How I got rid of Sky and saved thousands of euros

‘In blissful ignorance €60 spirited itself out of our bank account and into Sky’s every month’

It is the easiest €3,000 I have ever saved.

I haven’t looked back since the day almost five years ago when I cancelled my Sky subscription but kept access to more channels than there are hours in the day to watch them.

It might sound like a dodgy “get rich quick” online ad, but such a cost-saving may be right in front of your nose as you read this.

We had first signed up to a Sky television service when we moved house back in 2006. The Chorus satellite TV guys came around and said a signal could not be picked up in our new neighbourhood, so we were happy when Sky said they could hook us up. They duly fitted us out with two Sky boxes, a loop to a third television from one of them and a satellite dish at the end of the garden. For many years we happily watched whatever channels we wanted upstairs and downstairs. And in blissful ignorance €60 or so spirited itself out of our bank account and into Sky’s every month.

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But as time went on little annoyances began to creep into our relationship with the television provider. Their customer service department kept contacting me and threatening to cut off our service because one of the boxes was not hooked up to our telephone line (it was but they couldn’t tell that it was). Through this connection they had hoped to sell me extra pay-per-view services. Eventually they left me alone about this issue, but the trust was gone. I asked them, but they flat out refused, to give me, a long-standing customer, the discounts and offers afforded to people signing up for the first time. This really got to me.

By the time 2013 came along, I was well and truly resentful of the €60 monthly bill. A simple cost-benefit analysis prompted me to phone Sky and cancel the service. So did we resort to playing Pontoon and charades every night instead? Of course not. In fact, we barely even noticed. We continued, and continue to this day, to enjoy all of the free-to-air channels piped in through the Sky dish and into the two boxes that we got back in 2006. So that’s all the main BBCs, ITV, Channel 4, Sky New, CNN, Channel 5, and many more. We even kept the “Red Button” service that is not available to Irish viewers in certain cases.

In the meantime we have acquired a Samsung smart TV in a January sale for €300 and signed up to Netflix for €6.99 a month (which is now €9.99 per month). We do not have the Irish channels through the Sky boxes, but we get what we need by streaming them on the players and by plugging the laptop or phone into the television.

By the end of 2018 we will have saved about €3,600 and, subtracting €300 for the television and another roughly €400 for Netflix, we have saved the guts of €3,000 by simply lifting the phone and saying “please cancel my subscription”.