Skip Nav
Self Improvement
45 Life Lessons Written by a "90-Year-Old" Woman
Travel
22 Airport Hacks to Remember Before Your Next Flight
Budget Tips
30 Wedding Favors You Won't Believe Cost Under $1

Cost of Cable Continues to Rise

Cost of Cable Continues to Rise: Are We Wasting Our Money?

There was a time when cable was one bill I didn't pay because I simply chose to go without it. I was living in an apartment that didn't have a comfy living room, and I wasn't home very much, so it seemed silly to pay for something that would go unused. My living arrangements have since changed, and my couch is so comfortable that it really does call my name at the end of a long day. And cable? Well, let's just say I'm hardly stranger to LC and Audrina, Serena and Blair, Tom and Padma, Heidi and Tim, or Vinnie and E.

Cable is hardly cheap, especially if you're paying for Internet on top of your cable bill, and there's no sign of these bills going down anytime soon. In fact, it seems the opposite is happening. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that cable prices have gone up 77 percent since 1996, and The New York Times points out that cable customers pay an average $60 bill and watch only a fraction of the channels they pay for.

The Times article wonders why more people aren't just watching their favorite shows for free online, and while it certainly seems like a feasible alternative, I enjoy the ability to watch my favorite shows with a group of friends. Are we wasting our money on cable when we have Internet at our fingertips, or is it a justified expense?

Around The Web

POPSUGAR, the #1 independent media and technology company for women. Where more than 75 million women go for original, inspirational content that feeds their passions and interests.

Join The Conversation
hihowareya hihowareya 7 years
Yar, my boyfriend too kinda relies on the sports channels that cable provides, specifically NESN. I've never had the luxury of cable, and I'm discovering the wonders that the Internet has in terms of sitcom, movie, and other watching opportunities. So, if we end up living together soon, that's something to consider...I never knew sports could be such an expensive interest (between cable bills, tickets, memorabilia, etc.)!
Row-D Row-D 7 years
I keep telling myself to call and pull the I can't afford it routine as suggested above. I just hate dealing with the cable folks. Its all such a sham isn't it? Why isn't there more public outcry? I have to admit.. I watch a fair amount of channels, and I have DVR AND HD. So imagine my cable bill!!! Ok, I'm calling them this week. =)
mjane79 mjane79 7 years
I've watched some network shows online but, even though I have high speed internet, it doesn't always play smoothly. Most of the things I watch are on channels like TLC, Discovery, etc. that aren't on their site or cooking shows like Food Network. I'm in the bottom of the apartment building and can't get good reception from an antennae either. I think cable costs way too much but I enjoy watching TV. I could give TV up if I had to but right now, even though it is so expensive, I can still afford it. I've looked at ways to cut other expenses first, mainly things I don't use as much as cable.
bsglrok132 bsglrok132 7 years
I don't have cable, I just catch my shows online. TV is frustrating because so much time is wasted on commercials...I would never pay so much for that.
MindayH MindayH 7 years
Interesting. I feel like cable is a major expense...however, I love network tv, the daily show, the colbert report, and bravo shows and the $8 a month for dvr, really makes a difference on sick days and when the weather is crappy. I am moving soon, and am going to see how long I can go with only getting internet and watching tv online, but my guess is not more than 2 months.
notyard22 notyard22 7 years
Cable bill these days without the internet is still very high. But I cannot do without cable. Well....I probably could, but don't want to lol!
Lawrah Lawrah 7 years
My husband and I haven't had cable in 4 years. People think we are on planet mars. We find ourselves more productive and we make a point to watch network TV on Thursdays. I just can't justify adding $60 more a month for satellite or cable. Most of the content we like to watch is either available online or on PBS.
shanimalcracker shanimalcracker 7 years
Most of the shows I've been watching lately are on ABC and I can stream them, but at the same time, it's just not the same as watching it on tv at the time it's scheduled. And I definitely do love watching E! for the random shows it has. I've never had to deal with paying for cable since I lived in the dormitories my first two years of college and then in my sorority house for the third year. Now, I'm spending my year after college and before more school at home where the bills are taken care of. I DO have to start thinking about if I'm willing to pay for cable next year though. Eek.
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 7 years
That's another good point. I think people would be surprised how many channels (and how clear, too) they could get with just an antenna! Hello, free!
Beauty Beauty 7 years
I don't have cable. I just refuse to pay $60 a month to watch TV. When I need to watch a show, I either fire up my HDTV antenna or watch cable shows online. I just can't imagine spending $720 a year (plus tax!) on TV.
alikat07 alikat07 7 years
I haven't actually ever paid for cable. I normally watch shows I like online - before that I just waited for them to come to Netflix. I guess if I was desperate to watch something I could just go to a friends!
supercoolnat supercoolnat 7 years
My husband and I actually made the decision about a year ago to cut back from "standard" cable to "limited" (basically the same as antenna channels) in an effort to save money. We got lucky, though, and the cable changed our rate without ever changing our service. So shhh, don't tell anyone, but we've got a super discount. Of course that also means that if we ever decide to upgrade to digital for our new giant HDTV, it will be a big hit in our wallets.
deanna024 deanna024 7 years
My husband and I watch the networks and maybe 8-10 channels other than that, but we pay more than $50 a month. I get no better service today or no extra channels today than I did when we first signed up 3 years ago, but my bill has gone up like $8 in the mean time. Whatever happened to the plan some lawmaker was proposing about us only paying for the channels we want instead of like 50 we don't?
RosaDilia RosaDilia 7 years
I need to part with my cable for as much as i'm dreading it. I have no other choice. I'm currently paying $163 for the "triple play" deal. I think I'm just going to keep the internet hookup instead and let go of the landline and cable.
freegracefrom freegracefrom 7 years
I don't have cable tv or satellite tv anymore myself. (We do have cable internet though - priorities!) We were having tough financial times about a year or two ago and we cut all of our expendable expenses, including tv. I am a TV junkie so it was difficult, but I still watch all my favorite shows online. I get local news from word-of-mouth or online newspapers. We're in a better place financially now, but we're still not going back to cable anytime soon.
ilanac13 ilanac13 7 years
if my cable bill was ONLY $60 i would be happy but it's soo much higher than that now. hte frustration too is that there's only one provider that i can choose from in NYC right now so i can't even bargain shop.
em113 em113 7 years
cable is clearly a rip-off, but I cannot live without sports channels during college basketball season (Nov-April) Nothing makes me happier than watching my team play and that's just the bottom line. Espn Basketball = Me Happy. So I'll continue to put up with the ridiculous prices.
gigill gigill 7 years
I split a cable/internet/phone bill with 4 housemates so it's affordable. I barely use the cable though since I download everything onto my computer. I hate "making a date" with a tv show, plus they are just behind on everything here in the UK. I think I could go without cable now that I've gotten the hang of torrents.
shakila shakila 7 years
I have pretty basic cable, and my bill is a little over $60/month. I've often wondered what the trade off would be to substitute say, Apple TV for cable. I'm rarely home and watch maybe 6 hours of TV a week. But there's the added equipment cost. I'd love to see a guide for alternatives to cable TV.
hotstuff hotstuff 7 years
Cable is one of the biggest rip offs EVER! They charge way way way too much money. They aren't producing and directing all these shows! They are just streaming programs to thousands off of one feed. The way we are getting riped off by the cable companies disgust me. And most times its almost a monopoly there isn't much of a variety to choose from to get cable. Also they should let us pay for the channels we want. I think its a big mess!
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 7 years
Girl, I boycotted cable a long time ago! It is so much fun to cancel your cable and turn all the equipment in. You save SO much money over the year. If you think you cant cancel it, just remember you can always watch your favorite shows at a friend's house, on youtube, at the gym or at a bar. Also, back when I had cable, I used to call and pretend to drop my premium channels, saying that I couldnt afford it, and they would lower my bill AND throw in an extra premium channel or two. No lie. Even the slightest threat of canceling your cable will lower your bill, I have no idea why but they hate to lose customers. I think it is 'bad for their books' or something, but I have no clue what the really means...
ALSW ALSW 7 years
We love the baseball package from DirecTV. And I love channels like Discovery or Biography. It would be cheaper to just watch shows for free or just watch network tv, but we love them!
melizzle melizzle 7 years
I've been cable-free for years. Sites like hulu have made it easy to still enjoy my favorite shows without dealing with an extra bill.
gabiushka gabiushka 7 years
We don't have cable. We watch movies, read, go for walks, visit friends...even though I do would like to watch those trashy shows occasionally, I don't want to pay to get "stupidized". So yes, cable tv IS a waste of money, most of the times I can go trough their 100 whatever channels and I don't find a single one worth watching... maybe the music channels...when they actually play music.
aimeeb aimeeb 7 years
I pay $106 for cable/internet/home phone. I had to go with their "triple play" or else I was going to be getting screwed. To boot I barely watch past 57.
Latest Career & Money
X