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The “Just $20 Per Month” Decision & Why We Said No

Two days ago, my husband was calling AT&T to see why we’ve been having some issues with our email service. He found out that they are switching over to fiber optic instead of DSL and that’s been the cause of some of the login difficulties we’ve had on our end.

In the process of the phone call, Jesse asked them if they could give us a better rate than what we are currently paying. After a little discussion and back-and-forth, he was able to talk them down by $20 per month for our phone and internet package. (See? It never hurts to ask!)

But the AT&T guy on the phone was smart. He didn’t just give Jesse a lower bundle package price; he also tried to upsell him. “Or, you could keep your current plan and for just $20 extra per month, you can add on a TV package”, he told him.

Now, $20 per month is a far cry from the $70 some people pay for cable, but here Jesse was trying to save money — not pay extra, even if paying for extra meant we’d now have more channels than the three we currently get with if you position the TV just right and don’t move around in the same room while it’s on (no, I’m not exaggerating there!)

You and I are faced with decisions like this almost daily. It’s easy to justify purchases and jump on what might seem like a “good deal”. But just because a price is low or an offer is good, doesn’t mean it’s a good deal for you or me.

For us, paying for TV just isn’t a wise decision. Sure, we might have bad reception on our current free TV plan, but aside from episodes of Duck Dynasty online and The Biggest Loser (quite the paradox there, I know!), we don’t watch network TV.

And truly, we like it that way. (Okay, to be completely honest, there are those moments when there’s a game on and Jesse isn’t able to watch it on one of our three channels, but those moments are far and few between!)

If we paid for our TV — even just $20 per month — we’d feel more obligated to watch it. This, in turn, would eat up time that we’ve chosen to devote to other things: relationships, business projects, reading, and more.

By declining a “just $20 per month” offer, we not only saved ourselves $240 per year, but we also bought ourselves many additional hours of time. And that, folks, is much more valuable than any “good deal” on cable ever could be!

P.S. This post was not written with any intent to make you or anyone else feel guilty if you pay for cable. We all have to pick and choose what is best for our family — and I can’t tell you what is best for yours. But I used it as a real-life example to encourage you to examine those “just $20 per month” decisions in your own life and make sure that they are a good deal for you.

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138 Comments

  • Jessica Bish says:

    When we called to cancel ours they told us for $20 we could have 20 channels… I was excited I thought we could pick our own.. um no. They were channels we have never and would never watch… they sure do try to rope you in as much as they can. We haven’t missed it in the 4 years since we canceled and we don’t even have netflix or anything like that cause you’re right we would then justify watching more then we should. Blessings!

  • Mrs. 1500 says:

    I totally agree! My sister-in-law is having financial issues right now, but still goes to the dollar store all the time, because “it’s just a dollar.” Well, yes it is just a dollar, but you don’t leave that store without 5 things, so just a dollar turns into 5 dollars. And you didn’t need it in the first place. Think of how many of those dollars you would have if you didn’t buy something based on price, but based on need?

    I think it is time to take the words “just” and “only” out of our financial vocabulary. Let’s start treating those “just a dollars” like the hard-earned dollars they really are.

    • JoAnn says:

      My hubby is the same way about the dollar store! He buys a pack of 2 sponges every single week and one day I said to him stop buying them. He said it’s just a dollar a week. So then I said yea but it’s 52.00 a year….on sponges! Do you know how many groceries I could get for that! He also bought 4 packs of paper plates…each pack only had 10 in it. So I told him no more! I can get a pack of 100 thick ones at Wal Mart for a little over 5.00 – that pack will last us over a month! He is now banned from going to the Dollar store by himself!

      • Jeri says:

        I respect your decision to use paper plates so I’m not going to say how much you could save by using those sponges your husband brings home to wash dishes instead! I’ve also found better deal at Walmart than dollar stores for many items.

        • Shannon says:

          We have stopped using paper plates nearly 100%. It is so rare; I think I bought a 125 pack at Costco about 2+ years ago, we still have nearly half the package left. We hardly ever use ziploc baggies either. Always containers to be washed and re-used. A 10-pack of Capri Sun lasts us 2 months. Water, in our Klean Kanteens. Money saved, landfill space saved, energy saved, calories saved. Win.

    • Jen says:

      I like that last paragraph, Mrs. 1500! Too true!

  • Rebekah Williams says:

    Yes!!

    I love the biggest loser and I’m so thankful for free episodes online. 😉

  • Stacy says:

    I want to know where you find $70 cable! We bundle through Comcast and our cable/WiFi/phone is a little over $200 per month once they finish tacking on taxes and government fees. 🙁

    • Monica says:

      Prices are regional. Where I live, people in the city (less affluent neighborhoods) are charged a third of what people in the suburbs are. Comcast also increases their prices for loyal customers every year. You basically have to play games with them to keep your prices reasonable. I found that it was best to get a package with an independent sales representative, however, you’ll have to cancel your current package and live without it for a little while to be able to get another one later.

    • Sheryl says:

      Yeah, I know my in-laws can get a basic cable package where they live for about $20, but for us, the bare minimum package was $55. We said “No Thanks” and have been without cable for 5 + years.

    • Pia says:

      Stacy,
      That same package of cable, t.v. and wifi in Canada is $270!

  • LaurieG says:

    Wow $20 is a hard sell. I am impressed with you all. We don’t have cable either and honestly (with us it is games as well) there are times when some in the household wish it differently. We see it as a big savings also and appreciate the fact that we watch no regular TV shows. Do I feel out of the loop sometimes? Yes but we get tons of more time to do other things. It is simpler I think since we have never had cable, so our children don’t know any better. Our life has always been like this.

  • I used to get sucked into those kind of deals all the time, but not anymore! Every penny counts. The prices cable companies quote in order to keep your business are never permanent anyway.

  • Tracy says:

    What a wonderful post. You are so right those it’s only purchase decisions really do end up costing you a lot more than you realize. We downgraded our cable package a year ago to the smallest package which saved us $40 a month that’s $480 a year. My son said but mom then I can’t watch my channels that just isn’t fair. And during the winter months he is right because we live in a very small town where the most exciting thing to do is go to the movie theater in the next town over. My Father knew that I was cutting out those channels so as a christmas gift for my son my Father added a line for only a few cents to his Netflix account and lets us have access to it. My son now can watch even more shows then he could when we ONLY had Cable. He is still limited to an hour of “screen time” a day but he appreciates it a lot more.

  • Julie says:

    Love it! School was on a 2-hour delay this morning and my girls and one more little girl that I carpool with wanted to stop for warm drinks. I made the decision to go to Go-Mart where it was cheaper, but that $5 was hard to part with. I even commented ‘If I kept all of these $5 bills instead of stopping to get drinks, we could do so much more!’ – and that’s my plan!

  • Ashlee says:

    After my husband got a better paying job we decided to get cable after being without for 3 years. After a couple months of having cable we found we only turned it on to watch Disney Jr. As much as my kids love the Disney Jr shows, not worth the extra $60 a month!! So we went back to just internet and subscribed to netflix for kids shows. I personally don’t miss cable at all and I find the kids watch less TV now. So win-win for us without cable.

  • Amy says:

    We have just started looking at where we can make some cuts. I am potentially losing my job in the next several months which is half our income plus health, dental and vision coverage. We are bundled for landline phone, cable and internet – the internet is a must w/ my job and I am reimbursed. We talk on and off about getting rid of the landline and just using our cell phones but no decision yet. The cable is absolutely ridiculous! We only watch a handful of channels yet pay for all the ones we don’t watch. I recently bought a Roku box and indoor antenna. It is currently in our room until this summer when we will move it to the living and see how we like it. I already have Amazon Prime so we can watch movies and older TV shows. The antenna gives us our local channels (some of which we watch). We will get a Hulu Plus account this summer which if we understand correctly we can watch current tv shows, just a day later (if we would miss them or are watching something else). This would be $8/month, a huge decrease from the current $100/mo for the cable portion of our bundle. We are locked in a contract til October and we will make our decisions by then. Plus, there is plenty to watch for free via the internet! I also started meal planning – 2 weeks at a time as I don’t have much freezer space. I think this is saving me on my grocery bill as well as gas for my vehicle as I’m not constantly running to the store to get things to make a meal. Always looking for ways to cut back regardless of my job situation. Thanks for all your posts!! =)

    • Amy, you do not have to pay to watch most shows on Hulu! They have plenty of shows for free, a day later, a week later, or a month later (depending on the network; USA is a 30 day delay on Hulu and on their own website). Hulu Plus gives you more shows and past episodes, but there are TONS of things to watch for free on Hulu, including current shows and also several shows from the U.K.

      You can even have an account with favorites for free, and they will add the new episodes to your queue when they become available.

      • Kate says:

        I agree that there is tons to watch with regular Hulu– but the Roku requires Hulu Plus to access the Hulu channel on the device. Kind of a bummer, but paying for hulu plus is still a significant savings from cable, so it might work for them!

        • We just hook up my husband’s laptop to the tv with an HDMI cable and we can watch for free. The cable cost $12 at Big Lots. We also watch on the computer.

          By doing that, we don’t have to have a Roku or pay to watch anything on Hulu.

        • Also, the HDMI cable allows us to watch episodes of Downton Abbey from PBS.org on our tv.

          • Crystal says:

            I’m probably going to crucify myself here, but I watched one episode of Downton Abbey and have been unable to figure out what the fuss is all about! I feel like something is wrong with me that I didn’t just think it was an amazing show like the rest of the world. 🙂 Maybe I needed to watch more than one episode?

            • Jen says:

              Yes. Yes you do!! =)

              Of course, once you get into it you’ll be a crazy person like the rest of us, waiting for the next season to start!! Haha!

            • Amy says:

              Thank you! I thought the same thing! I only watched one episode and could not figure out the big deal! I either need to watch more or maybe it’s not for me!

              • A says:

                Same exact thing for me! I tried the first episode because all I heard were RAVES about it, and I just don’t get it! I tried to like it, I really did! 🙂

            • Crystal, I think it takes 3-4 episodes 🙂 My parents watched the first season and at first my dad said, “It’s soapy.” After the 5th episode, he was looking up floorplans of Highclere Castle online 🙂 They were hooked.

              It has a lot of different characters, and everyone has their own personal favorites. Do make sure to start with Season 1.

            • cjb says:

              Crystal…ME TOO!

              I just didn’t get it…still don’t get it. Now, I’m not going to try….

        • jessica says:

          Kate, if you already have a Roku, and have a computer with wifi, you should look at playon.tv. We purchased a lifetime license to playon for about $40.00, and now stream Hulu through the Roku without paying for plus. You also get some other channels that aren’t on Hulu. It works for us.

    • Lisa says:

      Actually, you can watch regular Hulu for free and MOST of the shows I watch come on the free version, plus Hulu has all kinds of movies/series that they make originally that are pretty good. Between my $7.95/mo for Netflix streaming and free Hulu, I have all the TV & movies I need. I haven’t paid for cable or satellite in over 5 yrs. and I don’t feel “left out” at all 🙂

    • Beth says:

      Amy – joining in your thread to send some encouragement to you on the stress of the uncertainty of your job. I quit my job to become a SAHM 2 years ago, and we went from 2 incomes to 1, and lost our free medical benefits, and super cheap child care as well. I am here to tell you that God has provided for our every need in amazing ways! By planning ahead and making wise money choices, we are able to save more on 1 income and paying $400+ a month for health insurance than we ever did on 2 incomes and without paying medical insurance! Money Saving Mom and Dave Ramsey were 2 huge, helpful resources!
      Blessings to you!

  • Katie says:

    There are times when I miss being able to watch the Food network or the History channel (and nothing is more discouraging when one’s alma mater is playing in the Rose Bowl, but the networks apparently don’t think it’s worth it to air it on broadcast cable), but I know I really don’t need the extra time- or brain-drain. It does sometimes feel bad when close friends or relatives (especially the relatives who occasionally DVR special cable documentaries for us because we don’t get cable) will call and say, “Isn’t the K-State game awesome?!” when it’s on ESPN.

    The one channel I really miss is PBS. I’m considering saving the $60 for an external antenna (it’s small and was recommended by the local PBS station), but sometimes I feel like by the time I save up the money and time, they’ll have gotten their new transmitter built in Wichita – I hear it’s in their 5-year plan which will make me and all my local rabbit-ears-using friends very happy.

    • Mandy K says:

      ESPN.GO.com is how we watch most of our sports. We watched about half of our college team play on espn en espanol (Ganar El Dia!), and hooked up our laptop to the tv. And it was well worth it not to have to pay all that money just for sports. My parents were kind enough to give us access to their online cable, so we could access the pac-12 network, which we can’t get in our area, due to contract restrictions.

    • Anna T says:

      My three fave shows: The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, and Downton Abbey all have current episodes online. My children get to watch cartoons via youtube. Local TV news and weather are both online. It’s been 8yrs since we’ve had cable or free broadcast channels. Don’t miss it.

      Friends out of town actually call me to tell me if there is a hurricane coming in my area. Don’t need to find out about it on tv. So covered there too!

  • Sharon says:

    One of the reasons I still love your site better than all the other frugal sites I visit is because you are a strong proponent of “Make sure it’s a good deal for YOU!”

    Many people will say, “it’s a good deal, therefore you should buy it.” But if it’s not something you want/need, or you can’t pay cash … it’s still NOT a good deal for you!

  • Barb Green says:

    Thanks for sharing. This has happened to me too. Kudos to your husband for staying strong and sticking to your saving money goal. The temptations are always out there to lure us to spend. 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement.

    Barb

  • Jen says:

    Great post! It’s so easy to fall into buying something we don’t need just because it’s a “great deal.” We don’t have cable, but I know if we did, we would be tempted to watch more tv and the “cost” of that is so much more than monetary as far as the time we would be giving up.

  • Lana says:

    Our son-in-law called to ask for a better rate and they tried the TV bundle with him, too. They do not own a TV of any kind. The person on the line could not comprehend someone not having a TV. He kept saying things like, ‘I mean the TV in your living room that the family watches’. My SIL finally gave up and just cancelled his service because the customer service rep just did not get it! He did reactivate their service a few weeks later and they really enjoyed not having internet and just being unplugged for that time.

    • J says:

      lol Same reaction we get from friends and neighbors. It is like surreal to people the concept of no tv.

    • sarah says:

      Haha…my husbnad had a similar experience when he cancelled our cable service. The customer service rep just couldn’t believe no one in our house watches cable TV. It acted like my husband was lying to him.

    • Ellen says:

      Us too! We have so many well-meaning friends offer us tvs they aren’t using. They figure the only reason not to have one is because we can’t afford to buy one. When really, I just prefer to buy books.

    • Becky says:

      I had a similar experience several years ago, except the customer service person understood what I was saying and had no idea how to respond. They don’t teach a sales line to use when your potential target says “I don’t want to add a cable package because I don’t have a TV.” Now I own an old castoff TV from some friends that I use to watch an occaisonal DVD, but I admit that I still use that line on the rare occaison I get a cold call for cable – just because they will immediately stop the sales pitch and move on to someone with more potential.

  • Suzy says:

    We only paid for cable for 6 months of our marriage and never really missed it. We joined Amazon Prime this year and guess what, I sit and watch dumb movies. Wish we had never joined!

  • Sandy b says:

    Unless I’m misunderstanding the facts, “only” $20.00 a month would have cost you $40.00 a month more, because you would be paying $20.00 more than your old rate!

    • Elizabeth Kegans says:

      No, it would have been the same as the old rate. The twenty dollars more is what they would have paid with cable added on to their new rate which was lowered by twenty dollars.

  • Lauren says:

    Love this post! It’s so easy to get sucked in by a “good deal”. Our family just got rid of cable ($90 a month!) and it was so freeing! We didn’t even realize the amount of time that was being wasted by sitting in front of the TV. Thanks for the encouragement that we’re doing the right thing. 🙂

  • Andi says:

    I totally agree!!! We don’t have cable, and as much as we missed it at first, not being obsessing over what is on and sitting around watching it, has given us a ton of time to do other things!!

  • Michele says:

    In nearly 9 years of marriage, we have NEVER paid for television service. Once TV went digital, we weren’t able to get any stations…and let me tell you I never realized how much time we wasted sitting in front of that TV flipping through stations! Sure we still have a TV, but we determine what we watch (like free rentals from the library) and when.

  • JeninCanada says:

    I recently turned down cable tv for $10 a month (as a part of a bundle with my phone and internet). We just moved so I’m already getting a good ‘you’re new!’ deal, but I really didn’t *want* cable anymore. The tv just sits there not being used now most of the time unless we throw in a dvd or want to play a game. Time > money.

  • kristine s says:

    We are have been scouring over our budget trying to figure out how we can spend less. I knew our internet bill was crazy at $65 a month but we tried 3 different providers and no one would service our area. Finally, we switched to ATT as of this week, for $19 we have a land line and internet. Can’t beat that! Fyi..we could do internet only at the same price for $19 so why not get more for your money!

    • Mrs. 1500 says:

      Be careful of that landline. Call and ask what coverage is included in that $19. We had one bundled in with our cable because it actually cost less to do so. On a hunch, I asked what area it covered, and basically I could call the neighbor for free, and anyone else was long-distance or local long distance, and they charged by the minute. Those cable companies can be sneaky. Better to be informed, than broke from calls you thought were going to be free.

      • kristine s says:

        Thanks so much and that is a great point. I’m going to call them back and find out. We were thinking of using it as a fax line but if they charge long distance I think we will get rid of it. Thank you!

  • J says:

    We have been “tv” less for several years now and have done fine. Wish I could find a better rate on internet service but in a tiny town there is only so much one can find. Hmmmmph.

  • Shannon says:

    I grew up in a yard saleing family and introduced my husband to buying things second hand at yard sales 10 years ago. Well, he had to actually be the one to tell me that about half the stuff I bought at yard sales was being justified by me as too good of a deal to pass up. So I am now much more careful to keep to my current list of items that we really do need and do not buy it just because it is a good deal.

    • Jeannine says:

      I understand. I shop at yard sales also. In the past few years I have become much more picky and careful of what I buy. Questions I ask myself before buying:

      Where will I put it?
      Do I already have one or enough of this item?
      If I really need it or it is very helpful item is the price low enough to justify buying it?

    • I have a list of items that we need, and I take it with me when I go garage sale shopping. I have each child listed and what size clothing he/she needs in each item for the next two years. I also include other household needs. This really helps me because I go with a focus for those items. I even include books that our family wants.

    • Shannon says:

      Those are great questions and ideas. A few weeks ago I read about measuring pant length, waist, and shoe size with a piece of string and so I tried it out at a consignment sale. It really helped having knots tied at the appropriate lengths since brand sizes are so different and used clothing shrinks so by having my string with me, it was much easier to buy accurate sizes.

  • Jeri says:

    Great post!

    Today is the day that I’ve marked on the calendar to call Comcast and reduce our service. When we moved 6 months ago, we were offered “advanced basic” for $19.95 for 6 months, less money than the $24.95 we’d been paying for basic cable. Today we go back to basic and I think it’s time to investigate what we could get with an antenna.

    • Amy R. says:

      I did the same thing with at&t. When I called to cancel, they extended the introductory rate for another 12 months. I said, “I’ll take it, but I’ll be calling in a year to cancel unless they’ll extend it again.” Her response, “They will. We always do. All people have to do is call.”

  • Becky says:

    We cancelled ours yesterday. I”m still waiting for them to pull the plug..

    The $80 per month is so not worth it.

    We don’t even have a back up plan yet, so we are kind of going cold turkey.

  • becky says:

    …”the three we currently get with if you position the TV just right and don’t move around in the same room while it’s on (no, I’m not exaggerating there!)”…

    Love this, we moved our tv to the master bedroom so the antenna could hang out the window in order to watch the summer Olympics 🙂

  • Courtney says:

    I just found out that our internet DSL rate is going up next month? They have already grandfathered in the ability to have DSL without the triple-package so I don’t think I’ll be able to try to talk this one down. Anybody know any secrets for Verizon or cheaper internet? We had Optimum before but that is way more – faster, but not as reliable.

  • Kim says:

    I totally agree. I’ve never had cable (that I remember) or satellite tv. I usually only turn the tv on to catch the weather, if I want to know the forecast or for storms, etc. I don’t know how I’d fit tv watching into my schedule!!

    I only have the cell phone & internet. I do have to have the phone line for high speed internet. I call every year to ask if they will give me a discount if I renew my contract & the company has given me a $20 per month discount the past two years. If I do not call, they raise the price. Like Crystal says, it never hurts to call & ask.

  • It doesn’t matter whether the decision involves money or not. Before we make a decision, let’s think one second to decide whether we are doing right.

    In our recent visit to grocery store, I saw a coupon: “Buy product A and Get product B for FREE”. I needed that product; It sounded wonderful and I added it in my cart. On the way to the billing counter I realized that I don’t need Product B at all and there are lot of alternative options to product A for a cheaper price.

    I went back to the aisle and put back to both product A and B and bought the competitive brand for product A for half the price. Sometimes that one second thought will do the trick.

  • Marie says:

    We’ve been cable-less for 9 years and I don’t miss it. When the TV went digital my husband got something other then the rabbit ears so now we can get the basic channels. We do have netflex. I know there’s ways to watch on the computer but honestly I don’t have time.
    I watch Biggest Loser regularly though.
    Every decision adds up.
    WE are doing a Chip Ingrim series called Balancing Life’s Demands and last night was about materialism. And how other’s influence our decisions.
    I have a neighbor that for the last 3 years as soon as it starts getting nice asks me about my landscaping plans ( because we have NO landscaping) It drives me nuts because our yard looks nice, my husband keeps it up and we’re not trying to keep up with the Jones. It’s just not been in the budget! But having a budget is foreign to a lot of people. I realized that we don’t have the money right now and I don’t have the TIME to maintain landscaping with three little ones. It’s just annoying that she is constantly asking me.

  • Meredith says:

    I just started watching Duck Dynasty too!!!

  • Ashley says:

    We don’t have cable and love it. We recently babysat my niece and nephew, along with our own sick baby and ended up watching a lot of cable TV at their house. It really drains you. Not only that, but they pay a nice fee to have tons of channels. It was Friday night and my husband and I wasted 20 min flipping through over a hundred channels only to see that there was nothing on – it was nice to have our decision to not have cable confirmed

  • k says:

    So you don’t have cable at all? You have such discipline. I don’t think that I could convince my family to get rid of our cable service. I guess it would be hard for me as well, because I simply love the Food Network and HGTV.

    Of course my children like the channels geared toward the younger audience and my husband likes the sports channels.

    One thing that I don’t like is the access that my children have to certain material. I’ve locked pretty much all the channels on one of our TV’s. Not having cable would definitely eliminate this problem, altogether. A good many have also been locked on the main T.V. Plus we’d be able to save money and/or reallocate the money to a more worthy cause. More family time, too.

    I admire your decision.

  • Kristy K says:

    This happened to us as well. We were having issues with our internet service (which is also a cable company). When I called to resolve the internet issues, they offered me their basic cable package for $20. When I said no, they tried to get me to upgrade my phone to a cable/dsl/phone package. We stuck to our guns though. We don’t miss cable TV and we’re happy with our cheap home phone service. Ugh.

  • Kim in Cali says:

    Totally not he “reason” for your post, but where can you watch Duck Dynasty online? My DH would love to know this.

    We don’t get any tv channels and have actually been TV free for more than 10 years, but he watched Duck Dynasty while on travel for work and really liked it. 🙂

    Oh, and I don’t know if this was said or not already but if you think about it since you were getting a $20 discount off what you were currently paying for service it would have actually cost you $40 a month to add the TV (if that makes sense).

  • Rena says:

    You are very lucky that you have a husband like that. Mine would never dream of giving up on cable. We didn’t have it when we first got married and with our first child. We now have 3 and my husband does have a better job (but in turn I am a stay at home mom). We are looking to save money to save up for a bigger house in a better neighborhood and I would love to give up cable to save money. He won’t hear of it. Not to mention needing time to work on our relationship with each other and the kids. It takes a person who is really into human interaction (not many of us out there especially males) and wants it to stay like that. Honestly we use every penny of our cable service(all the sports stations and my kids use On Demand without having to have commercials for all the new toys out there), but I would love for it to be more about spending time together, reading, & making memories.

    • Kim says:

      I’m in the same boat as you.. I would just as soon get rid of our DirectTv, but my husband acts like it’s the end of the world, and has actually said “its our only enjoyment in life”. Really?! But yeah, ours is used a lot, mostly by the kids. I can always hold out hope that we can get rid of it for good though.

      • Amy says:

        How about asking him to only try a TV fast. Maybe for a set number of days to see if he likes it. It would get him maybe more used to the idea instead of going cold turkey and having the world end. lol My husband is the same way because he has a very physical job and wants to plop down in front of the TV after work. More recently though I’ve deleted all but a couple of our favorite shows on the DVR so the TV is off more because there’s nothing good on and nothing to watch in the DVR!

        • Monica says:

          My husband was totally against it at first, but he’s starting to come around. His father fell ill and his family always lived beyond their means. Now we are helping them out with their bills. I think he’s finally understanding how important it is to live below your means and save as much as possible by eliminating unnecessary things.

  • Becky says:

    Good for you! And good attitude. Actually, you’d be saving $480 per year because of the additional $20 discount you’d be giving up, for which Jesse originally called! Plus, after fees and taxes it would be more than $20. And then you’d sign a 2 year deal but that price would be good for only one year….you never win with the cable company!

  • I like the emphasis in this post that it’s the time, not the money. TV eats time in a way that little else does. Crystal is proof that it’s possible to run a business, write books, homeschool three kids, exercise and get enough sleep… if you don’t watch TV!

  • Joanna says:

    Don’t forget about all the money you save because your kids (and husband and yourself) don’t see commercials! Kids especially seem to be so vulnerable to advertising and very aware of brands. All we have is Netflix. Occasionally when we watch something on Hulu (not Hulu Plus) and my little ones see commercials, I’m always amazed at how they recognize a fast food restaurant as we’re driving around town and ask for things that we’ve never bought before.

  • I just canceled our $8.99/month subscription to Netlflix. We got a few months ago when we’re watching a certain show that was available there. We finished that show, and now we rarely watch it (if ever). Also, I find myself wanting to watch Netlflix just because we have it, and it’s a big time suck for me (especially if I get drawn into a show). I’ve also stopped subscribing to the $4 or $5 a year magazine deals. I like the magazines, but they usually sit on my nightstand for months until I get around to reading them.

    • Becky says:

      I completely agree with the magazines. Last year I signed up for several free offers and I find that I don’t even have time to read through those regularly (and I know I could always check them out from the library if I suddenly found lots of free time). They sat waiting in an ever-growing pile in my bedroom and made me feel guilty every time I saw the pile. I finally took the stack into work and left them in the lunchroom for others to enjoy.

  • Mandy W. says:

    I love it!

  • Amber says:

    Great post! “Only $20” gets a lot of us in trouble, because it really adds up. A fast food meal for our family is about $20. An impulse clothing purchase or two, even from Target, can be $20.

  • andrea says:

    We haven’t had cable since we got married. Although I like some she shows on cable it wasn’t worth the 100 dollar or more price. for us to get cable we would have to get the top price because my husband wants high definition and that is only available on the top packages in our area. My husband decided to try to get antenna to receive HD–we bought at least 20 different ones and none help reception at area. My husband did some research and ended up building his own antenna and it was the best working one. He felt like if he had so much trouble with antennas other people probably were too so he started selling them on craigslist. So a problem turned into a money making project that he and my son work on. It gives them time together and we have made an extra $8000 in the last two years.

  • Lyndsay Withey says:

    We had to get internet last fall because my husband was starting school. We hadn’t had any internet for about 2 years so I called the local cable company and the local phone company. All I was making the calls for was information and the cable company rep. had no problem giving me all the information that I needed. I wasn’t going to make a decision that day because I wanted to pray about and talk to my husband. The cable rep asked me if I wanted him to give us a call back when my husband was available to answer his questions.

    However when I called for the information with the phone company, they couldn’t give me the exact information because they would only know that information after they put the order in (but we could always cancel before we finalized). It was because the cable guy didn’t try to oversell us anything we didn’t need that we went with them.

    He did ask us if we wanted to add a phone package for 5 dollars a month. We told him once that we only use cell phones and we didn’t need a home phone. He said that’s just fine in fact that is what he uses. We have had great service and the bill is the same amount every month no surprises. I did call once because we were having a little problem with our modem resetting and they had it fixed with in 6 hours of me calling. I love the small town service we seem to get.

    (Oh and we do HULU plus and Netflix only no cable not even the free channels. I honestly don’t know how to get those channels)

  • Michelle says:

    We love watching Duck Dynasty online too! Good Clean Fun!! We don’t have cable either. I agree with the more channels you have the more tempted you would be to watch tv….I am amazed at how much we are able to accomplish when the tv is off. The “to do list” seems to get done faster!! I think you made a Wise choice for you and your family.

  • Anna K. says:

    I really agree with this post, both the spirit and the specific advice. We don’t have a television or cable (obviously) and it’s as much a statement of priorities as it is a financial decision.

    That said, what I appreciate most about this post is that you’ve reminded me that I need to try Duck Dynasty! It’s been recommended to me several times lately. I know that wasn’t your main point, but thanks for the reminder. 🙂

    • Crystal says:

      For the record: My husband and kids are the big Duck Dynasty fans at our house, but I enjoy watching it with them and get a kick out of the kick they get out of it. It’s a unique show and I know people who love it and people who loathe it. I read their book, though, and think they are amazingly smart business people and hard workers, despite what the show might sometimes depict some of them as. 🙂

      You’ll have to tell me what you think!

  • Erin says:

    We just finally got WiFi in our area (cable was never even an option) and as soon as it was hooked up I dropped DISH network. We got a Roku and have Netflix and Hulu plus. I was paying $50 a month for Verizon mifi but had limited gigabytes and we were paying $65 a month for DISH. Now instead of paying $115 a month for TV and internet we are paying $39.99 for our wifi and $15.98 for TV!! Thats a savings of $59.03 a month. I am also trying to talk dh into dropping the Netflix and just watching Hulu plus and free channels, but thats a work in progress!!

  • Jenni says:

    We don’t have cable either, and it’s funny when I go into Sam’s and the cable sales people always stop me and ask me which kind of cable I get – none is not usually an answer they find ;).

    We have an HDTV, and for awhile I really thought we couldn’t get any of the network stations, but then my dad bought me this digital antenna called the Leaf, and it picks up at least 3 of the four big networks.

    We do the computer hook-up to our tv for Hulu, and have a Roku that streams Amazon Instant, which comes free with Prime (we have a discounted prime rate for students because my husband is in law school that is about $3-$4/month). Between all of that and DVD’s from our library, we have more than enough tv to watch!

  • Emily says:

    You should try AT&T Uverse … we have phone, TV & internet with them for $160/month!

  • Steph says:

    We too called AT&T a few weeks ago about our internet seeming slower. They offered to upgrade our DSL and we would pay the same price we were currently paying for the slower grade. So we took the upgrade….and now our internet is more unreliable than ever! Very frustrating!

  • Cindy D says:

    We’ve been cable-less for over 10 years (the horror!!) and have somehow managed to survive. Lately we’ve been into “The Big Bang Theory” so I just go online, request them from our local library and pick them up for a week at a time. Easy and FREE!

  • Angela says:

    We turned off our cable when my husband lost his job 3 years ago. We don’t miss it really. I miss Gilmore Girls, but it’s free online and I can watch whenever I get the time. We do have Netflix to entertain the little ones while I clean in the morning and so that the kids have something to do other then bicker at eachother during long periods of down time. For us it’s about football too, but that is what man invented Hooters/sports bars for.

  • Elizabeth says:

    My husband and I got rid of cable TV about 8 months ago because we are saving up for my daughter’s braces (6k up front because it’s a 2 hr drive to something in network!) and truth be told we’ve never looked back. Now we still watch a fair amount of TV like our Colbert and Dailyshow but we get them through Hulu for free and hooked the computer up to the TV so we can do this. For some people it might be worth having cable but we found that we didn’t use it enough to justify the cost. We also got rid of our Netflix (because Hulu is that great for us) and instead we have a weekly movie night where the family all gets together and munches popcorn and spends time together (I know it may not sound like ‘spending time together’ but it really is when my husband and children would normally just run off to play on their computers all weekend) and we use Redbox because paying $5 a month for something the whole family enjoys is much better than $20+ for my family.

  • Christin says:

    We *almost* signed up for NetFlix but decided against it for the same reason–we were worried we’d feel obligated to watch it because we were paying for it.

    We haven’t had cable or anything like it since the first year we were married (so about 12 years). I agree, I’d rather read, write, or work on other business projects. Good job saying “no”!

  • Kelly says:

    For three years, we had a wireless router at our house that only allowed one device to be on the internet at a time. So, if my husband was on his laptop, I couldn’t be on the iPad surfing the web, or vice versa.

    Sure, it would have only been $50 or so to get a new router, but it saved us SO much wasted time when we both were home… rather than plopping ourselves down on the couch with two computers browsing the internet, we were “forced” to either do something together, or at least have one of us doing something productive – washing dishes, etc.

    It was worth saving a bit of money and especially the time! Thanks for sharing!

  • Ginger says:

    Hi Crystal,
    I love how you describe getting the channels to come; we have to wear foil helmets, and hang a foot out the window (just kidding). Ours is really bad too, but it’s still free!! Thanks for all the tips.

  • Lacey says:

    Why not get a magic jack and dump your phone? Also you can hook up your computer to the tv and have more to watch. Depending of course what type of computer you have and what type of tv.

    • Crystal says:

      Right now with AT&T it’s less expensive for us to have a landline and internet package than just an internet package alone. Crazy, but true!

      And yes, don’t you love that you can hook the computer up to the TV?!

      • Lacey says:

        I totally love it. It’s how I watched Downton Abbey. I don’t have a home phone and we have AT&T DSL. We pay $48 a month. Initially we had the $20 a month but it was too slow to watch Netflix.

  • Amy says:

    Anyone have tips on how to watch the big baseball games and such without cable? We got cable b/c hubby was tired of the ball games on the free local channels. They always seemed to put the lowest rated games, I guess.

    • Rosie says:

      Get a roku or the like and you can subscribe to MLB.com for about $80 and get all out of market games and the radio for the in market games and game stats…

      • Amy says:

        Thanks for the tip. Will have to do the math (roku purchase + $80 for MLB) to see if cutting the cable is worth it. We got ours pretty cheap in a bundle ($18 per month extra for cable) but it goes up later in the year – when it is to be renewed. Seems like the roku might not be a bad option!

  • Penny says:

    I had dsl and had only been paying 19.95 for a long time, then it jumped to 48.95.
    I called and was told there were no more discounts available due to they were switching to AT&T uverse( fiber optics) so instead of changing I just paid the higher amount but was highly irritated . Then this past July I had to call and the rep gave his spill—-ms you can pay 5 cents more for fiber optics and its so much faster. So I bit. I told him the only way I would switch is not to pay an activation fee or equipment fee . He said no problem I will also give you a visa gift card for $100.00 , so I took the offer . They hooked it up , just the Internet.
    I had problems with the connection till Dec. I had to call over and over . One service tech spent 4 hours here till 8 pm trying to fix the problem. Every wire, each piece of equipment was changed out. It was highly frustrating. It is finally working fine now. I called many times , was very nice but was getting close to losing it!!!!! I reduced my speed after all that and got a special at 28.00 a month for a year. Now it’s jumped up 6 dollars due to a rate increase . realllllly!
    I would not dare switch my tv with all the problems I had . By the way, I never got the 100.00 gift card .
    You are forced to switch this stuff because they do away with the existing service . You know they say its alllll better.

  • Dottie says:

    Thank you for reminding me that there are benefits to saving that “just $20 more”. We don’t pay for tv either, except for Netflix, and we like it that way. It means I have to wait a little longer sometimes to see Duck Dynasty or Downton Abbey (we don’t even pick up PBS or the local stations here) but that’s fine. Like you, the tv is on only when we want it to be.

  • Kristen says:

    I love the point you are making here. I think we frugal people always train ourselves to look for a “good deal,” and sometimes we forget the big picture of if we truly even want or need that particular product or service. Before going to a tag sale, I always make a pact with myself to only buy something that is truly useful to us and not just because an item is very inexpensive. This tactic saves money and keeps clutter down at the same time!

  • Pamela says:

    It cracks me up that you watch Duck Dynasty, too. It is my husband’s favorite show. He even has me watching it now. Seems like everyone is watching that show.

  • I love this, and I totally understand! My roommate and I don’t have cable for the same reason. I’m an avid Blues hockey fan, but since I don’t have cable I’m watching less. If they happen to be playing the Blackhawks while I’m not working though, I just go to the sports bar and grill across the street to watch it (or go home and watch with my family). My roommate and I agreed that we would rather spend the cable money ($20 here too) having friends over and entertaining than on something we would waste countless hours watching. Plus there’s not that much on tv anymore anyways.

  • Jenny says:

    We cut our cable a couple years ago. I thought I would really miss it, but I don’t. We get all the channels we need over the air, and my husband set up my computer as a DVR so I can still record my shows. We also just dropped our landline from AT&T and bought an Ooma, so our phone bill will go from $45/month to about $4.00!

  • Julie P says:

    We had a similar deal offered to us. Cable company called and told us about a promotional package, which would give us actual cable (we only had internet) for $5 LESS than what we were paying, for 6 months; then it would increase by $20 for 6 months, and then go to the regular price ($90!!), but we weren’t in a contract so we could cancel at any time. The catch was that we’d have to pay for the installation. No big deal, because after 4 months, we’d break even! Or so we thought.
    When the guy came to install it, he informed us that because we had no cable run into the room where the TV is (the previous owners had it run in the 3rd floor and basement of the townhouse, but not the main!) that we’d have to have a custom installation for $60. On top of that, his paperwork showed the $90 package, no promo. When I called to confirm my package, they told me completely different prices.
    End of story was that we did NOT get the installation or “upgraded” package. I’m actually a little relieved that we didn’t. My kids would be fighting over which channel to watch. As it is now, we finally figured out how to watch our Amazon Prime videos through our Wii and Playstation. 🙂

  • I’m with you on this one. We don’t have cable, and that’s a really good thing. I’d be glued to it all the time. I naturally love watching TV but I am having to give it up for the most part. I just am not very good at self-discipline while watching TV. If I sit down to watch TV, it’s hard to stop. And then I started blogging and I can’t possibly work my job, blog, do my church stuff and take care of my hubby AND watch TV too. So TV has had to go. I do miss some shows–I’m a nut for the old-timey stuff like Andy Griffith, but it doesn’t seem to be hurting my life and I miss it less and less all the time.

  • liz says:

    Such great thoughts. I had never really thought about the connection between purchasing something and feeling obligated to use it. That is something to really keep in mind! Especially when I’m trying to simplify the way I use my time:) Thanks for the post!

  • Bridget says:

    Very good post! We also choose not to pay for cable, actually we don’t own a TV, but we choose that as well. We use internet for many things and we have a fairly inexpensive plan. We find free movies to watch online or check some out at the library AND my hubby can watch many games on ESPN online!!….just a little hint there!

  • debi banderman says:

    Ha ha ha…I had to laugh at how you described your tv. We must have the same one! 🙂 We’ve chosen not to do cable and have to deal with the antenna or positioning things a certain way or whatever, just to be able to watch a few things once in awhile. lol

  • Jennifer says:

    Where do you find Duck Dynasty online!?! We would love to watch that show but we don’t have cable either.

  • Sara says:

    We do not pay for cable or satellite TV either. We bought an $80 antenna from radio shack that we mounted to the roof, and hooked into the existing cable lines in our house. We now get 30+ free channels and we don’t have to mess with the rabbit ears on each TV.

  • I needed to read this! We currently have a discontinued Direct Tv plan for $29 a month. I keep thinking I’m going to cancel cable, but at *only *$29 why cancel? You answered in your post..many extra hours during the day! I did stop going to dollar type stores, because I could very easily spend $20 on stuff I don’t need.

  • Camille says:

    I just had the same thing happen with the cable company. I called to cancel our $20 TV package (since the rate had gone up). I said no to the up sell, too. Turns out that we get the exact same channels FREE with the digital antenna built in to our TV that we had been paying $20/mo for! The sales lady kept asking, “But don’t want just SOME TV in the house?” No, thank you! 🙂

  • Cassie Imel says:

    Great post! My husband and myself do not have cable either. We feel the way you guys do, we don’t want it to eat up our time together and the hobbies we enjoy like painting, projects and for me reading!

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Kandys M says:

    I gave up on cable a long time ago because my kids watch PBS 90% of the time anyway so I was paying for them to watch free tv. I did splurge with my tax refund getting Amazon Prime to watch some shows I can’t get on regular tv, but I also get free 2 day shipping so it actually saves me money. My husband insists on having Netflix too, but it’s only $8 a month, and my kids actually use it.

  • Samantha says:

    As a 14 year old with cable, I am really thinking about not having a tv when I’m older. The only show I would miss that I don’t think I could get online is Dr. Phil lol. Otherwise, I could get it online or just miss it. I mean what kid right out of college would want to save an extra $240 a year? And it is a great habit to build!

  • Kathy L. says:

    I need to call AT&T and get a better price on my internet and landline. I canceled DSL several months ago and don’t miss it, but I enjoy the extra $86 a month!

  • Denise says:

    Ugh! I hate calling the phone people. And I hate saying that I hate the phone people, because my dad was a switchman (back when they had switches!) for the phone company, so Ma Bell put food on the table and paid for my college.

    We ended up switching to U-Verse (such a deal!) and got the bonus of an all day nightmarish install–not the phone guy’s fault, my house was previously owned by an idiot. AND now my landline runs on a battery backup. But hey, we have channels out the yahoo.

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