Could you live without your TV licence?

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The TV Licence Fee has risen yet again this April, increasing to £154.50 per annum.

It’s one of those things that a lot of people see as a necessary expense, and that the TV Licensing enforcement people make you think you absolutely must have or risk prosecution and expensive fines.

But do you really need one?

Let’s look at what the BBC state that the Licence Fee pays for:

“The fee you pay provides a wide range of TV, radio and online content, as well as developing new ways to deliver it to you. In addition to funding BBC programmes and services, a proportion of the licence fee contributes to the costs of rolling out broadband to the UK population and funding Welsh Language TV channel S4C and local TV channels.

The licence fee allows the BBC’s UK services to remain free of advertisements and independent of shareholder and political interest.”

At the new rate, paying for a TV Licence will set you back £12.87 per month.

Put more simply, when you pay for your TV licence, you get permission to watch and record live television and use BBC iPlayer. That’s it. If you ARE using those services then you absolutely need a licence, but if NOT or if you think you could do without them, it’s worth considering cancelling your licence.

We haven’t had a TV licence for 7 years, which means we’ve made a saving of at least £1000 and I can honestly say I don’t really miss it! We do often use streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, but many people use these as well as paying the licence fee, so ditching it can still be a complete saving.

Related: Frugal Living Tips to Save Money Everyday

You might be thinking:

“But don’t I need a TV licence anyway if I’m watching any kind of TV?”

Not necessarily.

Common misconceptions TV Licensing would probably like you to believe:

  • If you have a TV you need to buy a licence
  • If you watch TV via Streaming services such as Netflix you need to buy a licence
  • If you use Catch-Up/On Demand services such as All 4 you need to buy a licence

These are NOT TRUE.

You only need a TV licence if you want to watch LIVE TV as it is being broadcast. Streaming services such as Netflix have their own subscription charges which have nothing to do with TV Licensing, and Catch-up services such as All4 are free to use (they make their money via adverts.)

You DO, however, need a licence if you are going to use BBC iPlayer.

Positives for not having a TV Licence

Save nearly £13 per month

Watch things you really want to watch, (don’t just put the on the TV and end up distracted for hours watching things you weren’t necessarily all that interested in anyway.)

You don’t need to give up TV to give up your licence – you can watch most programmes free online using apps like All4 or My5. If that’s not enough you can also pay for streaming services such as Netflix or Amazon Video which cost less money and have plenty of content. Netflix even includes a lot of BBC content anyway!

Downsides of not having a TV Licence

Can’t watch any live TV (at home at least!)

Can’t use iPlayer

Alternative ways to get your telly fix

A lot of sporting events are shown publicly in places like pubs and gyms, so if you’d already be visiting these, you don’t have to miss out. Many employers will also have a TV Licence, so you could even catch up at work during your lunch break!

Amazon Prime Video is £5.99 per month which gives you access to thousands of TV shows and movies. If you upgrade to full Prime for £79 a year you also get free delivery when you buy from Amazon, which is great if you do a lot of shopping there. It’s also worth mentioning that if you’re a student, both Prime and Amazon Video are discounted.

Netflix also offers a huge library of Film and TV content and starts from £5.99 for a Standard Definition package.

The benefit of using these kinds of services is that you can watch what you want to watch, when you want to watch it. You don’t have to wait for a specific time on a specific day for it to come on telly.

Even having BOTH of these together can still cost less than the TV Licence and they offer tons of TV and Film content, with no adverts! Not convinced? You can try either of them out with a one month free trial, and cancel anytime.

Still undecided?

You might be thinking that actually, you really enjoy the live BBC content and don’t mind paying. That’s completely fair enough! Maybe the cost justifies it for the live sport you’d miss, or you couldn’t live without being able to see The X Factor each year. It’s completely personal and you need to weigh up whether the savings outweigh the benefit. If you feel like it’s worth it for you, keep it. But if you can happily live without it, why not save the money?

For me, much as I really do enjoy watching The Apprentice, I can live without my Sugar fix to keep my £154 in my pocket.


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Do you really need a tv licence?


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  1. I do watch alot of Iplayer and listen to radio, Im not sure I could do without the TV license. Thanks for joining #Mondaymoney

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