How We Save Money…We Canceled Our Cable

Don’t we all want to save money? With a family of six, I’m always on the lookout for ways to cut costs. And I figure it’s time I do a series on ways my family saves money. I’d love to get your input too.

I used to be a huge couponer. Like an extreme couponer. Except I didn’t hoard stuff – I gave lots away. Now, I’m too busy (it takes a ton of time) and the stores around here aren’t as coupon-friendly as they used to be. I still use some coupons, but I don’t save as much. So I turn to other ways to cut costs.

Today, I’m going to share how we save money by having canceled our cable.

We Used to Have Direct TV

Technically we had a satellite dish and not cable, but for the sake of simplicity, I put “cable” in the title because more people know what that is. It’s all the same thing, really. Paying money for television channels. And maybe a few other perks, like tivo, along the way.

We used to subscribe to Direct TV. We never did the premium packages, but our monthly bill was around $60-70. And of course it went up by a buck or two each year. Don’t you love when you get the mid-February notice stating that your bill will increase every year? A dollar may not seem like a huge deal but over time, it adds up!

Pulling the Plug

A couple years ago, Nate and I were working hard to pay off credit cards and were doing everything we could to cut costs. We decided to drop our satellite package down to the minimum “family package.” Our bill went down to about $36 a month. We lost a couple channels we liked, but the savings was worth it.

Last fall, we did yet another evaluation on this monthly expense. We’re debt free now, aside from our mortgage, thanks to Dave Ramsey (more on that another day) and that’s changed our budgeting and lifestyle. We’re more careful about our money than ever before.

Nate and I asked each other if Direct TV was worth the $36 a month. Was it worth paying $432 a year for a few NFL Patriots games Nate could watch at a friends’ house? Was my favorite show Grey’s Anatomy worth $37 a month? Particularly, when I could watch it online for free and didn’t have much time for it anyways.

In the end, we decided it was not worth it, so we canceled our subscription.

New Options

We’re not without any tv; we subscribe to Netflix now. We get the unlimited streaming $7.99 a month subscription. There’s plenty of shows for the kids and Nate and I still get to watch some of our favorites, like Bones, X-Files (would you believe I’m a huge X-Files fan? Betcha wouldn’t have guessed that!) and yes, even Grey’s Anatomy. We also have an extensive movie collection and for the latest movies we want to see, there’s Redbox. (In case you were thinking so, I’m not affiliated with Netflix or Redbox in anyway, nor is this post sponsored.)

Our Savings – $336 a year!

We’ve been without Direct TV and my beloved Tivo (that was hard to say good-bye to) for almost a year now and I can honestly say we don’t miss it at all. Now we spend $96 a year and save $336!

The other great thing? We watch less tv than ever now because we don’t feel obligated to make that expense worth it.

How do you save money with home entertainment?


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About the Author

Erika is a happily married mom with four energetic children. With a love for Jesus, photography, organizing, and encouraging other moms, she stays busy and definitely does not have it all together.


  1. LOL We did the same thing! Well, actually we suspended DirecTV for 6 months. I didn’t want to lose our cheap package that isn’t available anymore if we chose to go back. We use Redbox and Netflix. The result I’m seeing so far? My husband and I read and talk more instead of zoning in front of the TV at night. Love it!

    • LOL We did the same thing! Well, actually we suspended DirecTV for 6 months. I didn’t want to lose our cheap package that isn’t available anymore if we chose to go back. We use Redbox and Netflix. The result I’m seeing so far? My husband and I read and talk more instead of zoning in front of the TV at night. Love it! And we just graduated from FPU last night!

  2. Like you, we do not pay for cable services. We don’t use Redbox, either. Our local library has a fantastic selection. It may take a little longer to see a movie, but we don’t watch that many, anyway. I haven’t missed cable in the five years we’ve been without.

  3. We did the same thing! Although, our savings was only $50, but it’s probably because we kept the local channels option (for hurricanes, tornadoes, explosions, etc.). Since we’re not 100% of the grid, we can still do a $5 onDemand movie if we feel the urge. We rarely do. Between free streaming Hulu, Netflix, network streams (PBS, CW), and iTunes (when family gifts us something), we’ve really started to realize some savings. I absolutely believe that actors and writers should be paid for their work, but there has to be a better subscription model than the one we’re being given. If I have to choose between buying tickets to the aquarium and a television subscription, I’m going to choose the aquarium. Memories of watching television fade much faster than quality time with family.

    • Eileen makes an excellent point. I’ve found that we have to choose our entertainment options carefully because all are expensive. A trip to the aquarium sounds MUCH better and more fun than a month of television!

    • That’s very true, Eileen. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Families that can save money by cutting out cable/tv are not only being money smart, you are also increasing the likelihood that your recreation will be more active, which will improve your level of fitness and overall health. Not to steal the Wal-mart slogan, but you will save money AND live better! :)

  5. I don’t even want to admit how much we pay for our DirecTV package. I lived without any cable when I was in college and did fine just watching a few streaming shows online, but my husband is a huge sports fan and likes to be able to DVR stuff.

  6. We got rid of our cable.. and got a Roku box.. we stream Hulu + and Netflix thru that to our tv.. plus they have a ton of free stations to watch movies, news etc.. it was sure worth the $50 we paid for it (I think it is more now.. )..

    • We have a Roku too – it’s awesome! Like you said, it’s not bad for a one-time fee and then you can stream a lot of things in more easily.

      • We pay less than $100.. and that includes the internet, the basic channels, Netflix and Hulu+.. before our cable bill was over $100 and that was just he channels..

  7. I haven’t had cable in three years and you are right- it does save you a ton of $$$. We actually just got Netflix too and you can’t beat the price.

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