I Haven’t Paid a TV Cable Bill In Almost 3 Years, And I’m Not About To Give Up On TV Watching Either!

television, TV, cable, cable TVFor those of you that don’t know me by my first name – I’m Eddie, and in three months it will be 3 years since I last paid for cable TV. I’m certain that after you read the first 32 words in the article that you assumed that I’m either participating in some sort of illegal cable TV activity or that I watch TV on the internet.  If you guessed either of the above two – you are wrong.

When I used to pay for cable, others painfully listened to me complain about the fact that the big telecom companies will offer discounts to the customers who jump through hoops to get them. You can threaten to take your business to a rival company and they will lower your bill. Or you can be a loyal customer and lose out on the deals they offer new subscribers. One thing that never made much sense to me is how the big telecom companies treat new customers like gold, while offering little incentive to existing  loyal customers. Just thinking about this angers me, so rather than getting off topic too much, I’ll just save my rant for another post called; Why am I getting half-ass service? It must be because I’m not the new kid on the block.

It’s been almost 3 years since I paid a cable list last, and quite honestly I feels pretty damn good not having to dish out $45 per month as my rough calculation shows that I saved at least $1,440 in the last 32 months due to not paying for cable TV.

How I Don’t Pay For Cable TV.

Like I said earlier, I don’t engage in any illegal cable TV activity. In fact I get over 70 channels of cable TV, and a nice selection of high end sports channels, and I still pay $0 per month for cable TV. How’s this possible you ask? Here’s the simple answer – My cable TV is included in my monthly condo fee. I’m fortunate enough to own a condo in a building that offers premium cable TV in the monthly condo fee.

If I were to pay for all the channels in a package on my own, I’m certain that my monthly cable TV bill would be well over $80 per month. Instead our condo building’s TV package includes movie channels, sports channels, and a few specialty channels as well.

I’m certain you’re saying to your self now; “Well you’re not really paying $0, because you pay it through your condo fee”. Yes, and No. You have to understand where I live before you could make a statement like that. I own a condo in a building that’s over 40 years old. It’s a two bedroom, one bathroom condo with a  generous balcony measuring measuring just under a 1,000 sq. feet. My monthly maintenance fee is $425, which includes hydro, water, a parking spot, heating in the winter, outside maintenance of the building, heated outdoor pool, and of course all the great TV channels we get.

I have friends who own condos within a five minute drive that are more than newer (less than 5 years old), and their monthly maintenance fee is $375 for a one bedroom – one washroom condo with a balcony one fourth the size of mine. Their monthly condo fee does not include cable TV or hydro, which are separate expenses on top of their monthly condo fee.

So, do you think I’m getting a great deal? I think so, because the heating, hydro, water and the parking spot alone are worth the $425 I spend per month on my condo fee, and that’s why I feel that my cable TV is a freebie.

I’m Not Ready To Give Up Cable TV.

I admit that cable TV is expensive, and is one of the first things to get cut off anytime we’re re-organizing our budgets. However, it doesn’t need to be all or nothing. You don’t need to pay over $100 per month for cable, and instead you can pay $40 per month by going with basic cable, where you’d have a basic selection of TV shows, the weather network channel, news channels, and a few basic sports channels. Anytime people budget they typically go the all or nothing route, and it doesn’t have to be that. Instead for a lower monthly premium they can enjoy basic cable TV, and still catch up on today’s news and tomorrow’s weather.

That’s why I doubt I’ll ever be able to give up on cable TV, unless I’m on the border of poverty and can’t afford to put food on my table. :)

Here are a few reasons why I (and maybe you) shouldn’t give up cable TV:

No Live TV – If you like to watch a live event, such as Nik Wallenda crossing over Niagara Falls, you’re SOL, and would need to make alternate arrangements to watch the event at your parents or friends house.

Stuck In Time – You’re stuck in time, because everyone is watching the twelfth season of American Idol tonight, while you’re stuck watching last year’s re-runs of the eleventh season on Netflix.

Sometime I Just Want To See It – Sure we all can catch up on the news as it happens on radio or internet, but there are days throughout the week that I don’t want to read. I read enough blogs, articles, news, and write enough posts throughout the week, and the last thing I want to do some days is go on the internet to read news.

Live Sports – I’m a sports junkie, and simply love watching real-time sporting events. Can I go online and watch my favorite football game on Sunday? Sure, however I’d rather watch on a 40″ TV screen in much better picture quality.

Maybe You Should End The Relationship With Your Cable TV Provider:

Parting ways with Cable TV is becoming more common these days, however the majority of the households still have cable TV. If you decide to cut off cable TV, be prepared for a lot of comments when you tell people you don’t have TV. Some people will think you’re nuts, others will think you’re wise, and almost everyone will be curious to know what it’s like to cut the cord.

So, here’s some positives for cutting the cord with your cable TV provider:

More Money In Your Pocket -  You will no longer be spending $100 a month on TV bills. That’s $1,200 a year in savings – enough to justify finally to buy the TV of my your dreams.

Life After TV – There’s more to life than watching TV. After the first few awkward months, you’ll realize that you fill your time nicely with nature walks, reading, writing, music from the radio, and maybe even blogging.

Commercial Free -By not having cable TV, you don’t have to worry about watching commercials, and all the junk on TV.

FREE TV – You can watch FREE TV via internet as most of the bigger news channels such as CP24, CTV, Global, CBC offer their direct broadcasts via internet. Keep in mind that the more TV you watch online, the more of your monthly band-width it will eat.

Final Thoughts

For me, the choice is clear: I’m too much of a live TV and sports fan to give up watching TV. Thankfully I’m fortunate enough to not have to spend upwards to a $1,000 per year on cable TV. Even if I had to pay for cable, I’d still pay for basic cable due to me enjoying live TV, and all the different sports games that are on throughout the week. Remember, when it comes to budgeting it’s not always an all or nothing scenario, you can still enjoy the things you do for less. As an example of my religious live sporting event viewing, this past Sunday night I was flipping between US Open, Game 3 – Miami vs. OKC, Red Sox vs. Cubs baseball, and the local news channel. Quite honestly I couldn’t see my self missing great sporting events like this.

Unfortunately Miami and the Red Sox won, and Mr. Els dropped the ball on the final two holes of US Open. (This update was brought to those with no cable TV by me!)

What are your thoughts on cable TV bills? How much do you spend per month on cable TV? Have you thought about cutting the cable off?

All the best!


Photo Credit – Joethelion


  1. This post caught my eye in twitter Eddie! I understand your reasons for loving cable TV and they are valid. There are definitely are easy ways around all the things you mentioned but they aren’t quite as convenient as just flicking the channel on cable TV.

    In addition to 4 channels you listed above I list over 30 Canadian network websites that put out full length episodes of popular shows in my guide to free TV. Shows are typically available the following morning on the internet after they air on cable.

    I’ve actually never paid a cable bill in my adult life and I’m now 31 but I’ve always had stuff to watch.
    SavingMentor recently posted..How To Score Cheap Movie TicketsMy Profile

  2. I’m really not a tv fan to begin with, and I get my fix of the shows I really want to see online or when I’m at the gym/babysitting. That said, if there was no such thing as online TV, I would suffer. I love some Teen Mom! Lol.
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  3. I definitely need to give up cable! It’s just so hard for us. I like watching shows right as they come out.
    Michelle recently posted..Buying a HouseMy Profile

  4. For me live sports is really the only reason I have cable. For anything else it is just more convenient to watch when I want from my computer streamed onto my big screen tv.

    I do have to disagree with your belief that you are saving thousands of dollars on cable though. Condo fees vary a lot and it is very tough to really compare them without digging into what kind of maintenance they provide and how much they have saved up for big expenses. That price of cable is factored into it all and they have to cut expenses somewhere else to offer that.
    Modest Money recently posted..The Latte Factor ExplainedMy Profile

  5. Dude, get it where you can take it! I’d take the free cable if it was offered. Unfortunately my cable costs an arm and a leg, but I can’t give it up. I usually call once in a while to lower the cost – which usually results in free HBO. I’m thinking about looking into Apple TV.

  6. I used to justify my cable with be the sports excuse, but I finally got tired of calling every 6 months and arguing with the cable company for a teaser rate discount.

    The final straw was when the cable company dumped the MSG channel in the middle of the hockey season. I dumped them, and have been cable free and loving it ever since.

    I have an antenna for football season, and there are ways around cable for hockey if you look hard enough.
    Joe Morgan recently posted..Making Extra Payments on my Car Loan (finally!)My Profile

  7. My wife and I have been without cable for about 2 years now. I love saving the money AND the time…we’ve found other things like hanging out, cooking, walking, and reading to do instead of plunking are butts on the coaching and being a potato.

    With that said, I MISS TV every once in awhile. There are nights where it would be nice to sit and watch a few shows. What really pains me is when we can’t watch the NFL or our beloved KU Jayhawk basketball games. Knowing this, we’ll probably get cable again in the near future.
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  8. The whole time I kept thinking.. you have Hulu+ and Netflix. But yah, you’re right – that is the BEST deal! When I was condo hunting, I was really excited when cable TV was included in the HOA fees (as well as water, and also the channels had movie channels) because the HOA negotiated a discounted rate for the whole complex, so it was included.

    Right now I watch Netflix and Hulu+ but I don’t mind since all of my regular shows that I want to watch (that aren’t on Netflix or Hulu) are all available for free through the websites…like MTV, ABC, etc. I’m thinking about cancelling Hulu+ though since I rarely use it. Netflix, on the other hand, is awesome! I’ve discovered a lot of new shows, and I really get my money’s worth.

  9. That’s a pretty good deal your condo has. I don’t pay for cable TV either. I only use my TV for games, but have never ordered cable for it. Most of my time spent at home is on the computer and there’s little value for getting a bunch of channels I won’t see anyway.
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  10. I think if you were an avid sports fan then cable would be worth it. I just watch shows and so my 7.99 hulu subscription works great for me AND it saves me time.

    And anytime I get bored I can just watch all 13 seasons of Law and Order SVU.

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  11. Ahhh, embedded costs. Seems like a good deal though. I think I pay around $100-$125 a month b/c I’ve got a couple DVR/HD boxes. There’s a bundled service w/ internet as well.
    Financial Samurai recently posted..What I Learned While On SabbaticalMy Profile

    • Embedded costs are the way to go.
      I’m fortunate enough to not have to pay cable TV.
      What you’re paying is not bad at all. My brother pays a little over $130/month for HD/PVR/Internet.

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