I’ve briefly talked about before how we have given up paying for satellite service at our house. I wrote this more detailed article for my good friend, Kristin at Couponing to Disney. I wanted to make sure to share it with you too!
How Our Family is Surviving without Cable/Satellite TV
So, after my husband went through his second job change in a year for an even lower salary, we had to take a hard look at our budget. The only thing we had not cut back on was cable/satellite TV. We had the bare bones package, with DVR and an additional receiver – this was costing us $75/month. We had DirecTV and they have a great offer for those not sure if they’re ready to take the full plunge into no TV. You can “suspend” your service for up to 6 months. This is what we did – hoping that the no TV situation would be temporary until we got back on our feet.
Now, just because we aren’t paying a DirecTV bill anymore doesn’t mean we don’t watch TV anymore. Here’s how we survive:
Before we turned off our service, I DVRed a lot of my son’s favorite cartoons. Even though we turned our service off, everything on our DVR is saved (after all, it’s just a hard drive like in your computer.) We can access everything saved on it.
We turned our service off the beginning of December, so when people started asking what to get my son for Christmas, I suggested several of his favorite cartoon series’ on DVDs. He has a suffecient library of things to watch and I don’t have to worry about him being innundated with commercials for the hottest toy, junk food or another TV show I don’t want him watching.
I still watch all my favorite shows on the network websites. I watch Grey’s Anatomy on ABC.com and House on Fox.com. Yes, I do have wait before it’s posted – some shows are posted the next day others run a week behind. Either way, it’s not the end of the world to have to wait. My co-worker that watches Grey’s Anatomy knows not to come in on Fridays talking about it – we have our recap conversation on Mondays.
One word: Netflix. For around $10 a month we have access to hundreds (maybe even thousands) of movies and TV shows. Eight seasons of 24 for me and every Thomas the Train movie my son could ever want to watch. We can stream movies and shows instantly through our Xbox or computer. Plus we can have out one DVD at a time. (Some movies and seasons of TV shows are available only on DVD right when they come out.) So we can have a movie out or I can catch up on more recent episodes of shows (right now I’m watching NUMB3RS.) Ten dollars versus $75 – much more reasonable expense!
So what about those things you need TV for, like news or weather reports?
News – is readily available online. I can even still watch my favorite news show, The O’Reilly Factor on the Fox News site. I follow Fox News on Facebook so I get news updates. Plus, I listen to a lot of talk radio.
Weather – I use the Weather Channel Desktop when I need to check the coming forecast. Plus, just about every radio station does the weather every 15 minutes in the morning so I get the days high and chance of rain – which is all I really need so I know how to dress.
So just because we don’t have cable – we haven’t completely cut ourselves off from civilization. It is possible to live without TV. And even with all the other ways to watch TV, now that we don’t have satellite service we watch a lot less TV. It’s not on just for background noise anymore which is peaceful and I don’t get sucked in to watching a Saturday afternoon marathon of a bad reality series when I should be doing something else.
Our 6-month “suspension” is up in June. We’re are leaning towards severing all ties with DirecTV at that time now that we know we can live without it. I can’t imagine going back to paying $75 a month for something I can live without!