Why We’re Not Cutting the Cord on Cable TV
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I know…half of you are ready to unsubscribe from my email list just off of reading the headline! 🙂 The issue of cable TV and cutting the cord is always a lively topic in the PF blogosphere and is considered by many to be tantamount to financing a brand new car for at least seven years.
Trust me, whether you agree or not, I am not going to start espousing all sorts of foolish financial habits like taking out payday loans, maxing out credit cards and throwing retirement saving out the window. That said, I thought I’d throw my two cents into the proverbial ring and give a measured response as to why we won’t be cutting the cord on our cable TV subscription anytime soon. I’d like to thank Monica from Monica on Money for giving me the encouragement I needed to not stay on the sidelines anymore on this and explain why we continue to stick with our DirecTV subscription.
Wants vs. Needs
Let’s be honest, the issue of cutting the cord is a wants vs. needs debate. There are a number of things in the world of finance that are clearly black and white and this is not one of them, in my opinion. I am not deluded enough to think that we could not get by without cable and would survive just fine without it. I (as well as Mrs. Frugal Rules) have lived for years in the past where television was a luxury and we watched very little of it.
That being said, I fully admit that having cable TV is something I want – there is absolutely no need to it whatsoever. Does that make me, or those that aren’t cutting the cord bad or foolish financially? I can’t speak for others, but in our situation I don’t believe that it does. We live on a fairly tight budget otherwise and it can withstand the amount we pay for our DirecTV lineup each month.
Why Do We Still Have Cable?
If I’ve not really set you off by this point, I’ll let you know why we haven’t cut the cord yet. There are a variety of reasons why we still have cable television and virtually all of them lead back to a want. The two biggies for us (ok…I admit half of that is purely for me as I love me some college football) is sports and HBO. Now, I know that some will say that you can still get some football games online or with an antenna. I cede that point. However, I can’t trust that all of those means are entirely on the up and up and I’m not willing to watch something pirated.
At the end of the day, it’s worth the cost to me to have access to all of the games of my Alma Mater as well as other games for what we pay each month. If that changes at some point in time, then we’ll definitely be looking at the possibility of cutting the cord. In terms of HBO, we rarely go out to see a movie and having access to HBO lets us see movies and series that we enjoy, not to mention allows us to indulge our slight addictions to Game of Thrones.
Plainly said, we’re not cutting the cord as it’s a major part of our entertainment budget. The last reason why it may not be fully an issue of a want, is that it goes back to the kind of business we run. Being in advertising means we need to stay abreast of certain things and having cable allows for that. True, we could find a good bit of it online, but this is just more convenient for us, at least for now.
When Should You Cut the Cord?
Now that I have completely justified why we’re not cutting the cord 😉 , when should you realistically look at canceling cable? There could be a variety of reasons why you should likely cut the cord, but I think the main reason why would go back to if you’re in debt. Mind you, I am not talking about mortgage debt and not necessarily student loan debt (unless it’s overly burdensome), but consumer debt.
If you’re wallowing in debt and need to find additional ways to save money in order to throw it at your debt, cutting the cord should be one of the first things you do. Doing so should be able to easily provide at least $30-40 + (sadly probably much more) that can be thrown at your debt monthly. There are several shows we enjoy watching, but no show or game is worth staying in debt longer than you need to. You can also consider other options, like the Amazon Fire Stick that allow you access to television content and movies for a one-time cost – instead a monthly payment of much more.
Cutting the Cord is a Personal Decision
As I wrote at the end of Monica’s guest post a few weeks back, the issue of cutting the cord is largely a personal decision. I see that as part of the beauty of personal finance. Aside from a few of the black and white issues in personal finance, I think the issue of cable television is one of the many shades of gray we see. I know that someone like a Dave Ramsey fan might call me nuts, but at the end of the day the issue of cutting the cord really is a personal decision.
We all lead different lives and have different priorities and thus have different wants and needs. If you have decided not to cut the cord, I implore you to find ways to lower your costs. We regularly call DirecTV and negotiate lower prices for their service and it pays off nearly every time. Truth be told, they’re losing clients every day and keeping those that have stuck around behooves them to reward you for staying.
Update: We did just cancel DirecTV about two months ago and love the savings we’re seeing each month as a result. If you’re on the fence about canceling cable there are many options available to get almost all of the same content but with a significant savings each month.
Ok, how many of you will be unsubscribing from Frugal Rules? Have you cut the cord, or will you be cutting the cord anytime soon?
Photo courtesy of: Phillip Stewart
John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.
Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.
Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.
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