Burks on… Cutting the Cable

About a week ago we cut off our cable television.  I had been hounding Zac about it ever since college football season ended, and he finally got tired of hearing me fuss about it and agreed to cut it.

And because this is what Cole looks like whenever we turn on the TV.

Notice the slack jaw, the vacant stare, the complete lack of awareness of me taking his picture.  And try not to notice the dirty floor.

Being without cable is nothing new for me.  I grew up without cable television.  Yes, I was that weird kid who had no idea what anyone was talking about.  I didn’t get Beavis and Butthead or Ren and Stimpy references.  I didn’t know anything about anyone’s latest music video.  I couldn’t salute your shorts, or anyone else’s.  I felt like I was literally in a pop culture vacuum.

Hm.  That might be why I have immersed myself in pop culture and news and social media over the last ten years.  I have this innate need to be connected.  I love knowing the latest funny TV show quote or reference, I like being on the forefront of social media trends, and I fill my head with inane trivia.  This might be the reason why.

Moving on.

We have had Uverse for the past couple of years and really loved it.  It never went out in a storm, the channel lineup was great, and the customer service was excellent.  We have been through many cable providers, and Uverse was by far the best.  The full cable package plus high speed internet ran us around $170 a month, though.  While that is a good price, for a family who watches an hour of television a day at most, it is a bit ridiculous.  I found myself relying on DVR and Hulu+ to catch up on my TV shows anyway, so instant viewing wasn’t really something I needed.  I can watch New Girl or Modern Family the next day at work while I am pumping, or Gossip Girl the next evening after the kids go to bed.  There’s always something to watch on Hulu+ or Netflix.  There are kid shows galore, documentaries, comedies, dramas, reality shows, anything we might want to watch.  And spending $20 a month for subscriptions to Hulu+ and Netflix is very much preferable to the $170 a month we were spending.  We kept the high speed internet, so our monthly savings end up being around $90 a month.  That’s two tanks of gas for me.  And I go through a tank of gas a week.

Cutting the cable has become a popular choice nowadays, and for that I am glad.  Not only is it helping families like ours save some money in a still-struggling economy, it might even be encouraging kids to get outside and play on nice days or to pick up a book and read if it’s raining or cold.  Instead of plopping down for an episode of Fresh Beat Band or Yo Gabba Gabba with Cole to unwind at night, we put on our sneakers and go for a walk around the neighborhood in search of dragons to slay.  If it’s raining, I break out the butcher paper and crayons and we draw or practice our letters.  We have also been able to introduce Cole to some of the kids shows that we grew up with, such as Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood or Spiderman and His Amazing Friends {Cole’s favorite}.

For me, though, it’s more about the money savings.  Some months our budget is razor thin, and I’m always looking for ways to cut back without cramping our already meager lifestyle.  I’m not willing to give up dinner at a restaurant once a week, but I am more than happy to do without a cable subscription for TV that we don’t even watch much in the first place. I’m looking forward to seeing that money that went toward the cable bill go into our savings account.  Paying for TV that we never watch seems silly to me.  Month after month of flushing money down the drain, never to get it back.  For nothing.  I could no longer justify it.

But Rachel, what about college football season?  How will you watch the games?  It is my hope that instead of having to watch Auburn games on television, we will be attending most of the home games this year.  We had season tickets for the 2010 season and would have had season tickets last year, except I was heavily pregnant in early September and had a newborn for the rest of the football season.  We managed to make it down for the Iron Bowl, but this year we are hoping to visit the Plains for a few more home games.

Overall, I think that cutting the cable is a good move for our family.  A hundred bucks a month might not seem like much, but some months it would really help tremendously.

Have you taken any drastic measures to save money in your household?  Do you have any tips to share on ways to cut costs and put more money away for a rainy day?  Please share in the comments section!

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