Life Without Cable TV

It's not as bad as you think

Nov 8, 2011 | WRITTEN BY CHRIS RUSSELL

We admit that cable TV is an amazing invention.

Where else can you go from a game-winning field goal in Dallas to the life of a real housewife in Beverly Hills to a ballroom dance competition to the latest Occupy Wall Street news in less than a minute?

But the remarkable part can also be the destructive part. Too much time channel surfing means not enough time with family, exercising, reading or working an extra job if you have too much debt.

On that note, one of our members (Lindsey in Texas) issued a challenge to her fellow members to turn off the cable for the last two months of this year and see how things go.

To our delight, the idea was not only well received, but several people have already put it into practice with great results. We'll start with Lindsey herself:

I told my daughter that Netflix streaming was gone. She whined for a few minutes, but then started reading a book we picked up about Cleopatra, then spent some time writing the beginnings of a report she wants to present to her class.

After we ate dinner, which she helped cook, we sat down to work on her Halloween costume and she did two seams all by herself on the machine. I also let her do all the pressing without my standing over her to watch. This is going to be so great!Lindsey in Texas

When I first separated from my ex, I had a little 15-inch TV to watch the news on and had no cable for a year. Life was wonderful! The idiot box had no control over my nightly activities, and we had more fun as a family.Angela in Oklahoma

We gave up cable when we were broke the first time. Can't say that I haven't missed it, but I feel like I've had more of a life. Once I went back to school and spent a good amount of my time learning, I just couldn't go back to sitting in front of the TV.Glenda in Washington

We haven't had cable TV for months. In fact, we haven't had any TV for months (we can't get reception via antenna in our area). It was hard at first, especially for my husband who is a TV nut, but now we're so used to it we barely even think about it. And this is coming from a family who has a TV in every room!Meredith in Arizona

I have been without cable for almost 10 years. I cut it off right before our oldest son was born. The only thing I miss is sports that are not on local TV.Matt in Oklahoma

Not only can you save money, but you can find more productive things to do with your time. Try it and see what happens, or check out the rest of the thread for more inspiration!

Reader Comments (13)

We have been married 18 YEARS never any pay TV. On baby step 7. It’s not the money you save, it’s LIFE you gain!!!!
Member at 9:17 AM, November 08 2011
I cut off cable a bit over 2 years ago and I don't miss it, if I want to watch a documentary (that's my weakness when it comes to sit in front of the TV) I rent it or find it online. Anyway, there are way better things to do than sit for hours watching TV.
Member at 1:01 PM, November 08 2011
Nowadays you can find pretty much everythign online for free. Paying $100/mo for TV that's mostly junk isn't cost justified in the budget
Member at 1:57 PM, November 08 2011
Haven't had cable TV for over 2 years now. Got a Roku and rabbit ears. More than enough for us and not missing the monthly costs at all.
Member at 2:27 PM, November 08 2011
We left our 52" Plasma TV at our old house when we sold it, as the new owners had to have it! We bought a foreclosure and had quite a few 'projects' to get the new place the way we wanted it. So we decided we didnt need the 'distraction' of having a TV with all the stuff we needed to do. That was over a year ago! We have three kids and another on the way and they have put up very little fuss about it, as it lets us all have more family time and playing and books read! We LOVE IT! We also have NO plans to get a TV again!
Member at 3:00 PM, November 08 2011
Our cable tv contract will expire in two months and we don't plan on renewing it. Along with paying too much for junk programs, its a big time waster.
Member at 4:08 PM, November 08 2011
Killed the cable almost 2 years ago now. Have not missed it a bit. Instead, use Hulu, Netflix ($16/mon for both) and the HD antenna ($20 one time purchase) and I am all set. I can't believe I used to pay over $100 for something that I am basically getting now for next to nothing!!
Member at 11:22 PM, November 08 2011
We've been married 8 years and have only ever had antenna TV. When Netflix upped their prices we dropped the streaming and just kept one DVD at a time for movies. We find that we have enough options, and have gotten much better about only turning it on when we're going to actually watch something. My MIL often comments that we should get cable so we can watch our favorite cable shows whenever we want (instead of only at her house a few times a year), but really, we don't miss the extra channels.
Member at 3:37 PM, November 09 2011
We haven't had tv at all for several years. I can truthfully tell you that I don't miss watching dancing with the stars, Wife Swap or American Idol. I can tell you that I would have missed reading many great books, learning to play the guitar and multiple great conversations with my wife.
Member at 7:02 PM, November 09 2011
We have 1 TV with Netflix streaming. We watch it occasionally on the weekend. The TV doesn't get turned on during the week at all. We love reading. My husband, our son (6), and myself crawl in bed and read from his Veggie Tales bible. We sit and read our own books. We play board games. We cook dinner together. He builds massive cities with blocks after drawing and designing them. There are just so many things that we can do that don't involve the TV. When we do watch it he watches Veggie Tales and my husband and I watch Star Trek or a movie.
Member at 7:37 PM, November 09 2011
We haven't had cable (or a TV)for five years now. Don't miss it at all! The funny part is the way people react when they find out. You would think I was beating my children!
Member at 11:53 AM, November 12 2011
We ditched our $115/mo cable bill, have internet still, so we got Netflix for $7.99 and get great local signals and haven't missed cable in the slightest. What I really don't miss is having to surf 400 channels, lol, kidding. We will add back more entertainment when we are out of debt.
Member at 8:00 PM, November 12 2011
We're on Baby Step 2 and got a way to go yet. We cut the cable early this year after some thought, but the $130 per month cable bill just couldn't be justified, even if we were watching mostly news and documentaries. We haven't looked back since. We talk more to each other and read voraciously. I got back into shape run, bike and work out almost every day. What is more, we are ever conscious of gettng out of debt and looking forward to our debt-free scream. John Prine wrote in his old song, "Spanish Pipedream"; "Blow up the TV...". Sounds like a good idea to me.
Member at 8:52 PM, November 13 2011

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