

I think instead of giving up all TV we’re going to go to the absolute bare bones $16 a month cable plan (which is less than we pay for Netflix). Then I can still watch the Today Show in the morning while Baby Evan and I get ready and the Price is Right at lunch. Because it’s not lunch time without The Price is Right and I am NOT screwing around with roof climbing and antennas. It means I won’t have a DVR. It means I have to choose between shows when there are two things on I want to watch. It means when I’m deciding if I should sit on the couch and watch Wipeout or take the baby to the park the first option might take enough effort that I make the wiser choice.

I think it will be good for us and our bank account.

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17 Responses to “Cutting the Cord”

  1. raincheckmom says:

    Welcome to the dark ages….

  2. SarahMC says:

    Wow! My parents canceled their cable last week and I’m devastated even though I only spend about ten days a year at their house!

  3. TMae says:

    We gave up cable for budgetary (read: husband watched too much damn TV) reasons in January. Really? We haven’t noticed it hardly at all. My time suck channels (HGTV and The Food Network) were hard to say goodbye to for a few weeks, but now we actually TALK TO EACH OTHER. I know, crazy, huh? It won’t be too bad. I promise.

    • bebehblog says:

      I think if I threaten to make my husband TALK TO ME he might change his mind about canceling. I know I will greatly miss HGTV. I think my mom will too – when she visits we watch at least 6 hours a day.

      • TMae says:

        The beauty of the talking was that it JUST HAPPENED. Cuz ya know, surfing through 5 channels only takes so long.

  4. Miranda says:

    You are a braver woman than I. I think I’d rather give up…uhh…I don’t know what exactly, than give up cable.

  5. Our reasons for giving up cable went like this. “WELL IF I CAN’T USE MY TIVO ANYMORE THAN I JUST WON’T HAVE ANY CABLE AT ALL!!! Stupid Comcast!” (our tivo isn’t new enough for a cable card so therefor it is now useless because Comcast changed formats and made it so. Saying that I am bitter about it is a big understatement!)

  6. We gave up cable for the same reason a few months ago… and it SUCKED for the first couple of weeks, but now I am almost over it. Budgeting hurts…

  7. HAHAHAHAHA!!! oh, lady. i am the EXACT same way. can’t even fathom giving up muh cable, despite having a netflix subscription (which i fully use & love) and despite the fact that i really don’t even watch that much cable! but there’s something really comforting in knowing that it’s available, no? ah, sometimes budgets can sting! (-;

  8. We cut the cord two about two months ago and kept only internet service. I thought I would miss it, but it hasn’t been too bad. I mostly miss the on demand kids shows in the morning while we are getting ready for work. Oh well. My husband hooked up an antenna and we can watch the shows that really matter online. Go for it!

  9. Swistle says:

    We made that same cut awhile back. At first it was like “OMG WHERE IS MY TLC???” (me) and “OMG WHERE ARE MY MOTORCYCLE AND SCIENCE SHOWS???” (Paul), but now he watches his shows on line and doesn’t even use our Netflix subscription. We’d cut even the bare-bones cable except we get NO channels without it, not even PBS. And we even had a giant antenna on the roof! (Which we’ve since removed.)

    I love “We spent a lot of time at other people‚Äôs houses who did have cable outside.”

  10. Oh many do I feel you on this one! during my pregnancy we were really broke and we had to cut cable and then we were supremely broke and had to cut internet. LUCKILY I was able to jack our neighbors wi-fi. It sucked. I watched a ton of Juno and clueless. We have cable right now but I think after six months we don’t get this rate anymore and they will jack up our monthly cost and then we will probably go down to the bare bones package as well! good luck mama.

  11. Other Erin says:

    My man would sooner die that lose the super preimum (read: unnecessarily expensive) cable package we have.
    So we moved to cutting back our grocery bill, basically only buying meat when it’s on sale and stocking up, going vegetarian a couple nights a week (while I think E might have a problem with that let me know if you want to give it a shot – I have some good recipes and you can dress some of them up with little bits of meat), giving up pre-packaged foods and buying store brands only. It cut our bill by about a third.

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  13. Audrey says:

    We haven’t had cable since we moved in together 8 months before our wedding. It was hard at first, I missed my SciFi (screw you syfy) channel and my Bravo shows and all of the glory that was the Food Network. But I eventually got used to it. It made visiting my parents like getting a crack fix, though, because they are notorious tvaholics and we would sit on their couch and watch Bravo or TLC for most of the visit. And we still occasionally give each other sideways glances and concoct plans to invade my inlaws’ place when they’re out of town to soak up their a/c and their cable. But for the most part we have embraced our local library system for tv series’ and movies (it’s a really good system and they get like 30 copies of all the best movies the day they are available for purchase at stores) and I have scouted the internet for the best places to get my fixes of various shows (many of which I could sit on the couch and watch but I like to watch it when Chris isn’t home since he isn’t a tv person) and where I can find Bravo stuff that isn’t anywhere because Bravo has a sucky internet policy for their shows. Blah. That was long. In will survive. But it will hurt at first and then you will be the coupon-lady of television. :D

  14. Merin says:

    honestly, I wish we could get rid of cable. We hardly ever watch TV. All we watch is NESN, NBC and ESPN (and CBS during college basketball season). I wish you could just pick and choose the channels you want-I would totally be willing to pay a premium for each because it would still be SO MUCH CHEAPER!

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