Cable Confessions from A Non-Consumer

by Katy on September 22, 2011 · 28 comments

My name is Katy Wolk-Stanley and I am a cable-TV hypocrite.

There is no bit of frugal advice more cliched than “Drop that cable TV!” (Okay, maybe “lose that latte habit,” but why quibble?) But these words of wisdom have never applied to me. Because, with the exception of during last year’s World Cup soccer tournament, my family has never chosen to bring cable TV into our home.

But all of that has changed. Because I, The Non-Consumer Advocate am now a cable-TV subscriber.

First of all, let me show completely disloyalty to my family by pointing an accusatory finger at my soccer-obsessed husband. Because a man who feels the need to watch English premier soccer, as well as European games is a sad man indeed when broadcast TV is his only option. First, a little background — my husband coaches soccer, as well as volunteering with our non-profit soccer league approximately 30 hours per week. He sets up clinics, attends board meetings, arranges for stocked first-aid kits, designs merchandise, coordinates summer soccer camps and countless other tasks.

So yeah, the man loves soccer.

The poor guy for years has begged and pleaded for cable-TV, but it was Netflix’s recent shenanigans that finally broke my resolve. Because it turned out that adding cable TV would only cost us an extra $20 per month, as we already have cable internet. (A deductable expense, as I am a professional blogger. 😉 ) Cutting Netflix would then bring it down to an extra $10 per month.  And then . . . my husband offered to start cycling to work and back to offset that last bit of expense.

Hmm . . . cycling to work would increase fitness, help prolong the life of our car and save money.


And that, my friends is how I,  The Non-Consumer Advocate ended up with cable TV.

Shh . . . Can’t you see that I’m watching Cash and Cari

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda in Indiana September 22, 2011 at 8:40 am

Well, I think life it abouting setting priorities about what our passions and needs are. Obviously, you are keeping your bills paid. You are raising responsible children and have all your bases covered. If cable brings you happiness and you can pay the bill, why should it matter? We all have things that bring us joy –this is obviously one for your husband! I say, Bravo! We make choices to bring or delete things in our home. As the years pass, it changes. All work and no play, makes hubby sad!!! Sounds like you have a good handle on it–Enjoy!!!!


Laura's Last Ditch--Vintage Kitchenwares September 22, 2011 at 8:52 am

This is hilarious! My sister (also quite frugal), is a thoroughbred horse racing fanatic. Now that they now longer broadcast the Breeders’ Cup and Triple Crown races on network TV, she subscribes to cable just for the weekend (or month, or whatever) those races are on, then cancels. I’m sure she’s a really prized customer.


Laura's Last Ditch--Vintage Kitchenwares September 22, 2011 at 8:55 am

Let’s hope, at least, you don’t have the stigma of a Dish Network dish on the front of your house.

Were you embarrassed? Did you you make the cable truck arrive in camouflage?


Barb @ 1SentenceDiary September 22, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Ha Ha Ha!!! I’m imagining the camouflaged truck guiltily sliding into the driveway and hoping that no one notices! 🙂


Katy September 22, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Pretending to be a donut delivery service. Cable + donuts?




Jana @ The Summer House September 22, 2011 at 9:07 am

So funny…we cancelled cable quite a bit ago but when football season hits and daylight savings time ends…we get the itch. Sow are back with cable as of yesterday. So with the 6 month cable special and canceling netflix…it will cost us about $30 a month ….well worth it for my husband who very sweetly takes his lunch to work and never complains about my cost cutting ways.


Jenny September 22, 2011 at 9:27 am

We are totally disappointed by the new Netflix as well. We cancelled the dvd service and now just get streaming. I really need to find my library card and give it a workout before we decide just to go back to cable though.


harriet September 22, 2011 at 10:07 am

Life should be about making yourself happy, not about how much you can deprive yourself of. If it makes you happy to have cable, who cares? Our DirecTV costs a bloody fortune, but my husband and I spend almost nothing else on entertainment, and he loves sports on TV and I love HBO series and Cash and Cari.


Shannon Breen September 22, 2011 at 10:50 am

I freely admit to LOVING my t.v. I have cable and really, REALLY wouldn’t want to be without it. We almost never go to a regular movie or rent movies or go to professional sporting events, so I feel completely justified in putting some discretionary money towards the television. Between my husband’s work-related stock tracking, my kids’ cartoon-y shows, and my love of History Channel and Mad Men, I think it’s money well spent.

And Netflix is thoroughly ticking me off too. They rank right up there with Facebook right now.


Sara Wolk September 22, 2011 at 11:27 am

I think it’s awesome that Dale does all of that! What a huge contribution!


Lorraine September 22, 2011 at 11:35 am



amba114 September 22, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Totally get it. I’m married to a fútbol fanatic myself. We have had cable for about a year now, after going without for 4 years. We got it when an ad showed up in the mail touting a special Latino package. Woo-hoo! Hours and hours (and channels and channels) of Spanish language soccer games. (He’ll watch the English Premiere Leagues, too.) For the 2010 World Cup, the poor guy drove 45 minutes to the Big 10 University up the road to watch the games on the big screen. He loved every second of it.

He has his fútbol, I have my HGTV (for better or worse) and the kids have their own goofy shows. I’m really okay without cable, but the rest of family does enjoy it. So it’ll stay for now.

Love reading your blog, btw.


Linda September 22, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Dear Kate, you will love the Cable! I just can’t tolerate poor quality of the internet TV. Besides, I have a 52″ Sony TV! I don’t use NetFlix or rent DVD, because my Cable has a huge collection of free movie! My eyes are spoiled by HD programs my Cable offers. I just can’t stand anything not HD! Confession approved!


Katy (another Katy in Portland) September 22, 2011 at 4:27 pm

And won’t the cable be deductable because you watch the Frugality shows? 🙂


Katy (another Katy in Portland) September 22, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Oops – deductible!


Deb September 22, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Netflix has lost their mind. They push their streaming service but the selection stinks! We totally enjoy our cable tv without shame! My employer pays for our Comcast internet, and by regularly negotiating, we manage to keep the cable affordable. Just got 1 year of HBO and Starz for free with a basic package. What’s not to love about that? I’m totally hooked on the HD tv and DVR too. IMHO, there are worse and more expensive habits out there by far!


Rachel in Portland September 22, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Our broadband is bundled through our cable, so cable is the frugal alternative (we have researched broadband options and there aren’t any others in our neighborhood). But also, all the channels we like are on cable. So, win-win.


Mindy September 22, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Too funny. We’ve only had basic cable since our first child was born. That was almost 6 years ago. For those of you who don’t understand the “basic cable” concept, it’s network channels with a few home shopping channels thrown in. If there’s a game on that my husband HAS to watch, we go to someone’s house to watch it. I haven’t seen HGTV or the Food Network in waaaaay too long. There are definitely days when I think, oh if only. But in the long run, it saves a TON of money we don’t have anyway and more channels means more time spent on my rear in front of the couch when I should be going to bed. I say cable is a waste of time and money. Of course, that’s coming from someone with neither. :o)

P.S. We recorded Modern Family last night since it was on at the same time as X Factor. And when I say recorded, I mean put the tape into the VCR and hit record. lol


Ann September 22, 2011 at 6:19 pm

We have cable here – even for regular TV. I did, however, analyze the bill and figured out we had movie stations we never watched. They’re gone now, as is the DVR recorder in my son’s room. We watch sports and food. If I could get a basic cable for ESPN and Food Network and maybe the travel channel, I’d be in like flint, as they say.


Renee September 22, 2011 at 9:22 pm

Wow. Thanks for helping me to get over my guilt of having cable, and loving the DVR. We enjoy recording what we like and watching when we want. (I miss recording Oprah and watching while on the treadmill the next morning 🙂 Also not much of a theater fan – my couch, and a $1 movie is much comfier (is that a word?) and cheaper.


Karen September 22, 2011 at 9:25 pm

A lot of us are leaving Netflix, it sounds like. We just downgraded ourselves to the smallest membership ever, and I feel like this is just an inevitable step to stopping Netflix altogether. I live very near their corporate headquarters, and our paper has been full of Netflix and their unbusinesslike decisions to charge us more for less. Pretty stupid in this economy.

I too am hooked on Cash and Cari and a couple other cable shows. These are my infrequent mental health breaks, so I refuse to feel bad about them! I do feel bad that directv has gotten so expensive, but along with going to a few plays now and then, it’s our only entertainment cost. My husband is also a soccer fanatic who loves to watch European and UK soccer, so why not indulge ourselves from time to time.


Katy September 22, 2011 at 10:57 pm

Ooh . . . “mental health break.” I like that!



darmuzz September 23, 2011 at 3:00 am

This, amusingly, came out the same week as Sustainable Personal Finance’s blog post about watching less TV and watching it on the Internet:


Sustainable PF September 23, 2011 at 10:08 am

Thanks for highlighting my article darmuzz!


jimallen September 23, 2011 at 4:55 am

Does he have any of that expensive beer and cliff bars left over from the food stamp month to eat while watching cablesoccer?:)


Linda September 24, 2011 at 3:25 am

I am still a cable free home. Much to my kids’ dismay. I just find that we would watch too much tv with cable. We have a really nice antenna that we bought about 15 years ago. I works great and we get alot of channels for free.

You husband is right about the world soccer. This year I tried to find the women’s semi-final match on tv…even the spanish channels, and could not find anything. I ended up watching it on the internet.


Barb September 25, 2011 at 6:30 am

Between living seven years in Europe AND loving American football and college basketball, I feel your husband’s pain. I could get everythng I wanted through streaming except sports. If I cant watch Bayern munich and the Redkins, im in physical pain…………it sounds like you made the right choice


Lilypad October 3, 2011 at 8:29 pm

My 10 year old son and I watch “Cash and Cari” together. We love learning about different styles of furniture etc. and I love how she repurposes interesting stuff. We don’t have a garage or a backyard at the moment but we’re sure planning on some cool DIY projects when we buy our next house. And I want to furnish it with more vintage stuff and finally get a full set of vintage china and not just the few pieces I’ve inherited. The show is making me wish we could move to one of those cool old neighborhoods she visits in Michigan! Anything like that in the Seattle area costs way too much. We also watch “House Hunters” and make fun of the horrible princesses who just can’t live without granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances, and the ugly Americans who move abroad and complain about how the houses aren’t like American houses… I am an HGTV addict, hear me roar!


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