In Getting a Grip on Your Money, I emphasize the importance of getting control of our finances and simplifying our lives. Part of this is reviewing fixed costs in the household budget. These are the costs that recur each month, no matter what you do. Two good examples are house and car payments. You can’t skip a car payment because you didn’t drive the car much during a given month!

But what about your cable TV bill? Many people have come to regard it as a utility that they have to pay, just like the water bill or the electricity. It is a fixed cost, too, in that you can’t skip paying one month if you don’t watch TV.

If your finances are in good shape and you have decided you like your current cable TV service, fine. But if you’re seriously trying to improve your finances and simplify your life, think hard about the role that TV plays in your life. Many people find they’re happier if they watch less TV and do more of other things — reading books, taking walks, just spending time with special friends.

If you decide to watch less TV, you can seriously consider pulling the plug on cable. The chances are good that you can get multiple good-quality television signals using an over-the-air antenna. You could even consider pulling the plug on TV altogether — and many people report positive results from this! — but you might try pulling the plug on cable first.