I entered Costco one day and immediately I pass by the TV section. There was a representative from Direct TV over there and was asking shoppers passing by what type of cable service they have. If you don’t regularly shop at Costco, here is some inside info: they invite outside vendors that sell their items at Costco and let them promote it. The vendors range from food, blenders, vitamins, and in this case satellite TV. So when I passed by the Direct TV rep. he asked me, “Sir, what type of cable service do you have?” I stopped and told him, “Antenna TV”. And he had a look on his face that seemed to be in shock, like he never heard of it before. He then said, “Well….Direct TV has numerous TV packages at low prices, better than our competitors.” I ended this conversation by saying, ‘Competitors? Yo man antenna TV is free.’ Then I went about my shopping.
Don’t get it wrong, I know all about cable TV. I basically grew up with it and all the numerous amount of channels they offer. At one point I thought how can I live without it? I was hooked, watching ESPN (and their five other channels), MTV(are they even showing music videos anymore?), HBO, CNN, you name it I was your average channel surfer. Whenever I go to a friends or relatives house, they would have cable as well so it felt like some sort of requirement to have it because everyone you know has cable TV. I thought it would be my attachment forever.
So what changed? For starters, with the cable industry being constant with adding channels, creating more features like ‘On Demand’ and easy to record shows, all the main cable/satellite companies have huge monthly charges. Even without having premium channels like HBO and Showtime, they still charge outrageous amounts. They have set out the average monthly cable bill to be about $65 from what I read.
Another reason backpedaling on having cable was when me and my wife, Mrs. Mother with Cents, moved in together. When discussing Internet and TV arrangements, she firmly said we are only getting Internet and not cable TV. She didn’t grow up with cable and thought it was a waste to spend on something so unproductive. I was on the fence about it because I knew both sides, having cable would be a great luxury to have and I was so used to having it at home. On the other hand….’damn that’s pretty expensive!’ We would have spent at least $65 a month on numerous channels and most likely watching about a quarter of them. So I tried out not having cable for basically the first time ever and it was tough at first but as I adapted I saw myself using other resources. I read more books from the library, listened to more podcasts, and have YouTube for my entertainment viewing. Most of the stuff I read were mainly self-help books and eventually discovered personal finance books the last couple of years. My list of podcasts includes some sports and also personal finance podcasts. And whatever I feel like watching something, I’ll just look it up on YouTube because they basically have almost anything I want to watch.
With all these resources I’m using, having cable TV was not a necessity for me and has not been for the last five years now. Spending $65 a month would have resulted in spending close to $4K so far. That’s a lot of savings and I am glad we did not put it on a cable box.
One of the things personal finance has taught me is to cut back on whatever is not necessary and cable was not a need for me anymore.
Do you have cable/satellite TV? If so, is it worth the cost for you?