MMM Challenge: Cut your Cash-Leaking Umbilical Cord

The prize for this week’s challenge is about Nine Thousand Dollars, plus getting the equivalent of about 36 weeks of extra vacation time each year. That would bring you up fairly close to my own level of  leisure.

The challenge, of course, is to immediately and completely cancel your cable television service forever.

Now I will admit that TV programming has really advanced in modern years, with a spectacular array of new channels. At one moment, you could be watching a young Brazilian girl blow a Vuvuzela at the World Cup game, and with just the press of a thumb you could be transported into the deepest reaches of a smoke-filled senior center watching a bingo game. You can study the most incredibly well produced commercials for an average of 16.5 minutes out of every hour, which will keep you informed of the must-have products of the day, protecting you from accidentally thinking your current products were sufficient.

Contemporary television must be great, because everyone has it. If you’ve ever gone for a night time walk around your town, as I like to do often, you’ll notice that almost EVERY SINGLE HOUSE has flashing blue light streaming out through its windows. If you peek through into their living rooms, as I also like to do, you’ll notice that about 28% of the televisions are currently displaying advertisements, as predicted by the fraction of 16.5 over 60 minutes in the previous paragraph. The average American (and Canadian) watches about 4 hours of the stuff each day, adding to 28 hours a week or thirty-six 40-hour workweeks per year.

“No”, you may be saying, “Actually I skip all the commercials with my Tivo, and I have HBO and watch all the advanced dramas and stuff”.  Good for you! You have made your time-wasting more efficient at a cost of just a few extra dollars per month. If time wasting were our goal, and this were the Mr. Mundane Mustache blog, you would have already won the challenge.

But now let’s talk about why you DON’T want to have cable TV, or any television service anymore.

First of all, let’s be honest: you can’t afford it! If you are spending 50 bucks a month on TV service, and throwing in the electricity to run a typical modern TV (about $2/month), you’re burning $9204 every ten years. And that is assuming  that you are 100% immune to television advertising – some of the world’s smartest people are willing to bet about $40 billion per year (the annual television advertising budget in the US) that you are wrong on that.

Unless you are already retired, you probably have something better to do with $9204 and an extra 28 hours per week of free time than TV, right? Hmm.. how would that look? Is it possible to have a fun life without TV service?

Well, let’s ask Mr. Money Mustache, for starters. I haven’t had any sort of TV service for about the last 12 years. (That’s right.. we’re raising a 5-year-old child who has probably seen less than a dozen TV commercials in his life so far. Surely a good thing for a kid’s mental development and ability to focus on things).

What does a non-TV watcher do with the extra free time? I guess you could do a lot of things. I use the extra time to cook good food and take care of the house, and go out for night time walks to watch other people watching TV. I also get to play with my son a lot more than a normal dad. The extra time adds up to a lot of reading to your kids – at age 5, we’ve already burned through about 50 big novels (Harry Potters and Hobbits and such), and of course a few hundred kid picture books before that. With only five years of experience I’m still learning about how to be a good parent, but surely this kind of time together kicks the ass of family nights watching Dora the Explorer?

And the news, oh the nightly news. When you switch to getting your news entirely in written form, you are spared, for life, from the Pointless Bad News like Chilean Miners and families destroyed by car crashes. We didn’t even know there was a “Royal Wedding” until after it had happened. You just read the real stuff. Health, Science, Business, News, Politics.. it’s all there, with 100% less slow-talking fake-expressioned makeup-wearing tanning salon faces.

But don’t worry, without TV you’ll still get  your share of moving pictures. Almost everything is available on a streaming basis over the Internet anyway, YouTube has the funniest things on Earth for free, Netflix has all the commercial movies and great documentaries for $9 per month if you need it, and your friends all have DVD collections from which you can borrow any time you like!

My persuasive list could go on and on, but I think at this point, the arguments presented have been so profound that there are only two possibilities for readers:

1) You already do NOT have TV and you just read through with a big toothy smile on your face, clapping your hands and shouting out, “Yeah Mr. Money Mustache! You tell ‘em! Tell it like it is! Hallelujah! Enn-Ohh to tha Tee-Vee Babeh!!!!!

2) You DO currently have TV, but you started reading this and your heart started to pound and you realized the colossal enormity of your mistake to this point, the wasted life, the frying brains of your beloved children, and you ran out to the living room and unplugged the thing immediately. Now when you finish reading this article, you’re going to look up the customer service phone number to your cable company and get that umbilical cord cut OFF!

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! Please share your stories of your new life without Cable TV. What do you do at night? Where will you ‘stash the extra money each month? Prosperity and happiness for all. Whew, not bad for just a weekly challenge.

  • Greg Roland May 6, 2011, 1:41 pm

    This is a very convincing arguement triple M. Expecially the free time aspect.

    I do have basic cable and TIVO. I watch at the end of the day, the news and maybe the Office or Letterman. It’s good mindless activity.

    I agree it could be cancelled, especially since we have internet as well, which we can use to stream all kinds of shows.

    If I cancelled I’d save $3,360 over ten years.

    Also, I think an equally, if not more convincing arguement is that TV is in many ways a poison. It spreads lies, causes anxiety, provides no exercise or social interaction. But potentiall it can, if used correctly, provided education or information. Everything has a good side I guess, no matter how small.

    Do you really have a mustache?

    • MMM May 6, 2011, 10:50 pm

      Hey Mr. Roland, thanks so much for joining the Mustache Forum. To answer your immediate question, yes I do have a big Money Mustache, but at the moment my actual facial hair mustache is just a prickly area blended with the rest of the facial hair. For special occasions like appearances on other people’s television sets, I may grow this out in full as an external representation of my inner Money Mustache. Remember, a Money Mustache is something that both men and women can have, so you if you meet a lady with a big MM, you don’t have to hide her from your friends.

      Regarding your own cable calculations: does your $3360 figure include compounding? For MMM 10 year examples, I usually multiply a monthly expense by 177, which is the factor that you get if you invest a monthly series of payments into something with a 7% return. If you had skipped the compounding in your calculation, then I’ll update you with the new value: your $28 monthly cable bill would compound to $4956 over Ten short years.

      Finally, thanks for digging the challenge – you are right, besides the obvious money savings, I find that a complete lack of TV temptation forces me to do much more interesting things which make my life richer in other ways. Seriously – as much as people THINK they like watching Dancing with the Stars, they are missing out on activities that are much more fun when they watch it. Like, for example, ACTUALLY DANCING!!

    • youngwannabemustache November 23, 2012, 6:38 pm

      It’s funny. The only reason I have cable through comcast is for sports and the Walking Dead on AMC.

      I’m 24. I just did the math of what I’d save over my lifetime if I cut cable today.

      It is a big number. The zombie apocalypse can wait til it’s on DVD.

      Thank you for pointing this out (that which should be obvious) MMM!

      • Bob Sayer May 22, 2013, 12:39 pm

        You don’t need to stop watching TV just because you cancel cable. Using my antenna I am able to get over 40 channels for FREE, and the content is much more interesting than a reality show about Snookie (whomever she is).

        $80/month for canceled cable * 10 years == Almost $10,000 saved.

        Hulu fills-in my desire to watch new episodes of Walking Dead or the Syfy channel. I also supplement my free time by reading Fantasy & Science magazine (a mere dollar per month) or surfing the web which also has plenty of entertainment.

      • Brenton July 29, 2013, 2:54 pm

        You can just buy the entire season on Amazon/iTunes for $30, which is less than 1 month of cablr TV. As for live sports, I’ve found that there are ways, legal ones, to watch all but a few events on TV.

  • Peach Fuzz May 6, 2011, 9:30 pm

    Here, here. At our house, we have no cable. Didn’t for years, but I got frustrated by my inability to watch Important Events. So we got it again. Then we remembered it sucks and we can watch all Important Events either on the Internet or by inviting ourselves over to people’s houses (makes for a fun social time anyways – election party anyone?). However, an amazing thing happened. They turned off our Basic Cable – and we have cable anyways! We get about 6 channels, but one is the CBC – which carries most Important Events – and one is the one with all the home improvement shows – which is what I liked to watch anyways. Best part – it’s free! Problem is, now I am still watching it. Grrr…

    • MMM May 7, 2011, 7:44 am

      Nice! I am very impressed that you had already voluntarily canceled the cable before even reading the irresistible argument. But your point is an excellent one – free TV is better than expensive TV, but the best TV is none at all because of the counterintuitive magic trick it plays on you to find new and even better activities. So TV service is actually worth less than zero.. yet everyone pays for it. Weird, eh?

  • Brad May 7, 2011, 12:14 pm

    Ok – so the first step is admitting right? I seem to be an insatiable TV watcher that is into the worst of the worst (Desperate Housewives anyone?). This argument has been gnawing at my brain for years – thank you for writing it down. And with the ability to purchase individual shows for internet streaming the time is NOW to make it happen. Perhaps the slight extra effort in purchasing individual shows and the pain of making the individual payments will be enough to wean me from the majority of my wasted TV hours.

    I’m going online NOW to cancel my satellite subscription.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • MMM May 7, 2011, 1:19 pm

      No, thank YOU for making my day, Brad! It warms my Mustache to hear about MMM readers taking real action.

      Your kids will surely appreciate the extra 10 grand in your wallet by the time they reach University age too! :-)

  • Andrew May 10, 2011, 12:25 am

    Great blog post! I kind of fall into the first category. I’m a soon to be college grad (this week) and when I move I’ll only be paying for an Internet connection! I don’t watch TV outside of live sports anyway and what better way to get to know people in a new location than going out and watching those sports at a restaurant/bar.

    I have to agree 100% on getting news entirely in writing. I can usually get more and better information in writing in a fraction of the time it takes the hour long news programs.

    I really liked the post and you have me reading your others as well now! Great job.

    • MMM May 10, 2011, 9:54 am

      Thanks Andrew – great job to you too! .. And glad you are reading around on the site now.

      As I said to another newgrad guy in an earlier comment, you are in an exciting position because if you start having fun with building some money now, you can be “RETIRED” before you even have any sort of family responsibilities (if you happen to be planning a family at all that is, no assumptions of course). And if you end up reaching independence with no kids around, it’s also great – just more unscheduled roadtrips with your friends, a work schedule of your own choosing, and 70 years of remaining life in which to grow your mind and have fun.

      After making the transition from workaholic New Graduate to sleep-deprived New Dad most of a decade later, I was sure glad I didn’t have to get up for work anymore. Parenting and a real career are just a bad mix – they both deserve your full attention if you want to kick ass at them.


  • Jenny May 22, 2011, 10:25 am

    Just wanted to let you know that I cancelled all but network channels, andnow $40 a month saved now!

    • MMM May 22, 2011, 11:06 am

      Wow, that is huge!! Congratulations on your newfound riches, both in money and in lifestyle.

      We’ll have to work on those “network channels” later, once you gain strength from this first accomplishment ;-)

      • Jenny May 23, 2011, 9:38 am

        Yes, well, Matt isnt too thrilled, since he watches baseball regularly all summer, and apparently not much is shown on network TV. So we looked into MLB.tv, which apparently also blocks everything out locally anyway. Between the cable companies and sports networks and “contracts and agreements” no one wins. So, it looks like he’ll be listening to all of them on the radio, which is fine with him, but he’s a little disappointed. The next step is just doing an antenna instead of $20 for the super basic cable we have now, but that will take time to set up. And even then, we can probably move to just renting thngs on netflix or watching instantly without missing anything at all. At least we got rid of the annoying cable box! Oh and the cable comapnies dont let you go easy, they tried to alk me into a zillion other things!!!

        • Jenny June 21, 2011, 9:46 am

          And – you would be so proud of us AGAIN! I’m actually cancelling all of our cable and we got antennas instead – saving another $20 a month, and the antennas and converters we got for free from my sister. We have an appleTV as a gift, and since we got it, I found we were never watching TV anyway, so we’re done! Good bye cable company (except we still get internet through them, so I guess it’s not all goodbye).

  • Rove May 25, 2011, 11:55 am

    I haven’t had a tv for about 7 years or so I am in the first category
    ” 1) You already do NOT have TV and you just read through with a big toothy smile on your face, clapping your hands and shouting out, “Yeah Mr. Money Mustache! You tell ‘em! Tell it like it is! Hallelujah! Enn-Ohh to tha Tee-Vee Babeh!!!!!”

    Full disclosure: there are 3 televisions in my condo right now but I don’t turn them on. The landlord kept the cable connection & is paying for it even though I asked her to disconnect & said she should take the TV’s (they are new).
    I don’t consider tv for entertainment. It makes me anxious!

  • Sarah May 25, 2011, 3:26 pm

    My mom had to live with us for a time. We don’t “do” TV, and I told her the $$ for the TV is nuts! She argued it wasn’t that much $$. Guess what, when she moved out my electric bill went down by 30%. She was only staying in one room! Also, when we moved into our new house, the internet was off for 20 days. No computer. The next month (after internet being on for 30 days) my electric bill was $30 more (and it was warmer out side). Now, I shut the computer off and don’t believe the computer company who swear it’s a low amount of money to leave it on all the time. Ha!

    • MMM May 25, 2011, 10:23 pm

      Very interesting stories, Mrs. Sarah.

      Just for reference, the maximum amount a giant television could possibly use (300 watts at 12 hours of use per day), is 90 kWh, which is about $10.80 at average electric rate of 12 cents/kWh. I suppose that is about a third of my household electric use, so I believe you!

      I don’t believe your computer could burn $30 of electricity in a month, however, since in that case it would have to be using 900 watts, 12 hours a day – impossible unless it has a small blowdryer built in. Even the most monstrous alienware multi-graphics-card computers don’t use that much. The computer I’m typing this on right now, including the 20″ LCD monitor, uses about 60 watts at its peak (3.5 watts in standby mode).

      But when it’s warmer inside your house (as it is in summer) your fridge does use much more energy to keep cool.

      • Sarah May 26, 2011, 12:01 pm

        Here is how I calculated my computer cost. The below figures are at the computer running full tilt and not going into stand by (I have 4 kids, the computer gets touched a lot).

        Power used at maximum (Pmax) = 375va

        So now calculate the total power used in 24 hours,

        P(max) * 24hrs = 375 * 24 = 9000va or 9000W (9Kva or 9Kw)

        If you pay, for example, 10 cents for each unit of electricity, then your cost of running
        the machine is :

        9 * 10 = 90c per day

        If you wish to know the monthly cost, then calculate as follows:

        90 * 7 * 4.3 = 2709c or $27.09 per Calendar month.

        The 4.3 in the above equation is the multiplier required to calculate any figure on a
        calendar month basis.

        I calculated how much the computer uses by this calculation:
        Your computer has a 300W (300Va) PSU and runs at 120V, therefore it will draw
        some 2.5A from the supply

        300 / 120 = 2.5 where

        300 is the maximum power of the PSU
        120 is your supply Voltage.

        On for the sake of argument. If my computer only ran 80% of the time, using the same calculations it would cost only $12.70, which the refriderator probably does make up the difference, or the oven because my baking increased this last month. It also sounds like I need a newer model of a computer. :). Ha, like I would spend the $$.

        • MMM May 26, 2011, 4:29 pm

          Nice Calculations, Sarah! But remember you’re talking to a retired Electrical and Computer Engineer here. Did you actually MEASURE the total power drawn by your computer over a 24-hour period using a kill-a-watt energy meter, or just read the back of the power supply?

          The ratings on the back of a power supply do reflect the maximum possible draw that computer could make, but it is almost impossible to get the computer to use that much power, because there is plenty of unused power supply capacity in reserve most of the time. Much like a car engine – my car can burn 10 gallons of gas per hour at maximum engine output, but when driving 60MPH, I measure its usage at 1.5 gallons per hour (which works out to 40MPG).

          To suck the full 300W on a typical Dell or HP home computer, you would have to take it apart, and add a few very high-end video cards running in tandem. Then load a modern video game, and play it continuously at maximum screen resolution in such a way that the video cards and CPU were all running instructions continuously on each of their many cores.

          My oldschool under-the-desk computer has a 500 watt power supply, but I recently measured its usage and the main box used 45 watts during normal typing, and 110 during video gaming. The monitor uses about 25 when on.

          The other difference in our results comes from my assumption that you were only turning it on 12 hours a day instead of 24 hours. Yeah, it is definitely a good idea to turn every computer off at night (or at least on standby).. no matter how modern it is.

          • Sarah May 26, 2011, 5:31 pm

            Alright, you got me. I was so proud of my calculations. :). No, I didn’t measure, I read the back of the CPU. Drats, I do have the ability to measure it out, but am a bit lazy. :)

      • Bakari Kafele June 2, 2011, 9:06 pm

        12 hours a day, eh?
        I know a few households that leave their TVs on 24/7

  • Heidi May 26, 2011, 12:44 pm

    My husband I haven’t owned a TV since moving out of our respective parents’ houses half a lifetime ago. We simply cannot handle someone redirecting our attention every 5 minutes (unless its our kids). We do use Netflix during the winter months.

    I appreciate you loudly celebrating the joys you’ve achieved through your choices. I’m sick of talk that makes people feel not so bad about the bad consequences of their choices. Buy cable= waste money. Eat sugar=get cavities.

  • Kevin M May 27, 2011, 2:59 pm

    We’re in to year 2 of no satellite/cable TV. It has been terrific losing that $75/month expense. We realized most of the shows we like to watch were on network TV anyway, so we were paying all that money each month for a couple hours of entertainment – not a very good value. We still watch too much TV in my opinion, but at least we’re not paying for it!

  • Bakari Kafele June 2, 2011, 9:04 pm

    I’ve been thinking about maybe having weekly no TV days.
    Now that my new mentor is suggesting it, its even more tempting.

    I have never paid for cable, I bought a digital converter box ($10, the government chipped in the rest) and have a roof antenna (came with the RV)

    My “tivo” (actually a replay TV) needs no subscription, and I got it for free (no, actually, I got paid to take it, one of the perks of being a hauler)

    However, no matter how free it is in money, the time sink factor remains. And what really is the point of finding ways to increase leisure time if I just waste it on watching TV?

    • MMM June 2, 2011, 9:08 pm

      Yeah, you should definitely cut the cord altogether. TV programming, and especially those noisy shitty ads they are always playing, is TOXIC to a good mind. If you’re smart enough to hypermile a biodiesel work truck, you are TOO SMART to be wasting your mind on TV!

      • CSR February 13, 2013, 7:00 pm

        Mr. Mustache…

        You, sir, are far more entertaining than TV :)

        My wife and I got rid of our cable subscription a bit over a year ago (Before we got married, I went years without TV at all. I don’t particularly care to be “programmed”), when we realized that if we wanted a bigger house, we’d have to cut some outgo somewhere. TV was the easiest place to do it.

        Since then, my wife has made hundreds of dollars selling her old clothes on facebook in the miraculous amounts of spare time.

        I’ve recorded an album, and have made my computer pay for itself multiple times over by lending my skills to the local community college.

        Amazing how much more productive you find yourself when there’s no little time-sucker-machine going in your living room.

        Also, our kids actually PLAY OUTSIDE. What a concept.

  • jessica w July 18, 2011, 2:25 pm

    MMM, I LOVE your blog, I have just found it and can’t stop reading post after post. I love how your blog has the next recommended article it is a great feature.

    But back to your question. I am 23 and married, and I grew up most of my life without TV. I was born in Germany and were shockingly were encouraged to play at make believe, playing outside, and lots of reading. I had lots of siblings to keep me occupied as well. Now we weren’t completely sheltered; for special times we were allowed to watch all the Disney movies, and some others.Once we moved to the USA, my parents got a TV,but we were still I think allowed one show a day, but that was it. Once I got married, my hubs and I were too cheap to pay for cable among other things. My nieces also don’t watch TV, and it is amazing to see how much more advanced they are than their friends who do watch TV. Now my husband and I do love movies, but like you said hulu, youtube, the library, and friends are great ways to see movies. The only downside to not having seen much TV is I am horrible at
    any pop culture trivia games, but I can handle sticking with dice and card games. Thanks for posting such great stuff!!

  • Dancedancekj September 11, 2011, 12:50 pm

    Honestly, for the people that still watch TV (myself included) I can’t see why you would even have a TV set or a Cable subscription (just watch it on your computer). As you’ve said, most anything worth watching is on Hulu – for FREE. I personally love taking my laptop and doing other things (organizing my kitchen, sweeping the floors, doing dishes) with the Hulu going in the same room.

  • thebigchuckbowski October 12, 2011, 10:02 pm

    Just found your blog on Lifehacker and I’ve been reading it all night and enjoying it greatly and then I got to this article.

    Look, I get the arguments against TV especially if you’re not a sports fan, don’t care about major events, and really aren’t that interested in TV in general. If that’s the case, yeah, it’s a huge waste of money.

    However, as an AVID sports fan, I can’t miss a game. Season tickets, gas, food to go to all the games would cost me approximately a billion times what cable costs me. Not to mention the 4 hour roundtrip which adds up to a lot of TV I can watch. Going to bars to watch the games and having to pay for a meal and a couple beers would cost approximately a thousand times what cable costs me. Now, maybe you can say to stop caring about sports. Perhaps that’s a valid argument but we’re all aloud our ONE vice, right?

    So, just in sports alone, cable is the cheapest option.

    Then, when you consider the amazing shows that are on TV, cable really does make sense. For every Dancing with the Stars and Desperate Housewives, there’s a Mad Men and a Game of Thrones. To me, great TV shows are far superior to any movie imaginable because they actually have this thing called character development which isn’t possible in 2 hours. In a lot of ways, TV is very similar to novels. I never understand the readers that hate on TV. What do you do when you read a book? Lay on the couch and stare at a piece of paper. Is that really so different from laying on the couch and watching moving pictures? Now, yes, some shows you can get online for free and some shows you can wait until it’s on Netflix. I get that and I’ve done those calculations before. But, the value I get from being able to talk about those shows with friends and coworkers and getting more in depth by reading blogs outweighs the money cost to me.

    And, the DVR thing, which you glossed over is a huge deal. I have a rule that I never watch TV that isn’t recorded (except for sporting events and election nights) and it saves a significant amount of time on commericals and also greatly reduces the number of trash shows that I may have mindlessly watched if I just had the TV on all night.

    I still have time to read (on the 3rd book of the Game of Thrones series which I would have never gotten into without my lovely television, thank you very much), still have time to read your blog, exercise, etc.

    But, I don’t commute, so that helps.

    Now, video games? That’s a never ending money (and time) pit.

    • MMM October 13, 2011, 11:42 pm

      Heheh… that is a very nice love story to Television that you’ve written there. I’m surely not going to convince someone like you, but here is the alternate take on the lifestyle I am suggesting in this blog:

      You don’t have TIME to watch TV. There is too much out there to learn and accomplish! Fuck watching other people play sports – learn the sports yourself! You’re right that TV is similar to novels (except most novels are written for smarter people than most TV shows, so at least you improve your own reading/writing skills by reading novels). But even better than novels are real Non-fiction books that teach you things! That’s what I read each night. I have no time for fluffy stories and character development – I need to develop my OWN character! Learn to cook, work on starting your own business, renovate your house. All of these are things that you’ll find yourself doing if you don’t give yourself the option of passive entertainment.

      Yes, some of the shows are absolutely awesome, just like chocolate cheesecake is super duper delicious. Which just makes it even more important not to leave these things around to tempt yourself with them. Make your life more challenging and less cushy – and prosper!

      • thebigchuckbowski October 27, 2011, 3:09 pm

        Don’t know why this comment was never emailed to me so I haven’t responded, so here’s my response a couple weeks later.

        With that argument, any passive activity where you aren’t actively learning something is a big waste of time. Reading fiction? Nope. Enjoying a nice fall evening on the deck? Nope. Even just playing with the kids is a waste of time with that rationale.

        Also, there are some pretty good nonfiction shows out there as well. I’m probably going to finish part 3 of Ken Burns’ “Prohibition” tonight.

        You’re arguing from the point of view that a television is an unavoidable sinkhole of shitty reality shows. It really isn’t. Just like my shelf of liquor that has basically remained unchanged for years, I can avoid giving into temptation because I have self control just like any adult should. Like I said, I only watch shows that are recorded and since I only record shows that I think are really really good then I’m not watching that crap. And, I am NEVER tempted to turn it on if there’s nothing in my recorded list. I find something else to do.

        Do I sometimes consider that watching sports is a waste of time? Sure. But, it’s just too much damn fun.

        • Tamara May 19, 2012, 8:23 am

          thebigchuckbowski, You may never see this, since I’m replying so late, but someone else may, so I’ll bother and do so anyway, Reading is not a passive activity, even if the novel is fiction of the most lightweight kind. The brain is firing away as you go. The same is also true about listening to the radio. TV viewing, on the other hand, is a completely passive activity that leaves most people feeling more worse off than when they started. There are reams of scientific studies that support this . . . do a search and you’ll be overwhelmed with information.

          I don’t think most of us need scientific data on this topic however. Most of us already know simply by the difference in how we feel when we watch TV for an hour vs. doing, literally, anything else.

          • thebigchuckbowski May 19, 2012, 10:49 am

            I’m still getting the emails so I saw this.

            I’m sorry, I don’t care what study you want to link to but there is NO WAY that somebody’s brain is learning more when they’re reading the Twilight series vs watching Mad Men.

            The interesting thing about TV is that, yes, maybe while you’re watching it, not much is happening upstairs (or at least not as much as reading). But, if it’s really good show, you’ll be thinking about what you saw and what could happen for the next 7 days. Whereas, with a book, you just keep reading, you’re probably thinking about it when you put it down, but if it’s a good book you’re not going to put it down for more than a day. I can have some of my best revelations about a TV show on the 5th or 6th day after watching an episode. When, I’m reading a book, I’m 20 chapters down the line by that point.

    • Lily December 26, 2014, 11:24 am

      A friend of mine realized that cable tv year round was actually more expensive than going to a sports bar regularly during football season. Doesn’t work for everyone of course- it helps that he has no childcare expenses, only cares about one sport, and roots for the local team. It’s still on the expensive side for a hobby, but now he’s getting beer AND nachos AND company in addition to football, for a bit less than he was spending on cable. And he’s not watching as much tv the rest of the year.

  • Katie October 16, 2011, 6:59 pm

    When I lived with my parents I wasted so much time watching tv. They still have the thing on all waking hours. When I moved out I vowed I’d never get a tv and to this day I never have. I knew if I had a tv I would watch it too much…it’s a good way to zone out after a long workday. Unfortunately the Internet fills that void pretty nicely, but I like to think it’s slightly less crappy because a lot of the time I’m learning stuff and reading interesting blogs. Hubby is addicted to movies and anime but watches it all online. We have two shows that we watch together (on at different times of year) so once a week we curl up together on the futon with a laptop. We have Netflix but don’t use it much. I hesitate to cancel it because it’s nice to have that big library of movies available when the urge to watch strikes (as it does about once a month).

  • Jane October 18, 2011, 12:10 pm

    We cancelled our cable at least a year ago. My husband was an avid ESPN watcher and I loved my DVR and we really thought we were going to go through withdrawal. Great news! We don’t miss it one bit!

    Full disclosure: we still are totally addicted to TV and waste way too much time in front of the set. But we watch a ton on Hulu (free until last month, when we upgraded to Hulu plus for $7.99/month, a far cry from the $100+ we were spending on cable every month). We also go through series from the library/Netflix like they are water.

    Most big football games are on the basic antenna channels, and husband also finds many many games live streaming online. For the occasional one he can’t find, it’s a good excuse to watch the game with a friend or for the cost of 1 beer at the bar around the corner (no gas req’d).

    Bottom line, we still need to work on better using our time but we’d never go back to paying for cable after living without that bill!

    • Jane October 18, 2011, 12:13 pm

      Forgot to mention we bought a $20 HDMI cord which allows us to use our TV screen like a second computer screen. So we can watch all kinds of free/cheap shows accessed online up on the big screen.
      Of course you could argue we paid money to waste our time, but when you weigh it against a cable bill and factor in the pleasure it does bring we feel it’s super worth it.

  • Dan October 27, 2011, 1:46 pm

    We have basic cable (which is required for cable internet by our internet company), with only the first 20 channels available, for $48.38/month. It was originally $43.xx 3.5 years ago and has crept up with stupid fees.

    In order to get that deal I had to negotiate, and they offered me this plan that is not advertised and, I suppose for people like me who complain about $99.00/month bundles.

    Of course, I would do away with the basic cable aspect if I could get internet connection at home any cheaper.

    What do you do for internet connection, Triple M?

    • MMM October 27, 2011, 2:53 pm

      I guess I’d compare the price to DSL and any wireless data services available in the area, and get the cheapest one that met my speed requirements. Either way, I wouldn’t hook up a TV even if the service was available, just because it’s worth less than zero and thus I’d be punishing myself by turning it on :-)

      • Jane November 2, 2011, 10:38 am

        If you’re in an apartment/condo/townhouse – consider sharing WiFi with your neighbor. We split the monthly $36 bill evenly with our downstairs neighbor – we both get great internet at half the price!

      • Kris May 2, 2013, 5:16 pm

        Just found MMM a few days ago. I’m learning a lot! We have cable in order to get Internet. I wish there was a way around that in our area.

  • Travis November 4, 2011, 9:30 am

    I did the cable cutoff a couple of months ago and it is fantastic! In Canada the cable/internet costs quite a bit more than in the States. I was able to drop my monthly bill by $100! I’ve got Netflix and I hacked my AppleTV with XBMC so I get all sorts of fun and free or nearly free streaming! Very glad that I did it. I can feel an itch on my upper lip… I think it’s my money mustache growing!

  • Mike Key January 4, 2012, 12:13 pm

    I’ve been cable free since 2005. I’ve only ever had internet service, although I have top tier service there because I’m a web developer, so cost justified. We only own one TV and only stream movies on netflix. Don’t even own a DVD player.

    I’m also trying to convince people to cut the cable!

  • Jessica January 9, 2012, 3:07 pm

    I would love to cancel our cable and spend that four hours per day doing something more productive or relaxing.By the way, I’m not spending four hours a day, but my husband probably logs that much time. He loves The Daily Show and Fox Soccer.
    Cutting the cable would save $10,440 over ten years, and may even increase our earning potential by redirecting time spent in front of the tube. Any ideas for persuading a TV addict to kick the habit?

  • Oelsen January 9, 2012, 8:24 pm

    Here in Switzerland our national state TV will be mandatory for middle to high earning house-holds. Thus wasting perfectly good 3.500 Swiss Francs over ten years!

    What a waste. (I download the state radio podcasts. But they are worth the 1.600 for ten years. It’s just the mind numbing TV that makes me vomit.)

  • October MacBain January 19, 2012, 3:00 pm

    Yay! I’m in Group #1! When we cut the cable cord some months ago, we cut our home entertainment bill in half. We still have devices that use the TV (Roku, Netflix, XBox), but now there are some nights the television doesn’t get turned on at all. We spend the extra time saved cooking some amazing meals, which has saved us even more money.

    This savings, coupled with minimalizing and selling some of the other excesses, has given us the planned ability to pay off one high-interest credit card (done), two student loans, and a mini-van by April 2013. The only debt will will have after that (barring catastrophe) is our mortgage.

    For Mac users with the desire to eliminate their debt the best way possible, I recommend DebtQuencher by NoThirst software (http://nothirst.com/debtquencher/). It has helped us tremendously!

  • CG January 24, 2012, 10:13 am

    I had the privilege of going tv free for about 5 years during my childhood. My mom did it as a disciplinary measure and it worked. We(5 kids) fought a lot less and obeyed more when we weren’t exposed daily to the zombie machine.
    I’m super proud to say that our family has never subscribed to cable tv. My sports loving husband tried to make me feel guilty for years about not getting it into the budget. Our only options in 2000 were digital or Dish. I’m remembering that the cheaper option was somewhere around $65 a month plus installation. Entertainment is the very last item that should be worked into a budget and there was no way we could get ahead in the long run by paying so much on something optional. I also feared that I’d leave it on constantly and never get anything done. I like “educational” background noise, especially documentaries. But I remembered those zombie moments as a kid and I knew I had to set limits that would protect my mental health. Too much of what I like is more than I can process and enjoy..
    We do have a tv though and it’s on a lot more than I’d like. This month is the last month we’ll have streaming Netflix so that should help. That $8 a month comes out of my own personal spending money. The kids have dvd’s we got them for their birthdays. We use the tv for homeschooling. And we have video games although we have less and less time to actually play them. My kids have to earn the privilege of using the tv by doing chores. We use a PlayLimit gadget for this.
    I also have to disagree with people that say “Anything you want to watch is online for free”. Not so. I like to watch classic old movies and tv shows. 75% of those, in their entirety, are not available online, not even on Netflix. The library is a decent source for these though.
    My kids are so funny when they see “real” tv. Recently, my 9 year old saw a commercial for a train set at the dentist’s office. He kept talking about it as if it was part of the show, like a story in how the kids were playing with the set. He totally didn’t connect that you could go to a store and buy that set. Success!

    • Kristen June 10, 2013, 7:06 pm

      A few of our “over the air” channels play classic TV shows, and we’re about to get a new over the air movie channel of some type. I am really trying to convince my husband to cut the cable, but he is addicted to baseball (stupid MLB blackout rules). I would be happy with just PBS for my daughter and I.

  • Bob January 29, 2012, 11:09 pm

    I had to laugh when I checked the date of this post because that was the same week I cancelled my cable. Go figure; I participated in the challenge before I knew it existed. I’m loving not having cable. I have more time to get things done and the shows I do watch online take less time because there aren’t any (or as many) commercials. There was only one show that I really liked that I would have to pay for, but I keep talking myself out of it. I have a co-worker who buys the series on blu-ray as soon as it comes out. I have no way to play blu-ray, but I’m invited over anytime for a monster marathon.

  • msclydefrog February 24, 2012, 10:50 pm

    I don’t have cable or even an HDTV (I have a moderately overweight SDTV that I got for free from my boyfriend). Honestly, when the gals at work are prattling on about the Boogey Men’s Housewives or whatnot, I’m thinking “Gee, while they were watching this, I was teaching a music lesson at a pre-tax rate of about $40/hour… and I was enjoying it!”

    I do admit that sometimes I waste hours tooling around on the internet… but then I kinda make up for it when I stumble upon a place like this!

  • Brandon February 25, 2012, 10:09 am

    Irony: One of the ads on your site for this posting is for the Verizon FiOS Triple Play Package. :)

    I’m new to your site, and working my way through all of your postings. Very inspirational stuff. Thank you!

  • CNM March 21, 2012, 3:01 pm

    I stumbled across this article and my husband and I have been living almost cable-TV free for many years. It just so happens that it is less expensive for us to bundle our internet and cable TV than if we were to have internet alone. So, we have cable and that provides us the networks (CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC, PBS) and that’s all.

    I found that when we had a larger cable package, it was never a satisfying experience. It was a paradox of choice- we always felt that there had to be “something better on” because we had 60 channels.

    Now, here’s my question- what about Netflix? Is Netflix a cash-leaking umbilical cord, too? On the one hand, there is no obvious advertising and no commercial breaks and you actively choose what to watch instead of passively staring at whatever’s on. On the other hand, it’s still just watching TV which is frequently a time waster regardless of what is on. We have Netflix, but I wonder if the same arguments ought to apply and we’d be better off cancelling it.

    • Mr. Money Mustache March 21, 2012, 6:49 pm

      I still like Netflix, just because it provides an infinite amount of entertainment (movies) for 8 bucks a month. There’s no need for cable AND netflix – Netflix (or one of its many competitors) already provides way more than you have to watch!

      Of course, we only end up getting time to watch about 3 movies each month, so we could easily live without Netflix either.. but for now it’s on the list of “things to cut if we ever run short on money”. For people in debt, I’d say lose the netflix and just read more free library books :-)

      • Cas February 3, 2013, 2:00 pm

        Also, for people in debt, one can sign out dvds. Our local library allows you to take them out free of charge for 1 week. And, because there are no holds ever on them, you can renew them for another week if you found something much more interactive as a way to spend your time. We typically sign out 2 movies a week (yes, some documentaries), to watch on our giant screen the husband purchased this Christmas. Sigh, not my choice. I’m also still trying to cut our satellite subscription… but, there’s hockey, and one of the daughters has her shows she “can’t miss”… Small steps. In other ways, we are doing well.

        • 2HeadedBoy2 December 11, 2014, 5:33 pm

          I’m a little late to reply (I just restarted this blog from the beginning so I could read all the comments as well as the posts), so you may have since figured out an alternative. However, if you haven’t, your husband might want to check out Hockeystreams.com. It has every hockey game available for live and on-demand steaming with no local blackout restrictions. I use Ballstreams, the basketball equivalent, and it’s great. It’s $100 for a year’s subscription (I think the hockey one is $110), which is still pricey. But if that’s what’s standing in your way from cutting out cable completely, it may be worth checking out, as it’s still less than $10 a month over the course of a full year.

      • Nadine May September 20, 2013, 11:48 am

        I have been with out cable for about 11 years now since, my husband and i started living together despite the fact that he is a media professor, he teaches students how to make movies and t.v., we are able to watch shows that his former students work on with hulu or netflicks occasionally. We did get a roku box for about $50 5 years ago though which allows us to watch netflix on the TV and there are plenty of free channels, PUB-Da hub has all the public domain classic, and Tune in which helps us to listen to NPR over the internet since our radios don’t pick up that signal. i have the tv and the roku box on a power strip which i turn off when leaving the house so there isn’t leaking energy when we aren’t home. i am new to the site but really love all the practical advise, i was raised by hard core hippies so alot of it is old hat but nice to know there are similiarly minded folks out there

  • sdp April 11, 2012, 7:14 pm

    I too am in cat #1. I have never paid for tv. Growing up we had 5 channels and except for the first 24 hours of every school day and except for any daylight hours of every weekend, oh and except for after dinner seven days a week if i still had homework, except for those restrictions, I was allowed to watch as much as I wanted. I didn’t.
    I can tell within five minutes of entering any sports bar who the folks are who grew up without tv in the house, we are the ones that CANNOT no matter how hard we try, pay attention to anything other than the 15 tvs on in every corner. good luck trying to get me to ignore it if its on, I never had the chance to learn that skill.

    • Mr. Money Mustache April 11, 2012, 9:41 pm

      Man, I am definitely with you on that TV ignoring problem. When I stay in hotels with breakfast buffets, I’m always shocked that they have some shitty news program blaring from a big flatscreen on the wall. WHO THE FUCK NEEDS TO WATCH THE NEWS, AND A BUNCH OF PICKUP TRUCK ADS, WHEN THEY’RE TRYING TO EAT BREAKFAST!?!?

      Shit man.. some mandatory jazz trio playing at a low volume in the background at breakfast time, and a few copies of The Economist left strategically lying around, would completely fix most of this country’s problems, just by replacing the mental poison force-feeding that these people are enduring along with their powdered jelly donuts and white bread toast.

  • AnxiousDad April 13, 2012, 2:45 pm

    Been satellite/cable free for a year now. My biggest loss was Fox soccer, but you needed to have a big package to get it included with Dish network. I now get my soccer fix over the internet using foxsoccer2go.com and the Daily show/Colbert report (required viewing for our household) are free from comedy central. That and free antenna channels does us nicely. I would love to save the money and abandon the soccer, but you can only go so far…

  • Coach Adam May 11, 2012, 1:10 pm

    This is so awesome. I was baptized in the waters of MMM just yesterday, and as of 10:00 a.m. tomorrow when I turn in my HD cable box, I will no longer be a cable television subscriber! That will save me a good $70 per month! That will now go toward my wife’s student loans.

    I do enjoy watching some TV shows occasionally (like one or two shows a week). I’m considering getting Hulu Plus for $8/month to get my fix. So I guess that’s a net savings of $62/month. Not bad!

  • Tamara May 19, 2012, 8:42 am

    Solely due to the persuasive powers of MMM, we gave up cable last month, plus our land phone, and are now ahead about $1,200 a year. I negotiated hard for our last remaining service – internet, and got the new customer internet promo rate of $29.99 a month + nuisance fees. We bought a couple of Roku’s, and use the cord to hookup our laptops to our TV should we wish to watch something on the big screen – just enough of a hassle to turn it into a once a week exception rather than a nightly thing.

    Instead of watching nightly TV we are taking our dog for a nightly social walk now, which both she and we are enjoying. There is a whole contingency of neighbors with dogs that like to meet each evening on the greenbelt running through our neighborhood, that we never would have met otherwise. I’ve also picked up needlepoint again after years and years away. I’d forgotten how stimulating and fun it is to craft something by hand. We’re organizing closets and decluttering, finding games and puzzles in the process we’d forgotten about, bringing them out to play with each other instead of watching TV in the evenings. We also are spending more time reading and more time talking. I’m making uber fabulous dinners, which my husband happily cleans up for me afterward. So yes, no question, life is infinitely richer without the boob tube robbing both our brains and our time.

  • Zachary Ward July 12, 2012, 2:57 pm

    There is a subreddit for this: http://www.reddit.com/r/cordcutters

    You’re welcome.

  • Dan July 19, 2012, 10:05 pm

    I cut the cable and gave up TV entirely 12 years ago. Now, I get all my information from the internet. At the time, the money savings were very much secondary to the huge time savings – I wanted my life back. Well, I did save enormous amounts of hours on TV watching every week, but looking at it honestly, I have found that ever since giving up TV, I spend *at least* that many hours on web surfing. Sure, it’s mostly high quality information I’m absorbing (I’ve probably spent at least six hours on your blog since I discovered it last night, and will probably spend many more over the next few days. I don’t game at all, I do facebook quite a bit also, but this helps meet social needs without the expense of going out as much as I’d like to. But, really, all this fascinating-but-aimless web reading takes a lot out of productivity for other things.

    I can’t even conceive of giving up internet service, though. I’ve been without service at home for as long as a month for various reasons, and it’s torture – it drives me out of the house to use coffee shop internet. Not to mention, my best work-at-home income prospects are all internet based. Any tips for getting control of internet usage, without cutting the net connection?

    • Teresa Benson August 23, 2014, 11:23 am

      I always unplug my computer when I start surfing, and usually move to another area well away from the power cord. Then when I get the warning about Low Battery, it’s more than just having a timer go off– I’d actually have to get up and go to a different part of the house if I want to keep surfing without the computer automatically hibernating. The getting up and changing locations (and acknowledging the existence of other family members) is usually enough to break the spell and get me to turn it off.

  • JC August 19, 2012, 7:17 am

    What about shows that are great to watch, like Jeopardy!?

  • Alex September 12, 2012, 8:42 am

    Ok, we are guilty of this. I approached the better half over the week-end about cutting off cable. (We currently have a TV-phone-internet cable bundle). It will require a lot of work on that front…

    What about an A/V entertainment center at home? Someday when I replace my work computer with a better performing one (before I throw it against a wall for being too slow on photo processing), I was thinking of using it as an HTPC connected to the net for streaming and free content, on demand, instead of cable. Is that still too TV dependent? It seems I would feel equally guilty of still have the equipment, but not using it… misplaced, I guess?

    What do you use to watch the documentaries or other A/V? Do you still watch occasional DVDs with the family? Kids movies?

  • Kim September 25, 2012, 1:56 pm

    Just wanted to let you know we’re cutting our umbilical cord today after 10 years of trying to convince my husband we don’t need it. I’ve never wanted television (after living without it during university and being a natural born cheapskate) but my husband is a sports and tv fan. The ability to stream shows and the impending hockey lockout finally pushed him to see the light. My next big step is to sell the second car and commit to bike/bus commuting…

  • Wendy October 3, 2012, 2:38 pm

    MMM – We get our internet through the cable TV provider – no other choice where we live. This kills me. We do not watch TV. We maintain a Netflix subscription because we like to use that the “rent” a movie for a cheap date night in. I have tried to cancel just the cable part of our service and the cable company then tells me that due to our services being bundled, our bill will actually go up if we cancel the cable and keep the internet. How this adds up I will never understand. Meanwhile we’re stuck paying approx $57 every month for TV we don’t watch and internet we use a lot. Anyone else experience this dilemma?? Find any ways around it??

    • Mr. Money Mustache October 3, 2012, 2:41 pm

      That’s a pretty common dilemma. If you have already shopped around for internet access from other providers (DSL, wifi, and 4G and Wimax operators compete with the cable company in my area), and think you have the best deal, then congratulations, your work is done!

      I’d just suggest avoiding the temptation to plug a TV into the service – netflix or other movie services already have plenty of higher-grade stuff.

    • Cameron October 25, 2012, 4:24 pm

      Ask them to give the numbers. I’ve had friends who work for service providers, and what they mean when they say, “if you cancel you cable your internet will go up” isn’t that you will pay more per month net. What they mean is you are getting a discount on your internet and that will be more per month. They are just not saying that you will save the cost of cable. Lets say that internet and cable separately are $35 each, but if you bundle then they give you %20 off. So you pay about 28 bucks each. Now if you cancel one, the other will $35, so sure you’re paying more for internet then you are now. But you’re also saving about $20/month on cable that that you aren’t paying for. Anyways I’d ask how much a month your internet would be with out cable, and compare that to the total of what your paying now

    • Dona August 27, 2013, 11:10 am

      I just called our internet co. (the only provider in town), and said that I was not a heavy internet user (did not game or download), and the amount that I was paying ($57 a mo.) was just too high for me. I told them that I really did not want to cancel my service, but may have to, and asked if there was anything they could do to lower my bill. They reduced my bill by $20 per mo. on a “one year special price” basis. They said after a year, it would go up again , but still would not be as high as it had been. Doesn’t hurt to make the phone call.

  • rubin pham October 5, 2012, 2:12 pm

    i use an indoor antenna and get uncompressed hi def tv.
    most of the times i watch pbs which is not so bad.
    the last time i watched network news, i saw diane sawyer and david muir blamed the chinese for american economic problems.
    i stoped watching commercial tv after that.

  • Doug October 8, 2012, 3:12 pm

    You can rent a lot of videos (or better yet, borrow them for free at the library) for the cost of cable TV. I never have paid for cable TV and probably never will. If I had cable TV, I would just waste more time watching junk shows.

  • Cameron October 25, 2012, 4:16 pm

    When me and my then girlfriend, now wife, moved in together we could not afford a TV, let a lone cable. I worked minimum wage, and she part time. Before that I would watch for hours a day. After a few months we found we didn’t miss it all. 7 years later we have a TV (I use it as a monitor for my computer) but no cable. We still get odd looks when we tell people we don’t own a TV, or have any cable even basic.

  • babar October 26, 2012, 9:27 am

    For those who need a use for that TV after cutting the cord (my wife finally agreed to it last night after I showed her how easy it is to watch her shows online, woot!), check out the mini-itx form factor PC ( http://www.mini-itx.com/default.asp for example) as a tiny home theater. That site has links on the right margin where people built the CD case-sized PCs into every day objects and you can then web browse, listen to music, or pop in a dvd in the drive for a movie. IR remotes can be used, or wireless keyboard/mouse.

    As a IT nerd I’m considering this option, along with a digital TV over air antenna, unless we give the big TV away and gain half of our living room back!

  • Queen Zan October 31, 2012, 1:21 pm

    We are renters and not only do we not have cable, we pay our next door neighbors half of their internet bill so that we can log on wirelessly. We have done this with 3 neighbors VERY successfully. We watch what we want to watch on netflix streaming, etc. and don’t miss tv at all.

  • Carrie November 1, 2012, 9:04 pm

    We just cancelled our tv/internet/phone bundle last week. For many years we had no cable at our house and were grateful to get back 4 hours of our day. Then in a moment of football weakness, we did get a bundle from Verizon installed at our house. Almost immediately after having it installed (and football season ended) we regretted it but, at that time it was just easier to have it there when we needed it. Two money-wasting years later, our contract ended and after some negotiating, we’ve gone back to our internet-only ways. Since Verizon is streaming football games live on the internet this year, we’re still getting our fix and for everything else we have an old analog tv with a Roku box and Netflix. Overall savings going to internet only after factoring in the cost of Roku and Netflix: $45/month or $540/year!

  • MarkieMark January 4, 2013, 12:08 pm

    Well, I haven’t totally dumped TV watching, but some time last year I did cut the big cord to the cable giant (Time Warner), in favor of the cheaper DishTV and AT&T DSL service. The savings are more than 50%. If I want to watch a movie, I subscribe to Netflix (as you recommended) for less than 9 bucks and TV shows that I actually like are available through my Roku box (which also give Hulu access as just an example). You’re spot-on about the news. I see only the amount of it that it takes to hit the up-down channel button as I slide right past it (because it is poisonous). It is always better to just read the news than watch it. Cheers to you Mister Moustache. Cheers 8-)

  • Trish January 4, 2013, 7:59 pm

    You’re so right – it’s so easy and makes such a difference!
    Haven’t had a TV for about 20 years. When the kids were small, there was a small one in the basement, which they were welcome to watch. They weren’t too interested, and they still don’t watch.
    What do we do? Romantic dinners on the patio. Watch moonrises and sunsets. Talk. Discuss everything from physics to insects. Write books. Play guitar. Read. Paint. Make funky sculptures. Learn Italian. Ride bikes. Everything.
    (For internet, we use Comcast. When he came in to hook us up, he said, “Where’s the TV?” It was a first for him.)

  • ED January 15, 2013, 11:20 am

    Sold my home TV in 1991 after not using it much for over two years. Never replaced it until I bought a used 24′ Class C motor home that had a TV in it. Never turned it on and gave it away after carrying it around for 6-9 months. Have never been much of a TV watcher!

  • Segmond January 20, 2013, 1:45 pm

    I haven’t had cable in over 10yrs. Free public channels works and I rarely watch it. I have a 50inch TV with great colors and sound that someone was getting rid of because it wasn’t flat panel, and I picked it up for free. I got a roku box that was on sale with free shipping for $40 from amazon and I can watch tons of amazing shows for free if I ever have the time. I probably spend an average of 2hrs a week watching TV to relax since I got my roku. Roku is a great alternative to cable, I have convinced a few friends to get rid of their cable boxes for the one time fee roku.

    • Aristides January 21, 2013, 7:30 am

      I canceled cable TV several years ago, although I still use cable internet service. I have Netflix, but find I’m not watching it very much either. Since I enjoy learning languages, what I mostly do now is burn foreign documentaries from youtube on re-writable DVDs. It gives me my TV fix when I need one, and I’m hoping it keeps my mind stimulated as well!

  • TurnerBrewer February 23, 2013, 8:30 am

    I cut out cable TV over a year ago. The kids are no longer seduced be the latest and greatest toy commercials. We use an over the air antenna, Apple TV and Netflix. The family watches a lot less TV. I am saving over $60+ dollars a month.

  • kelly February 23, 2013, 7:27 pm

    I’ve had my own tv since i was 4 years old(43 now). I’ve always watched tv more or less. I remember the tv before cable..on tv, select tv etc….fast forward to 1999 and dish network. I thought I needed it and i’ve had it since then…the lowest monthly was 50/month and highest was above 100….it was 82/month for basic cable when I cut the cord last month(before reading this post) and i’ve been surviving off of antenna, a tv tuner for my pc and Plex on my mac and I find that not only do I not miss tv sometimes i’d rather read, garden or sleep than surf the internet for shows. I’m very happy I did it and I feel a lot better without it.

    • Mr. Money Mustache February 23, 2013, 10:10 pm

      Wow! You’re like a real-life version of Mike Teavee from Charlie and the Chocolate factory.

      Now you just have to gradually shed that antenna, tv tuner, and Plex (?), and you’ll truly start having some fun.

      That’s right – I’m advocating at least TRYING no TV at all, all you Hulu and Netflix series addicts :-)

      • Dona August 27, 2013, 11:37 am

        You’re on, MR. MM! As soon as I read your post, I cancelled my Netflix! Have not turned on a tv in quite a long time, & Netflix was my only source! Thanks for the excellent blogs. I’ve been reading you for the last month, getting the nerve to sell the gas guzzler (although I must say that I love my old CRV)! Just began reading from the beginning of the blogs, and really psyched about changing my spending ways!

  • Jess February 26, 2013, 6:53 pm

    It makes me SO happy to hear you talking about reading to your son – and more specifically, reading quality books. I really think that reading to your kids is the absolute best thing any parent can do (combined with never letting TV in the house EVER, which is what my parents did)

    My opinion on the matter comes from the kid side though – I’m 26 now but I remember my dad reading to me every single day when I was young. Not to sound stuck up, but I think when it comes to the benefits to your child “the proof is in the pudding”. Personally, I could read Beatrice Potter stories independently by age 4-5 (I even remember the first sentence I ever read myself – “And the mouse danced a jig on the cupboard.”) Because I was taught very early to love books, I actually found TV, movies, electronic games and later computer games to be incredibly boring. My mother couldn’t even send me to my room as a punishment, because that was where all the books were!

    The quality of the books is also important – I have almost as poor an opinion of “Dora the Explorer” and “based-on-tv” books as I do of the original shows. My dad read me Tolkien, Twain, Austen, Dickens, Saki, Bronte…even Poe! Because of that, I also developed a miles-beyond-average vocabulary and grasp of intuitive spelling and grammar (again, this is for honest review of reading to kids, not bragging!)

    Books also create an inquiring and empathetic mind. They take a child into the life of someone else..and with each new life the child experiences he or she learns more and more that other people are interesting, that other people have feelings and desires and plans and so on. Personally I think the best way to make sure you never raise an insensitive or bullying child is to make sure that they have already walked a mile in the shoes of thousands, thanks to books.

    Finally, I was a completely problem-free child. Never went through a rebellious stage, never stopped adoring my parents, never felt interested in “teenage risk behaviours”, never felt susceptible to peer pressure. The entertainment of typical teenage angst just couldn’t compete with the world of books.

    All this to say – good on you, MMM! You are giving your son the greatest possible gift =)

    (Hope this didn’t post a million times – I love your website, but my computer hates it!)

  • Recent MMM Addict March 7, 2013, 11:20 am

    Hi MMM!

    I recently discovered your blog via a friend on Facebook. I have never actually read an entire blog all the way through, but I’ve started at the beginning of yours and am loving it!

    This post struck me specifically and I wanted to share my TV story. As a kid (I’m 27 now), I’m sure my parents allowed me to watch some movies every now and then, but I don’t really remember watching any TV shows until about middle school. I specifically remember watching shows like ER, NYPD Blue, and the X-Files regularly, and maybe an occasional Simpsons episode. I started to get very tired of watching TV, however, whenever I watched with my Dad because he had a habit of changing the channel whenever a commercial came on. Then, he wouldn’t flip back to the original show. When a commercial came on the new channel, he would change to something else entirely, and you’d never get resolution on any of the shows you’ve just flipped through!

    Cut to high school, during which I watched almost no TV at all simply because I couldn’t stand the channel flipping. The TV became such an annoyance to me that I would – gasp – go outside, go for a walk with my Mom, hang out in my room, go to a friend’s house, or any number of other alternatives.

    During college, I did not even have a TV in my dorm room, but I lived with a roommate who watched endless hours of TV. It drove me absolutely crazy, having that constant noise, so I spent a lot of time out of our room.

    When I finally moved into a place of my own, I didn’t even own a TV. When friends or family would come over, every single person would comment on the lack of television, like that’s what they expected to do when they came over. Finally I started dating a guy who really thought I should get a TV so we could watch movies together. So, I got a TV for the sole purpose of watching movies (BIG mistake MMM!). I didn’t hook up TV or cable to it though.

    Then, I met my husband, and he also didn’t have access to TV or cable! He had a TV for movie-watching as well, but he had no real desire for cable or even basic TV. So, we’ve been happily married for over a year, and though we do actually have a TV in our apartment, it’s only used for movie-watching, and it’s only plugged in when it’s in use.

    I agree with you 100% that TV is not only a time-waster, but a money-guzzler. Thanks for sharing this with the world – I strongly believe, whether right or wrong, that TV is the cause of many problems for many people – financially, physically, emotionally, etc. Kudos to you for making your life what it is, and for helping others to do the same!

  • AA May 23, 2013, 1:36 pm

    Well, I at least took a step – I dropped a tier in service, saving me $35 a month. If it weren’t for my 68-year old mother, I would be happy to drop internet and home phone service, but TV is basically her only passtime. I at least convinced her to have us drop the premium channels and the sports package.

    I could have saved an additional $10/mo by dropping two tiers. But it seems to me a major goal of this blog is to reduce the amount of worry and stress in life, ostensibly by financial freedom.

    With my mom, it is worth the money to let her still watch Family Feud and Match Game on GSN, even if if delays retirement. :)

  • MadisonStreet May 28, 2013, 3:34 am

    I live in Spain and along with his Spanish mother, am raising a now 2 and a half year old son. We have no cable service, just free over the ether stuff. As much as I would just love to ditch the TV all together, I feel I need it to help me make sure my son grows up bilingual. All TV is digital here, which means I have the option of watching programs in their original language (most shows are UK or US produced so that means English). If not for the TV, the bulk of my son’s exposure to English would be me so I see TV as sort of a “teaching assistant”. Mind you, I’m very selective with what he watches, but some crap will slip by. The TV also has internet so I stream as much Curious George and Sesame Street (PBS is my default) as I can.

    Not sure if I’m looking for a response – just wanted to throw that out there, but any thoughts or comments from anyone are more than welcome.

    • Val November 23, 2014, 8:34 am

      I know this response is late, but I just want to reassure you regarding bilingualism. I’m raising three bilingual kids and they’re doing great without TV (although they do have exposure to things I select on YouTube, or DVDs. What you’re streaming is good and you could just do that on your computer and get rid of the TV if you wanted to. In our case both parents speak English at home but the kids are immersed in the local schools and culture; all three are perfect bilinguals and most people don’t even realize they speak something else (that is, they don’t have “an accent” in either language). Reading to them and just spending time with them are the best way to improve their language skills.

  • Max Schneider June 12, 2013, 2:47 pm

    Haven’t had a TV for a dozen years or so (I ditched it primarily because I got addicted to it and spent way too much time in front if the tube).

    All was great until I got Internet (and then broadband), it is just as easy to “waste” time online and read stuff as it was to watch TV (I mostly read stuff, like Wikipedia or blogs like yours – well or watch youtube or movies).

    Adblock helps, I consider an ad blocker to be *the* killer application on the Internet. Now if I could also ditch the Internet, wouldn’t that be neat (and be the new “I don’t have a TV” thing?)

  • Rachel June 21, 2013, 12:12 pm

    I gave up television three and a half years ago in a ‘NO TV’ experiment that is going strong to this day. While I initially kept a television set to watch movies on, this winter I ditched the set as there just wasn’t that much I wanted to watch anymore.

    My life has improved tremendously from this one simple action as there is no black box in the corner telling me multiple times per day that I need XY and Z to be happy and fulfilled. I also found, when visiting family and being forced to try and have conversation with the ‘boob tube’ (a name that is becoming more apropos by the day) running in the background, how poorly written and acted most tv shows are today. It is unfathomable to me how anyone would choose to spend hours each day in front of such stupidity. It is painful to see how many friends and family are addicted to TV when it is simply one gigantic time/money suck.

    I have also lost a ton of weight, started bike commuting, and saved a ton of cash from giving up TV. Without chronic food advertisements to tell me I am hungry or encourage me to buy stuff I would never have thought of without their “help” I am flush with savings from this one very simple step.

    Some people wonder what they would do with all the time formerly spent on TV watching. For starters, you finally have time to do all those household chores/repairs that stack up when you think “I’m just too tired to tackle that tonight”. Or, “I worked hard all day I deserve to rest and be amused by [insert TV show name here].” There is no feeling like having a home that is well organized, clean, and peaceful because you are actually living in it rather than treating it like some hole you stay in over night before heading out to your job the next day.

    Once the house was organized, repaired, and cleaned there was now time to sell off or give away all that stuff that had been taking up room in the house and that I never used anymore. Who can’t use extra money from selling books that were read once and never cracked again or clothing hanging in the closet with the tags still on them (gifts that didn’t fit or weren’t appropriate)? Then I started working on the hobbies I had been interested in but had been too “busy” wasting time in front of the TV to tackle. Some hobbies were shown the door (violin playing) while others were embraced with gusto (hello bike commuting and repair!).

    Since then I have lost over 50 lbs and ride or walk almost everywhere I need to go. I no longer find it logical to drive to the gym. With a standard hybrid bicycle and bike trailer I can do everything I need to do without the expense and waste of chronic car use. This would never have happened if the TV beckoned every night, encouraging me in that smooth way to rest for “just a little while”. Before you know it, that “little while” is your whole life.

    Waking up to a real life, a life lived in the first person is far more exciting and satisfying!

  • Ashley June 29, 2013, 12:01 pm

    Good idea but here in Maryland where we live, we either have Directv or Verizon. Verizon is the only choice for internet. They offer it in packages. The combo TV and Internet package is actually cheaper over the 2 year contract (w/the $300 visa gc) than just having the internet. It seems they frown on just having internet. The triple play with phone is actually cheaper than we are paying now for just internet and phone. Plus the $140 Directv bill we have since until 2 years ago, Verizon wasn’t in our area. I’m at least cancelling our Directv and and switching to all Verizon. But I think my husband would kill me if I cancelled his TV since he loves to watch baseball all spring, summer and fall plus it doesn’t cost anything extra for us.

  • Aaron July 24, 2013, 1:26 pm

    I’ve been without TV for 8+ years and don’t miss it at all. We do have Netflix and enjoy movies. The comment about the news is so true. The media is all doom and gloom and telling us what we need, etc. Turning that all off is the most freeing experience. You start to recognize you don’t watch TV when you see a car on the road you’ve never seen before. Kid’s TV is the worst as well. Completely geared toward marketing to kids. Everybody is better off without it. So much more to life.

  • Becky O July 26, 2013, 3:47 pm

    I WISH I could get the satisfaction of quitting television…..
    But I can’t.


    Sorry for the caps….I am just so proud. I even converted my husband who, when we got married, wanted to subscribe to satellite tv (rural area with no cable). My response was nothing short of genius.
    I told him that we could get satellite, but it was 100% his responsibility from calling to get the installation appointment, to paying the bill each month.

    Guess what has never happened?

    That’s right. No television service in the O household! And he’s learned to prefer it, because he’s noticed all the free-time he never had before. The time to spend doing things that are so much more meaningful. Or…ARE meaningful, in the first place. ;)

    p.s. Sorry so late…just found MMM and am voraciously eating this sh!t up from the beginning! Sooo my style. Frugality FO-EVA!

  • Joseph August 1, 2013, 12:56 pm

    I cut the cord 6 years ago and switched to antenna. 3 years later, I donated my TV to charity. Have not watched any TV for 3 years now. The hardest part was giving up sports, but being a fan of a consistently losing team sure made that easier. News, and especially political news, is read online which has the added benefit of giving you different point of views on the same story. Then I can use my brain and find out who is reporting bullshit. At night, I bike or walk or do my grocery shopping (using my bike trailer, of course) and have met many of my neighbors whom I would have never known.

    • Mark B August 10, 2013, 12:37 am

      Sorry I’m so late to this comment party but I’m relatively new to MMM and, like Becky O above, I’m systematically ravishing the entire MMM library from the beginning. Oh, and I was catching up on Honey Boo Boo episodes. Just kidding.

      I gave up cable and my land line phone about six months ago, and, funny thing–THERE ARE OTHER THINGS TO DO. I do have a digital TV antenna, called a Leaf, and I can get broadcast channels, of which are are plenty here in southern California. They come in perfectly, just like my cable TV channels did. This is great, because there are two types of programming on broadcast TV:

      1. Utter, UTTER bullshit. How can any sentient being watch this shit? I just don’t get it. Do people really care who gets kicked out of the house or voted off the island or makes it to the next round? I’m so disappointed by my species. I could never watch this stuff, ever, and that’s a good thing because it’s a natural TV time limiter.

      2. A small amount of pretty good programming, usually on public TV, like Music Voyager, Globe Trekker and Global Spirit. I also like a couple of shows on the Livewell Network: Motion, which profiles a different national park every episode, and Knock It Off, where a couple of home DIY geek chicks/bloggers take someone’s super expensive dream room and duplicate it for a tiny fraction of the cost. Motion has plugged me into some of the most awesome natural places in the US and beyond, and the host, Greg Aiello, is a knowledgeable, funny, cool guy. The Knock It Off chicks have great ideas and a surprising amount of DIY skill.

      So, I have that and my Netflix and Amazon Prime subscriptions. I’m not off of the TV grid entirely, but I try to limit my overall staring into the Big Rectangle to about five hours a week, and I enjoy all of it. My kids are grown, so I feel as though I can spare a little “rotting in front of the TV” time.

      Football season is coming up, that will be a challenge.

      • Becky O August 12, 2013, 7:32 am

        Good for you, Mark!

        My husband spent some time lamenting broadcast sports…but he managed to find some online streaming resources. If you’d like, I can ask him for some details on that!

        Another thing is your local library = free DVD check-outs (MMM and the Mrs. have both metioned this many times, I know)!!

        My husband and I just got our library cards on Saturday, and then spent the evening watching Sally Field’s “Sybil” for free. ;) Today I am going to suspend our Blockbuster account, and just check out DVDs at the library until we’ve exhausted their collection!

        • Mark B August 12, 2013, 9:52 pm

          Yeah Becky, I’d totally owe you if you’d ask your husband about streaming resources.

          You know, I use the library heavily for free audiobook rental, both digital and just regular audio CDs, but for some reason I’ve never taken advantage of their DVD library. I walked past the DVD rentals all the time to get to the audiobook section, back when I used to actually go to the physical library.

          The library system where I live is pretty awesome, so I’m gonna be on that like a Mustachian on a dollar on the sidewalk. Thanks for that idea! Still shaking my head over why I didn’t think of that one.

        • Mark B August 13, 2013, 10:08 pm

          Hey Becky, do a a Google image search for Mrs. Money Mustache and you’ll get a chuckle!

          • Becky O August 14, 2013, 7:34 am

            Mark — I’m perplexed —

            Which image was particulary chuckley? Do tell!

            p.s. My husband’s instructions are still pending. ;)

  • bob werner September 30, 2013, 11:46 am

    Haven’t had cable in ten years. No internet either. Have a six year old. Use liibrary and VHS movies we get for fiftycents. We have about 500 movies. My brother in law would not visit this weekend because he would miss his sports! Let’s face it, the world is filled with freaks and we are he normal inst.

  • Rachael October 24, 2013, 11:16 am

    I just started reading this blog in the past month, and I decided to be adventurous and start from the beginning. So, I’m a little late (Like 2 years late…) for a comment on this article, but I’m commenting anyway.

    I haven’t had cable TV in years. Recently, my fiance and I moved into a house on our own, and we made the decision to forgo getting cable television. All we have is cable Internet (which is promotionally priced at $30/month for now and will go up to $50/month). We use it to watch the family Netflix account (which we don’t pay for), and we stream anything else we want to watch directly from the Internet. We also have plenty of movies/TV shows in our respective collections to watch that we really don’t miss cable at all.

    In the our free time, we mostly read, play video games (of which we have a huge back-log and almost never buy new anyways), cook, work in the yard, ride bikes, and play board games with our friends. Overall, I much prefer my life without cable because it gives us more time to spend together and we save money that can go directly to our ‘stache!

  • JT October 29, 2013, 2:54 pm

    I’ve had cable TV for two of the past 14 years, and been without an TV for 8 of the remaining 12. For the past few years, however, I’ve found what I think is the ideal balance for me: a free TV with a 20 dollar HD antenna (for free, hi-def programming including live sports!) and an xbox I bought 5 years ago.

    About twice a year I go on a gaming binge where I do nothing else for two weeks straight (benefits of being a musician/freelancer is giant chunks of free time).

    It costs me basically zero, I still get to watch football on my own couch, and my desire to occasionally lose myself in a video game is given in to without lasting notable repercussions.

  • GeauxBig November 24, 2013, 11:14 pm

    Just found this site and have started from the beginning. I’ve been wrestling with ditching cable for years. I’d save about $60 a month if I can persuade Mrs. GeauxBig to cut the cord.
    Can’t wait to get thru these posts. Lots of great stuff so far.

    • I am John's empty wallet December 5, 2013, 7:53 am

      GeauxBig, you’ll find some great blog posts on this site that mathematically prove that the biggest thing standing between you and a life of freedom is realizing that 60.00 a month by itself has very little impact on your life. It’s when you find 20 ways to save 60.00 and you systematically save and invest that money to create more money.
      My wife and I just cut our package down to internet and super basic cable since it was pretty much the same price. In the last 3 months alone I followed MMM’s general breakdown in the blog post linked to the START HERE button.
      It took less than 2 months to save 16,000 per year by addressing all of the areas where we were bleeding out cash.
      1. cut my insurance costs by changing employers
      2. cut my fuel costs by chopping my commute by 80%
      3. cut cable down to basic and internet and using Amazon Prime and free Comcast content.
      4. traded in Buick Enclave for used automobile cutting payment by 300.00
      5. cancelled gym membership and dusted off 2yr old P90X
      6. lost 30lbs working out and reduced my life insurance premiums
      7. took off comp and collision on my othe car, a 2003 Saturn
      8.. raised my deductible on my home insurance
      9. eliminated fast food and started cooking way more
      10. started meal planning so unplanned trips to grocery store didn’t occur and started eating more plant/whole grain/bean based dishes like Indian/Mexican/Italian
      11. reduced Onstar down to just emergency assistance
      12. reduced alchohol consumption by half (get healthier, save money, live longer)
      13. less commute equals more time with family AND more time at office. Very cool.
      14. stopped paying for lawn care/ insourcing it from now on

      More to come and I’m not bragging. I wanted to show you that you can do this…and you can do it IMMEDIATELY. The impact would be swift and exciting like it was for us. In the first month we saved over 1,000 alone and after 3 months we are at 3200.00.

      Even if we stopped now and only invested the 3200.00 per month we’d end up with over 500,000 in 10yrs. We aren’t going to stop though because if we ramp it up further we can then chop off the 2nd mortgage (450.00 a month) in less than 5 years without really even impacting our lifestyle. All of that money was pure waste out of convenience and not doing research.

      My advice is to jump in with both feet.

      • Mr. Money Mustache December 5, 2013, 2:47 pm

        Yeah baby!! Thanks John, for the preview of things to come for those who are working their way through the whole blog. Most Mustachian Comment of the Day!!

      • GeauxBig December 5, 2013, 7:20 pm

        Thanks John. I like the list you gave because I can easily do most of those things or already have them implemented and can compare to my situation.
        I’m working up my “situation” to post on the forum. I hope you drop in and can give some more advice as well.
        I’m loving MMM’s advice and tips on making my home more energy efficient. I have a large home and it’s hard to manage the electric bill but we are making improvements.

  • MJ January 3, 2014, 10:48 pm

    Cancelled cable TV on Jan. 1. Put the $70/mo toward our mortgage payment. We have lots of DVDs and started a Netflix trial. Thanks to you and Mr. Moneyseed for the motivation. Our family is going to implement more of your advice in 2014. Last year we saved about 26% of our take-home income but you’ve opened our minds to the reality that we can do better.

  • Alec Williamson January 27, 2014, 9:51 pm

    I am a 48 year old dad with a 15 year old daughter and mom living with me, and an 18 year old son who has gone off to college. At dinner tonight I casually informed wife and daughter that I was planning on canceling our satellite TV service soon to save $95 per month. I have just recently purchased a Roku, and I already subscribe to Amazon Prime, so I figured, hey plenty of TV to watch, and won’t it be great to pocket $95 per month from now on, right?

    I got a really, really BIG BAD reaction from my daughter! She started with: Why are you taking away this privilege from me? What did I do? This whole MMM lifestyle change thing you are doing is going to wreck my whole life!!! What else are you going to take away from me? And on and on. She was very upset, crying and asking me why now? If this was such a good idea, why didn’t you do this when we kids were small and wouldn’t know the difference? Well I really didn’t have a good answer, and basically said I didn’t do it before because I was a sucker back then and didn’t know better. I am trying to learn how to behave better with money now. Not a good answer.

    Needless to say, she is not happy and not speaking to me right now. I guess it will blow over, but I hate being the bad dad, it sucks. Mom wanted no part of this “discussion”. Can’t say I blame her. Anyway, I’m not sure if I should stick to my guns, or cave in.

    • Mr. Money Mustache January 27, 2014, 10:17 pm

      Wowee! Sounds like the sooner that TV addiction can be halted, the better. It is important that she knows you are not punishing her, though.. Just rewarding everyone. TV is truly useless.

    • Kim January 28, 2014, 7:03 am

      I’d ask her specifically what she would miss by not having satellite to see if you can get it somewhere else. And maybe offer a night out at the movies once a month for the next 6 months as part of the weaning process.

      • Alec Williamson January 28, 2014, 10:41 pm

        Thanks for taking the time to offer suggestions! We talked more about it today, and I offered to split the savings with her. Kind of a win/win. Especially since we don’t give her an allowance right now anyway. I asked her to think about it and she said she would. I have never been frugal before, and in fact set an incredibly bad example with my poor money habits. So this is kind of a shock, and I learned from this experience that sometimes it’s best to take it slow with those around you to reduce the shock and to give them time to buy in.

  • sdp January 28, 2014, 7:21 am

    If it is that important to her, let her pay for it herself, you can turn this episode into a learning moment and I bet she will see that 95 bucks a month is a shitload, depending on how much she watches, you can even break it down to how much an hour it costs her vs. the hourly wage she makes at her job or the allowance she gets. You are not depriving and punishing her, you are doing her a favor, this could be a perfect opportunity to spend quality time with your daughter going to the library and checking out as many dvd’s as you both want (along with some books!) anyway, put the control into her hands and help guide her towards the right decisions, she is fifteen and going to college in just a couple of years and will have to start making these decisions without you around……

  • Karen February 10, 2014, 6:31 pm

    I was feeling pretty proud of myself because I have indeed been addicated to TV but I canceled my cable over a year ago, getting rid of the landline phone and TV package, but keeping only the high-speed WiFi. In that time my monthly bill for the WiFi has been increased twice and I’m now paying $60/month FOR THE INTERNET ONLY. I don’t want to give up my ability to watch movies — that is one of my remaining entertainment pleasures in life and I am sort of “in the biz” so it is a career detriment for me to give it up entirely.

    I hate cable companies. I suppose I could try sharing service with others but I don’t know my neighbors very well and I often pay bills or do banking on line so isn’t security a concern? I live in a multistory condo building with many of units per floor.

    • Chicago Mom July 11, 2014, 3:49 pm

      Hi Karen,

      We live in a “coach house” behind a four flat. The 4 unit building shares one Comcast internet connection over wifi. We were invited to join when we moved in but we didn’t use the internet much. Sharing a connection with neighbors is just as “risky” as using the library internet or wifi at a cafe. I would say passwords should be enough protection. *shrug*

      If you could even just split the bill with one neighbor that would help a lot! Maybe start by knocking on doors. *grin*

      There is a downside, if you are both heavy video or gaming streamers the connection might not be able to support both of you watching netflix or gaming at the same time.

  • Nigel February 22, 2014, 11:49 pm

    Having a great time reading through the blog after discovering it a couple of weeks ago. Reading other sites on retirement saving, I always felt like I was missing something – what the hell does my current income have to do with how much I’ll need to live on in retirement, anyway? Who made the rule that I have to Dilbert away until I am at least 65? The relentless common sense from MMM is refreshing and inspiring.

    Regarding television, I’d like to propose an exception to the idea, which I fully agree with in principle, that TV is a mindless waste of time. My wife is Japanese, and we are raising our two kids to be completely bilingual and as bicultural as possible. That unfortunately involves some very non-mustachian spending on things like ridiculous amounts of driving to take the kids to a Japanese school on Saturday, stash-busting trips to Japan in the summer, and $40/month to Dish Network for the Japanese TV channel. We don’t watch any American TV (other than a little NFL on autumn Sunday afternoons with the rabbit-ears), but the kids get to watch a few hours per week of Japanese programming. Some if it is pretty good, some is just fluff entertainment, but either way it really helps with their language development and connection to that side of their culture. Their listening comprehension is pretty much comparable to kids living in Japan, and I think TV has been a big part of that (they also split their reading between two languages, so their reading is close to native-speaker level too). Having the Japanese channel in the house is also great for my wife as a way to stay connected, and I get to watch live sumo.

    Anyway, I’d propose an amendment to the mustachian manifesto: you may watch a reasonable amount of TV, and even pay something for it if you can afford it, but the programming may not be in English.

  • Melissa Blogger wannabe March 1, 2014, 9:31 pm

    Lol can I say when I first heard the podcast with the doughroller I thought holy moly this is one brilliant guy… (sigh) I’m in love… ( ;) ) I’m actually happily married but I don’t have anyone who shares my perspective about money so I was quite starstruck … I am 26 an never had cable tv growing up and I just never understood why people who pay for something that is free.. (same with xm radio why would you pay when you get it for free).. So this post is not much of a challenge for me… For 2 years I have also let the family know that our allotment was 3 day a week about 2 hr( movies) because I realized that it was taking away family time… My son might have wanted to watch stuff but when it was bed time he’d complain that he didn’t get to play…so trying to reduce tv time for sure.. So I started by reading random articles but I figured Itd be easier if I start from beginning and just go in order…. I figured it’s about time to join community by posting a message… Hi and I really like the blog

  • Señor Stubble March 8, 2014, 7:27 am

    We’ve gotten free cable for years for the same mysterious reason an earlier commenter mentioned – we cancelled it, but it’s still there. Thirty-eight days ago I stopped turning it on. I had forgotten there was so much time in the day. If I had been spending I time watching TV, I may not have discovered this blog like I did a couple weeks ago. More importantly, I certainly wouldn’t have had the time to actually start taking action on the suggestions. I think I can even see the slightest hint of mustacian stubble

  • Kara April 9, 2014, 6:54 am

    It’s funny, we just cancelled our cable last week and it was officially shut off yesterday. I haven’t had cable since 2009 (college roommates) and my husband has never had it. We thought we’d try it out for a bit (about 5 months) after our move to Missouri, and you know what? We barely used it. We couldn’t stand all of the commercials for crap. We never wanted to take time in the evening from our other hobbies to watch. When we did watch tv, we were watching Netflix anyway. We’re not sad that our bill is way less now! It feels like a step int he right direction. :)

  • Momma of Many April 9, 2014, 3:26 pm

    We haven’t had cable ever since getting married (12 years), BUT in our spare time we made 5 babies… So much for saving money… LOL

  • CTY April 11, 2014, 6:25 pm

    Love reading your archived posts. We have never had cable and sometime in the early 90’s went TV free (because no one watched it, the kids were super busy with school & just had no time). It just took up space & collected dust. What do we do with our time? Anything we want. Evening walks, amateur star gazing, crafts, reading, DIY projects, make homemade pretzels & marshmallows, visit/call friends & family, surf the net.
    When our youngest son was in high school, his media/communications teacher surveyed the class for # of TVs in the house. No one had less than 3–except our son. So the teacher said one or two. He was speechless when the answer was 0. Back to school night this teacher rushed up to us as we entered the class so shake our hands and to say hats off.
    Funny thing is–even with no TV I can tell you all about Dancing with the Stars and such shows because people everywhere talk non stop about them. So apparently even if you don’t own a TV you are still affected by it.

  • Crystal April 23, 2014, 10:00 am

    We got rid of cable 6 months ago. It was $80 dollars a month! Comcast was charging us $165 a month for cable and internet. Now we only have internet and it is still $78 a month. I wish we could get cheaper internet because this is so expensive!!

  • Stuck in NoVA June 12, 2014, 10:39 am

    I’ve never believed in paying for TV. My husband owned a TV before we got married. It is currently hooked up to an antenna and the DVD player (in the basement because we didn’t want it to be the central feature of our living room), but really, we don’t use it very often. We are more likely to watch hulu for free on the laptop.

  • Zac June 16, 2014, 10:24 pm

    I haven’t had a TV for around three years now and I don’t miss wasting my nights ONE BIT – we do however have a cinema (my partner has a work from home hi-fi business so it is used to demo to customers). So on average we watch one hour-long TV show a week that we’ve downloaded and one movie a week (about 2 1/2 hours of screen time). I went to a friend’s place the other day and we ended up watching the Transformer’s movie on free-to-air. It was actually kind of surreal sitting down to watch a movie that was constantly interrupted by advertisements – to pay for the privilege by subscribing to cable doesn’t sound like too much fun.

    NOW. While I was writing this, I realised something – I pay a monthly subscription for Spotify ($11.99/month Australian). Spotify is used as my only source of music (I gave up paying for CDs long ago), so i’m not sure if this is an avoidable expense as i’m a big music consumer. I think i’m already on the cheapest music option, as if i started buying CDs again at around $17/album I’d swiftly send myself broke.

    • J Wind December 13, 2014, 1:37 am

      Maybe instead of paying for Spotify to get it without ads, you cancel your subscription and listen to it for free with ads. I imagine if you’re in a tight situation, even $12AUS could be used more wisely on something else. I don’t know if you could receive it in Australia, but there are free, adless, “donation-only” run music streaming sites. It just takes a little bit of research to find them. In the States, we have somafm.com, grooveshark.com, musicnow.fm, and last.fm… I believe.

      Plus, you don’t have to buy CDs, online stores such as Amazon, will have old and new albums for sale in digital format, for less expensive and fewer resources used in manufacturing. Or you could be savvy and old-fashioned, and just buy used CDs/records from other people. Another option that my husband and I have done in the past is to do a media share/trade. You find some people with common interests, and you swap your music, movies, books, etc. for a determined or undetermined amount of time, come back and do another swap of something else. That way, nothing is being bought or made that doesn’t need to be, and you increase your socialization with people.


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