My wife and I recently sold our home and in preparation for moving, we decided to sell a bunch items on Craigslist, including both of our TVs. Since we no longer have a TV, we canceled our cable TV service and used this opportunity to upgrade our internet service to a faster package – for two reasons: 1) I work online and a faster connection is helpful, and 2) we want to stream TV and video on the rare occasion we want to watch TV.
How dropping TV has affected us – and our budget
It’s been almost two weeks since we sold our TVs, and to be honest, we don’t really miss them. And our daughter is a year and a half, so she hasn’t really noticed it being gone either. So far we have seen two major benefits:
The first change is time. TV can suck you in and not let you go. It’s easy to justify killing 15 or 20 minutes when you have a few minutes of down time. But sometimes that 15 or 20 minutes can turn into an hour or two. Since we got rid of our TVs a couple weeks ago, the only video we watched has been online, and it was a planned action. I find TV much more enjoyable when I plan my viewing time – that way I don’t feel guilty or feel like I could be doing something more productive.
The second change is our budget. Our cable and internet package was roughly $90 per month, which in my opinion, was waaaaay too expensive for what we got out of it (the base TV package, with no premium channels, was over $50 a month after the introductory price expired). We only rarely watched TV, and then it was usually limited to a few channels. We cut the cable TV service and elected to pay for a faster internet service and should still save around $45 per month. I call that a win!
What the future holds for us
I don’t think we will be a zero TV household forever – in fact, I’ve wanted a flat screen HDTV for awhile now, which is part of the reason we sold our TVs before moving. The new TV, whenever it comes, is a planned expense and is already in the budget.
But at this point, I want to see how long we can go without buying cable TV service. We don’t watch enough TV to justify the expense of cable, and we should be able to get the majority of the network channels over the air in HD quality. We should then be able to fill the gaps by streaming video from a variety of online sources and by using other alternatives to cable TV.
Netflix is the video streamer’s best friend. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Netflix here. If you like TV and movies, then you really should check out Netflix. You can get a monthly subscription for streaming videos only for $7.99 per month, which is a great deal considering it offers unlimited streaming from thousands of movies and TV shows. For $2 more per month you can get unlimited DVDs delivered to your door, which will give you access to some of the newer movies which are available on DVD, but not yet for streaming. The base package only offers one DVD at a time, so you might want to upgrade to a higher package if you want to have more than one DVD at a time. Try Netflix for free.
Dropping cable TV isn’t for everyone
If you watch a lot of TV or love special programs or sporting events, then you might not be able to drop cable TV and have the same experience you have now. But for many others, myself included, it is a great way to save money. In our case, we can drop cable, get a faster internet connection, and subscribe to Netflix, and still save over $35 per month, which ads up to $420 a year – almost enough to pay for that new TV I’ve had my eye on.