Personal Finance

10 Minute Finance Fix: Cable TV Savings

The 10 Minute Finance Fix series focuses on topics you can learn in ten minutes or less to help improve your personal finances. In this 10 Minute Finance Fix, you will learn how changing your cable plan (or dropping it altogether) can save you money.

As we learned in our tutorial about being a Nielsen family, you save considerable money each year by monitoring what channels and shows you actually watch. Then, you will be able to make an educated decision about your cable package and whether or not its worth keeping. For example, I recently reviewed what our cable package contains and found that we have HBO and Cinemax, though we hardly watch either set of movie channels. We save $20 a month dropping our premium channels – alone!

When we signed up for our cable plan, it had a promotional deal where we got premium channels for free and though we thought we would watch the movie channels frequently, we find that we do not.

Review the Packages Available

The first step we took was to review the channels available in each package. We reviewed these on our cable provider’s website, but if its not available there, you can always call the provider and ask what channels are available. We found that 90% of our viewing habits are on the standard package, so by cutting it, we’re saving $15 more per month.

Do You Really Need the DVR?

When the DVR first became available from our cable provider, I thought it was a godsend. It allowed us to record our favorite shows and watch them later – and skip commercials! Now, though, we find that if we miss a show we rarely have time to get caught up and most of the shows we watch are available the next day on We decided to drop the DVR and just use the standard digital box – saving us $10 per month.

Drop Cable Entirely

My brother and his family did what my husband might considerable unthinkable – they dropped cable altogether. Instead, they use an antenna for over the air HD signals (they get about a dozen channels, many in HD) and have a computer hooked up to their TV to watch and streaming Netflix. This setup costs very little ($9 a month for Netflix and about $50 one time for the antenna) and they haven’t missed cable one bit.

If you really consider your finances and how much that TV time is worth, you may find that you don’t need the fancy cable package and can opt for standard cable, or you might find yourself in the same spot as my brother and just drop cable TV outright. Either way, reviewing your cable package can save you several hundred dollars per year.