Is Cable/Satellite Worth It? Costs and Other Alternatives

Self-employment is definitely on my mind, and I want to be as prepared as possible for self-employment as I can be. I have been analyzing our budget a lot (our budget will be posted soon), and I have been looking for any categories in which we can lower or eliminate our spending altogether. Cable has…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: December 13, 2020

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Self-employment is definitely on my mind, and I want to be as prepared as possible for self-employment as I can be. I have been analyzing our budget a lot (our budget will be posted soon), and I have been looking for any categories in which we can lower or eliminate our spending altogether. Cable has definitely been on my mind because of this.

There are also other reasons why we have thought about possibly eliminating cable. We spend a lot of time in front of the TV, and we constantly wonder if it is worth it.

There are some shows that we feel that we NEED to watch (Boardwalk Empire, True Blood, Walking Dead, and the list goes on forever), but the rest are mainly just shows that we watch to procrastinate with things that we should actually be doing.

Also, another reason is that there are many people out there who watch all of these same shows and save tons of money. Some don’t spend anything, or they spend a very small amount each month, such as $10.

If I can possible save money, then why not? Who wants to spend more money than they have to?

Surprisingly, I have received some flack on the blog lately for wanting to save money. With self-employment, income is not stable, and I would like our budget to be low if we can help it. We still want to enjoy our lives (there are plenty of free and frugal activities out there) of course, but if we can save money and still receive the same value in return, then why not?


What amount do we pay for cable right now?

We are currently paying $57 (this amount includes all fees and taxes) for nearly every single channel imaginable and also for channels such as HBO.

It would be higher but around every 6 months I call the cable company and ask them for a discount, and they always easily say yes. This must be because so many customers are cutting the cord lately.


Would we be more productive without all of these extra channels if we determined cable isn’t worth it?

$60 is probably not an amount that could break us, but I wonder that if we paid for less channels if we would be more productive and maybe even happier in our lives.

With the amount of channels that we have, there is almost always something on TV for us to watch. We pay $60 a month for only 3 shows each YEAR pretty much.

With less channels, I do feel as though I will be more productive. And this is a big reason for why I might want to get rid of cable. Sitting in front of the TV when I should be working during the day just sounds too tempting! If I get hooked on a show, it’s really hard for me not to watch a marathon of it for the rest of the day. I am guilty to say that almost every single Saturday I work on my side hustles while watching a Boy Meets World marathon.

If we were paying $10 a month for what we watch, then we would be saving $50 a month. That $50 could go towards something else that has meaning instead of all of the mind-numbing shows that I currently watch (ahem… Teen Mom and everything else on MTV that I seem to be addicted to).

Related: 16 Alternatives To Cable TV That WILL Save You Money


We do love watching TV.

Don’t get me wrong, we both do love watching TV. I always love a good movie and a new TV show (I’m loving Under the Dome right now) too.

The price we pay isn’t too high, and I believe we pay much less than what others pay. I have heard of some cases where some families pay over $100 a month for less channels than we receive. I have even heard that the average cable bill is around $125 a month, which blows my mind because I would never pay that much. Would you ever pay that much for TV?

There are many ways to save on cable, of which we have done in order to lower our cable cost to as low as we have it. It’s always best to sign up under some sort of “New customer” discount.

Also, always make sure to ask for additional discounts. You can ask for the receiver for free, any insurance on the satellite, free HD channels, free premium channels such as HBO and so on. Also, do what we do and call your cable company every 6 months or so and ask for a discount. This has ALWAYS worked for us and usually takes less than 5 minutes.


What other TV options are there?

Netflix – Less than $10 a month

Netflix is around $10, and with it you can stream shows straight to your TV. Or you can get DVDs straight to your home.

At one point, my sister bought Netflix (I’m not even sure if we still have it, I’ll blame my laziness for not knowing the answer to that), and we would stream it from our PS3 straight to our TV. However, I never really saw too many shows or movies that interested me. I’m not sure if I just had bad timing, but I also only gave Netflix one or two chances.

Hulu Plus – Also less than $10 a month

Hulu Plus is $7.99 per month. I have heard that Hulu Plus is great if you want fewer ads (as compared to the free Hulu service) and because you can stream a lot of recent shows that may not be on Netflix.

Antenna – Free

I hope everyone knows what this is. Find those rabbit ears and put them on your TV. You can get basic channels for free. If you don’t already have an antenna, they can of course be bought at stores for what I’m thinking would be a relatively low price.

EDIT: I now use an antenna so that I can get my favorite local channels. You can [easyazon_link keywords=”go to this website” locale=”US” tag=”maksenofcen0b-20″ link_id=”3628″ id=”52224″]go to this website[/easyazon_link] and find many great antennas – this is an affiliate link, but I didn’t find out I could be an affiliate until after I was already using their antenna. I truly enjoy their product and recommend it!

Amazon Prime – $79 a year, but there are often discounts

There are many benefits of Amazon Prime, such as free shipping, but the main point of including it in this post is that they offer unlimited streaming as well in their service.

I logged in to see what the exact price would be, and it says it is normally $79. However, when I logged in, Amazon said that I qualify for a 50% discount, which would make my price only $39 a year. That seems like a deal! I have heard that there are many different discounts out there, such as for being a student, so please research this. I’m sure most people don’t pay the full $79 price.

Library – Free

The library is also another option, and all it costs is whatever it takes in gas to drive there. The library often has movies and you can rent what you want to watch for free.

Do you have cable? Is is cable worth it to you? How much do you spend each month on cable?


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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. mareia willson

    My spouse and i haven’t had cable tv with regard to more than a yr now in addition to I’m pretty satisfied about that! Not i always imagine there is certainly something inappropriate with viewing tv simply because My spouse and i don’t. At this point my own little ones perform in addition to utilize the creativity rather then becoming glued to help Dora or Spongebob in addition to I’m a smaller amount diverted. My spouse and i nevertheless have got family members document myself the exhibits My spouse and i actually want to view though in addition to I merely get in place there.

  2. adryen nashley

    Most of us eliminated cable connection a little bit before to help you conserve to get a household in the HCOL area… we have now a property, along with many of us haven’t absent rear yet. Nearly all of the displays we want are generally around the big channels after which it we can stream people on Hulu when many of us neglect anything at all. We get backwards and forwards together with Netflix when I need to catch up with a series, nevertheless various other that will, many of us merely employ the Antenna along with free of charge version. A pal documents Walking Deceased with regard to my husband since i have think that’s the only real display many of us couldn’t stream totally free on the net. Most of us undoubtedly don’t neglect cable connection.

  3. Sarah

    I think cable TV is worth it…some of the time. I wouldn’t want to do business with a lot of cable companies, but there are a few who I think merit a subscription. A company like Sudden Link has awesome television/internet combinations. You know, they’ve really helped maximize my entertainment. Which is hilarious to say, I know. But I can’t get enough of it.

  4. Tia Thayil

    My husband and I will be moving to a more rural area in a few weeks and have been considering this. The only reason we enrolled for cable in the first place was because our internet (wifi) is through the cable provider (comcast). Right now, their cheapest plan is for $39.99 for wifi. Back when we first enrolled, it was muchhhh more expensive and it wasn’t going to make a huge difference to add on the tv. We’re paying close to $100 a month…. mostly because we need wifi. Does anyone use something more cost-effective for wifi? We wouldn’t get regular internet and specifically need wifi because of our laptops.

  5. This is a debate I have often with myself. Do I NEED to watch so much TV? Do I NEED cable? The truth is no. I’m one of the few in my group of friends who has it. There are two reasons why I keep it: If I call my company and they often will work with me to find me a reasonable price for my cable and internet. The second is I’m a huge sports fan and when you consider the cost of going to a bar or restaurant to watch a basketball game (drinks, food, tip) you end up saving more by being able to watch them home.

  6. We just moved into a new place, and I was advocating for cutting the cable cord and streaming. I have impending student loans, and we now have rent to pay by ourselves. My boyfriend through differently and really wanted cable… so, it’s his bill alone now. I told him he had to set it up himself and the bill was his responsibility. I’ll support him, but I’m not paying that. I’m happier without it.

  7. sabina edwards

    Yeah for us it wasn’t worth it!! We got rid of it, and the kids at first missed watching tv, but there was so much free stuff online that they really were ok with it. I think it was in grade 2 for my daughter, and we did get netflix for 3 months last yr but dropped that too!! The most ironic thing though, is that 2 years ago when my daughter graduated from high school she went into Film school!! (She just graduated from that in June) So even with no TV etc, she decided to go for that!! (and btw, both kids did better in school because of no TV)
    and yeah, we didn’t even have farmer vision (there was no antennia on our house)

  8. Carrie

    I just cut the cord in December and it hasn’t been nearly as bad as I thought. I expected my kids to complain but none of us are .missing cable much. We do have Prime and have been trying out other services like Hulu. But mostly we just don’t watch TV as much which is great. I am also saving about $80 per month which is huge!