Two years ago, my husband and I made the decisions to give Cable TV the boot. We were tired of spending $100 month to have 500 channels and end up watching something we weren’t remotely interested in, because there was nothing to watch, but there we were in front of the TV. We were already paying for Netflix and Amazon Prime and had a Roku and high-speed internet, so we added Hulu and dumped Comcast TV.
The transition was pretty easy for me. I watched most of my favorite TV shows through Hulu or CBS.com. The ones I couldn’t find, I didn’t like that much anyway. My husband suffered from some news withdrawals, having become a news-watching junkie, but eventually adjusted, realizing most of what he watched could be caught on YouTube. In the end, we found we spent much less time in front of the television and much more time together or reading. Another perk is that we went from paying just over $1,350 per year for programming to paying just under $375 per year.
Earlier this year, my husband retired. When the weather was nice, he was busy working on our vehicles, mowing the lawn, and improving the house. I started to notice, however, that on rainy days, he took up residence on the couch with the Roku remote. My daughter, who is 21 and living at home, has been training to join the Marines and working part-time. On the days my husband wasn’t occupying the couch, she was. Or at least it felt that way!
At the time, I worked from home full-time. I still work from home 2-3 days per week. The speaker for the TV points right at my office door, which makes having the TV on a MAJOR annoyance during working hours. Either my office door had to be shut all day or I had to be willing to listen to whatever they were watching. Needless to say, that frustrated both them and me. I also found myself resenting their relaxing while I was hard at work paying the bills. A little petty on my part, I know, but that didn’t chance how I felt.
So… Last month, I threw out a suggestion… “What do you think of cancelling the Comcast internet and getting rid of the TV?”
That started an interesting discussion. We started with… Since we have 40 GB of data on our cell plan, and all of our devices allow mobile tethering, do we really need to pay for both Comcast and AT&T? But that means we’re limited to 40 GB right? That means less video watching right?
We moved on to the TV discussion… Do we really need a TV if we all have phones, tablets, and laptops? Do we still need the Blue-Ray player? What about all our DVDs? How would we watch a movie?
After an hour, we decided we should give it a try. If we were miserable without Comcast internet, we could always get it back. We had nothing to loose.
It’s been three weeks, and we’re slowly getting used to it. We’ll probably be a little over on our data this month, but we’re getting better a keeping an eye on it now that we aren’t connected to Wi-Fi at home. We are once again making choices to stop watching TV shows we watch more because we can than because we really want to. We’re spending more time in the kitchen cooking together. We’re spending more time talking and making music together. (My husband and I finally have the time for him to teach me how to play guitar!) We’re having conversations about what we’ve read rather than talking over what we’re watching.
At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, do you really care if Sabrina is going to tell Michael she’s really carrying Carlos’s baby (General Hospital)? Does it really matter if Emma can stop the Dark Ones and win back Hook (Once Upon a Time)? Do you really care how the Jeffersonian and the FBI solve the latest murder (Bones)? All of them are distractions that take you away from deepening your relationships with family and friends; they are distractions that drain your wallet and your time. What could you be doing if you weren’t watching the latest season of the Walking Dead? You only have so many heartbeats… How do you want to spend them?