Confessions of a cord cutter: How I gained independence from cable

We finally cut the cord on cable. My fiancé and I decided to cancel it about two months ago, and there’s very little that we miss. Initially, we did it to save money, but we’ve learned a few unexpected things along the way.

Take the time to examine your situation

It started as a budgeting exercise — a way to place value on the things we spent money on and see if there were things we could cut. There’s a practical reason for this. We’re getting married this fall, and with the merging of finances at hand, we decided to take a hard look at what we spend.

For several months, we loosely monitored how much cable TV we watched … and it turns out it wasn’t as much as we thought. Occasionally we’d watch the news, some weather, definitely live sporting events. We knew it probably wasn’t worth what we paid for it (over $100/mo.), but like the jeans you can’t fit in right now but can’t seem to donate, we held on to it.

The cable company had us bundled in a cable-and-internet plan. In the past, whenever we called, we were told that for internet alone, we would pay more. That didn’t seem wise, so we just kept it.

But over time, we realized we didn’t use it enough. We found ourselves leaning much more heavily on streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Video for our entertainment. We have fully exhausted our supply of Unsolved Mysteries, the original Robert Stack edition, and our latest love is Designated Survivor. (If Kiefer Sutherland’s Tom Kirkman ran for President today, he’d have our votes.)

Cable simply didn’t make the cut. So, we switched providers and went the internet-only route.

Financially, canceling cable was a win. What used to cost us slightly over $100/mo. for cable and internet combined now runs us approximately $50. Those savings cover most of our monthly water bill (or more likely, a couple of nights of Chinese takeout).

Annual cost comparison
Cost of cable, internet and streaming services:$1,596
Now, as cord cutters (includes internet):$900

Lean into new experiences

With the savings came some unexpected learnings, too.

We have a rule at our house: No devices during dinner. For at least the 20 to 30 minutes it takes to eat a meal, we commit our attention to each other — no dings, buzzes or status updates. Immediately following dinner, though, TV was always fair game, and many times, we’d turn on the tube before we were even done washing dishes.

Since we cut the cord on cable, we find ourselves extending our dinner conversations much longer. We’re digging deeper into a problem at the office or planning our next road trip.

Sometimes we walk. When we’ve finished eating and the dishes are clean, we’ll walk a loop around our neighborhood to get our final steps in for the day.

And we read more. We’ve both committed to more early-evening reading, an act that used to be relegated to the short window just before bed, which was almost always unfairly greeted with exhaustion.

We read together, too. I don’t mean separately together — we read aloud. Plays, specifically. This was my fiancé’s idea and it sounded fun to me. We started with his pick, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. When my pick came, I chose August: Osage County, by Tracy Letts.

I learned that my fiancé is a great dramatic reader! The roles he plays, and the voices he takes on to portray them — it’s really impressive and definitely entertaining. Reading together is not only a fun and different option from cable, but it also helps us cut down on screen time.

Enjoy the positives, adjust to the changes

Since we switched to exclusively streaming, the spinning circle of madness has not dropped in on us. When we cut the cord on cable, our new provider offered to upgrade our Internet speed to 300 Mbps for the same price as the 100 Mbps we had — and we didn’t even have to ask. So far, buffering hasn’t been an issue and we haven’t had any dramatic moments of interrupted streaming.

And on the topic of drama, we truly don’t miss the nightly news. We fully understand that we won’t have access to live political events, like debates or the State of the Union address, but we find comfort in knowing that we can find those events online and lean on our trusted news sources for recaps.

When we cut the cord on cable: The prosWhen we cut the cord on cable: The cons
Monthly savingsMiss live sporting events
More intentional viewing and control over timing (we didn’t have DVR)Miss live event shows, like the Grammys
Increased time with loved ones
Time for walking, reading
Potentially reduced screen time

As for live sports, my fiancé, who played college football, definitely thought he’d miss live events more than he has. Now he says he enjoys saving time by watching recaps on YouTube and reading about the games online shortly after the fact.

When the Cleveland Browns make it to the Super Bowl, though, he says we’ll be the first couple at the nearest bar. My bet is we’re safe on that one.