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Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money

Cutting the cord- Is it time to give up cable/satellite television?

My husband and I are nearing the end of our most recent two year obligation for our television service and we are discussing whether or not to give it up completely. There are several reasons we have been kicking this idea around and hopefully this will spark some discussion in your family during financial discussions.

How much TV can we really watch anyway?

In order to get the channels we really want, we are forced to buy large packages of channels. Once I had to buy a package of 50 channels to get the one I wanted. My current provider has three tiers that might as well be labeled, Expensive, Really Expensive, and Ridiculously Expensive. I didn't go and exact count but it appears that my current provider has about a thousand channels for which we pay about $150 a month. At 15 cents per channel that seems really cheap but when we calculated what we really watched (including ones we only watch because we are bored with everything else on TV), at 15 cents per channel we'd pay far less than $10 per month.

Do you remember the 1992 Bruce Springsteen song "Fifty Seven Channels and Nothing On"? Today it's a thousand fifty seven channels and still nothing on!

Bear in mind also, that many of these channels are running program length commercials- some as much as 25-30 % of their programming is "paid" programming. This means you are paying to watch a 30 minute commercial. Hmmm. Not exactly what I consider worthy of my hard earned entertainment dollar.

Finally, there are only so many hours in the day available for TV watching after accounting for school/work, sleep and the assorted chores necessary for living (grocery shopping comes to mind). One person can't possibly watch enough TV to get your money's worth from a paid service. Keep in mind that when you have multiple people watching, that usually involves additional expenses like more TV's, receivers and DVR's bringing your total cost even higher.

Cost- we have been working on cutting costs in other areas of our life and that's part of what sparked this discussion. Recently we started watching Pay per view movies instead of going to the theater. At a cost of $5.99 (average) plus tax per movie (not per person) we save considerably over going to the movies where it is now about $20 just for tickets plus the cost of dinner or movie junk food (about another $20 or more). The savings are incredible-about 75%. We may have to wait to see the movie but we don't get to see nearly as many of them in the theaters as we want because of our schedules so seeing it the day it comes out isn't a big thing for us.

The cost of cable/satellite television is about $150 a month for us and if we drop it we can save at least $1800 a year. What can we do with an extra $1800 a year? What would you do? Post how much you could save if you dropped your TV service and what you might do with that money in the comments.

Keep up with my postings and see what we do next as we investigate how to drop paid TV and not miss what we like to watch. Follow along as we make our decision.

Now..... I think my favorite soap is on.... Got to run.

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I haven't had cable since the 80's I hardly watch TV as well. If I hear about a good show I'll find it streaming online or on amazon prime and watch it at my leisure. So my 'tv' time is probably less than 6 hours a week. Haven't missed it at all.
by Robert W on Monday 7/29/2013

Thank you for your feedback. It is interesting how we have many choices now that we didn't have in the past. More choices and more decisions to be made!
by Kathy Sweedler on Wednesday 8/28/2013