Last summer, as I was plowing through debt with gazelle-like intensity, I decided I was going to do something radical. I was going to completely cut off my cable in an effort to save time and money. This was a big move for me as I always have my television on…even if it was just background noise.
My plan was to shut off my cable for the summer months and speed up some debt payoffs. I would use the extra time for reading and to devote to side projects I’ve been wanting to get started. On July 1st 2009 I called the cable company and told them to shut off my cable effect on July 6th. I wasn’t sure how successful this project would be and I didn’t want to set myself up for failure by starting 4th of July weekend. I calculated the difference in my cable bill, and using online bill pay I immediately allocated the additional funds to the next debt in my snowball.
Most of the television shows I like are available online. The first couple of weeks went by relatively quickly as I got caught up on the latest season on NCIS. I was also able to watch the latest season of Hell’s Kitchen and Survivor (Hi, my name is Lakita and I am a reality TV junkie…).
The Hulu Effect
I decided to check out Hulu and see what other shows may be available. However, there were some interesting side effects
1. When I ran out of shows to watch, I started watching shows I wouldn’t normally watch…just because.
2. Sometimes I felt obligated to watch shows that were in my queue. The irony is, unless they are about to expire, I can really watch them whenever I want
I had to remind myself I was doing this to save time as well as money!
As time went on, I missed television less and less. Between summer travel and side projects, I was able to stay occupied, however I didn’t know if the slower pace of the “off season” would cause me to miss cable, or at least television. I resolved I was going to take advantage of the government coupons for digital antennas. I received my DTV coupon, but I let it expire!
At the time of this writing, I’ve been cable free for 7 months and counting. Eventually I’ll get a digital antenna and someday I’ll probably return to cable. But for right now, I’m in no hurry.
The financial savings are undeniable: $70/month applied directly to OPERATION DESTROY DEBT. Rather or not I saved time could be argued. There was a period of time when I actually watched more television online (like when I discovered LOST and watched the first 5 seasons over the course of a month). There are other times where I would come home and work on side projects, study or read. I think my productivity increased, but not until the latter months.
If you want to increase your cash flow – cut the cable! You may not have to cut it completely like did, but if you decide to, you may find out that you don’t miss it as much or at all.
Have you cut or decreased your cable bill? (Or thought about it…)
What effects did it have on your finances?