Late in 2011 I cut my Internet at home because I realized that by the time I get home from an entire day at the office, I rarely want to sit on my laptop or ipad anyway. After I did this, my neighbor said I could have the password to his wireless and use it whenever I like. He works night shift so we're rarely home at the same time and I wouldn't be using it enough to slow him down anyway. I felt bad at first but he assured me that he paid for it anyway, he'd like it to be used as much as possible. Score one for me.
The best part about that has been that one of my closest college guy friends, Eric, lets me use his Netflix account. E has always looked out for me and for that I'm grateful. He sent me his log in a while back and said 'use it and abuse it'. I have loved having it...watching TV shows that no longer air on my ipad in the bathroom while I'm doing my hair and makeup in the morning is the absolute best!
Ok time to reel myself back in here. This post is supposed to be about my decision to cut back. So in January I decided it was time to cut the cable. I know some of you are feeling very upset at this idea but before you think I've let my budget run away with me...I stopped to pay attention to how much TV I was watching and over the course of a month I averaged about an hour a week. That hardly seemed worth $85 a month (over 1K per year). I didn't want to watch MORE TV just to get my money's worth either.
I kept it through the end of March since at the time I still had a roommate and I wanted to give her fair warning about my epiphany. I turned in my cable box March 23rd and wanted to wait at least a month to report back how I'm feeling (since I found out through twitter several of you were thinking about making the same cutback). Number of times in the last 5+ weeks that I have missed having cable: 1. There was one Sunday afternoon where I had the urge to watch a Lifetime Movie but realized I don't have Lifetime anymore.
One time in 5 weeks! This makes me wish I had either never gotten cable to begin with or gotten rid of it way before now. I feel more productive than ever. I'm crushing my reading goal which I recently raised from 50 books for the year to 60. Honestly, I'll probably even beat that. I feel really good and not like I'm missing out on anything at all.
You can watch most current shows online, if you want. Netflix is brilliant. And I do get a TV fix here and there while babysitting (when I'm getting paid to watch TV, instead of paying to not watch it at home). It's worked out really well for me!
I realize this isn't a cutback many of you would be willing to make and I certainly wouldn't push my ideas on anyone. I have plenty of guilty pleasures from laying out to skittles so I'm in no place to tell you that you shouldn't watch TV if that's your thing. What I realized, for myself, is that I wasn't really gaining anything positive from it and I could list at least 20 things I'd rather spend a grand on.
If you've been mulling over this idea and think you're in the same boat as me - then go for it! There are plenty of worthwhile things to spend that time doing. Such as, you ask? Well...
1. Facetime with friends
4. DIY projects
6. Get outside
And I find that if you really want to spend a couple hours on the couch, you can always get Redbox for $1. Even if I did this every single Sunday I would save over $80 a month. That's my kind of math.