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August 6th, 2012 at 06:45 am

We cancelled our TV satellite service about two years ago. We cancelled it because we could no longer afford to pay a monthly TV bill and reduce debt.

We're in a much better financial state than we were two years ago. We can now afford to pay a monthly TV bill, and continue to make substantial steps toward reducing debt. The question is - should we?

We have found life without TV to be not only acceptable, but in many ways preferable. The kids no longer fight about what's on the TV. The TV is not constantly on, rotting our brains. We have an extra $60 per month to allocate somewhere else. Most of what's on TV is crap anyway.

We are missing the Olympics. And I miss the Big 10 network and NCAA tournament coverage most of all (Go MSU!). And sometimes, if used properly, it can give you a parenting break. (The same old DVDs get tiring after a while).

So, we're considering whether or not we should re-up with our satellite TV service. And, getting the cheapest, most basic service is not appealing to me Like I said, the Big 10 network is part of the deal.

What do you all think?

18 Responses to “TV?”

  1. Swimgirl Says:

    We hooked our TV up to our computer and watch online. I think we pay $7 a month for better access to online shows through Hulu plus. No cable here.

  2. Bob B. Says:

    We live in a very, very, very rural area. Our internet connection is not fast enough to stream video.

  3. Swimgirl Says:

    Okay, so that won't work! We had no TV for years. I just didn't want to spend money on it. Now we've "upgraded" to the internet option, which we still don't use a ton. And we spend a minimal amount. We could afford cable, it's just not a priority for us. Make that pro/con list!

  4. PauletteGoddard Says:

    We have a television, but no cable. With hulu and other streaming through our internet service we use the TV for VHS viewing only.

    What is the proper response when guests who stay with you for three weeks complain there is no television, when no mention of television had ever been made to the visitors? We mentioned hulu and youtube as alternatives -- does that deserve a oomplaint from guests?

  5. Swimgirl Says:

    Guests complained?! Let them know that the hotel down the road has a TV!

  6. CB in the City Says:

    Good answer!

  7. Jenn Says:

    No TV here either, and we have no regrets. I rent a Redbox movie now and then as a treat for the kids.

    In addition to the time savings of not watching dumb sitcoms, I like that our kids aren't getting all the marketing. It makes living frugally that much easier.

  8. Looking Forward Says:

    We have cable and I guess I justify by saying it's pretty cheap entertainment. (We have a small package, and right now we are also getting free HBO).

  9. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    If streaming isn't possible, then you could still do Netflix's DVD option. Maybe go with the 4 at a time option - which would still be less than $60. Then you can watch movies/old tv programs on DVD. Is your connection to slow to do Youtube? If not, you probably can catch most of the big moments on Youtube (Olympics.)

  10. rob62521 Says:

    Does your public library have dvds? You might consider checking this out for a reasonable alternative to purchasing dvds or a dvd service.

  11. Bob B. Says:

    Thanks for the advice all. We have the 2 disks at a time service from Netflix at the moment. We have been borrowing DVDs from the library, and renting them from the local rental place. Because we are rural there are not loads of selections at those places. Also, we are somewhat limited on what we can Netflix/rent/borrow with 4 small children (No R's and very few PG-13's).

    As for Youtube, we do that, but downloading is slow.

    We're still kicking it around. We have done OK without TV, and it will probably stay that way for a while.

  12. baselle Says:

    I watch tv 60s style using a digital antenna. I think we got it for $39.99 a few years ago from Radio Shack. We get the basics - the main networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, FOX, CW). Seasonally it requires a bit of figuring out where the antenna should go because if the reception is a little bit off, no signal, and many things throw it off. You live in a rural area - is it in a valley? If your area is flat, I'd try the digital antenna. It will also teach your children patience and troubleshooting.

    Paulette - last I checked, Hotel Nexus has cable! Big Grin

  13. patientsaver Says:

    Yeah, if you've already survived the cold turkey no TV stage, why go back now?

    You could all agree to allocate the extra $60/month in any number of ways, such as a once monthly night out at the movies, among other things.

  14. MonkeyMama Says:

    Well, it's a personal decision - just depends how much you value having the TV (versus paying down debt or other luxuries).

    I'd look into an antenna - they are very small and inexpensive these days. We found we had to get a new antenna when we dropped cable last year - our "not so old" antenna was obsolete since they moved a lot of programming to/from UHF or VHF. I don't remember the technical details - but just make sure it is a newer antenna and has the right spectrum for OTA waves. I was surprised how small and sleek and useful the new antenna was compared to anything we have ever used in the past. You can always buy an antenna on amazon and return if it does not work out for your location.

    OF course, in this day and age there is just a whole slew of low-cost cable alternatives. We are a household that enjoyed cable and valued the at-home entertainment, but are at the point of "Why pay 10 times as much for all the same stuff?" The quality is high as is ease of use, compared to the cable alternates of the past. I'd definitely look at all options before going back to cable.

  15. 9symphony9 Says:

    You can get just the basic channels with a roof antenna I think for free.

  16. wowitsawonderfullife Says:

    We have an antenna and due to the digital transition we only have 3 - 6 channels depending on weather. Evenings are spent watching DVDs. All of this is free. On the other hand, at our city home we spend well over $100 per month, mostly for channels we never watch.

  17. Jerry Says:

    We did not have cable TV for a long time, and after moving we got it again. It is nice in some ways but I do NOT like how it leads to complete captivation of my daughters. I think I preferred having some insurance of accessing stuff through high speed internet, and the control over what is viewed that way.

  18. crazyliblady Says:

    I, too, have been without cable or satellite since about 2001 when I had to declare Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Our budget for many things(think food, utilities, gas, entertainment) was cut to the bone. Eventually, when our situation improved somewhat, we opted to go with Netflix discs. More recently, we opted for the 1 disc at a time plus instant viewing. It is only $16.66 per month, considerably less than any cable or satellite plan that I have ever had. You also miss out on commercials. Those commercials were my enemy for many years, because they spur on the gimmies and desire for shinies in both me and dh. As for dvds getting boring, try your public library and also swapadvd dot com.

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