Top 5 Reasons Why I Cut the Umbilical Cord To Cable TV and How I Survived

Top 5 | July 13, 2015 | By

First off, no one would confuse me with a trendsetter. I’m far from being the first one jumping on the cable-cutting bandwagon, but as I sat at my desk recently paying our monthly internet bill — that’s right — just.internet. I realized that cutting the umbilical cord linking us to cable is one of those things I wish I had done sooner. Now you may be thinking:

  • She probably doesn’t watch TV anyway, so it doesn’t matter.
  • She must have drugged her husband and/or persuaded him in some other fashion to get him to go along with this.
  • Her husband believed cutting cable was easier than listening to her nag, pester persuade him. Hmmm . . . this maaaaay be partially be true.

I will admit. This was not an easy sell. In fact, it was a daunting task. My husband does not embrace change and this, my friends in his mind was Change — or as he described it, a lifestyle change (yes, I’m using air quotes). 

That being said, I do enjoy watching TV. We have a few favorite weekly series we tune into and I also like curling up on the couch under a blanket with a good movie, a bowl of buttered, ranch-seasoned popcorn and a glass of wine. . .and maybe a little chocolate. Who could say no to that? What I don’t enjoy is wasting money, so together my husband and I made a list of the TV shows we routinely watched:

  • Modern Family
  • The Middle
  • Black List
  • The Following

Um. . .that’s it? Yep. That’s it. Two ABC shows, one NBC and one on the Fox network. My husband also likes to watch the local evening news — often a regurgitation of the morning paper — found on ABC, NBC or CBS — or we he channel surfs, occasionally pausing for a repeat episode of Modern Family or Law & Order.

Our youngest daughter was the first in our family to cut the cord. Faced with an impending substantial increase in her monthly cable/internet bill after her one year ‘price lock’ ended, she simply said ‘no thanks’ to cable, kept the internet, bought an HD antenna, subscribed to Netflix and hasn’t looked back. Her basic antenna gives her ABC, NBC, CBS and a total of about 10 or so more channels. This alone, however didn’t sway me. She’s in her twenties, works a full-time job, has an active social life and routinely travels for business and vacations, so she’s rarely home.

I was, however, not only swayed but firmly convinced for other reasons and here are my

Top 5:

Reason #1: Cutting the cord will put an additional almost $2,400.00 in our pocket in just the first year. After our cable company’s promotional rate expired, I watched our cable bill increase incrementally until it had escalated to almost $200.00 per month or $2,400 per year — which, over the course of a year amounts to a vacation that could involve sun, a sandy beach and even a drink or two with an umbrella and some exotic fruit in it.cut cable 1Reason #2: From the time I signed with my cable provider, I routinely called them due to extra charges for services or gadgets I didn’t have and/or an explanation for another increase in the bill. The calls resulted in long waits on hold, transfers to multiple departments, more waiting on hold . . .seriously? Did they just disconnect me?

A recent online poll revealed my former cable provider to be ranked one of the worst in customer service, a statistic I would not disagree with.

When I made that final call to cancel our cable, I was perhaps naively surprised there was no fight to keep our business. I (incorrectly) thought they’d beg me to stay — maybe offer me . . . something! After all, I’d given them the best years of my life. Oh wait, that’s not the cable company. Some  months after cutting the cord, a rep from the same provider I kicked to the curb knocked on our door (just as we sat down to dinner) offering a $200 Visa gift card if I returned. Enough said. 

Reason #3: Despite having more than 250 channels to choose from, there was frequently “nothing on” — as in:

My husband:  “What are we watching tonight?”

Me: “I don’t know. I just scrolled through and there’s nothing on“.

Reason #4: Packaged/bundled cable channels. As a consumer, I want to choose only the channels I watch creating a custom package. I don’t want to be forced to select a pre-set package of channels chosen by my cable provider. To get the channels I really wanted, I had to purchase a larger, more expensive package. In short, I want control over what I’m paying for. Sounds simple, right?

Imagine if your grocery store sold only packaged shopping carts of food chosen by them. Say I want steak, mushrooms and a bottle of wine but those items are only in the basket containing diapers, chick peas, spare ribs and Frosted Flakes. Wait — I don’t want or need those items. Too bad. If grocers operated like cable providers and I wanted steak, mushrooms and wine, I would have to buy the entire cart, Frosted Flakes and all.

Reason #5: I Since cutting the cord, we signed up for Netflix and for about $8.00 per month, Netflix streams countless first-rate movies and TV series in a variety of categories with more of each routinely added. We also signed up with a different internet provider who offered twice the speed for half the monthly rate of our prior provider — proof that it’s good to shop around. Last but not least, we bought a mid/high range HD antenna for a cost less than one month of our prior cable/internet bill. The HD antenna streams not only ABC, NBC and CBS but over 30  channels with the same high quality picture we had with the cable provider. What cable companies don’t tell you is with any grade antenna alone you get a variety of channels streamed into your home. For.Free. 

While cutting the cord may seem intimidating, gut-wrenching and maybe even heart-rending, think about it — you didn’t leave your infant tied to the umbilical cord for all eternity so why keep yourself tied to a cable company when there are options!

Admittedly, without cable I can no longer watch the Detroit Tiger games at home, but in reality I rarely sat and watched the entire game. It was usually in the background while I multi-tasked until I heard the announcer’s enthusiastic “it’s gonnnne!” and then I’d catch the replay — but is this enough to warrant 250 channels 365 days per year? Not in my book.

I figured if I missed seeing J.D. Martinez drive one deep and into the stands we could always go back to cable but I’ve found it’s more fun watching the game at a local bar/restaurant than my living room because Detroit fans can be as lively there as in Comerica Park — and $2,400 can buy some really good seats down at Comerica Park, more hot dogs than I probably should be eating and the sunshine, aroma and ‘the wave’ are all free.

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