How Your Family Can Survive Without Cable TV

Several years ago we made the decision to cut the cable in our house. It’s probably been at least 7 years since we last had cable TV, and I’m happy we made the decision.

How your family can survive without Cable TV - Jackie Bledsoe | JackieBledsoe.com

When we first made our decision people looked at us funny when we said the words “we don’t have cable.” Now a family without cable TV is no longer such an anomaly. Many of our friends have also cut the cable, we even have friends that don’t even own a TV. I actually like that a lot!

I’m not sure if I’m ready for that, or if my wife will let me, but the decision to cut the cable is one I encourage other families to make as well. Not having cable TV doesn’t mean we don’t watch TV, or we don’t know what the current events are, and it also doesn’t mean we read books all day.

Learning to live without cable TV

We still have a decent amount of TV in our diet. I have to admit it’s more than I’d like, but way less than most families today. So, the question you probably want me to answer is how does our family survive without cable TV. It’s a learned “skill!” 🙂

Seriously, once you make a decision like this you’re halfway home. Another big part of it is finding alternatives to cable TV. But if you’re not careful you can replace one “bad habit” with another, like too much computer or smart phone use. You don’t want that either.

Below are some helpful alternatives for you.

5 ways your family can survive without cable TV

  1. Get a library card for each family member. We spend a lot of time at the library, and our kids love it. We always have stacks of library books at our house. Some we’ve renewed so many times that I sometimes mistake them for our very own. You’ll be surprised how much you can be entertained from a book, and there are so many more benefits to book entertainment over TV entertainment.
  2. Get busy with extracurricular activities. Our social calendars remain pretty full throughout the year. Most of the time we just don’t have time for TV. We’d almost have to force TV watching in, and when we’ve done that we’ve usually fallen asleep, all five of us! Sign your kids up for activities, as well as you and your wife. It’ll curb your need for the TV.
  3. Get out of the house and enjoy the outdoors. The times when we have TV relapses are usually the times when we neglect going outside in the backyard, in the front yard, walking in the neighborhood, or riding bikes. Our kids get bored, we get distracted with work or social media, and our kids want to watch TV. Stay enjoying outdoors and you won’t miss cable TV.
  4. Get out the games and toys. Our generation has more “baby sitters” than we need. Our kids want to play, and they want to play with us, but sometimes we are tired, have work to do, or just need some time. That’s when the baby sitter of cable TV or other devices comes into play. Instead of allowing the TV to babysit your kids, get down on the floor and play with superheroes or Barbies with them. Pull out some board games and play a game or two.
  5. Get a steaming video service like Netflix. We have family movie night almost every Saturday without fail. It’s our family’s TV time. It’s great because we have hundreds, if not thousands of movies, episodes, and documentaries right at our fingertips. We don’t have to go anywhere to rent a movie, and every show on Netflix is included with our very low monthly fee, which is about $100 less per month than what we paid the last time we had cable.

Whether you’ve cut the cable or not, all of the above can be a great way to spend time with your family. But if you decide to cut the cable, they’ll be some great alternatives that’ll help you deal with the first few days, weeks, and maybe months of cable TV withdrawal.

Enjoy your cable free life, and better time with your family!

Have you considered cutting your cable TV?

photo credit: Theophilus Photography via photopin cc

The Happily Married Couples Community on Facebook

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • We ditched cable years ago. When I go over someone’s house and we sit to watch something, it reminds me that I’m missing nothing!

  • Jon Beaty

    We dropped cable TV about 8 years ago. Can’t say we miss it. We too have used Netflix and Apple TV, but don’t watch near as much TV as when we had cable, don’t miss the commercials, and don’t know how we had the time for it. Our lives have been filled up with better stuff to do.

  • Pingback: Friday's Family Friendly Finds {October 3, 2014 edition}()

  • Tawnee Hinton

    We have been without the cable channels for quite a while now. I think its an excellent decision, especially for those with young children. Cable doesn’t provide much value to a young mind. Yes, there are educational programming, but they are interlaced with inappropriate commercials and advertisements for other inappropriate shows. However, there is still more “babysitting” with electronics than I would like. Like you said…its easier to binge watch when you have it all at your fingertips, anything of interest, mostly commercial free, and easy to change to something else if you don’t like what you are watching. But i think its a good first step. Hopefully more families will cut the cable and get outside and be a family together. Thanks for the post.

  • natedw

    I found that when we ditched cable we began to watch more shows and spend more hours in front of the TV. The reason — with on demand, we would be willing to try other shows that we wouldn’t normally watch because they air at the same time as other shows. We had to be more deliberate with choice to watch TV or find another alternative.

    It is always easy in the summer when it is light till 10pm and warm. The Challenge is when its dark at 5pm and in the 30-40s here int he PNW during fall and winter.

    BTW — I am a Hulu Plus, Netflix and WatchESPN on the Apple TV to compliment my beautiful rabbit ears user.

    • I’m with you, it’s so easy to binge watch, especially without commercials. We fall “victim” to that from time to time.

      You are right we have to be more deliberate with our choices. Thanks for sharing, and the “rabbit ear” user club is a pretty good club to be in! 🙂

  • We haven’t had cable (it was actually DirecTV for us) for about 4 years. It is amazing how we almost never miss it. We use Netflix and have “rabbit ears” for local channels (which we watch maybe twice a month). We are outside more, we read more, and we spend more quality time as a family together. Great post!

    • Yes, we are all too familiar with the rabbit ears! 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Adam.

  • We actually cut cable a few years ago. Originally it wasn’t so much to help family time as it was to help with debt. $9 (netflix) is a whole lot better than $60+. I’m a lot like you though, I wish we had even less TV time or not one at all, but I know our family isn’t ready for that. We are about to have our 4th and I don’t know if my wife can handle 4 at home without a little distractions now and again 🙂 Thanks for the article Jackie, as usual, very well done.

    • Thanks, Parker. That was a big part of our decision as well, money. It didn’t make sense for us to spend money on cable, which meant less money available for paying down debt, or putting money toward reaching other goals. Plus it’s a big time waste and divisive to family time. Thanks for sharing!

  • Absolutely love this! My wife and I have been without cable since before we got married 4 and a half years ago. We still watch several of our favorite shows and like you said still know what’s going on in the world. I don’t think I ever want to have it back. My life is so much better without it. I read more and do more than I did when I had cable. Best decision ever!

    • I’m with 100% on that! And now we don’t have to be looked at funny when we tell people…well at least not as much as we used to! 🙂