It has been over 3 months since we pulled the plug on cable. How are we doing?
First, a Recap
You may recall my first post about television being a problem for us when we implemented TV-free Tuesdays at our house. That worked well for a very short time, and then we began backtracking by switching the date around to coincide with nights we already had plans out of the house (how convenient!). Then we just started skipping it altogether. We were not getting anywhere closer to our goals of being more productive and intentional with the way we spent our time.
In a burst of self-control, we decided to break our addiction by getting rid of cable altogether, saving about $100 a month. Warren started learning Spanish, I was reading more books and cooking healthier meals for us, we exercised, and we began to socialize more. You can watch our video update from 6 weeks in here.
3 Months and Counting
Right now we are just over 3 months and we’ve noticed some things.
- We are still socializing more than we did before on weeknights and weekend days. A big plus!
- We’ve come to rely on Netflix far more than we did before, and if we were truly committed we would likely cancel our membership. But we’re not there yet (I mean, seriously, we just finished watching Dr. Who season 4 tonight, and we haven’t even made it through Arrested Development yet!)
- We spend more time online – both of us. Sometimes side by side.
- We do have more time for hobbies and outside interests. There is no way I could have completed the 3-Day Novel Contest over Labor Day weekend if we had cable. Besides his Spanish lessons, Warren has been able to take his photography up a notch and even start organizing them online.
- Now that football season has started, Warren watches the games and catches updates on his laptop. We also have friends who have invited him over to watch games, which he has done a couple of times.
- I’m becoming very fond of Hulu for watching television shows online. But one thing I have noticed is that the sitcoms do not translate well for me. I have given up watching those and instead catch dramas like House during my lunch break.
- When the Ken Burns documentary about the National Parks came out I was sad to not have cable to watch it, though I can’t think of any other television program that has made me feel the same way. And of course I can watch that on DVD when it comes out.
- I’m still a little worried about how this will affect my pop culture IQ, but I don’t really know how my life will be diminished by not knowing who the next American Idol favorite will be or how those crafty CSI folks always get the bad guys.
Our goal in giving up cable was to have more time for the things we wanted to do and save more money for the Big Trip ($300 so far). Even though we have filled some of the cable gap with online and Netflix options we are still making progress on our goals. We plan to put the house on the market in the spring, and we will likely give up television completely when we move out and into our temporary housing. That will be the final break, and I think by then we’ll be ready for it.
I’m really amazed at how easy it has been in most ways to give up cable but how hard it is to give up watching television altogether. To my friends who have been TV-less for years, I salute you. To those who watch too much and want to cut back, know that it can be done but it will be tough. Like going on a diet, almost. You know eating healthy is good for you, but sometimes you just really want a bag of fries. Sometimes I just really want to watch Dr. Who.
Have you ever tried to stop watching television or give up another daily habit? What helped you change your ways?