In my personal experience, cutting the cable is easy as long you can change your viewing expectations somewhat.
We had Dish Network satellite for several years. When we moved, our housing expenses went up and satellite wasn’t in the budget so we had to abandon it. Instead, we have Netflix, both streaming and their DVD service, and Amazon Prime. It’s rare that we want to watch something and it’s not available on one of the three services we utilize.
However, the catch is that 1) we have absolutely no use for sports and thus have no need or desire to watch games. If we did then we’d pretty much be screwed. 2) Ditto for new TV shows. We don’t watch Game of Thrones or The Good Place or Survivor or similar vintage TV shows and have no interest in doing so. We’ve utilized Netflix DVD’s for old shows like Home Improvement and early seasons of The Simpsons. 3) Related, we don’t watch “tv shows” much at all, instead we almost exclusively watch movies. There’s a few movies that Netflix doesn’t have, for those I utilize a local movie rental store (which I’m aware is something of a vanishing breed). If push comes to shove I’ve not yet found a movie that cannot be found on DVD used on Amazon or eBay for a couple of bucks. The few shows that I do miss (like PBS programming) I could get if I ponied up for an antenna, which have become laughably cheap—my dad got one for his HDTV for $10 at Harbor Freight and it works great.
Now we have a “smart” TV with built-in apps, including Pandora. If I want background noise while I’m home alone I just turn on the TV and bring up Pandora. I’ve never been one to have a TV show on just for background noise.
Ultimately, your viewing habits will decide how painful cutting the cord will be. If someone (like digs’ BIL) is addicted to sports, AFAIK there’s no (legal) way to get the plethora of sports programming available through satellite and cable providers without paying for it. For us, we simply don’t watch enough TV to make even the $10 for an antenna worth it.