Getting Rid of TV

February 25, 2010 by  
Filed under The Little Things

Old TVAll television is educational television.  The question is:  what is it teaching?  ~ Nicholas Johnson

Interesting Idea

I was in a meeting a couple years ago with the Creative Director of a local design firm. While engaging in getting-to-know you talk he mentioned that their family didn’t have cable.  It was very casual, not a “we’re better than everyone because we don’t have cable” = more a matter-of-fact comment.  It made an impact on me because I hadn’t heard of anyone doing this.  I had taken as fact that everyone has cable and that’s just the way it is.

It got me thinking.  I always had TV growing up and really enjoy “vegging-out” while watching my favorite shows.  Plus, with the invention of DVR, television wathcing couldn’t get better.  You can record your favorite shows, watch them when you had down-time and fast-forward through the commercials.  It is the perfect setup.  With little to no effort, entertainment on demand.

Saving Money

My husband and I have been talking about ways to save money and get better at sticking to a budget.  Between the Internet, cable & DVR services, we were paying around $150 a month to Comcast – or just under $2000 a year.  When you look at it that way, that is almost what it would cost to take the family on a nice little vacation each year.   After discussing it, we decided that cutting cable & DVR service would be a great way to save money.

Influence of Media & Waste of Time

I will be the first to admit that sometimes getting the kids going on a show is my saving grace.  It keeps them occupied and allows me to be busy with other things.  Therein lies the problem.  They are occupied in something that does little to build skills.  Because television is such an easy way to keep you entertained, it is an easy thing to turn to. 

I think as a society we have become desensitized to the evils of the world.  It is not uncommon to watch a show in which they have to bleep out words right and left or blur inappropriate images.  The overall content and subject matter of programming is more crude, in-your-face, sexual, violent and overall a waste of time. 

Cancelling Cable

It has almost been 3 weeks since we took our DVR cable boxes back to Comcast.  Honestly, it was really difficult at first.  In fact, after the first week I called Comcast and ordered the the bare-bones, local channels package.  It would be 6 days before they had time to come get it set back up.  After thinking about it more throughout the week, I decided that this is the time to do it.  Cold turkey, while the kids are young.  I called them back the day before installation and cancelled it again.

So Far

So good.  We haven’t completely cut media in the home.  We still let the kids watch movies from time-to-time.  We have a Netflix account and will usually stream a video on the weekend.  We have also tried a few times.  These options still allow you to have that “veg-out” option, but require more work to get going so we are far less likely to gravitate to it as a simple way to be entertained.  They are also much less expensive than cable and with, free!

The kids have spent more time playing with their toys.  We are spending more time as a family.  My husband and I spend more time as a couple.  There just seems to be more time to get to the day-to-day things as well as the other things I have always wanted to do – like read, or create a website about cool ideas and things that make me happy!

Tips to Reduce TV Viewing

  • Fill the time normally spent on TV with more rewarding activities
  • Create a TV schedule
  • No TV at dinner and other meal times
  • Cover your TV
  • Get rid of extra TV’s
  • Move TV into a remote location and rearrange your furniture
  • Disconnect your TV
  • Cut the Cable or Satellite Subscription
  • Skip all commercials
  • Just watch movies

References & Additional Resources

Nothing makes me happier than saving money & having more free time.

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