We Got Rid of Cable….But Reconnected 5 Years Later. Here’s Why.

Love this post? Share it! šŸ™‚

If you’re reading this post, it’s likely that you went to Google and asked how to get rid of cable (or how to get rid of Comcast) and you landed here on this blog post. Well, so we’re not strangers, I’m Serena. Nice to meet you. 🙂

Getting rid of cable isn’t a topic I generally talk about on my blog here. We’re usually covering do-it-yourself furniture makeovers, home improvement, and thrift stores (check out my Project Gallery).

But this topic of getting rid of cable is one that, over the years, has exploded because people are sick and tired of being taken advantage of by cable companies that overcharge for things they don’t even care to watch. Plus, for people who are looking to buy a house, saving money after moving into a new home is a top priority.

I’ve struggled with the same questions of “Should I get rid of cable?” and even more recently, “Should I get cable again?” after not having cable for so long.

Helping homeowners save money, regardless of whether they’re saving money on decorating or saving money on cable, all drills down to the same thing: not overpaying for things you don’t have to.

So in this post, I’m going to share with you:

  • Why I got rid of cable years ago in 2013.
  • What the experience was like living without cable TV and how we watched TV.
  • Why I recently decided (in September 2018) to once again sign up for cable.
  • Whether or not getting rid of cable really saves money.

Let’s go!

We Got Rid of Cable - Now What

(FYI….I participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites).

 

We Got Rid of Cable in 2013

I did something that I thought I’d never have the guts to do several years ago in 2013: I got rid of cable.

Our bill was topping out at $155 and a gnawing thought kept bugging me: we need to get rid of cable. After getting rid of cable, suddenly, we had joined the ranks of renegades in the Cord Cutting Club and earned my Consumer A+ badge. No cable company was going to walk all over me! It was actually pretty freeing (and scary! Where would we get our entertainment now?!?!). I’ll admit that it was pretty uncomfortable those first few days going from channel surfing to suddenly have a fraction of channels from which to choose.

I wrote a full step-by-step tutorial on how we finally cut the cord on my other blog to help other Cutters that wanted to join the club, showing them the numbers of what I would be saving, so be sure to check out that post to see exactly how we got rid of cable, step by step. But this is generally how much we saved:

How to Get Rid of Cable - Thrift Diving

 

We had replaced our cable plan with an internet-only plan and bought a Mohu Leaf antenna to pull in all of our local channels for free. We were all set! And it felt good to stick it to the cable company!

The Dreaded “Discount Discontinuation Disaster.”

You know the drill, though. You start out super cheap. But after a year or so, the bill creeps back up.

We went from $55 up to $75 after a year…. Then up to $85….and a little more than two years after signing with Verizon, my bill for internet-only recently topped out at $92. This didn’t seem like savings I couldn’t continue to reap.

 

Crawling Back to Comcast…Then to Verizon

Being the Awesomely Unafraid Consumer, I called Verizon trying to get a better deal. Although they offered some deals, those rates weren’t as good as their advertised new customer deals.

I swallowed my pride and called Comcast for a $65 a month new customer deal, including internet and 45 cable channels.

SIGH….I felt like a sell-out.

Two years without cable TV and now I was dropping out of the Cord Cutters Club for the sake of saving a few dollars a month…But money talks. And my money was hoarsely whispering, “Switch to Comcaaaaassttt!” Fortunately, Comcast screwed up the installation and in a moment of frustration, I called Verizon back and worked out a deal with them. We were sticking with them if they could deliver a faster internet speed. They knocked the price down from $92 to $57.99. Sweet.

How to get rid of cable - Signing up with Verizon again - Thrift Diving

I got rid of Comcast and signed up with Verizon - Thrift Diving

 

After wearing out this sweet Verizon deal, I ended up switching over the Comcast internet-only plan for an affordable $60 a month. But of course, after that those deals were up, the bill jumped to nearly $90 – $100 per month for internet-only.

What It Was Like Living Without Cable

As I mentioned above, the first few days were very uncomfortable. We weren’t used to living without the constant background noise of the kids’ favorite cartoons. Once the cable was cut off I started questioning if it was the right decision. But after connecting the Mohu Leaf Antenna soon afterward, having about 40 local and free broadcasting channels helped to fill that void. It wasn’t the same as having cable, but if it meant saving over $70 a month, you bet it was a great option!

Over the years, our family became used to not having cable channels. We typically watched the evening news at 6:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., followed by Jeopardy!. Those were all basic channels that our antenna delivered without a problem (you can check Antenna Web to see which channels you would be able to pull in based on your home address). However, when there was bad weather, wind, or anything that could disturb the broadcasting signals, watching the news would sometimes become a glitching disappointment.

Watch this video to see how I connected my Mohu Leaf Antenna and see how, around the 3-minute mark, the type of glitching I would get occasionally.

 

 

5 Years After Getting Rid of Cable, We Reconnected Cable

A couple of months ago, I did what I never thought I would do: I signed back up with a cable plan. Here are the reasons why I did this:

  • I was tired of switching after the good discounts disappeared.  As I mentioned above, after switching to Comcast for an internet-only deal, only to have the price increase after a year, I needed something more affordable and something that wouldn’t require me to cancel after the year of deals were done.
  • I needed a house phone. I know…why uses house phones anymore?? Landlines are antiquated. But my oldest son (age 12) has gotten to the age where he can watch is younger brothers for an hour or so alone. They have no connected cell phones. And while they can use Whatsapp or any number of apps to call if they need help, there’s nothing like the security of a house phone should they need to call 911. A triple-play plan worked well for this. (There are other phone options like Ooma that you should research).
  • Watching the news with studdering and glitching at times become very frustrating. And some days we would get ABC….and other days, we may not get the reception. If I want to watch Jeopardy! with the family, dammit, I want to watch Jeopardy! with the family! 😉
  • I could get a 2-year price lock as a new Verizon customer that would assure that I get much faster internet speeds (since hubby and I both work from home, we need this. Comcast’s internet service dropped far too often to be reliable). The new bill is $126.17 and the internet speed has been very reliable!

(PSSST!……If you’ve been thinking about getting rid of cable, go read my other step-by-step tutorial on how to get rid of cable).

 

Does getting rid of cable save money? - Thrift Diving

Does Getting Rid of Cable Really Save You Money??

That depends.

It can save you money if you’re someone spending upwards of $150…..$180….per month. New customer discounts for internet-only plans can be very cheap and can cut your bill by $100. Even if you were a previous customer of a cable company, switching back puts you back in the “new customer” pool again so that you would qualify for those ultra-low deals.

However, if you’re with Comcast paying for 150 channels and you switch to Verizon as a new customer and get their 150-channel plan, for example, you could still end up saving money, without necessarily having to get rid of all your channels. So technically, simply switching companies will save you some money.

But let’s consider this: when you cancel cable and pay for an internet-only service plan, you typically are paying for extras outside of your cable plan, such as Netflix…Sling TV….HBO Go….Showtime Anytime…Hulu…YouTube TV….and all these streaming apps that by the time you tally it up, you may end up spending just as much on what a cable plan would cost you.

Now….I do realize that even with a cable plan, having Netflix and Hulu and some of these other plans may still be desirable because–hello?!–Stranger Things! Ozark! All these original programs don’t take the place of cable–they’re usually in addition to, regardless of your cable or no cable plan. But just keep that in mind.

So to answer the question about whether getting rid of cable saves money, you have to run the numbers and see how it works for your family.

So Should You Get Rid of Cable?

You may simply just want to give the cable companies the finger and not be under their control (which was part of my reason for ditching them for 5 years). That’s cool too. Being cable-free for 5 years proved to me that we didn’t need cable. It was an expense I could significantly cut out and not feel like I was being deprived. But here are my thoughts on when you should and should not get rid of cable:

You should get rid of cable (or switch cable companies) if:

  • You’re not happy with what you’re paying and despite asking for discounts, they’re not lowering your bill enough to make you happy.
  • You’re paying a lot of money for channels you don’t even watch anymore.
  • You want to just see if you can do it and–gasp!–survive.
  • You’re tired of the cable companies controlling what you watch.

 

You should keep your cable plan if:

  • You’ve run the numbers and the amount you’d pay for internet-only along with Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, Amazon Prime, etc. ends up being the same amount you’d pay for a cable plan. YouTube TV allows you to watch and DVR live programming, but at $40 a month, wouldn’t a cable plan allow you to do the same thing? Just a thought.
  • You really need a “house phone” for emergency purposes and a “Triple Play” or “Double Play” plan makes sense to you. (Although there are other phone options you may want to consider, like Ooma).
  • You’re tired of having to cancel and switch plans every year when new-customer discounts expire. If you lock into a low-cost cable plan for 2-years, you may save yourself money and time.

Am I Happy With My Choice of Connecting Cable Again?

If you ask my kids, they would tell you, “Yes!” Finally, they have Cartoon Network again and when they’re not on the computer or tablet, they’re happily watching cartoons. They were tired of watching “baby cartoons” on the free broadcasted Public Television stations. LOL

I do understand that the way we consume TV and use phones have changed in a big way. I think it comes down to what choice do you want to make and what your values are and how important saving a buck or two is to you. I like that there are tons of other options besides cable and that people can make calls outside of landlines.

For my family, we’ve proven over the past 5 years that we can get rid of cable and survive. Whatever you decide to do–get rid of cable or keep it–just know that there are tons of options to keep you entertained and connected now and there isn’t a single right decision. Do what is best for your family and your wallet!

Good luck!

 

SIGNATURE

Download the 5 freebies!

Thrift Diving inspires women to decorate, improve, and maintain their home themselves...using paint, power tools, and thrift stores! Use these 5 printables, checklists, and ebooks to get started!

Now go check your email for those freebies! Powered by ConvertKit

Love this post? Share it! šŸ™‚

Similar Posts

44 Comments

  1. Thanks for the article! I am wondering how you are making out with your antenna now and also if you have any experience of how the Metro version works? I just ordered one from Amazon in hopes I’ll be able to get the Patriots games and News. My other concern is that I have a theater system and the antenna will have to somehow go through it to receive theater sound. Any info on this will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance, Bobby C.

    Bobby C.
    Incloud Design
    https://inclouddesign.com/

    1. Hi Bobby,
      The antenna worked out well for years, but we literally just got cable TV back about 2 weeks ago! The reason is because with internet alone, it was about $80 with Comcast/Xfinity. I switched to Verizon and got internet (faster speed), some cable channels, and a phone line for about $90 a month. It was worth the extra $10 a month, and it’s a fixed 2-year deal. We aren’t big cable watchers, though. I just didn’t want to pay $80+ a month for internet alone anymore, and occasionally the antenna would glitch when trying to watch the news or Jeopardy on ABC. I can’t help you with the theatre sound and wiring, though. Sorry! šŸ™‚ I hope you can find an answer!

  2. Great tips! We’ve been cable free for a couple years now and barely even remember having it. We don’t have a plan, but have still been able to get discounts. We ask for a discount and Time Warner will work something out with us, then 6 months later when the discount ends we ask again. You have to be vigilant about it and it only works if you don’t have a contract, but we’ve been saving at least $10 a month for 3 years. Sometimes if they don’t have a discount, we ask if we can upgrade to a faster internet for the same price or a $5 more and it works.

  3. We dropped Comcast last year and switched to Frontier (I think Verizon is the parent company) for just internet ($80/mo) and home phone and we used Netflix for movies/TV shows. Last month I purchased a “fully loaded Android TV Box” on Amazon for $99.99. It is a one time purchase, and runs off of your existing internet – either with an Ethernet cable or wirelessly. We LOVE it! It gives us ALL the channels we want – including HGTV, plus shows that you have to pay extra for such as HBO/Showtime/Netflix/Etc. It also has movies which are still in the theatre (saves us money from going there!) as well as new release movies on DVD – a lot of times we can watch them between theatre and DVD release. It is AMAZING. It would cost us $100 for 4 people to see 2 movies in the theatre, so the box has already paid for itself. Wouldn’t change a thing. My new favorite show is “Home Free” hosted by Mike Holmes. You should check it out. šŸ™‚

    1. I have seen it advertised but haven’t sat to watch it yet!! And wow, I didn’t know about the android TV box. Is it similar to the Roku and Apple TV? And yes…. the price of movies for families–UNREAL!!! Glad you were able to find a solution to those expensive cable packages!

      1. I think with the Roku, it has apps on it such as Netflix or Hulu, etc – but you still have to pay for the subscription to those. With the android TV box, there is no additional cost once you have the box. This weekend we’re going to watch “The Intern” which just came out in theatres last week! šŸ™‚

  4. I have been cable free about 10 years. It was the best decision my family made in a long time concerning money and time waste. I purchased a subscription to the then new Netflix and have never looked back. We did add a Roku to our watching, but it is still Netflix that takes our attention. Now we can plan our watching time around what WE want instead of what the commercials of cable demand. But the savings have been well worth it! For us, it was as much about the commercials as the money that went into the cable company coffers instead of my bank account. Now it runs about $20 a month to watch all the streaming and DVD watching we want/have time for (I have to have internet anyway, I might as well use it for other than work!).
    The question you have to ask is where do you want your money and time to go? Do you really want to give it to Verizon/Comcast/Dish or any of the other companies out there? I would much rather pay that money to projects I want to do. Good for you Serena, don’t let them get the best of your money or make you stress about it. It is not worth the time or money spent.

    1. I agree, Ruth. Netflix is GAME CHANGER. They have so much great stuff on, and they don’t have commercials. That’s what frustrating with Hulu.com. They have commercials. But now they’ve got this new “Premium” plan where you can get no commercials for an upgraded price of $11.99, I think. It’ 7.99 otherwise. But if I am paying 7.99, shouldn’t that be enough to get no commercials?? YES! If Netflix can do it, so can Hulu, I imagine.

      Anyhow, what shows are you watching? I started watching How to Get Away With Murder on Hulu! I just grin and bear the commercials, though.

  5. I ditched cable a couple of years ago and I purchased an antenna, which allows me to see the major networks. Netflix and Amazon Prime fill in the gaps for me. I tried Sling TV, but I could never get it to stay on. The programs would never stay loaded, or whatever. That might be my Internet speed, I don’t know. But, you are correct, Serena, YOU should have control of where your money goes!

    1. Vanessa, that’s what I have heard from other people–they had problems with Sling TV, too. I did have a problem the same day I tried it. They app went out and I couldn’t get it to work at all. But since that time, the times I do use it, no problem!

  6. I DESPISE Comcast, they are in my opinion liars and cheats. Their customer service is a joke and they send private contractors out as technicians – who often know nothing! On the phone they are so nice, in the flesh they stink. I have AT&T now with Directv. and my rates are soon to rise – I’ll bargain the best I can to get the best price.

    1. Same here! I can’t stand Comcast! I really tried……tried to like them again…but I.just.couldn’t. For the reasons you mentioned, and their systems seem broken–their employees and systems don’t “talk” to each other, so if you tell one person something, there’s no way for another employee or department to know what’s going on! Frustrating….

  7. Thank you for writing such a great post about this! We just went cable free a few months ago, and I was so worried. I loved my DVR and thought I’d miss those 500 channels. I don’t. Our bill was almost 200$ a month bundling Internet and TV. Now it’s a manageable 70ish. And we have Hulu, Netflix. And order the special channels when WE want. Like HBO when GOT is on. I’ve been trying to tell my family about saving $ and not dealing w the sometimes horrible cable companies. But I’m going to send them your article! Very well said, w numbers too. Thanks so much

  8. Susan Hammond says:

    We, too, just dumped Comcast for endless service issues. We are going without cable and have some streaming options plus Netflix and plex. But here is a new tip. We were paying upwards of $200 for cell phones in our house and just switched to TING. Our cell phone bill for 2 months in a row is $60!!! Check out TING.com. It feels so good to be able to cut these crazy prices on all the electronics stuff!!! I’ve missed cable a little, but almost don’t notice it any more:)

    1. Hey, Susan! I had never heard of TING.com! I’ve got to check into that. I don’t know if I’ll find anything cheaper than what I’m using now (hubby works for Sprint so I get unlimited web and I never use all the cell minutes–all that for $49 total). But I will recommend TING to others for sure! Thanks for that tip!!

  9. Tamara J. says:

    We did have a bundle with Comcast, for $159! After 2 years, they wouldn’t budge on price, so we switched, initially direct tv was $69 but till you add insurance and the channels we wanted, it’s $87 Comcast is $117 for phone and Internet, they said the land line costs $35 a month so I said I would drop that, but then they told me just the Internet would cost $98. Now I’m not the best in math, but how does that add up? One company should not be allowed to monopolize an area, direct tv told me Comcast bought rights for a large portion of western pa. So we are stuck! Still may look into sling tv for the future! And I like Kelli kitchens idea about ala carte channels!
    By the way Serena, I’ve been following your blog for about two years, we have a lot in common! I have a sewing machine cabinet very close to what yours looked like, not done anything with it, but I love what you did with yours! I’ll have to send you a picture when I do it! Keep up the inspirations!

    1. Tamara, hey!! I know…I’m waaaay late responding! Sorry about that! šŸ™‚

      I think G.W. Bush called that “fuzzy math.” HA! Yeah, they are really tricking, roping you into getting more than you want or need. You don’t have Verizon there? Sling TV works well for me, but others have mentioned they’ve had problems streaming it on their streaming devices. So I guess it works for some people and others not. They do have a free trial so you could at least check it out! šŸ™‚

      And I’m excited you’ve been reading along for 2 years! You are so awesome!! That means you’ve been with me through thick and thin. You know how much that means?? šŸ™‚ More than you know… Thanks, Tamara!!!

  10. The kids have been begging us to get rid of cable for a long time – we have Amazon, Roku, and Netflix – I guess I didn’t understand we could have some kind of antenna to get the local channels…………I would miss my soap opera :). My mother has to pay $150 per month for cable in order to get the Hallmark and Hallmark movie channel which are the two channels she likes to watch. I think that if cable is going to survive, they should start offering cable “a la cart”. = at least certain channels. And the Sling TV – we should get that too!

    1. Girl, you’d get your soap opera with an antenna! šŸ™‚ You wouldn’t have a DVR to record it, but with Hulu, you could catch it. And also, a lot of networks have full-length episodes on their websites so you could probably find copies of your soaps there, with internet only! šŸ™‚

      1. Okay Kiddo – we did it! We bought antennae yesterday for all 4 of our TVs and then bought 2 more Roku Boxes – making us have 3. We get 24 channels with the antennae plus everything else oh yeah and we got 1 sling box – it brings the cost down to a third of what it was for cable. Plus we were able to get rid of our Landline on the phone so it cut $50 more bringing the total of savings to $150 which is exactly what cable cost each month. – and that’s for 4 TVs in our house.

        I told a friend of mine what we did and she wanted to know about Roku etc…. So I sent her the link to this post – she says DirectTV – which is what she has – goes up every single year!

        1. WOO HOO!!! Proud of you for taking the plunge!!! How’s it been working out for you? That’s a heck of a savings!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.