Last month we bit the bullet. We got rid of cable. WE GOT RID OF CABLE! Ahhhh! That’s a sigh of relief, not a sigh of panic.
When we moved into our house five years ago, we didn’t get cable. In the beginning it was because we couldn’t get anyone to come out and give it to us. They claimed we didn’t have enough houses in our development. About a year later they came door-to-door and tried to give us a good deal. We declined. It was the only way we had a leg up. If they didn’t want our money, well then we weren’t going to give it to them a year later. So we lived almost three full years without cable. We had an antenna that got the basic channels so I was happy enough watching prime time television. Bryan on the other hand, was missing the History Channel and Discovery Channel. Like, bad. Around the time we got our dish, DVR was becoming popular. Remember, we had zero television payment before getting a dish. So, we got one DVR for the living room and a couple of receivers for other rooms in the house (our bedroom being one of them). We couldn’t justify doing any more DVRs in the house, even though it sounded awesome to have one in the bedroom.
And then we fell in love with the DVR. Like, bad. It was amazing. It was everything we didn’t know a tv could be! In the beginning we had all.the. movie channels so we took full advantage of lazy weekends. Also, we had nothing else to do after going out the night before. (Heh, pre-kids life was so rough.) We recorded series and watched them together when we had time. After we had kids, it became our dates. After the house was quiet, we turned off all the lights and watched an episode or two. It was relaxing. (Or, is.)
Over the past year we struggled a lot with how expensive it was. It was painful to look at that line item each month. On the one hand, Maximus could have access to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse whenever he wanted. (Of course we run the remote.) And, we had our precious DVR. I can’t forget Bryan’s “special” channels either. But, were any of those things worth one hundred dollars a month? (Full disclosure: I can’t actually remember how much it cost. I feel like at the end we had cut back plans enough that we were hovering under one hundred when you added in tax.) Finally one night I said, “cancel the cable.” I’m like that. Out of the blue I commit and want it done. Now. Bryan would prefer to think things through and make sure we make the right decision. I’d rather see results. Either way, we decided to buy Apple TV. So, we budgeted for the box that month and put in our regular cable amount, too. (Because we assumed we wouldn’t get that good of a prorate when we cancelled. And we didn’t.) A bonus when we bought Apple TV, we bought a returned unit so we saved $10!
You know when your university alumni association calls and asks for donations? You have to say no to them 8-10 times before they can accept the answer. No, seriously that’s how our university works. Well, Bryan had to go through numerous employees, supervisors, and managers before he could cancel the darn thing. And! He had to wait 24 hours before he could really cancel. Because he’d have cancel remorse or something?! What the heck! So eventually he was able to cancel and they sent us a box to put the receivers in. We sent them off and thought we were done with them. We got a check for $3 because canceling at the beginning of the month only saves you $3, obviously. Bryan has received a phone call from them almost every week day since we cancelled. They want us back. For a cheap price. They also want to know if we’ve returned the receivers, which we did as soon as the box arrived. It doesn’t feel like our relationship is over quite yet, but we’d really like it to be!
Sorry, DirectTV. We started a new relationship with HuluPlus and networks online and we’re doing just fine now. And it’s ok that we don’t have the Disney channel, we pull up old school Mickey Mouse on YouTube. This also means we don’t want to poke our eyes out, instead we remember the good ol’ days when cartoons were a little “rougher.” We pay $8 a month for a HuluPlus subscription and we do a happy dance about the rest of that money going into savings!
We have a pretty fluid budgeting process and we’re in the repetition phase of it, but that doesn’t mean we stop looking for ways to save money. I’d love to hear from my readers! What have you done lately to cut out a monthly cost?
Note: We haven’t been reimbursed by any of the above companies. We’re just looking for the best way to still get tv without paying cable prices. 🙂