Yes You Can Ditch Your Cable! (Even if you like watching TV.)

Yes You Can Ditch Your Cable! (Even if you like watching TV.)
“I would have saved over $1000 since Levi was born!” My friend exclaimed as my husband programmed her TV to the very-adequate free channels available with a $26 antenna in her small mountain town. “I only signed up for cable to entertain the kids while I was resting after having a newborn. If I had known that PBS has a channel of only cartoons, I would have been all set.”
While we all like to avoid excess TV for our kids, we can admit that some times call for an all-week TV binge.
Have you always had cable and keep paying that bill as it creeps up and up with each year; just because you don’t want to bother figuring out how to get your favorite shows or don’t know what the kids would do without Disney Jr.?
Or have you never had cable, but you just purchased a first home and now are the proud owner of a real TV?

Don’t you need a cable package?

No, subscribing to 57+ channels (with nothing on) is absolutely not necessary for establishing your adult identity. The bachelor lifestyle is characterized by a laptop propped on a bed or chair, so some of us feel like we’re totally a grown up when the cable guy comes in to install cable to our brand new wall-mounted flat screen TV in our first permanent place of residence.
If you already have a big TV up, or you legitimately enjoy vegging on the couch most evenings, you can still give up your cable! Don’t feel like you have to make your house a complete media-free zone just to ditch your cable bill.
With the streaming services available it has never been easier to ditch your high priced cable bill while still enjoying your favorite shows. Chromecast streams from Youtube and Netflix, and the Amazon stick streams from Amazon Prime (which many of you subscribe to anyway).
If you’re just looking to entertain the kids for a time while you have a newborn, or the stomach flu is sweeping through the house, PBS has an all-cartoon channel in most areas, for free (or for the cost of a cheap antenna with no monthly commitment).

TV: A time and a place

There are some times when you’ll happily forgo all television, and even most media. But that is not every season. When you have a new baby, are recovering from a long illness, or just need a break from stress and to zone-out on shallow television series, you can still do so without going all-in with a cable package.

5 reasons giving up cable will be good for your home

  1. Avoiding advertisement-induced unhappiness. Hulu still has commercials, but when you binge watch a TV show from Netflix you are avoiding commercials, and the ‘wants’ that they produce. Ditching the cable or satellite package will greatly reduce the amount of advertising broadcast right inside your home. Think advertising doesn’t affect you? Think again! Go advertisement-free for 30 days as much as you can and see how much more content you are with your life. Advertising purposely plants little seeds of discontentment in your mind, and even if you aren’t about to fall into the trap of making 3 easy payments of $39.99 for the Miracle Potion that promises to clean your house top-to-bottom for you, those little seeds of discontentment have still been planted in your brain.
  2. Money is freed up for the things that will bring you closer to family and friends. Been wanting to take a vacation but can’t quite save up the money? Want to upgrade furniture, start a capsule wardrobe or eat better food? Giving up that $55-100/month payment might just be the solution to that extra money needed for things that make your home more peaceful, your body healthier, and allow you freedom for more expensive experiences.
  3. You’ll practice intentional watching. Rather than spending time each night scrolling through the shows that are currently on by hitting the Guide button on the remote, you’ll be watching only what you want to watch. Break the habit of seeing what’s on.
  4. Less is more. When the kids only get PBS kids, and maybe cartoons on one other channel on Saturday mornings, there is less fighting over the remote, and more contentedness with what you have. In general, less options makes for more peaceful interactions. “That’s all there is” is a magic way of preventing TV-show bickering among siblings.
  5. You’ll do more non-TV activities. Getting outside and taking a walk, planning family/friends game night or starting a business can all be sparked just by reducing the amount of media coming into your home. For kids, sometimes just a little bit of boredom is just what they need.

Did this article give you the motivation you need to call the cable company and cancel?
Continue reducing media in your home to encourage peacefullness: Focus on What Matters: Keep Your Smartphone in Your Purse.

Photo credit (adapted with permission): Anthony Kelly

About Rachel Jones

Hi there! I’m Rachel Jones, and I founded Nourishing Minimalism in 2012 at the beginning of my minimalist journey. If you're looking for encouragement in your journey, I go live in my FREE Facebook Groups every weekday- feel free to join me there: Nourishing Minimalism Facebook Group


  1. Lauren on 10/05/2015 at 5:08 pm

    We did the same thing just by unfolding a paper clip and putting it into the cable jack. You may get more channels with the antenna unit, but we had a paper clip kicking around. We watched the Olympics in HD for free! 🙂

  2. SamRI on 10/05/2015 at 5:21 pm

    this is so true! We ended up getting cable for the first time ever because it was cheaper to bundle it with our landline and Internet than to get those things alone. I returned The cable box after the first month (saved myself $12 more a month!) because of all the reasons you listed: the ads, the fighting among my kids over it, feeling like we had to watch because it was there, etc. We get plenty of channels free with our antenna alone.

  3. noreen on 10/05/2015 at 7:36 pm

    I’m all for this, in theory. However, whenever I call to cancel the cable (and the house phone), the price for internet-only service is only $15 less than the cable-hone-internet bundle. Doesn’t seem worth it.

    • Rachel on 10/05/2015 at 7:40 pm

      Wow, our savings is about $45/month.

    • cassie on 10/08/2015 at 10:43 am

      Is it really only $15 less? Maybe that is the bundle price, but when you add in all the TV fees and taxes it may be $20-30 less (plus more if you rent equipment?). I personally would prefer putting that $15 toward streaming services. Even when we did have cable (for my husband), I exclusively used the streaming services. It is wonderful watching show without advertisement on Netflix!!!
      But I do know what you mean about the bundle pricing being better than alone. We looked in to the $15 internet only promos we always see, but realized that price is only if you bundle with a landline. The total bundle cost is $42, which is exactly what we are paying for internet only. We don’t want a landline, so we are sticking with the internet only!

    • Lauren on 10/08/2015 at 11:19 am

      For the big companies that do phone, cable and internet we have found that to be the case. However, the smaller internet companies are generally less expensive, with higher download limits and no bundling. We ditched the big names tears all because of it, we only wanted internet and they wanted to charge us a premium for not having everything!

  4. Barbara on 10/06/2015 at 12:07 am

    And my husband is a big sports fan. Sure you can watch mainstream shows online but not live sports. That’s why I may unfortunately be stuck with cable indefinitely.

    • Rachel on 10/06/2015 at 10:34 am

      I have friends that stream sports through their phone service- I’m not sure how they do it, but they recently got rid of cable and have been streaming all their games.

      • Lynette on 10/08/2015 at 11:15 am

        I would love to know how they did this. Sports are the only reason hubby wants cable. So far he puts it off when he sees the cable price tag!

        • Rachel on 10/08/2015 at 12:07 pm

          Lynette, google Verizon and NFL Streaming or check out:

          • Alison on 10/08/2015 at 2:02 pm

            You can stream sports but many sports outlets (like ESPN) require a cable subscription. Others have blackouts – either showing games a day later or not showing the ‘home team’ games. There is, unfortunately, no alternative for real-time, local major sporting events without a cable package, from my research at least. It’s the only reason we’ve hung on to cable.

          • Barbara on 10/08/2015 at 5:35 pm

            We’re on AT&T not Verizon so that wouldn’t work either. Plus watching sports oFF your cell phone isn’t worth warching. I’ve yet to find a solution to live sports without cable. They own that ability! 🙁

          • Rachel on 10/09/2015 at 9:35 am

            Most cell companies offer comparable products, it might be worth looking into. There is a way to stream it so it shows up on your TV. 🙂 I’m not very tech savvy when it comes to that type of stuff, but that’s what my friends do.

  5. Jenn on 10/06/2015 at 2:50 pm

    I have been wanting to ditch our cable/satellite bill for months now. We haven’t because my husband is a huge NASCAR and NFL/college football junkie. He will watch every race and every football game that’s on tv. He knows where the race is held each week and knows what channel the race is on, as well as when to tune in. Same with football. I know of no other way to get these events in real time – he has already expressed that he is not ok with watching a football game the day after it airs (through the new NFL service that’s available). Unfortunately, you can’t get the channels that the race and games are on without an expensive cable package. Any suggestions?

    • Rachel on 10/07/2015 at 10:32 pm

      I have friends that stream sports through their phone service- I’m not sure how they do it, but they recently got rid of cable and have been streaming all their sports. Some kind of package with Verizon and NFL streaming. Cheaper than cable.

  6. Stevie on 10/08/2015 at 9:38 am

    Great article! However, just in the last week or two, Hulu’s subscription service went mostly commercial free. We watch one series (out of many) that still requires a commercial due to agreements they’ve made, but this has been the best way for us to go cable free and stay current on our shows for the last seven years. Thanks for your articles.

  7. Aline Aragão on 10/09/2015 at 10:09 am

    I totally agree!
    I don’t have any kids, but my husband and I are living without cable for almost a year now.
    Sometimes I feel “out of place” when people are talking about soap operas (they are very popular in Brazil), but I’m getting used to that, and I have no problem “not knowing the name of the characters”…

  8. Rene Tewksbury on 06/22/2017 at 5:20 am

    You can “mirror” your phone onto your TV with an app.

  9. Pat Lukes on 08/23/2017 at 7:02 am

    I don’t think this would work for me. I watch CNN practically 24/7 and Bravo, etc. I live in the mountains, so no antenna works at my house.
    I spend $180+ per months for the basic cable for 3 TVs, no DVR. I know I’m getting ripped and keep trying to find way to save, but I want my news.

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