I don’t have cable television.  That’s such a simple statement, but I often get very strong reactions when I tell people that I don’t get HBO, CNN or Bravo.  It’s as if I were telling people that I don’t breathe air.  First, I get the incredulous look (eyes wide; mouth open).  Then I get the question: “How do you live like that?”

Cable television has some real status in our world.  We worship that little black cable box and the remote that controls our lives and our leisure time.  I gave up cable television years ago.  Now, let me be clear.  I have a TV and I watch it on a regular basis.  I have certain shows that I enjoy and watch regularly.  My current favorites are Glee, Modern Family and Cougar Town (ignore the title; it’s better than it sounds).  I have an antenna and a digital converter box so that I get shows free over the airways and I love, love, LOVE hulu.com (I would highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t heard of it).  I also make good use of the netflix.com subscription.  So if I enjoy TV, what’s my deal with cable?  I don’t have cable because it’s costly to me in several ways.

1)      Cable is expensive! It really is.  How many channels do you actually watch?  I realized that of the hundreds of channels that my cable company offers me, I watched somewhere between five and ten channels.  When you do the math, it’s often not worth the cost.  Many people who complain about living paycheck to paycheck and say that they can’t seem to save money are spending hundreds of dollars a month on cable.  And the cable company wants you to pay for everything, don’t they?  The cable box, the remote control, the DVR.  They leave no piece of equipment uncharged.

2)      It’s not a “want” that I would miss. When we talk about money management, we talk about our “needs vs. our wants.”  Our needs are the things we must spend money on to live our daily lives ,e.g., food, shelter, clothing, transportation.   Wants are the luxuries, e.g., morning coffee, designer handbags, movies.  We should all know which expenses are needs and which expenses are wants.  I’m not here to tell you that you shouldn’t spend money on wants.  That’s no fun!  But find out what’s worth your money.  There are some wants that I’m happy to spend money on.  I love brunch with friends, the occasional cute pair of shoes and my blackberry.  But I just don’t need all those channels for all of that money.

3)      It would take away from more productive activities. I want to point out that not having cable is not just a financial issue for me but it’s also a quality of life issue.  I am one of those people who can get completely sucked in by a good movie.  It doesn’t matter if I’ve seen the movie 100 times.  I can have the best laid plans for the day, but if a movie that I love comes on (Dirty Dancing!), I’m glued to my couch for 2 hours.  And don’t let another movie from my childhood come on after that.   In other words, I have little self control when it comes to watching hours upon hours of mindless television.  And that’s not good for my quality of life.  I don’t feel good about myself when I have watched TV all afternoon instead of going out and enjoying my neighborhood and the world around me.  Limiting my channels and programming choices takes away temptation and forces me to live my life away from my sofa.

Do I think YOU should give up cable?  No.  I don’t know you so I have no idea if that makes sense for you.  And I’m not writing this because I believe all people should give up cable.  Maybe you love your sports channels or your news channels.  Maybe TV is the best way for you to unwind after a busy day and you like having many options when it comes to which shows you watch.

But maybe there is something else in your life that is costly in more ways than one.  How about the weekly happy hour that empties your pocket but also adds some extra pounds?  What about the shopping habit that makes you fear your credit card statement but also adds clutter to your life and increases your dependence on material things?  Are there costs in your life that are expensive to you in more ways than one?

Kimberly Allman, Esq. is a financial planner and the President of Allman Financial Planning, LLC where she assists individuals who are seeking to improve their financial health.  She is also the Manager of Homeownership Preservation for the New York Mortgage Coalition where she provides assistance to homeowners in distress through seminars, informational workshops and one-on-one counseling.  She started her career as a corporate lawyer where she advised clients on a variety of investment products including hedge funds, mutual funds, structured products and real estate investment trusts.

© 2015, Shalena D.I.V.A. – Personal Branding| Content Marketing| Product Creation. All rights reserved.


  1. ShalenaD.I.V.A on June 8, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Kim, I would love to try some of these other services. I think I pay way toomuch for cbale. Excuse me, I shoudl say, my man pays way toomuch for cable. We always watch the same channels. I watch no more than 10 channels top. Tahnsk for writing this post. I have to check out hulu.com

  2. Kim Allman on June 8, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Thanks Shalena. I would definitely encourage you to check out some of the other options. But I also realize that giving up cable is not for everyone. Using hulu.com and other online services is certainly not the same as just turning on your TV and watching a show when it first airs. But I hope my post gets people thinking about what they are spending money on and whether some of these things are really worth the expense.

  3. Quiana on June 25, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    I can so agree with this! I don’t have cable tv for the very same reasons. It is both financially and time-wise expensive. When I did have cable, i only watched maybe a handful of stations and my kids only watched a few too. And if a Law and Order, Good Times, Martin, The Cosby Show or anything on the Food Network marathon came on, then my whole day was spent in front of the TV instead of otherwise living my life. Now that I do not have a cable subscription, I get a lot more things done. I am studying my Bible more, talking to more friends, going out more and finishing my household chores at record pace, instead of procrastinating. I reap all of these benefits and don’t have pay Comcast a cent! Thanks for writing about this.

  4. […] TV.  Anyone who read my previous post on cable television knows how I feel about all those channels.  It’s not a necessity.  […]

  5. Friendly Christian on November 9, 2010 at 12:23 am

    I really appreciate the article about “no cable”. I’m not at home all the time and when I am I have more to do than sit in front of the tv. I was also tired of the lack of quality service therefore I decided I won’t pay for it because 1. I resent being forced to use cable for reception 2. I never understood how the bill kept growing. Now I don’t have cable but I do own a tv. My children purchased my tv about 2 years ago as a gift. They felt my old tv was outdated so they got together and bought the infamous HGTV. I simply asked them to give me money and let me go where I want and do what I want. They never listen. My son uses my tv more than I do and he uses my DVD too, which he purchased for , guess, my birthday. Wasn’t that sweet?! (sarcasm).
    Anyway I’m protesting against comcast and the systems that be. I’ll go to my favorite place, the free library and check out dvd’s when I feel so inclined to be intertained via tv. I limit this activity to Saturday. Now that I may be working on Saturday that may change to a different evening off because in the day time I have business to conduct. Besides I want to write books and return to school and that’s the way I choose to spend my time and money. The money I don’t use for cable will be applied to a credit card bill. I like the idea of feeling and being empowered and I love my own self direction. So I’m on a tv diet I gain time and money and loose absolutely nothing. Thanks again for sharing your story.
    Friendly Christian

    • ShalenaD.I.V.A on November 9, 2010 at 7:42 am

      I knew you’d like this article, Friendly Christian. KIm offers other money saving tips in her other articles, You should check them out. Kim gives great advice.

  6. Michael on May 5, 2011 at 11:35 am

    No. I have to have ESPN and NFL network.

  7. Nadtz on May 5, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Wow if its not available i could survive….but willfully i dont think i can….!

  8. Rochelle on May 5, 2011 at 11:36 am

    I dont have it either*im pretty much gone with my church*with my daughter*at the gym*& then i fall alseep during the movies*& best of all its one less bill i have to pay*that means NEW shoes*hahahahaha*

  9. Debbie on May 5, 2011 at 11:37 am

    If I Didn’t have it I could not watch TV At All. No Gospel nothing. So for me to not have it I may as well not have A TV In My House. And The Company know This.

  10. Shalena D.I.V.A. on May 5, 2011 at 11:37 am

    @All- according to Nielsen, the company that tracks tv viewing and spending, they say that African Americans watch 72 hours of tv per week! That’s almost three whole days of tv—yikes!

  11. Kelli on May 5, 2011 at 11:38 am

    I have not had cable for about 6 months now. It keeps me from being a couch potato (which I would totally be) and it helps me keep David in line and controlling what he watches. We do watch alot of DVDs. I will get it again eventually, but for now I am good. I catch up on shows through the internet if the mood hits

    • ShalenaD.I.V.A on May 5, 2011 at 12:06 pm

      Happy belated birthday, Kelli!

  12. Felicia on May 5, 2011 at 11:39 am

    It’s tough without cable!! I told myself I would save the money, I lasted not even a month!! Lol, now that my son is bigger he has to have Sponge Bob!! 🙂

    • ShalenaD.I.V.A on May 5, 2011 at 12:07 pm

      @Felicia—Awww!! Spongebob is a hot mess; him, Patrick and Squidward—LOL! He’s so cute though.
      @MsDebbie—Where do you live?

      • Felicia on May 5, 2011 at 12:34 pm

        And my son says he’s Spongebob & I’m Patrick!! Hmmmm *side eye* lol 🙂

        • ShalenaD.I.V.A on May 5, 2011 at 12:36 pm

          @Felicia—Patrick!!!!!— bbbwwwwaaaahhhhhh LOLOLOL!!! I guess he means well because Patrick is Spongebob’s best friend. LOL!

      • Debbie on May 5, 2011 at 12:35 pm

        A little Town Outside Chicago.

        • ShalenaD.I.V.A on May 5, 2011 at 12:36 pm

          @MsDeb–and you gotta ta pay for everything on tv? WOW! I thought you lived in London. They have to pay a tv tax.

          • Debbie on May 5, 2011 at 12:40 pm

            I don’t watch any mess on tv. And Diva. CHICAGO. is A Rip Off.and Get This When We Moved in this Place. We was Getting Free TV. Until Some People Moved in Next Door and Put Their Own Sitedlight Dish Big Enough To See Mars. Lol I Should Have Known when My Dog would Bark when he heard or Saw The. Lmbo.

  13. Rochelle on May 5, 2011 at 11:39 am

    I was a couch potato*i purchase gospel music*benny hinn broke me out of gospel TV when he didnt show up and do any healn durin ALL our latest catastrophies(i guess the stage got broke)i want church i get my butt up and go 2 GODs HOUSE*ALL m…y neighbors r n2 movies*u name it they get it*orders gospel movies 4 me*when i think about it*what did our ancestors do without these things*kids dont play cause they n front of a tv playn games that kill folks*nothing educational*so life for me without tv is a blessn*to each his own i know*but im joyful about it*N i love these new sandles & my new usher uniform*n the fit my grandson needed for the prom*i paid for my gdaughters hip hop classes*helped by my other gsons basketball shoes &pay his dues*all with saved cable TV MONEY*so no i dont miss cable tv*i replaced it with more of GOD..YUPPPPPPPPP

  14. Laticia on May 5, 2011 at 11:54 am

    i live w/out cable!!!! i’m not a tv person, i read more books than anything, online, too. when im not doing that, im in the kitchen cooking or baking, or outside w/ my 5 kids, trying 2 show them there more to life then T.V.!!!!!!!! 🙂

  15. Nicole on May 5, 2011 at 11:56 am

    We have cable in all our rooms including my bedroom and I hardly ever watch TV anymore, now every blue moon I get on a OWN kick, but that’s rare.Yeah I could do without it!

  16. Elana on May 5, 2011 at 11:57 am

    I don’t have cable and I’m just fine. It’s just another bill.

  17. Tabby on May 5, 2011 at 11:58 am

    I dont have cable! Too busy for Tv and like Elana says it’s just another bill

  18. Karen on May 5, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Good for you, you have other things to do. When I was working on my Masters I made the decision to have my cable disconnected bcause it was such a distraction.If other people got theirs disconnected they might b able to accomplish somethings.

  19. Kim on May 5, 2011 at 11:59 am

    I love all the comments! People are really serious about their cable! I work with individuals who are overspending and when I mention that they can cut expenses by getting rid of cable they look at me like I’m crazy. One woman said to me, “what am I supposed to do with my spare time?” I can think of a couple things…

  20. Wilnet on May 5, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    I must admit, I do like having cable yet I haven’t had it for 5 years, been travelling
    I have it phone and mini yet still don’t watch it much

  21. Marian on May 5, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    in the summertime its much easier we are outside most of the time outhere then no tv at all

  22. Mike on May 5, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    I forgot, You have Four way to view your TV, The old Antenna way with a device, Cable, and Satellite Disk and Internet TV. Or no TV at all. Your Pick.

  23. Diane on May 5, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Its know big deal Shay sometimes I wish I didnt have cable girl because its so much junk comes on it its like they don’t make good movies anymore. and when it storms here it blows our cable out. and you still have to pay for it. some things are better off not having.

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