Cable is a Disproportionate Chunk of My Monthly Budget.

So how many of you pay more than $100 per month for cable TV? Why??!!?? When I hear someone talking about their latest cable bill, I often lose my mind. Quietly of course, because I’m friends with some of you. And your money choices are yours.

But $180 or more for cable??? PER MONTH! That is just ridiculous.

Remember, cutting your cable bill was one of the ways to save I mentioned in a previous post.

If you feel locked in to your entertainment/cable provider and you’re spending more than $100/month, then read-on.

Modern Cable Marketing Practices

I received in the mail the other day, an enticing flyer to switch cable to this specific provider. Now currently, I pay $45/month for basic cable. And we also pay $17/month for DVDs from Netflix. So in total we pay $62/month for entertainment through our television. Which I think is still high, but we are comfortable with it.

Anyway, back to the flyer. It was from a well-known TV provider. And it wasn’t really the flyer itself. Because I get marketing flyers all the time, and they pretty much all end up in the garbage (What a waste of paper!). But the language that they used is what caught my eye.

It said, “Choose DirecTV and you’ll be poor because their prices.” Which is true. It continued with, “or You could be rich with Dish.”

Um. What? How exactly is Dish going to make me rich?

The answer is: THEY WON’T!! They can’t. Unless they start giving you money to watch TV. Which of course would be even more ludicrous.

Now we know they’re saying their prices are better than DirecTV. But let’s not get carried away here. When you are spending more than $100 just to watch mindless TV shows, you will never be rich – no matter what Dish marketers insist. Don’t get caught up in the hype.

The other thing that I should note on the flyer was the prices. The introductory offer started at $50/month, with a lot of fine print. Which doesn’t sound too bad, until you actually start reading the fine print. And as a personal finance blogger, I am required to read all the fine print. So I did.

There were extra fees for receivers, extra TVs, extra rooms, HBO (after one year – unless you call and cancel), and it goes on. And you had to lock yourself into a two-year contract, with early termination fees – of course. Ugh.

Of course they all do it, but there are other ways if you really must watch TV.

overpriced cableAlternate TV Watching Options

  1. Basic cable from a local provider. This is what we do. Skip the big national cable providers. The customer service is awful, and to them you’re just a number. Our local provider’s customer service isn’t much better, but at least we have a physical local location that we can visit if we really have an issue.
  2. Digital channels with an antenna. We used to utilize this option when we lived in a more populated area. I mounted an antenna in our attic, and we pulled in over 25 channels. The best part of this option is that it’s free after you buy an antenna. And the antennas are not expensive. I wish we could use this option now, but unfortunately we have no broadcast channels available in our zip-code. Check out TabloTV.com to see if you have over the air (OTA) channels available in your area.
  3. Just stick with internet. And then watch your shows using the online options, like: Sling, Amazon Prime, Hulu, or Netflix streaming. The downside to this option is the selection and the lack of live TV shows (although it’s getting better). Most of the available episodes are not viewable until the next day, with some exceptions.

And you can always just skip paying for TV at all. I mean, what are really gaining by sitting down and watching TV. In the end, you’re just wasting your time.

I get that at times, you just want to sit and do nothing. I do it, and I enjoy watching my sports teams play. But the reality is, it’s not as productive as reading, writing, or almost any other creative outlet.

With time being the most valuable resource we have, do you really want to spend 28 hours per week just watching TV? I don’t.

Take-Aways

Entertainment and TV may be a cost that you’re not ready to give up entirely, but you can minimize the effect on your budget with some better choices than the major cable providers. Try out some of the alternatives. I think you’ll find that you can survive just fine with these lower cost options.

Once your contract expires, don’t renew it!! Stop giving them your money!!

I have no problem paying for TV, but certainly not more than $100/month. In my mind that’s just wasting money. Especially with all the other lower cost options out there. This could potentially save you loads of money.

So, are you ready to cut the cord? For good?

How much do you pay for cable? Have you tried any of these options?

Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading and sharing.

-Chris

Author

Chris is the original Cash Dad. He's a father of 3 and a mechanical engineer by trade.

3 Comments

    • Chris Reply

      Haha – that wasn’t necessarily my intent – it was just to evaluate your current situation and try to improve it. ?

  1. Great suggestions! We have talked a lot about this recently so it is all fresh in my mind. But I would like to hear what other people are paying monthly for cable.
    Kate

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