Thursday, November 1, 2012

It's a Big Day

You will never guess what today is. Yeah yeah - it is November 1. But what is November 1 in our house?

It is our first day without cable.

That's right. We cancelled our cable and today is the first day without it.



Let's back up.

I love tv. I always have. My whole family has always watched a lot of tv and have considered it a form of entertainment. Judge us if you like, but we have always enjoyed watching tv and cable has always been a "must have" in our home.

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Up until about a month ago. That was when I opened our cable bill and noticed that it had increased by about 35%. That is a pretty big increase in my opinion. There are really only 2 cable/satellite providers in Toronto and the one we were with does this WEIRD thing with cable. Unlike wireless plans, where you sign up for a contract and once that contract expires, the price of your plan stays the same and you are just 'contract-free', cable pricing is only effective as long as your contract.

For example, if the cable package is priced at $100, you call in and negotiate certain discounts (i.e. 30% off the service, free HD digital box, etc) and you sign a contract to lock in that deal. Once the contract term is up, the price you pay goes up to the original $100. You then have to call the company and try to renegotiate a discounted rate.

First up, that makes me NUTS. Why can't it just be one price. This negotiation stuff is SO annoying. I dread it every year. However, what I find even more offensive is doing a quick google search and finding out that many people are paying even LESS for the SAME SERVICE. They were able to negotiate harder, or had a softer sales rep on the line. Who knows. Hardly anyone pays the same price for the same cable service in Toronto.

Second, do they really think that after one year of paying $70 for cable, I'm going to be happy to start paying $105 for it? Really?

We tried to call in and negotiate another deal, but our old deal "wasn't available" and they would only give us 15% off. 

Now...if everyone paid $100 for that service and there were no deals, I'd probably be fine with it. But knowing that my next door neighbour is paying $75 and last month I was paying $70 and this month I'm supposed to pay $105? Well...that is just crazy talk. 

So we cancelled. This tv-loving new mom who is home ALL DAY LONG is now cable-less. I am no longer going to be able to turn on the tv and and mindlessly watch hours of Say Yes to the Dress or Chopped. I mean, I think I've seen every Baby Story a few times and a Sunday just isn't a Sunday without watching Maid in Manhattan or some other Jennifer Lopez rom-com. So yeah. It is time for cable to go.

We are going to give it a go. We've got Netflix and most of the shows I watch are streamed online anyways. Hopefully we can do it because JEEZ it will feel good to stick it to the cable man. Oh and saving more than $1200 a year? That will also be nice :-)

So tell me - have any of you cut the cable? Feel like you are missing out on anything? Do you find yourself reading more? Talking to your spouse more? Any shows on Netflix that you recommend I watch?

Oh and after we tried to negotiate a deal and ultimately ended up cancelling? They have since emailed, called and sent snail-mail trying to get us to stay on.

Arg.

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54 comments:

Britt said...

You brave brave soul!

I just re-negotiated my contract with the lesser of the two evils... I am actually now saving $40 and getting more than I had before... but it did take letting my contract run out and then calling in to "cancel" to get this deal. Now I'm locked for another 2 years... sigh....

m @ random musings said...

Stay strong! We're on our 4th yr of free hulu

Shannon said...

We cancelled too. And we're just fine without it!!! Goid for you!
xo,
Shannon

m @ random musings said...

Oops ..hit publish too quickly! we also have netflix and sometimes I'll rent from redbox. does Canada have over the air digital too? We still get the major networks incl PBS via antenna

Casey @ Waffling said...

I cut my cable for a year a couple years ago. I also hated the annual renegotiating, but mostly it was because i was wasting a lot of time in front of the TV. When I called to cancel, they told me it was going to be $180 bucks for cancellation. yikes?! And then the rep I guess felt bad and cut that in half to $90. So weird to give me a deal on cutting my service... A year later I signed back up (I live alone and it was too quiet without the TV on) but bought a much cheaper package. I dont get all the channels I would like, but the price is much more reasonable

Peter said...

We cut our cable a few years ago. We put a nice antenna in the attic, so we get to still watch the major stuff, but we use Hulu a lot. When I go through the 7 channels we get and I don't find anything, I know it's time to get up to do something else. We have to negotiate our internet every year too, which I also hate.

Shannon8footsix said...

I would cut the cable in a flash! TV is definitely not my poison! But there are sports to be watched, tennis cups from all over the world that CAN NOT BE MISSED, so TV will always be a staple in this house!!! I always think of men being bigger TV junkies than women...funny how some stereotypes seem harmless!

EJ @ Not A House, But A Home said...

Good for you!! I am addicted to screens: TV, computer, iPhone. I've never actually paid directly for internet or cable though (it's always part of my rent) so I don't even know the prices... I didn't realize it was so expensive!! I always just assumed we'd get the Rogers box thing at the condo (that's what I have now, but I have no idea what it's called lol), but I also stream a lot of TV on my phone using the CityTV (my fave!!) and the CTV apps. And Netflix is pretty awesome too for movies. Have you ever used the zip.ca movie kiosk rental thing? I've seen them at Metro grocery stores, but I've heard they're also putting them in Walmarts. You can rent new releases for $2 or non-new releases for $1 and they always have promos where you get movies for free. I've used it a few times and have yet to pay for a movie lol



This is definitely giving me some food for thought Janice!

CA_Powell said...

Which company are you with? I find that the Roger's bills are so convoluted you can't tell what the heck they're charging you for half the time!

Christin said...

We have been cable free for a year and a half. We have netflix and apple tv, which has been our saving grace. We read more, do more around the house and the hubs and I actually talk to each other more often. Our kids didn't really notice a difference (ages 5 and 2), mostly because of netflix and the library has free, yes, free movies and tv shows. Just yesterday, we took the big jump into no land line (home phone).....we couldn't justify $40 for tele markers to call us every. single. day. Good Luck!

Kelly @ A Swell Place to Dwell said...

We cancelled our cable about 3 months ago and haven't looked back. We decided to increase our internet instead to a faster connection and bought Apple TV. Now we watch Netflix through Apple TV and just buy the series that we want through iTunes. My husband rigged netflix up so that we route our IP through the US so that we get US programming - legally...
We also watch all of the network tv shows on our ipad an just airplay through the apple tv so that we can watch it on our big tv still. We save tons of money and don't miss a show.
Good luck!

Cheryl said...

We gave up cable at least 10 years ago and began renting movies from our local independent video store. When they closed a few years ago we signed up for Netflix. In the past year we began streaming from Netflix so we're actually watching more TV now than we had been. It is kinda nice to actually decide to watch TV because we want to watch something in particular rather than having it on all the time and looking for something to watch. The constant repeats used to make me crazy. Now throughout the week the TV often doesn't get turned on.
I do feel a bit clueless at time when people are talking about what was on TV last night. But it usually isn't a big deal - I just think of all the money we're saving! I read a lot or surf the web instead of spending time in front of TV - so I'm not necessarily getting things done just because there is no TV.

Michelle said...

I use to joke that, if it were possible, I'd cancel electric service before cable. Then I canceled cable 5 years ago & have never regretted it. I really only enjoy a few shows and, with the internet, it's easy to keep up with. I pay other people's bills for a living and always cringe when I see how much people are paying for cable these days! I think you'll be surprised at how much you don't miss it. Have fun!!

Kathie Mayer said...

We cut our cable two years ago and haven't looked back. We have netflix to stream stuff, an antenna in the attic that picks up all the local stations, and a tivo that is our dvr and we can stream the netflix from. We also have a mac mini hooked up to our tv and regularly buy stuff from Itunes off of it as well as having ripped all our dvds and the kiddo's dvds to it so that we don't have to worry about the discs getting scratched up. It's worked out well for us, and I can't even imagine going back. We had directv when we cancelled it and our bill was creeping up to about $150 a month.

Lisa from Wicked & Weird said...

YAY! You can do it Janice! We have been cable-free for about a year and a half and I have not missed it ONCE. OK, maybe the Superbowl, but we found a way to get that online. Between Netflix and, ahem, the world wide web, you can pretty much get anything you want. I have found, though, that I don't miss it at all, and other than cartoons for the boys sometimes, never use it! And the savings are, as you say, enormous. :) Plus I think the cable companies are being stupid by not lowering rates when more and more people are cancelling and going online - talk about sticking your head in the sand...

Lisa from Wicked & Weird said...

We did no land line too, and it feels weird!

Jenn said...

I haven't had cable for 5 years, and I'm also in Toronto. Instead, I use an antenna and I get about 20 to 25 channels for free! You don't get the specialty stuff of course, but between Netflix, streaming stuff online and the antenna I find I have all I need. I highly recommend picking up an an indoor antenna for about $30 (the Philips Silver Sensor is great) and seeing what you can pick up! The other thing you could consider is a Roku box.

Annick said...

Get Netflix! I haven't had cable in about 6-7 years. I use the internet to stream my favorite shows, or Netflix!

Amy @ croquet & cocktails said...

We don't have cable and life is good. We have Netflix and Amazon prime. I love it. You adjust quickly and the void fills with more meaningful things like reading, conversations and Pinterest. :)

Katrina Sullivan said...

Huge High five!!! We've been cable since Feb of this year, I even blogged about it too I was so happy, to cut the cable cord!!- lol After adding up how much we were spending on cable it was just so silly! For us weren't even watching cable anymore, we are hooked on watching TV with our Roku player.


This is our current set-up not sure it will work in Canada but just in case, we watch Netflix though a device called a Roku player love it! It streams right to our TV we also have Amazon Prime, and Hulu oh how I love Hulu!! I feel like we don't miss out on TV at all with our setup. Pluse we also watch some shows on the laptop.


Don't forget to check out the Roku player - it will change you life, lol and Congrats!!

Life Begins at Thirty, Right? said...

I've never heard of a Roku player but we use an Apple TV for streaming so I'm guessing they are similar? I will google it :-) do you use Hulu Plus or regular Hulu?

Life Begins at Thirty, Right? said...

Does amazon prime stream tv? That is so cool if it does!

Life Begins at Thirty, Right? said...

Yep we have Netflix and I love it. I love the instant gratification of watching a whole season of tv at once. Any series you suggest I watch?

Katrina Sullivan said...

I think Apple TV is the same, but check out Roku just in case. We use Hulu Plus since it streams though our Roku player

Ashley Izsak said...

We've debated this or even just reducing our cable package (although my husband informed me that we wouldn't get the channel that houses the walking dead... which apparently is a deal breaker in his books). We also spent 2 hours on the phone with likely the same company a couple of weeks ago because our bill had magically gone up $60. It kind of feels like they have a license to steal. Maybe I'm being a bit dramatic. Good luck without the cable, with the number of shows available to stream you should be fine.

Stephanie Fazio (aka lealou) said...

Yahoo! We did this in the spring and haven't looked back. We ended up getting an antenna so you still get the basic channels for...wait for it... FREE. Ok so we paid about $400 for the antenna but we figured we'd pay for it in about 10 months vs the never ending cable bill. We barely watched tv so it was really dumb to keep paying for cable. In addition to the antenna, we got Apple TV which is what we use for movies (connects through itunes). You can also watch tv series but I never do just because I watch most things online from the computer if I've missed an episode.


Anyway stay strong! There are loads of other ways to get your tv-watching in :)

Michelle @ Sweetsuite10 said...

I haven't had cable for years. I used to be a big TV watcher, but when I moved out on my own I had to make the budget decisions, and cable wasn't a necessity so it went.
Sure it took some adjusting to, but I honestly didn't miss it after a while, and now years later the thought of paying money to watch TV seems silly to me - I'd rather spend that money on other things.

Annick said...

Yes! Definitely Breaking Bad, Dexter, and Luther was quite good too! We've watched X-Files but that's hit or miss. The Big C was quite good too!

Alli said...

We cut our cable when we moved this summer, and we really haven't missed it at all. Between what's available online and netflix we're pretty set.

Raiana Schwenker said...

We stopped getting cable about three years ago! We watch everything online though, and I love that. You wont miss it, the convenience isn't worth the price - it takes two second to stream what you want. My only complaint is when I am cleaning around the house I like to have trash tv on in the background [entertaining yet mindless enough that I don't need to give it much attention] it would also be convenient for throwing tree house on when I need to for my son - but lets get serious, the last thing children especially toddlers need to do is watch tv, and if I desperately need to get something done and need him to happily sit still I stream or youtube a movie for him or baby einstein. You will be fine without cable! We also have a cord that connects our tv to my laptop - so its easy to quickly download something. I use solarmovie.eu, sidereel.com, and icefilms.info :) goodluck!

Alison said...

We haven't paid for cable for 7 years. I poached off the airwaves until that went by the waistside last year. Now, DH downloads a whack load of shows, I streamline from the Cdn Networks and from series-cravings and side-reel. Congrats!

Alison said...

I heard about this too and was looking at it. The one I was quoted is $150 for the antenna and $150 for this referral to install. Way better than $100+ from Rogers

Alison said...

We were landline free for 7+ years and I just got one for my business through ComWave for cheap

Sharon said...

When we moved into our new home about three years ago we never got cable. And I love being cableless! I felt so "alternative". But we get to do other things. Go for walks, bike rides, and with the extra savings there are more special dinners out and places to visit. Co workers thought we were nuts.........."what about watching the news?" My response: read what you want on the web. If you live in the city there is so much more to do. We do have netflixs, internet, apple tv and bunny ears and are functioning just fine. totally liberating. way to go.

Kelly said...

We cancelled our home phone the year before last, and our cable last year, and changed internet providers at the same time. Husband is techie and set up a server in the unfinished part of the basement and we're using a combo of downloads, netflix, and streaming (which is how I get my HGTV fix). I don't regret it at all I am definitely happy to be saving the money. When I want to sink into the couch and zone out I can still watch a movie on netflix, and otherwise when it's not worth the trouble to find something I go outside, work on a project, or read!

shadi said...

we decided not to get cable when we moved from our apartment to our current house to gove it a try and it has been 3 years since and no regrets! we read more (books and online), play and do crafts with kids more often, and see what we choose online or buy borrowing or renting. LOVE IT! now I am thinking about getting rid of our land line too.

Kim @ NewlyWoodwards said...

We don't have cable either. I've gotten used to it. There are some things I miss but it wouldn't be worth the expense. And Netflix always has something good to watch. :)

saaraah said...

A year ago, we cancelled cable (with Rogers.. man, I hate them), and the adjustment went way more smoothly than I thought. We do have Netflix and got a digital antennae (maybe around $15 from Monoprice), so we get CTV for free. Since you're in Toronto, you'd probably get tons of channels. Something to look into. :)

Tara said...

I have never had cable... NEVER. Where I grew up (just outside Ottawa, but it is considered part of the GTO), my parents still CAN'T get it if they wanted.... there just aren't cables. I guess most people on my street had/have satelite or something.
Anyway, I always say "if it isn't good enough to be on the main 'non-cable' channels, it is not worth my time to watch it. I think it makes me sound kind of like an elitest: I rely on the entertainment industry to weed out the good shows for me.
How have I survived without cable (espeically the two years I was home and the 8+ months that my son nursed for an hour at a time every 2-3 hours)? With our anteena we can get CTV, CBC, Global, CityTV, CTV2, one of the OMNI channels, TVO and a few French channels. We also have Netflix (but if they don't start adding new stuff soon, it will be gone). I also use the free-legal streaming to watch stuff. Most of the channels have their stuff up for long enough that I get around to watching things I miss (it's like a free PVR right?)/
Welcome to the club!

Amelia @ House Pretty said...

We've been without cable for years and I honestly find it hard to watch regular TV now, because of the commercials. We also have Netflix and although I'm hoping the selection will improve, there are a lot of great documentaries on there that I've enjoyed (I also got really into Being Erica, which is kind of embarrassing to admit, but whatever). We also download a lot of shows and stream others (on CTV.ca, etc.). I find I'm a lot more productive without cable, because I can't just sit in front of the tv and veg out. I'm much more likely to find ways to entertain myself by actually doing stuff, be it reading or cooking/baking or some kind of house project. Of course, there's still the internet for the mindless distraction and I definitely spend way too much time on my computer :)

Amelia @ House Pretty said...

I've heard about Luther from a few people now. Got to check it out!

Giulia said...

We did the same. Hubby installed antenna( 100$). We get global, ctv , ctv two, cbc, omni and a bunch of French channels. We also have apple tv and stream from our computer. Have not looked back- two yrs without , yayy!

Tara said...

I have watched Being Erica too - it's okay to admit it. ;-)
Have you tried "Better off Ted" or "Drop Dead Diva" - they are others that I have watched and probably wouldn't have if they were on regular tv.

Julie Harrison said...

I am soooo close to cutting the cable too. It's a ton of money and the stations and service are terrible. Maybe this is just the push I need ....

natasha {schue love} said...

I definitely applaud you!! Having Netflix helps though...we love that! And it will probably be for the best! I know we spend far too much time watching tv!

Shannon@Hoopla said...

So I proposed this idea to Aidan and he poo poo'd it because of his sports :( But he can watch that on the computer, right?? Haha

Life Begins at Thirty, Right? said...

Haha yep! We picked up $20 rabbit ears and now get CBC, CTV, TVO, Omni, CityTV, Global and a few others. Not sure if $20 rabbit ears will work as well where you are but it does the trick for us. Oh and they are all in perfect HD. And FREE. Crazy.

Life Begins at Thirty, Right? said...

Yep so far I"m pretty happy with it. I don't think I could have done it without Netflix to be honest. I still love TV :-)

Life Begins at Thirty, Right? said...

As we were heading towards the last day with cable, I found myself sitting and watching absolute GARBAGE on TV and that is when I felt really good about our decision. The rabbit ears gives us the main local channels in HD so we still see the news, first run shows etc. Just missing some specialty shows (Dexter) and other than that, just channels that are either streamed online (HGTV) or garbage (TLC). Do it!

Nette @ This Dusty House said...

Go you! I can't say you won't miss it... especially if you're like me and have a husband who wants to see absolutely everything that's available on Netflix and therefore take 20 minutes to find a movie that no doubt turns out to be terrible. As much as Netflix can get frustrating, I would never dream of buying cable. I've never really paid for TV... it would feel so weird!


Keep in mind though, you may have to increase your Internet package. We share our Netflix with our tenants and had to upgrade to the largest or second largest Internet package. We pay more for internet, but it's nothing near what we would be paying for cable!

I'm loving Pan Am right now. And, we watch Bones, X-Files, Drop Dead Diva, whatever tickles our fancy.

how2home said...

Yay! For cutting the cable! i know its hard but its worth it! Netflix and projecttv is my life!

Shrie said...

I really enjoy Wilfred, Parenthood, The League, Spaced, Louie, anything Sarah Silverman, old SNL and I've been dying to try out the Sherlock series. Hope this helps!

Carole said...

Good for you! I have been in your shoes (seriously, the price you pay for tv...and is there ever anything really on worth watching!?) it always feels good to get rid of the tv, hand back that dusty old cable box. After a week or two I hardly missed it, if anything it helped me get off my butt and get moving on more important things. And there is always the internet/netflix for when you really need a fix!

Richard said...

You sound like a competent DIY-er, so give XBMC a shot. You can pick what you want to install it on (Apple TV 1/2, Xbox, mini-PC was my route: Zotac box sits attached to the back of my TV screen), and connect your TV to the internet. There are plugins that hobbyist developers are building that reach out to websites and stream content (1channel, watchseries, icefilms, Comedy Central) allowing you to watch almost any movie/tv show. Other plugins get you great news channels (BBC/Al Jazeera), and others bring you pure internet content (best of youtube dailymotion, music videos, khan academy, ted talks, collegehumour, cooking shows, and more). It's not perfect yet, but it's getting better every day, and ultimately, its free!