How we cut the cable cord

I used to work for the cable company.  Cable is awesome and Dish is icky.  When I stopped working for the cable company I got a rude awakening to retail cable prices, and suddenly cable lost a bit of its shine.

Even when we had to start paying for our cable, internet, and phone (it was a very rude awakening), it seemed like we couldn’t live without it.  To make things worse, we had the cable box with DVR so we never had to miss “our” shows.  We justified it because we never went out to the movies, or on expensive dates, and we didn’t have kids at the time so we weren’t neglecting more important responsibilities.  It was just a way to unwind at the end of the day.  Still, we were spending A LOT to unwind.

I actually called a couple times trying to cancel, but my heart wasn’t in it and I gave in to their retention tactics.  I mean, these were former co-workers I was talking to.  If I cancelled would my friends be able to feed their families?  So, the lure of a few free months of movie channels and an internet upgrade kept me locked in to cable. Then, our daughter was born.

After baby came along our priorities totally changed.  Not only did we not want her to end up sitting in front of the TV (although I think kids are born knowing who Elmo is), we wanted to force our creativity a bit in the entertainment department.  Maybe, gasp, read a book?  Or, a walk from time to time?

It took some time to work up the guts to call.   E was 10 months old when I finally made the decision that I wasn’t going to be swayed.  I only cancelled the TV because we did use our internet all the time and couldn’t guess our neighbor’s Wi-Fi password, and we kept the phone because we wanted people who came to babysit to be able to call 911 if the need arose (it never did, but it was kind of like insurance…worth it for the one time you might need it).

After I cut the cord, I actually felt lighter.  I no longer felt this invisible commitment to watch everything on our DVR before I erased it, or burdened when I would open it up and see that it was almost full with “Top Chef” reruns from a season I never watched in the first place.  Of course, there were a couple shows that I missed at first, but we found some of them on Hulu.com so we could still watch whenever we wanted (for FREE).  The shows that weren’t on Hulu weren’t worth the money we were paying each month for cable, so I let them go.  I mean, it is just TV, but it still wasn’t easy.

We got an HDMI cord so we could connect our computer to our TV and still watch shows from Hulu on the bigger screen.  We also didn’t end up watching as much TV, so we did more actual stuff.  When we moved earlier this year we stuck with our “no cable” mantra, and didn’t even call for internet until after we’d lived here for a couple months.   We signed up under a promotion they had for the first year, and we didn’t get a phone line put in because we only use our cell phones, so we pay $25 per month for our internet when our combined cable/internet/phone bill back in the day was over $150.

One reason we kept our landline at our prior house was so babysitters could call 911. We’ve found, in living here, that we take Bugaboo to other people’s houses for babysitting instead of having them come here, and for the one day a week when my mother-in-law watches her we got a pay-as-you-go phone that costs $2 per day on any day you use it, but there’s no per minute charge on those days.  She doesn’t have her own cell phone and we also wanted a way to get in touch with her when she was at our house.  So, she can use the phone whenever she’s here and even if she used it each time she watched Bugaboo (which she doesn’t) it would only cost us $8/mo instead of $20/mo for a landline.  As is, she only used it once in January, so it cost $2 this month.

Now that we’re in a house instead of condo, we put an actual antennae on the roof and get regular public broadcast stations.  It still gets blown around from time to time with the wind, so Hubs goes up and adjusts it every once in a while, but I hear that happens from time to time with Dish and ours is free (the antennae cost $20, but no monthly fee).  And, there are way better shows on public broadcasting than I thought.  We get about 70 English speaking channels, but there are way more that we could get if we spoke other languages.  There are cooking shows, crafting shows, sports channels, and Sesame Street, and all free.  Granted, I miss TLC and Discovery Channels from time to time, but I wouldn’t have time to watch “my” shows anyways now that my time is preoccupied with my little one.

If you’ve thought about cutting the cord and need a pep talk, I’m happy to chat and tell you all the things I’ve done with the time I used to watch TV.

Life opened up when I broke up with cable.

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