Budgeting Post-Baby: Cutting Cable

June 2, 2015


Having a baby has a way of making you seriously re-examine your budget. You start to think about the little luxuries you enjoy every day and then realize the money spend on those luxuries could (and probably should!) be going toward more important things your child’s college fund. Although we felt we were in a position to have a baby, when we sat down to re-evaluate our budget post-baby, it was a big wake-up call to make some changes. We are no longer DINKS (you know, Dual Income No Kids?) and spending/living like we are is a thing of the past.

So, that said, I’m planning on doing a mini-series on the site in the coming months to examine how we’re adjusting our budget for baby and cutting costs while still managing to live well. Our first target for cost savings? Our pesky and over-priced cable bill.

Yes, we finally did it, we cut the cable cord! We’ve been talking about cutting DirecTV for a couple years, but the sticking point for us was always ESPN. But when we realized that we were spending $115 a month on cable, something needed to change. Our solution? We signed up for SlingTV (not the same as Sling Box) through Dish Network. Sling TV can be accessed through your internet TV or an internet TV stick, like a Roku, which we got free when we pre-paid for three months of Sling TV.

You plug in your Roku, download the SlingTV app and for just $20/month you get access to streaming of about 20 popular channels, including ESPN, ESPN2, HGTV and Food Network, to name a few. We’ve been SO impressed with the quality of the streaming and the ease of accessing our favorite channels. Plus, I love that you can by month-by-month with the option to add additional channel packages based on interests. In the fall, I anticipate that we’ll add the sports package (which includes SEC Network, ESPNU, etc.) for a couple months, which costs an additional $15/month. No matter the way you swing it, we’re saving over $1,000 over the course of the year just by making the switch.

Additionally, we share an extended-family Netflix account for streaming movies and TV shows and we pay for Hulu Plus as well, which costs $8/month. And access to the basic channels like ABC, NBC and CBS? Those are free with a digital tuner!

A few notes about cutting cable:
-You need to be 100% committed to cutting the cord. When we called to cancel, DirecTV offered to reduce our bill by a paltry $10/month. But, about an hour after cancel our service we got a call from DirecTV’s retention department offering to give us our current package for $60/month for 12 months, plus a $200 Visa gift card and NFL Sunday Ticket for free. Tempting, but we stuck to our guns and passed on the offer. (Hint, doing this might be a good option if you want to keep cable but are trying to reduce your budget!)

-Even with SlingTV, we’re going to have to do without some luxuries like being able to record the shows we want to watch at a later time. However, most of that can be remedied by going online to Hulu Plus or Netflix and finding the show we want to watch. Not nearly as convenient but costs savings frequently mean a trade-off in convenience.

-We’re hoping that by cutting cable we will spend less time watching mindless TV and more time reading, spending time with Ainsley and getting outside. We have said it’s not only an investment in cost-savings but an investment in another way of living, and I like the sounds of that.

Old Budget
DirecTV $115/month
HuluPlus $8/month
TOTAL: $123/month or $1476/year

New Budget
SlingTV: $20/month
HuluPlus $8/month
TOTAL: $28/month or $336/year


I’m excited to continue this series on budgeting over the next several weeks. I have a few awesome guest-contributors who are going to weigh in on things like hair and salon visits, food and groceries and events/activities!


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  • Reply Emily June 2, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    I just moved to Canada, and so a lot of these options actually don’t work for me, and cable is extremely expensive here. So, I actually use the slingbox which I set up at my moms house (with her permission), and so I’m able to stream her DirectTV in Canada which is awesome. I also have Netflix, but the Canadian one isn’t great so I change my DNS so that I am able to have access to the American Netflix.

  • Reply Morgan Lampp June 2, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    We are doing the exact same thing! It is nice to be able to see cost savings displayed, so thanks for that. We have a 10 month old and feel same way about all the extras.

  • Reply Jana Antil June 2, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    Madison – thank you so much for sharing this post! We are buckling down on our budget with baby coming this September and we know our DirectTV cost is a huge issue. We pay $140+ a month and we barely even watch it! Honestly, the main reason we keep paying is because my husband is a huge Denver Broncos fan and I really don’t want to deprive him of watching the games every Sunday from the comfort of his own home. Especially since the baby will be so little, I would hate to miss out on family time because he would have to go to a bar/restaurant to watch. When I saw that you are able to get the SEC package – it really made me think. I am wondering if you can get the NFL package as well. I am going to look into this! Thanks!

    • Reply MadisonMayberry June 2, 2015 at 6:25 pm

      You should totally check it out! I know for certain we are going to get the “sports extra” package this fall for three months so we can get SEC TV and ESPN U, and I”m guessing there are also some channels specifically for NFL games. Having ESPN was a deal-breaker for us, so this was huge. 🙂

  • Reply Courtney June 2, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    For a 1-2 minute investment/day, there is a way to get HuluPlus free too. Sign up for Bing Rewards and just use it as your search engine. Get 1 point for every 2 searches on your PC (up to 20/day) and mobile (up to 15/day) and just click on the header every day for a few other easy clicks to earn bonus points. You can redeem 450 points for 1-month subscription to Hulu+ (420 once you earn gold status). It’s not too hard to get to 450/month, even if you only do the PC searches. If you come to the end of the day and haven’t earned your 20 points, just click on a few “related searches” in the results to get to your max. I actually usually cash out for $5 Amazon gift cards, but know people who just do it enough to earn their Hulu subscription for the month.

  • Reply allisonramsing June 2, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    I cut cable out after a year of living in Oregon. I’ve found that I have so much more free time to read or be creative (and of course I still watch Hulu too!). I’d never heard of SlingTV so thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Leah June 2, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    Hey Madison-thanks for the great post! Do you need a special TV to use Sling TV? I guess I’m a little confused on how this all works!

    • Reply MadisonMayberry June 2, 2015 at 6:24 pm

      Hi Leah! You don’t need a special TV, as long as your TV has an HDMI plug-in in the back (most these days do!) When you sign up for Sling TV, they will send you a free streaming stick (such as a ROKU or Amazon Fire Stick) that plugs into that outlet and connects to your home internet. We got ours free because we pre-paid for three months of Sling TV service, but you can also buy a Roku or Fire Stick on your own! The Roku also gives you access to Netflix, Hulu Plus, etc. It basically makes your TV an internet TV. 🙂

  • Reply Rachel @ louloubelleblog.com June 2, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    How wonderful! We keep having this discussion but haven’t pulled the trigger!!! Thanks for the review!

  • Reply Andrea June 2, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    We cut the cord too! We have Sling TV and have occassionally paid for a month of HBONow (I think it’s $15/month) I couldn’t live without DVR though and realized most of the shows I recorded were on network TV so we have TiVo which is maybe $15/month. So it’s not free, but much less than DirectTV!

  • Reply Amanda June 2, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    The fiancé and I are about to be *official* DINKS and this totally resonates even without a baby!!! ESPN is also our deal breaker, so it’s fantastic to know there IS an option! Thanks for sharing, Madison!

  • Reply DessertForTwo June 2, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    What a fantastic series!! While I was in the hospital, I caught a few episodes of Extreme Couponing. It’s my new thing to help with our budget. I know you and Joe eat like we do (real food only), and it’s hard to find coupons for that, but I am! It’s great! Let me know if you ever want tips 🙂

  • Reply Kelly June 2, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    Thank you for posting this!! We have been without cable for two years now as we have been pinching pennies to build a house. Our house is almost complete and my husband assumed we’d hook up cable again to actually be able to watch college football at home this season… I however have been dreading the price that comes with that cable hook-up… I love this idea and I can’t wait to tell him about it!!!

  • Reply Hilary June 3, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    Who do you use for an internet provider? Our cable and internet are packaged. Thanks!

  • Reply Mindy June 4, 2015 at 3:59 am

    We haven’t had anything other than network channels for years. No Netflix, no Roku, no nothin’. I don’t miss any of it one bit. We cut out almost everything that wasn’t a necessity after our first kiddo. I don’t even own a cell phone. We’re now a single income family with three little kids. I stay home full-time and wouldn’t have it any other way. The budget is tight, but the bonds are tighter.

  • Reply Bridget Black June 8, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    I LOVE this series, Madison! Excited to hear more and share ideas!

  • Reply Becky Nobach June 11, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    Love this, Madison! We too are in the post-budget baby mode. Our daughter is 4 1/2 months and it is such an adjustment! Looking forward to this series. 🙂

  • Reply Jen July 21, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Since you made the change over a month ago, what are your thoughts? Anything you miss about having cable?

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