Tightening the Belt, Part 8: Cable and Satellite TV

19 May



I’ll admit.  We have a TV addiction!  If we are home, the TV is on.  We have a set schedule of what we watch on each night, and we know when it’s time to rent a free Red Box movie because nothing is going to be on. But what we didn’t know when we were paying $60+ a month is that this holds true whether you have cable or not! 

Two years ago, we decided to stop paying for cable or satellite TV.  Yes, that meant sacrifice from us both.  I really miss “What Not to Wear” and my large selection of afternoon rerun sitcoms!  But we still get our basic channels using a digital converter box (which isn’t needed on our newer TV.)  In the city limits, we get approximately 12 channels.  When we lived way out in the country of Frankfort, KY, we still got about 5!  …all of the basic channels including a few PBS channels.  This next week is the week for season finales, so I thought it might be a good time to encourage you to make this cutback!  Nothing is on in the summertime, right?  Why not save that money and just give it a try!  If after a few months it doesn’t work out, reactivate.


Overcoming the challenges:

Children:  No, Cartoon Network and Disney Channel are not in the list of 12 channels we get with a converter box.  And I would say if your children are used to watching these, they will find this big change the hardest…AT FIRST!  But just as you will, they will learn to adapt their routine, and know when to pop in one of their hundreds of DVDs instead!  I promise, they will find something else to watch and soon forget about not being able to watch their favorite channels.  Still feel bad?  Why not offer to give them a one-time portion of the savings?  Take them to Wal-Mart and show them that since you are saving that money, you have some extra to spend on them!  Or just increase their allowance by $1/week! 


DVR:  This was probably the hardest convenience to give up!  But seriously,  you don’t NEED it!  What we do:  we bought a DVD Recorder (about $100) and some DVD RWs and use it just like we used the VCRs growing up.  It’s not quite as smart and convenient as the TiVo/DVR, but it does the job!  We soon learned to re-live without this luxury. 


Equipment:  You will need one antenna per household, one converter box per TV (unless you have a newer TV, then it probably has one in it already), and someone smarter than me to hook it all up!  I will add that an indoor antenna will not get you as many channels as an outdoor antenna.  This can be a pretty steep one-time expense.  Antennas start from around $50 and converter boxes cost around $40 each.  So, it may be a few months before you actually see those savings. 


So can you do it?  We did!  And we are addicts!  So, we have proven that it can be done. 

And I promise:  before long, you won’t even miss it!

6 Responses to “Tightening the Belt, Part 8: Cable and Satellite TV”

  1. Kisha May 19, 2010 at 4:07 pm #

    We still have cable, but just the basic, non-digital package, which is not terribly expensive from the plant board here. More than I’d like to pay though! I really want DVR but it’s too expensive to add it to our cheapo plan so I refused to do it. We also tried to go to satellite but we have too many trees. We were PLANNING on cutting cable out completely when I quit my job but it just never happened.

    However! Netflix is $8.99/month and they have tons of stuff that you can stream to your TV instantly in addition to the movie rentals by mail. It might be worth it if you want to watch more shows than you have available. They have Caillou (E’s fave! how lucky) and Thomas and stuff. We had Blockbuster (because I signed up for a promotion and just stuck with it) but as soon as I really realized how awesome the streaming was, we switched. Last week. haha. I have to say that I think it’s worth the price and was super-easy to set up.

    I worked with a lady who had no cable except every year at around Christmas, she’d have it turned back on for a month or so. They had five kids and it became sort of a special thing for the whole family to have Christmas Cable. 🙂 Always thought that was pretty cute.

    • adventuresinmomville May 20, 2010 at 10:52 am #

      We currently have a netflix plan, too, but I have tried and tried to get it to work on our tv with no luck. I think it is probably our internet connection…another thing I’d like to both cut back on and find someone with better service. Never thought about streamlining the children’s videos! That would be great. It seems PBS has run out of new cartoons and plays the same 3 over and over!


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