This is a guest post from my good friend Jeff at Sustainable Life Blog while I am off in Spain on vacation. Jeff wrote one of the most in depth guides to cutting cable available, and shares his tips here for Personal Profitability readers.
6 years ago in 2009, I was staring down what I considered a mountain of debt. Between credit cards, a car loan and student loans, I owed more money than I was going to make (before taxes) for the next 2 years. I wanted to get out of debt, and knew that there was no time like the present. It was time to start cutting expenses.
Digging Out of Debt
I was working two jobs at the time (to pay down my debt) and while having extra income helped, I also started looking at ways to cut expenses. After thinking about my situation and at first thinking that there were a few things that I didnt want to cut, I started being honest with myself and how often I'd use certain things. I was out of the house by 5:15 am and didnt return until usually after 8pm. I didnt spend much time at home, so there wasnt a lot that I really needed to live.
One of the first (and what I thought would be most difficult) things to go was cable TV. I simply could not justify it anymore. I was awake for all of about 2 hours when I was at home, and a lot of that was spent picking up the house or trying to make a few meals ahead. I simply didnt have time for TV watching, and if I did, there were some online options like Hulu that I could use when I needed to turn my brain off and watch TV.
After I cut the cord, it wasn't all about paying off debt though. I used most of my income to pay off debt, but I kept a portion of it for fun so that I'd be able to complete my debt payoff journey in a reasonable amount of time (It took 5 years). I saved up about half of what I was spending on cable TV every month, and was able to take a nice vacation to Atlanta with my girlfriend (now wife) with the money we would have spent on cable. We ate at a fancy restaurant, enjoyed the tourist attractions and the water park – all with money that we could have spent on cable over the last 2 years. I dont know about you, but I certainly got more value from the trip than I would from 2 years of cable. From my experiences, I wrote a guide on how to cut cable that goes over everything you can do to stop paying the cable company and still watch most tv shows.
Life After Cable – Cut The Cord
After cutting cable, I wondered what else I could lower the expense of and not mind one bit and I immediately thought of my cell phone. I was paying $80 bucks a month for a non-smart phone, and just wasn't getting the value from it. I switched to a smart phone for about the same price, and the service was OK but not great. Never satisfied to be paying what I considered too much for service that I wasn't using all that frequently, I went looking around for better options, and found them. I moved to Republic Wireless, a discount carrier that charges 25 bucks per month for unlimited everything, which was a pretty sweet deal.
Even though I've cut over $200 per month out of my budget, I don't feel any of the pinch because I cut in areas that I don't particularly care one way or the other about. This has led to me saving thousands of dollars (on TV, phones, and more) over the last 5 years, and my lifestyle has not changed one bit. It's a lot of money. So is there anything in your life that you are paying too much for and not using at all, or that you are using frequently but could be paying less for?
Find out what those are, and cut them. Once you've found the savings, I suggest sticking it in a “dream” saving account. Think of something you've always dreamed of doing, and use the money from things that you were paying for, but don't care about, to fund your dream.
What is your dream that money is holding you back from? Share in the comments below.
Get the FREE Personal Profitability Playbook
Earn more, spend thoughtfully, grow your wealth, and live a better life through mindful personal finance.