Day 1 of the No Cable Experiment

I will preface this post by saying that no, this is not some lame April Fool’s Day joke but is instead the first step on a crazy journey towards frugality.

Ben’s office has the dreaded “L” word circulating – layoffs.  With a baby imminently on the way (3 and a half weeks to go!) and my paycheck about to be drastically reduced for the next 3 or 4 pay periods, we decided that we needed to get serious about how and where we spend our money.

A quick no brainer that we’re dumping effective immediately is our gym membership.  Sure, it helped me stay in shape during my pregnancy, but when am I going to be able to use it again to get the maximum value out of it?  Maybe when I get to that point we’ll look at rejoining. $$ Saved: $106/month.

I have to be honest, Ben surprised the hell out of me with this next one.  Cancelling the AT&T U-verse service that we have was akin to sacrilege.  NO TV IN THE HOUSE!?  Say it ain’t so!  Well, we had an honest discussion about it and realized that most of the stuff we watched weren’t even first run programs.  In hindsight, we were using the TV as an excuse not to get other stuff done because it was so easy to get sucked into a half hour or hour long program.

Here’s our list of reasons we cancelled our cable programming:

  • We have a great patio, back yard, and fire pit that we don’t enjoy as much as we should.
  • We have the nation’s top library literally in our back yard – unlimited books, movies, music, audiobooks, and other stuff are right at our fingertips.  Anything we need we can request.
  • Who needs a gym and a tv when we have two legs apiece, two dogs that need exercise, and a baby in a stroller on a beautiful Ohio evening?  (Ok, even I admit that one’s a stretch, but it could happen).
  • We were eating dinner in the living room basking in the glow of the tv running NCIS reruns.  We are actually reclaiming the living room.
  • NetFlix can deliver almost any tv show or movie that we can watch on our time – even better than a DVR.  Lots of shows are available on Hulu.com, too.
  • There are a TON of small projects around the house that we’ve been procrastinating working on.  Eliminating cable = eliminating an excuse to get it done.
  • Seriously, how much tv time are we going to have with a newborn on our hands?  That’s what I thought.

So yeah, we’ve given it quite a bit of thought and have taken the plunge.  I have to admit that it felt like we were doing something dirty or forbidden – how DARE we not have cable?  Tonight is the first night – I finished up my baby shower thank yous while Ben played some XBox.  Can’t say that I’ve really missed watching NCIS reruns.  $$ Savings: $85/month.

I’m sure those of you who know me well are thinking ahead to August and the start of football season.  Fear not – we have a plan!  First, the Steelers games are broadcast on the radio here in Columbus on 103.9 WTDA.  The cool thing about it is that the feed is the official Pittsburgh Steelers broadcast and has all the Pittsburgh playcallers.  Second, we can always go visit Ben’s parents with the baby for any of the locally televised games.  Any non-televised games  can be viewed at my parents’ house – they have NFL Sunday ticket.  I’m sure both of our parents would love to have the baby for four hours on a Sunday afternoon.  I’m still trying to figure out my game plan for the Sunday, Monday, or Thursday night games but will cross that bridge when I come to it (or can see the schedule as it’s released).

So, are we crazy or are we crazy?  Only time will tell… I’ll keep you all posted on whether we go nuts from not having cable.  ~k

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Allison
    Apr 01, 2009 @ 21:47:53

    Uhh yeah you’re crazy 😉 I would sell my own eggs and plasma before I even considered getting rid of the cable but that is just me. Seriously, I would have gone insane during my maternity leave without the tv. I had my hands full with a baby so I couldn’t mess with the computer. I needed something mindless to watch when I was up at 2 am, 3 am, and 5 am nursing a baby. But then again, I think I watch a lot more tv than you guys do. Crossing my fingers that things are ok with Ben’s job!

    Last night wasn’t too bad – pretty much business as usual. We notice that the TV *really* sucks our time on the weekends. If I can ‘reclaim’ 10 hours of TV time a week I’d be pretty darn happy.

    I have season 1, disc 4 of Criminal Minds en route to my house through NetFlix. I love that I can pop it in and watch an hour-long episode in 43 minutes by cutting out the commercials. Plus, we can stream a lot of NetFlix tv shows and movies on demand to Ben’s XBox. I figure that will get me through some 2AM feedings. We’re also looking into ways to get the desktop connected to one of the TVs to allow us to watch stuff on Hulu. We’ll figure it out… somehow. I’ll keep you posted on the crazy level!

    Reply

  2. DarcsFalcon
    Apr 02, 2009 @ 00:03:38

    Plus, NFL.com airs some games too. Just a thought.

    Oooohh, I didn’t know they aired games. I thought they just did the players moving across the field thingie. I’ll definitely have to look into their TV schedule when it’s released. Does NFL Network do the same thing?

    I’ll be saying a prayer that the dreaded L word doesn’t become a reality for you guys.

    We appreciate all the thoughts and prayers. Hopefully it doesn’t become an issue for us. Ben is pretty unique at his job in the fact that he can fill dual purposes – a programmer *and* a phone consultant. If they let a phone consultant go he could easily pick up some of their workload in addition to getting the programming done. This is more of a gut-reaction on our part; we need to start being more like the ant and less like the grasshoppah.

    Reply

  3. DarcKnyt
    Apr 02, 2009 @ 00:12:34

    Praying things don’t go south for you guys.

    Much MUCH appreciated.

    And NFL.com will at least provide the play-by-play if not the live games, but i think the Sunday/Thursday games are live.

    W00T! I wonder if NBC airs the Sunday night games. I *will* miss getting my weekly fill of John Madden, you know.

    Reply

  4. claire
    Apr 02, 2009 @ 07:41:02

    When we lived in Hbg we only had basic cable — 9.60/month — and something like 14 channels. It was the network stations plus foodnetwork, blurry fox news and a “fake” weather channel…oh, and maybe the city council station. 🙂 I totally survived. Will you still get network channels with digital signals?

    Well, right now we’re not even looking into getting the digital converter box since we rarely watch the basic channels. The only thing I’m worried about is when severe weather hits and we’re stuck in our basement. We can always tune the radio to the ABC radio station, I suppose. Most of the network TV stuff we can watch on Hulu if we really want to.

    Honestly, I spent a ton of time outside with Emily on my maternity leave. In the shade on our patio, taking long evening walks, and just enjoying the fresh air and moving around!

    That’s the plan for right now. I figure that she’ll be arriving home right in the middle of the prettiest time of the year. Ben has some outdoor projects that he wants to tackle this spring / summer and we’re looking forward to bringing the pack & play outside in the shade. I’ll probably need to take frequent walks around the neighborhood just to stay sane 🙂

    Good for you for being practical. Those extra $200/month just might come in handy! I’m praying for you both — on the job front, the money front and the baby front. Sometimes you have to make hard decisions and it sounds like you guys are operating like a great team.

    Being practical sucks sometimes, but hey – I’d rather do this and ‘suffer’ now so that we’re able to send her to college without having to take out loans in 18 years.

    Thanks for the thoughts and prayers on all fronts – we’ll keep you guys posted!

    Hugs!

    Reply

  5. Sherri
    Apr 02, 2009 @ 08:41:29

    Can’t wait to see how it goes for you guys. The tv is my husband’s only source of entertainment, so I don’t see how he would let that go. I love the idea of stripping down to bare essentials…DH? notsomuch.

    Honestly, I was FLOORED when Ben suggested it but it makes so much sense. He had to explain to the AT&T lady why we were cancelling service – no, we’re not unhappy, but we have a baby on the way, etc. etc.

    My goal is to trim at least 10 hours of TV viewing time and reclaim it. That’s 2 hours a night during the weekdays and doesn’t even take into account weekend time, which is when we watch the most. It will be fun to see what we get accomplished without it.

    Good luck with the job thing. 🙂

    Thanks! Hopefully it doesn’t come down to Ben getting laid off, but you always have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Cliche, but true.

    Reply

  6. whatigotsofar
    Apr 02, 2009 @ 08:57:15

    You’re not crazy yet. I think the having no TV will cause craziness to occur. What television does is it provides families the ability to spend time together without actually having to interact with each other. Eventually, people will get on each other’s nerves.

    Hmmmm… interesting concept.

    I can certainly speak from experience here. When there were fewer TVs than people in my house, a lot of craziness happened. But as long as there has been as many TVs as people, each family member can always retreat to a different television. Right now in my home, 3 people, 3 TVs. And the calmness and relaxation abound.

    We have 2 people and 4 TVs. Does that make us domestic bliss?

    Reply

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