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A Frugal Reader: Our First Month Without Cable

Amy and Jason live in Macon, GA with their two sons Josiah and John David.  Amy runs her own spray tan business [1].  I went to college with both of them.  Amy and I both studied in the music department and lived in the same hall in the dorm.  So if you ever track her down she has some interesting Frugal Chick stories.

In case you missed it about 5 weeks ago I got a bill from Cox Communication and wasn’t amused by the increase.  And as I do whenever I get really frustrated I wrote a post about it [2].

That day I noticed in my personal facebook feed that one of my friends had forwarded the post to her husband and asked his thoughts on it.  About a day later I saw in his status that they were turning all their equipment into Cox and beginning a new life cable (bill) free.

So I asked Amy if I could interview her and Jason about their first month without cable.  I know many of you have seriously considered eliminating cable in your homes (including myself) and want to know what it’s like.  Usually the people I talk to who have no cable tell me “we aren’t really television people anyway.”  I knew the Murphys actually watched their television so I wanted to see what the adjustment was like for them and WHY they chose to even try life without cable.

The Murphy’s bill for Cox Communications was $191.00 a month. This included cable (with DVR), internet and a home phone.  Each month they paid it slightly groaning at the money being spent (as so many of us do).  So after talking about it they took the plunge and the box went back to Cox Communications.  They also cancelled the home phone because they were RARELY using it anyway.

As you can imagine their kids were NOT very excited.  They had many shows they watched on The Disney and Discovery Channels  and were sure they would not be able to find them.   Amy had several shows she really enjoyed watching she thought they would never be able to find since they were on cable networks (I won’t reveal what these are as several of them are my guilty pleasures as well- college dormmates must keep some secrets for each other).

Then I asked the question I considered most important- have there been any shows you have been unable to find?  Amy laughed.  She said she makes Jason a list and when she gets home from working it’s all ready to be watched.  Jason is pretty computer savvy but he swears he hasn’t had to illegally download anything.  He has even been able to watch all of his sports games on ESPN.com.  Their kids have not missed any shows.  Amy mentioned that she has a soap opera she watches that is easily available on line.  I had no idea that soap operas could be watched online!

Amy did mention one thing that disappointed her watching her shows on line- she has to watch commercials and with the DVR she could fast forward through them.  (Remember commercials?)  I asked Amy if they were watching LESS television then they did with DVR and she said no.  But she did point out that they watched much less BEFORE the DVR.

Right now they utilize several tools to get their television shows.  The first is a FREE trial to Amazon Prime [3] which gives them access to tons of shows and movies.  When we spoke their plan was to continue that after the month was over.  Amazon Prime [3] is $79 a year and gives them access to tons of shows, many free books and free shipping for all Amazon purchases (except for items sold by third party vendors).  They are also paying $9.95 a month for Netflix [4].  I asked if they were using Hulu and Jason said they had not needed to as of yet.  They are also looking into buying a Roku Player [5].  They do have an Xbox as well which has allowed them to stream Amazon onto  their television.

This month is their first month without paying for cable (they also got rid of the home phone).  Their bill went from $191.00 to about $45.00.

I could do a lot with an extra $150 a month!