Cutting the Cord on Cable & Subscriptions – NSC Series

Cutting the Cord on Cable & Subscriptions

When my wife and I first started dating we were both young and in college. We were friends who quickly fell in love and have been together ever since. Many of our dates consisted of simply hanging out in our dorm rooms, watching Netflix. I’m sure many millennials can relate. Which makes me wonder why more people haven’t been cutting the cord on cable and other subscriptions.

Today is day FOUR of our No Spend Challenge and we are thinking about our bills. Each month we talk about which bills we have and consider which expenditures are necessary and which aren’t. As we told you before, even though we are completing an NSC, we will still be paying all of our monthly bills. We were looking at some of our subscriptions and realizing that there are a few that we thought we needed, but that would be pretty easy to cut out so that we can put more money toward our debt – which is the ultimate goal.

It can be truly disheartening to look at your budget and then look at your debt and realize that it will be years upon years before it will be paid off in its entirety. I know how it is, I go through it every month when we plan our budgeting. We put aside money for needs, money for bills, and the rest goes to debt. Even so, we are looking at over 10 YEARS of debt payments (at the rate we’re at now) before we finally pay off that last loan.

I read an article yesterday that stated over 75% of millennials are putting off the normal adult milestones because of the amount of debt they have incurred. In fact, student loan debts have increased a whopping 84% since 2008 – it’s the only consumer debt that continues to rise! Millennials avoid purchasing big items (such as houses, cars, etc.) and starting families based on the normal timeline in our society.

Now, I’m not saying that the government owes me money or they should pay off my loans. No. I know that, as an adult, I signed the papers to take on these loans myself – I made that decision. The biggest struggle is the fact that as an 18 year old, I didn’t realize that these loans would affect my decision to start a family, buy a home, or prepare for my retirement.

Of people in my generation, over 25% can’t even afford daily living needs, let alone dreams of having a baby. In the article listed above, one person stated that they hadn’t realized that the decision as to whether they would have a child would be based on a paper they signed as a teenager. My wife and I agree completely. And the thing is: we aren’t the only ones. Over THREE QUARTERS of our generation is suffering from this exact same thing.

Well, anyway, my wife and I have made the decision to work as hard as we can to pay off our debt as soon as possible and start living the life we’ve always wanted. Even if that means getting rid of subscriptions and cutting the cord on cable.

Cutting the Cord on Cable

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As some of you may know, we are in the midst of our first ever No Spend Challenge (NSC), which started January 1.

The short story is that my wife and I racked up a ton of debt (read how HERE) and want to pay it off as quickly as possible so that we can live our dream lives (read about our goals HERE). This challenge will help us learn about living frugal, saving money, and paying off our debt faster.

Visit our post, Frugal Living at its Finest: the No Spend Challenge, to view why we are doing the challenge, what the challenge entails, and the rules.

The hardest thing about budgeting and frugal living is doing it alone and that’s why we want to invite you all to join us on our NSC. Sign up below to opt-in to our email community, filled with exclusive tips and tricks for saving money to survive living frugal during your NSC month.

Follow our rules or make your own! Join for one week or the entire month! We know that not everyone is in the same situation we are in. Stick with the No Spend Challenge for as much or as little as you are able in your situation and don’t be afraid to hop on after the starting date (it’s never too late to join in on the fun!).

We’ll be taking the challenge right alongside you – with daily blog posts, encouragements, and exclusive email information and communication: this will be the single, greatest choice you make to jump start the New Year.

Cutting the Cord on Cable & Subscriptions

My job requires us to live in the middle of nowhere, in a cabin-type building (originally made to be an office), that is run-down and has no way to connect to internet or cable. We are not complaining because we are lucky to have a roof over our heads, but it does make some things more difficult (such as checking emails, blogging, completing school assignments, and staying in contact with the rest of the world).

On the other hand, though, it means we never have to worry about cutting the cord on cable (because we’ve never had cable)! The cost of cable is astronomical (as I’ll show you below), but we are saving thousands of dollars by not paying for it. There are other subscriptions, too, that we signed up for (thinking we had access to internet) and can no longer utilize, but are still paying monthly.

Imagine how much we could save without these subscriptions bogging us down?

In either case, here are some reasons why you should consider cutting the cord on cable, a cost analysis, and some other subscriptions you probably don’t realize you don’t need!

no spend 2

Cost Analysis

First of all, let’s look at what these subscriptions are costing us:

  • Cable – After researching many cable companies, I found one of the cheapest in my area for $49.99 / month. For the record, this is for Direct TV – there may be different offers out there, but we will do this experiment on this cost.Cost Per Month $49.99 = Cost Per Year $599.88Now, let’s keep in mind that this is pre-tax, before setup and installation fees, and without any extras added. So, with just a fairly basic cable subscription, you end up paying almost $600 a YEAR!
  • Newspapers – For this cost analysis, I used a nearby city’s local paper cost – your subscription fee may differ slightly, but this can give you a good idea of what to expect.Cost Per Month $37.5 = Cost Per Year $450This subscription fee is pretty standard and takes into consideration that Sunday and holiday issues are more expensive than regular weekday issues.
  • Cell Phone Data – For this cost analysis, I will use Sprint’s cost-per-phone for data subscription. As always, this may differ slightly for your subscription, but is the same general idea.Cost Per Month $30 = Cost Per Year $360Keep in mind that this only considers one person per family. Each additional phone would be an additional $360 fee.
  • Workout Apps & Gym Memberships – There are many apps and programs that try to get away with charging you a subscription fee, such as Map My Fitness and P90x. These are subscriptions that you most likely don’t use, but are spending money on each month.Apps Average
    Cost Per Month $5.99 = Cost Per Year $71.88Gym Average
    Cost Per Month $42 = Cost Per Year $504

    Again, these only consider one person utilizing them per household. Each additional person would be an additional fee.

  • Kindle & Audiobooks – As technology advances, we are getting new opportunities for subscriptions – such as for Kindle Unlimited in and Audible Audiobooks. However, these subscriptions add up quickly.Average cost of either
    Cost Per Month $14.99 = Cost Per Year $179.88This includes any other pay-per-view or unlimited subscription account.

Now, think about this. If you added up all of these subscription fees, you would be paying an unbelievable amount each and every year. This comes to:


Each month that equals an extra $180.47. What could your family do with almost $200 extra each and every month or $2,000 over the course of a year?

I’m not saying that my wife and I utilize each and every one of these subscriptions, but I know many people who do. So, here are some ideas on what you can do instead!

Cutting the cord on cable (1)

Cutting the cord on cable – what to do instead!

Now you know why you shouldn’t be paying these extraordinary costs for subscriptions, but the tricky part is: when you go about cutting the cord on cable, what can you do instead? What if you enjoy reading the paper every morning and watching television before bed? Should you stop reading and listening to books on your drives? Isn’t exercise important?

I’m certainly not saying that you should give up on anything that makes you feel happy or content with your life. However, I think there are other ways to do these that can cost significantly less (or are FREE). Here are some ideas, but brainstorm yourself as well!

  • Cable – I’m not saying that you should stop watching television entirely. In fact, that would be crazy if it’s something that you enjoy and it isn’t getting in the way of you living your life how you want to live it. However, spending a ton on cable doesn’t have to be the case! Consider cutting the cord on cable and utilizing monthly subscription television programs instead: like Netflix and Hulu!My wife and I watch all of our TV using Netflix and Hulu (and are considering dropping Hulu too). Netflix has been our one-stop-shop for television enjoyment over the last few years and I don’t expect that to change any time soon.In fact, I use a system called a Roku that I absolutely ADORE. You can stream your Netflix right onto your TV using your WiFi connection. Find one at Amazon using the link below!

    I know what you’re thinking: Netflix costs money too. And yes, you could cut out television altogether and crochet or do crosswords instead. It would certainly be cheaper. However, if you truly enjoy relaxing in front of the TV, Netflix can make this affordable. Here’s what it looks like if you use your regular internet service to watch Netflix for one year.

    Cost Per Month of Netflix $11.99 = Cost Per Year $143.88

    Yes, I will admit that I am generally the first one to say $100 is $100. However, think of the money you are saving! By switching from cable to Netflix, you save $456 a YEAR! How crazy is that? Even if you make the one-time-expenditure of purchasing a Roku you will be saving over $300 in your very first year.

    Definitely makes cutting the cord on cable seem worth it, right?

  • Newspaper –  If you’re anything like my parents, reading the newspaper is a must in the house. However, think about this: all of the newspapers and blogs post the same news that the papers read – the only difference? You have to look online to find it! But if you spend a little bit of time bookmarking your favorite spots, you can have free news for the rest of your life – saving you hundreds every year! Even if you print some news from your computer daily, you will be saving money in the long run.
  • Cell Phone Data – I know what many of you are thinking when I bring up getting rid of data on your cell phones. How will you play games, look at Facebook, check out Netflix, and watch your emails? Most phones have the capability of connecting to a WiFi signal without being connected to data. In order to save you hundreds of dollars each year, try disconnecting the data and using your regular internet service instead!
  • Workout Apps and Gym Memberships – This one is especially tricky for people who have just made New Year’s resolutions to “get healthy” and “lose weight” – which is like the majority of the population. Let’s be realistic though – is a gym membership or a subscription to a workout app really going to help you in these adventures? Instead, take a little bit of money and purchase a startup kit of workout materials.Do you like to lift? Buy a cheap / used set of weights!

    Do you like to use the elliptical or treadmill? Find one on Craigslist or your neighborhood Facebook group.

    Chances are, there’s someone looking to sell for cheap and it will ultimately save you big money as you get rid of that hefty, monthly fee. If you are okay with it, there are programs based on things that you have at home – such as Couch to 5k which focuses on running outdoors to build up stamina or workout memes that involve body weight exercises. Working out and staying healthy doesn’t have to cost a fortune!

    Check out my post about how to Live a Healthy Lifestyle while Saving Money for more tips!

  • Kindle & Audiobooks – This subscription is the most simple to get rid of – instead of spending money on subscriptions to these, try visiting your local library! Most libraries have an extensive list of audio books for you to choose from. Some even offer e-books for loan on the internet. Ask your librarian what your library has to offer and support your community!

Quote of the Day

Now, I know I have been talking a lot about cutting the cord on cable and other subscriptions, but I haven’t forgotten that I promised you a quote for each day of the No Spend Challenge. Today’s quote comes from Mary Lou Retton.

Quote - Day 4

“Working hard becomes a habit, a serious kind of fun. You get self-satisfaction from pushing yourself to the limit, knowing that all the effort is going to pay off.” Mary Lou Retton

Make this debt payment into a habit, a serious fun, and you will have such a great satisfaction when your effort pays off in the long run – and we know that it will. Whether you are sacrificing entertainment by cutting the cord on cable and other subscriptions or sacrificing elsewhere, you know that this will pay off down the road. Make it fun while you go!

So, tell me, what subscriptions do  you pay each month?
Are there any you can cut out?

Let us know in the comments below!

14 Replies to “Cutting the Cord on Cable & Subscriptions – NSC Series”

  1. I currently pay for zero subscriptions! I share a netflix account with my mom and a hulu account with a friend. I’m going to school full time so I cut every single bill that I could. I just pay for my car, insurance, $10 for a buffer account and spending money. It has been the hardest thing to do but now I don’t have to worry about paying any bills.

    1. Woohoo!!! Zero subscriptions is GREAT! You save so much by doing that which is especially important if you are going back to school full time. Good luck!! Thanks for the comment, Ally 🙂

    1. I’m so glad you’ll be joining us for the NSC, Lakisha! I’ll add you to our email mailing list if that’s okay (you can always opt out if you would rather not). It’ll give you some great exclusive tips on saving money and surviving the NSC! 🙂

  2. we don’t have tv ( device, connection), but we have internet. The economy is more than the monthly fee: less electricity consumption, less furniture, less dust to clean ( I have allergy to dust so this is important for me), more time to do jogging/ outside walking.
    We are reading books borrowed or the free books from amazon.
    We don’t have gym fees, but we are a jogging familly. When I really miss the gym, I perform some exercises at home.

    1. Not having television is a great way to save money! Especially since electricity consumption is so huge. If you can stick to just internet, you’ll save a fortune over the course of the year. 🙂 Glad you mentioned free books from Amazon – that’s a great way to get a free read every now and again! Thanks for the comment! 🙂

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