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Would you rather have cable or a roof over your head?

August 25th, 2008 at 12:29 pm

I use to have cable, but I got rid of it because I didn't have the self-control to get up off the couch and do my work or just go to bed. However, when I did have cable, it was basic. Not standard but basic. A lot of people get confused between the two. Basic is around $20.00 with all the fees and standard is around $40.00 or so. The cost difference is around $240.00 a year.

Okay, so in mentoring people, one of the biggest money wasters is what they pay for cable. I've had clients paying $240 a month for cable on the verge of foreclosure. Unfortunately, they had determined that premium cable was a necessity, and having a roof over their head wasn't that important.

When looking at ways to cutback and save, there should be no "sacred cows." Meaning, you cannot get attached or joined at the hip with anything. My customer was paying $2,880 a year to watch the "boob tube." So when I suggested they get basic cable to save money, they weren’t hearing it. “What about standard cable,” I asked? Not happening! Their solution was to get a plan that cost $110.00 a month.

Again, basic cable with about 30 channels is around $20.00 including fees. If you were behind on your mortgage, your car was in fear of being repossessed, or your lights were going to be turned off, would cable still be your priority?

15 Responses to “Would you rather have cable or a roof over your head?”

  1. Nic Says:

    Not only do some people "need" cable.they also "need" all of the premium channels plus DVR. Meanwhile,the credit card gets run up,they're behind on the mortgage and the car is about to go to the repo man. Go figure. Confused

  2. Broken Arrow Says:

    True! Once a upon a time, I couldn't imagine a world without even TV. I done just fine so far without TV for the past two years....

  3. Moneymonk Says:

    It depends on the cost/benefit ratio

    If I make 100K a year and my cable is $80 a month and I have no debt. It would not be a discussion

    But if your cable bill is $80 bucks and you are barely making the house payment, then there is a spending issue

  4. miclason Says:

    I think it also depends on how much TV you watch...I was paying $30 for my cable, but was watching a total of 3 hours a week (mostly, we watched children's movies on VHS!) so I thought that was way too much money to watch reruns!

  5. monkeymama Says:


    We never had cable until we made six figures. The college years I never would have dreamed of paying for cable, and I opted out letting my roomies share the cost. (I have read before people have to pay because they have roomies. Says who?). BEtween all my jobs and classes I obviously wasn't watching their cable on the sly. Wink
    Anyway, when dh and I both worked and were doing well we picked up cable.

    We argued about it when we later dropped to one income, but he was insistent he "needed" it. We made it work.

    The cable would certainly be the first thing to go if we had trouble with bills. I think even my dh could agree with that. Hehe. I Can't say I've ever had to choose between cable and the mortgage. Phew.

  6. seven of seven Says:

    I pay $14.35 a month for basic cable. I always watch the news in the morning while I get ready for work and ocassionally watch evening news and The Simpsons and Family Guy on Sunday night. Not much else.

  7. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    If you were behind on your mortgage, your car was in fear of being repossessed, or your lights were going to be turned off, would cable still be your priority?
    Not only cable, but all kinds of things would be slashed to the zero point! How could one watch that cable with no power to run the TV anyway?

  8. disneysteve Says:

    As more and more networks put shows online for free, and sites like fancast.com do the same, I think paying for anything more than limited basic cable to get reception and local news ands such (we pay $11.30/month) is ridiculous. There was an NBC show that I used to love but I never got to watch it when it aired. So I would watch it on my lunch break at work at nbc.com. Lately, I've been watching The Simpsons at fancast. More and more, people are watching TV online. My 21 year old niece just moved into her first apartment and didn't get cable. She just watches whatever she wants online. I think that is the wave of the future.

  9. Cindy Says:

    I agree with disneysteve, watching TV online is the future of television - take advantage of it now while it's FREE!! (I have links of some great free TV sites on my blog - just click on my name and look under the Free TV post.)
    Once I broke it down into how many hours I had to work to pay for cable each month it made me realize it wasn't worth it.
    You said these people were spending $2880 a year? In 5 years thats $14,400!!!

  10. sharmanl Says:

    OMG...Thank you Cindy! I had no idea you could watch full length TV online. What a GREAT tip and source of information.

    Thank You!!!

  11. Cindy Says:

    You're welcome! I notice more and more networks like ABC, NBC, FOX and others are offering free shows from their own websites as well so be sure to search for your favorites.

  12. disneysteve Says:

    The other great thing about watching TV onine is that it saves time. A 30-min show is really only about 22 minutes long. A 60-min show is about 44 minutes long. As Cindy said, there are only very brief ads online, not like on TV.

  13. lartiga Says:

    Cindy ~ thanks for the info... I learned something new!

    sharmanl ~ I think I'm going to re-evaluate our Direct TV service. We probably pay way too much for what we get out of it ($74, including HBO). We watch TV at night for a few hours, and maybe a little more on weekends. Without cable or satellite, reception would be nil, so we need something. We also have a single DVD Netflix account.

  14. Jodi Says:

    For more online TV/movies, check out hulu.com...I just found out about it yesterday!

  15. Finance Junkie Says:

    Another angle is to subscribe to hispeed internet with a cable company and not subscribe to cable TV. The filters used by the cable company frequently cannot fully block the cable tv signal from coming thru when you subscribe to internet. You won't get all the channels, but you won't be paying for them. We got about 60-70 channels when we did this in 2003 in Alabama. I was speaking with a cable this month in Washington state and he confirmed that this is still a problem.

    Another thing to do is plug in your TV to the cable jack when you first move into a residence (before you call the cable company out to install). At least once during my military moves the cable company never cut off the service when the last resident of an apartment moved.

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