Cancel Your Cable, Save Thousands & Become More Productive

Cutting the cord

The following is a contribution from Monica at Monica on Money.  If you’re interested in contributing to Frugal Rules, please consult our guidelines and contact us.


Canceling your cable to save money can be a controversial topic. Some people “NEED” cable, some people love cable because it’s entertaining for themselves and their kids, and some people watch cable just because they grew up watching it. But others have no problem cancelling the cable to save more money, to pay down debt, to pay off credit cards, or to save for retirement. So, is cable really a “NEED” or just a “WANT?”

Certainly, there are several reasonable options instead of cable these days. There’s the very popular Netflix or Hulu for only $8 per month.  There are also the smartphone Apps that allow you to watch TV shows if you have a subscription. There’s the Apple TV, which is a one-time cost of $99. RedBox is another inexpensive option at only $1.29 for a movie per night.  These options are MUCH less expensive than a cable subscription and allow you to still watch TV shows or movies once in a while.

But, the bottom line is that if you need more money, cancelling your cable is a quick and easy way to save about $100 per month.

Think about this for a moment in terms of 5 years. In reality, many people with a cable subscription easily pay over $200 per month for prime channels like HBO or Showtime but we will stick with an average of $100 per month for this calculation.

With Cable: In just five years, a cable subscription could cost $6,000! Wow! I personally would rather have the $6,000 to pay off my mortgage or save more for retirement. If you have debt, $6000 would certainly help pay down your debt too. What could you do with $6,000 in extra money?

Without Cable: Instead of watching cable, you will be amazed at how much time you instantly have to achieve your goals, whether they are personal goals or financial goals.

  • If you’re in school or college, you will have more time to study for exams and job search.
  • If you have kids, you will have more time to spend quality time with them.
  • If you’re single, you will have more time for friends and family.

Without Cable: Your productivity will also increase exponentially! You will become MUCH more productive. Bonus: You might even become more active and healthier too.

  • You will have more time to work out daily instead of sitting on the couch.
  • You will have more time to cook dinner at home.
  • You will have more time to find new hobbies that you’ve always wanted to do, like learning to paint or play the guitar.
  • You will have more time to join local social outdoor activities, like a running club.

Do you have cable? Would you consider cancelling your cable to save more money?


Editor’s note: I’ve purposely stayed away from talking about cancelling cable as I am a bad PF blogger and enjoy our cable. :-) That said, that’s the beauty of personal finance, because it’s a personal choice. I do definitely agree with Monica though, if you’re needing to cut expenses or pay off debt then cutting the cord is a great way to free up more money each month.

The preceding was a guest blog from Monica who writes about Saving, Budgeting and Frugal Living on her personal finance blog, Monica On Money. She recently wrote an article about Saving $8400 By Not Having Cable For 7 years.


Photo courtesy of: Philip Stewart

Similar Posts:

If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to the RSS feed.

About the author:

I'm the founder of Frugal Rules, a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. I'm passionate about helping people learn from my mistakes so that they can enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. You can connect via Twitter / Facebook.

68 comments on “Cancel Your Cable, Save Thousands & Become More Productive

  1. I’m on the fence with John here since I have cable I don’t really talk about it much. I am the only one in the family that doesn’t really watch any tv. But then the problem is the shows I really want to watch I cant find/stream like NBA playoffs etc. I know it can save money but its one of those things I probably will never cut.
    Thomas | Your Daily Finance recently posted..Do What Works For You Just Leave Me AloneMy Profile

  2. I think there’s no denying it’s a “want” unless it somehow is tied to your job/income. I personally do not think I would be any more productive without cable, as I usually blog and enter giveaways with shows on in the background. Heck, I even work on Excel/spreadsheet stuff with something on in the background. It’s just how I’ve always worked. I definitely see your point, though.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted..Reflections and Tips on the Quarter Life CrisisMy Profile

    • @Matt- Glad to see that you’ve decided to cancel your cable too! It is definitely a big money-saver! If you try a TV antenna (for $30), you might be able to get local channels with sports. We just got one and have some sports channels and CBS, ABC, and a few other channels. Might be worth looking into.
      MonicaOnMoney recently posted..Free TV, Just Like It Used To BeMy Profile

  3. I have always found this an interesting debate. As a student, I did not have cable for the past 1.5 years and I have to say I did not miss it one bit. For one, I had a netflix subscription which allowed me to watch specific shows I like to watch. Further more, I do enjoy watching movies in the theater once in a while so I dont really mind not having cable.

    I don’t know if I will feel the same once I have a family but as a bachelor I definetely don’t see the need for cable
    Ankit | Getting Money Wise recently posted..Legal Tips For Your Small Business SetupMy Profile

    • @Ankit- Yes, it’s an interesting debate! Some of us find it easy to cancel cable while others enjoy the entertainment value of cable and woudn’t cancel it. It really just comes down to our personal priorities for spending money. Good point that maybe it will be different with a family! I know when I was younger, we spend a lot of time watching cable and it was part of family time.
      MonicaOnMoney recently posted..Free TV, Just Like It Used To BeMy Profile

    • @Grayson- You’re right! When I was in college and had cable in my dorm, we watched ALL of the reality TV shows and new everything about these people’s lives. It was crazy and since then, I haven’t had cable and can’t tell you who the latest American Idol is or who’s on Dancing with the Stars but I’m MUCH more productive! Thanks for bringing up a great point about reality TV.
      MonicaOnMoney recently posted..Free TV, Just Like It Used To BeMy Profile

  4. We cancelled our cable subscription about a year ago with no other expectation than to save a few bucks every month. But the other benefits have been overwhelming. I’ve been so much more productive doing other things (like starting a blog), cooking better meals, spending more quality time with our kids, the wife goes through books like nobody’s business and while our kids still get some screen time (games on the IPAD, etc) they aren’t watching a lot of TV with tons of advertisements. As a result, it’s amazing how much their ‘want’ for certain toys and breakfast cereals have decreased. Overall, it’s been real positive in our household.
    Buck recently posted..September 2013 – Net Worth -1.0%My Profile

    • @Buck- I’m glad that you and your family are much more productive without cable. I think it’s great that you each found other forms of entertainment. It’s interesting that their wants have decreased too, TV ads have much an influence on us. Actually, that’s a great idea for a whole new article., I’ll check out your blog too! Looking forward to reading it!
      MonicaOnMoney recently posted..Free TV, Just Like It Used To BeMy Profile

  5. I have never had cable in my life…when I was growing up…I thought I was deprived. But nowadays I really see no need for it. There is plenty to watch on the internet, Netflix and on over the air TV. Plus, even without cable, I feel like I’m wasting a lot of time watching TV…I need to cut out regular TV as well.
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted..Long Weekend UpdateMy Profile

  6. I canceled my cable earlier this year and have never looked back. it took some initial set up with buying a digital converter box and rabbit ears (for those times I do want to watch live network TV), but someone gave me their old roku box and I media share with nextflix/hulu plus with a friend, so it’s saved me SO much money. Plus there are several red box’s nearby so that’s a cheap alternative as well!
    Budget and the Beach recently posted..It Started With Lip GlossMy Profile

  7. I’ve given lots of thought to cutting cable. One of the reasons is that life is so busy these days we really don’t have much time to watch anyway. The problem in actually getting rid of it though is that it’s bundled with my internet (can’t get rid of that) and work phone, so in the end I probably wouldn’t be saving all that much. Plus, I don’t think I could ever convince my wife to agree to letting it go. As for me, the most difficult challenge would be to miss live sports which you obviously can’t get on netflix, hulu, etc. and I’m not interested in viewing those events via illegal streams.
    Mr. Utopia @ Personal Finance Utopia recently posted..How to Become RichMy Profile

    • @Mr. Utopia- Those are all excellent reasons for keeping your cable! Thanks for sharing your opinion too! You bring up a great point about being able to bundle your cable, phone, and internet and save money that way. I don’t have a home phone (although I’ve been thinking about it for emerencies) but that’s a great idea to consider.
      MonicaOnMoney recently posted..Free TV, Just Like It Used To BeMy Profile

  8. We are in process of cutting the cable out as well. Just a matter of hitting a specific date for lower “cancellation fee’s”.

    One thing to note – - – I highly suggest anyone considering cutting cable to budget for $20-30 for tv shoes and/or movies. For example, we are preparing to budget for $20 of tv and or movie purchases each month that we will purchase through Amazon on our tv. We will save $70-80 after this budgeted amount, but make sure to take that into consideration.

    The Warrior
    The Warrior recently posted..Net Worth Tracker: August 2013My Profile

  9. We were holdouts for years, but cancelled in July. It has been great without all the bleeps from blocking out swear words and erectile dysfunction commercials. We have Netflix and order movies from Amazon when we want to. I don’t miss it at all.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..Happy Labor Day!My Profile

    • @Kyle- $14.99 per month is a really great deal and worth looking into. Do you remember if that was only for the first year or just the stanard rate? That’s a great deal either way. Thanks for including those numbers for some perspective.

  10. I just canceled my cable about an hour ago, before reading this article and comments. It is so nice to know I made the right decision. Been wanting to do it for years. Direct tv made it very hard to cancel. Every thing is automated so it is hard to get to a real live person, but with patience and preserverence I finally got through to someone. Even though I paid my bill in full, there might be some additional charges. also, a box will be mailed to me to put my boxes and remotes in for return, I have 18 days to return the box. I won’t miss them at all.

  11. Thanks for a great article Monica!

    This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while now but haven’t been able to pull the trigger. One of the reasons is I would have to pay an early termination fee of a few hundred dollars, which is not too bad in the long run. But the main reason for me is I’m a HUGE sports fan, especially pro basketball and football. They’re starting to show more and more games on cable now so I have to find an alternative for that. This article has spurred me back into action thought and I will bite the bullet and dump cable once my plan is up in a few months.
    Syed recently posted..3 steps to a successful budgetMy Profile

    • @Syed- I’m glad that you enjoyed the article and that it gave you the motivation to cancel your cable!! Awesome!! Wow, I didn’t realilze that cable companies have an early temination fee too but it’s important to consider when you make the decision to cancel cable. Thanks for sharing and good luck with cancelling!
      MonicaOnMoney recently posted..Free TV, Just Like It Used To BeMy Profile

  12. Here in Romania, cable is extremely cheap (about $10 per month) so we still keep it, even though we don’t watch TV like our parents do. But we do have a couple of TV shows that we “must” watch and we consider it cheap entertainment. We’ve made the switch to watching movies from free streaming websites and free shows and it’s going great for now. I am sure that we wouldn’t really miss our cable if we were to cancel it.
    C. the Romanian recently posted..August Round-up: Best Reads & Plans for a Better MonthMy Profile

  13. I haven’t had cable for a year now. At first I thought I would really miss it but I don’t – at all. I went from a reality show addict to having a huge spike in productivity. I use my extra time to work on my side hustles now. Plus, I love, love, love the fact that my kids have to use their imaginations and be active rather than be glued to the TV.
    Alexa recently posted..How to Find Freelance Jobs (My Best Tips)My Profile

    • @Alexa- Your comment about reality TV reminds me of my college days where we watched the Bachelor and Dancing with the Stars marathons! Talk about a lack of productivity!! I think you make a great point about your kids having to use their imaginations instead of watching TV. Have a great weekend!
      MonicaOnMoney recently posted..Free TV, Just Like It Used To BeMy Profile

  14. Great insights on this post. I also wrote about cutting the cable a year back. I am with you on this Monica. Indeed there are people who think they cannot live without cable and maybe they’re right. But for those who have different sets of priorities cutting the cord is a great way to add on the savings. It’s really important to assess wants vs needs when making this decision or any financial decision for that matter. And John is right that the beauty of personal finance is that it’s a personal choice.
    Marissa@Financetriggers recently posted..Tools that make Personal Finance easyMy Profile

  15. I am most definitely a cable cutter.

    When I was laid off from my tech job last year, I did two things immediately – and one of them was cancel my Directv and switch to Netflix and Roku. I’ve saved almost $1,000 so far, and absolutely love it.

    Cheaper. More interesting content. No ads. I’m never going back.

    I won’t bore you with the details, but loved it so much I blogged about it a few weeks back:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge