‘Cutting The Cord’ — A Long Time Coming

For the third year in a row, we called the cable company to cancel cable TV. This time, we actually did it.

The first time, Time Warner Cable offered such a steep discount that we accepted it and kept TV for another year. When the price began to rise again, we called again to cancel, but again they offered such a discount that we agreed to have TV for another year.

A few days ago, when my wife called “Spectrum” (the new name of TWC), she actually wanted to give them more money. What happened:

My newest smartphone ceased to work Friday, leaving me at home without a phone. As the primary caregiver for our children, and the primary contact for our daughter’s school, we think it’s important that I have access to phone service, but my smartphones keep dying on me. So my wife and I agreed we’d finally get a home phone — a “landline” in common parlance. We haven’t had one in seven years. Spectrum/TWC offers phone service as part of a bundle with internet and TV, so we called them instead of the local phone company. They scheduled an appointment for Tuesday (today), and told us what the new price would be.

The new price would add $45 to our cable bill.

That evening I managed to regain mobile phone service (reactivated an old Droid 4 that our kids have been using as a toy), and then had a conversation with my wife about that extra $45 (per month). That seems like a lot for a phone we’re almost never going to use, that we only ordered on the off-chance that I might someday be without a mobile phone for a few hours again. We also discussed how much we’re spending on cable TV, wondering if we should cut that cost to pay for the new phone.

I suggested doing both: canceling the new phone order AND getting rid of cable.

Because we’d already intended to cancel cable a couple of times before, we didn’t need to rehash the reasons (some are listed in this 2014 entry). We don’t watch TV much anyway. Unlike 2014, I’m no longer watching college football (and won’t watch it again until education gets equal billing). We now get 100% of our news from the internet. My wife and I used to follow a few shows, but we don’t anymore. None. We haven’t even watched anything OnDemand in close to a year. If the show is good enough, it will eventually get released on DVD, and we’ll Netflix it.

So the only TV watched in our house lately is a few children’s channels: Sprout, Disney Jr., Nick Jr., etc.

The next day (Saturday), my wife called Spectrum again, canceling both the phone service order AND our TV service. This time, there was no swaying her with big discounts.

Today is actually the day our service was cut off. I felt no sadness as I unplugged the cable box, unscrewed the coaxial cable from the wall, and pulled the extra HDMI cord from the entertainment center. For me, the only downside is that now we have no clock in the living room. We plan to correct that soon.

If we do end up saving money in the long run, it’ll go toward our mortgage principal and toward our favorite charity (MSF).

I did buy an antenna and plugged it in. Over the air, we can get 15 channels. That sounds like a lot, but it’s really just three: the local ABC affiliate (KXXV), the local PBS affiliate (KNCT), and one low-quality channel that occasionally has non-popular children’s programming. The rest are either Spanish-language channels or religious programming — mostly in low-definition formats.

Wish us luck as we enter a new phase of our lives.

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