Single and Settling In

Single life has its own unique challenges, personally and financially. Hear how these bloggers are making the single life work for them.

Goodbye Cable...

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Do you like TV? Yeah, me too. I love me some 30 Rock like nobody's business. So believe me when I say that I am not an uber-intellectual who decries HBO as the opiate of the masses. But brace yourself for something shocking... 

I don't have cable.  

That's right, it's been about four years since I last had hundreds of channels at my fingertips. And I've lived to tell about it. I was never a person who had "appointment television" - I decided long ago that my social schedule would never be determined by what was on the tube that night. But at the same time, I'd never known a life without cable TV.  I experienced a panic similar to when you take the binky away from the baby. This anxiety was short-lived. Let me tell you what I learned in my life post-Comcast... 

1. The expense alone is reason enough to disconnect. A few weeks ago my best friend was telling me how she needed to call the cable company as her promotional offer had expired. Her new bill? Over two hundred dollars a month! She does, as most people do, have her phone and internet rolled into a bundle package for this price, but even so, that is major sticker shock. We all choose our luxuries so if you can't live without your cable package, so be it. But as you survey your life and look for ways to save, discontinuing cable service puts so much more money back into your pocket in one shot than, say, making sure to turn off the lights when you leave a room. 

2. There is always Hulu and Netflix. If you have internet service, you can watch episodes of almost anything on command via Hulu.com. And if you don't already have a Netflix account, they have memberships that start as low as $10 per month. One of my fondest television-related experiences was when I recently watched all six seasons of "Six Feet Under" back-to-back through Netflix (now I'm onto "Arrested Development" - I highly recommend both shows!). Sure, we all like to be caught up on the newest shows but it's a different kind of fun to be able to make your way through a series at your own pace (in my case, frenzied!).  

3. Network TV is decent. Hey, ever heard of "Lost"? That was on free TV. With all of the well-written, compelling cable shows, the big networks have upped the ante. There's plenty of quality to be found on network channels that won't cost you the big bucks.  

4. Do other things. I used to have a bumper sticker that said "Kill Your Television." I still believe this. I definitely need TV time to escape my life. We all need to be able to shut the brain down and decompress. Just don't make television your sole go-to for relaxation purposes. Take a bath. Read. Call your mom. Put on an old CD that you love. Walk your dog. Meet a friend for coffee. I found that my disconnection to cable resulted in reconnections with a lot of other things! 

5. If you will die without cable, at least negotiate your bill! Every other commercial advertises bundle offers. Friends and people in the industry have told me that you should never be paying more than a promotional price for these services. Ever. If your promotion has run out, all it takes is a phone call and they will renew the offer (so I'm told). The best tactic seems to be saying something along the lines of, "I am looking at my current bill and see that my promotional period expires next month. It looks like I'll have to scale back my services unless there is some way we can keep my bill at the current rate. Times are tough, you know..." 

Is anyone out there with me? I know I'm in the minority, but am I a nutjob? Or do you think you could pull the plug on cable?

Stacey Pavlick

Stacey is a participant in the CareOne Debt Management Plan, soon to complete her second year on the plan. She is also a contributing writer for the My Journey Out of Debt blog and Single & Settling In blog. She is currently an operations manager for a title insurance company and moonlights as a music reviewer for SpectrumCulture.com. She combines her passion for writing with her passion for getting out of debt to share her struggles and successes along the way. Compensated CareOne Blogger.

  • You're not alone at all! The only reason we have basic cable/internet bundle is because we can afford it and our bills. My fiance and I went without cable for years in college, surviving by buying the occasional season on DVD or watch streaming over internet. Hulu is offering nearly unlimited tv shows for 10 bucks a month, and Netflix has the same offer for movies (some of which stream over the internet!)

    We're in a good spot right now, but believe me, if it were tight, cable would be one of the first things to go.

  • The seasons are changing, which means that the air conditioner gets turned off and the heater gets turned on. To save money this fall and winter, try optimizing your energy bill by cutting down the cost of your heating and electric bill.

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