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Our family has been a cable-free household since 2013. We were those weird people who said adios to our DVR before it was common. The decision to eliminate cable from our budget was not a high and mighty decision. In fact, my husband and I were both a little distraught to know that ESPN and HGTV would not be available as our source of entertainment. It wasn’t until our access to House Hunters was removed that we experienced the true benefits of cutting cable. Throughout the years we noticed several benefits to having less tv available.
We saved some serious money.
Our reasoning for getting rid of cable was strictly because our monthly insurance costs skyrocketed. We knew that even with our school district’s “raise” we would still be bringing home $150 less each month. At that moment I knew that there had to be a way to cut $150 out of our monthly budget. Both my husband and I were not willing to slow down on our debt snowball, so something had to give. That something was cable and the luxury of DVR. Before we canceled our bill, our monthly payment was over $120 each month. We decided to replace cable with Netflix and Hulu which costs us about $20 each month. So when all was said and done, we saved ourselves from spending an extra $100 each month.
We talk more.
I’m a tad embarrassed to admit how often our tv was on during the evening (and let’s not even talk about summer break). It was the first thing to be turned on after work and wasn’t turned off until it was time to head to bed. A lot of times it seemed like the tv was just background noise and our world went on around the tv. I didn’t think much of this until it was off a lot more. When you’re not talking over an episode of Friends or waiting to tell about your day during a commercial, you can share so much more! My husband and I found ourselves having longer and more meaningful conversations not just with each other, but also with our children. Like I said, I’m not proud of the fact that the television was practically a member of our family, but I figure that if it happened to us, then it can happen to other people as well.
We read more.
I love to read, but sometimes I can forget just how much I love it. It’s honestly a lot easier to turn on the tv and watch a show at the end of the night because it’s pretty mindless. You don’t have to think too much and it’s easier to multitask while you watch a show. After we canceled our cable, my husband and I began reading much more. We would head to the library and check out books. We would lay on the sofa together each evening reading our own book. Not only was it fun to have a reading partner, but it helped get my mind off work at the end of a rough day. There hasn’t been one tv show that helps me stop analyzing the actions of my 10 and 11 year old students! Reading helped me leave my world and problems behind and focus on something else. TV never let me do that!
We go outside more.
It’s so easy to stick your kid in front of a television after dinner and let them chill out on the sofa until bedtime. I’ll admit that sometimes this is what we do because we all need to rest our bodies. I did notice that when we cut our cable we started going on family walks more often. In fact, they turned into a habit and became a nice way to wind down from our day! Our children love to ride their bikes or go in the wagon for a walk around the neighborhood. We enjoy playing with the soccer ball outside before we start our nighttime routine. Since DisneyJr isn’t an option for entertainment, our entire family is more willing to get outside and enjoy time together.
Our kids want less stuff.
I never noticed just how many commercials I was exposing my children to! Big companies know how to sell to children. I have no doubt that our kids would want more toys and video games if they were seeing commercials every day. Honestly, I remember growing up and begging my mom for toys that I saw on commercials. Our kids really don’t do that because if they watch a show on Netflix or Hulu, they don’t ever see commercials. The only time they ever beg us for a toy is if we are in the store or they see a cool toy at a friend’s house. And let me tell you that I am perfectly fine with living with fewer toys in my house!
You can still watch tv.
Don’t think that if you cancel cable you should throw out your tv completely. You can still get access to local channels with an antenna that you install on your roof. They aren’t super expensive and are easy to install. This way if there is ever an emergency (or you are desperate to watch a Sunday football game) you can still watch local channels in real time. There’s also an option to stream from Netflix and Hulu. We pay less than $20 each month for both Netflix and Hulu, so I consider that a win!
Overall, our family time has increased when our cable bill decreased. We pay more attention to what is important in life, spend more time together, and don’t miss cable one bit. So what are you waiting for? Do you think it’s time to cut the cable cord?
Need more tips on saving money? Read 14 Inexpensive Fun Fall Activities, How to Save $1,000 Fast, and 24 Frugal Tips to Save More Money.