The Family Budget: Cutting TV costs

by SmithorJones on March 3, 2009

in Cool Stuff, WebStops

Frugal Dad has a nice article on “The Cost of Watching Television.”  His observations got me to thinking about our situation and how we too have “survived” without “expanded cable” or any other cable service for that matter.

To be up front about it though, the decision to discontinue our cable service – or Dish Network TV service – was pretty much made for us when the bottom fell out of things financially around here. We look for every avenue we can for cutting corners and not being wasteful with the resources we have left. It wasn’t an experiment, it was a necessity.

A couple of concessions to the whole paid-TV thing:

  • A modest subscription to There was, though, a time when even that was discontinued for a while when it just got to be more than we could justify going out on entertainment. (After gas prices finally started coming back down a bit, we re-subscribed.)
  • The other one was – occasionally I recapped a game on

– maybe once or twice, but usually even those hilights are available free at

The original “deal” we made together was that we’d cut it completely and then when football season came on, we’d get it back. Well, guess what? Football season came and went and we did not get it back. It was tough at first, but some interesting things happened in the process. Good things.

  1. We ended up socializing with friends more! During football season, friends of ours who knew our “plight” invited us over to watch occasional key games with them. We brought refreshments, and they made dinner. We got to know our friends better and enjoy their company while also enjoying a game. The same thing happened with Super Bowl. Good friends, good food, and good fun.
  2. We got more reading done. Fancy that! It seems like there’s never enough time to get to a favorite book or article when your life is so busy.
  3. We discovered places on the Internet where we could actually keep up – for free! – with our favorite shows – even football games (like Monday Night Football) – were broadcast on the network web sites and at (We never missed an episode of any of our favorite shows.)
  4. We even found out how to hook the laptop up to the TV so we can watch the online shows on the TV instead of the computer screen. (I did a Google Search for how to hook up the TV to the computer using the S-video cable – you will need one of those S-Video Cables if you’re considering going this route,but if you have been using a DVR with your TV you likely have one already – and we found out how to hook things up. See – yet another perk – my inner Geek was fed/nourished.
  5. Biggest of them all though, perk-wise: We learned that there is indeed life without cable TV. I’m not sure if that’s true with regards to high speed Internet – maybe – we just have no intention of finding out if we can help it – that’d be the end of any online TV viewing you know?

We still do not have paid TV, but we rarely miss it. And we never miss the cost!


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