hellooo, tv-less people, scooch over and make room

So I broke down and canceled our cable today. With our financial situation the way it’s been, and the prices of everything going up, it just seems ridiculous to spend a thousand dollars a year to watch TV. I’m hoping the children will learn to forgive me over time. They’re certainly not there yet.

We had a Spongebob marathon today, in honor of our soon-to-be-no-longer-with-us cable programming. Tonight, landisdad and I are going to watch episode 3 of Generation Kill on HBO. Our bill is paid through August 24, so we’ll get to see a few more episodes, but we’ll have to YouTube the end, I suppose.

I have a feeling that once we get used to life without cable, I’m going to wonder why the hell we’ve been paying for it all this time. I’ve sort of been planning to cut it off for over a year, and there keeps being a reason not to, but after I finished paying the bills today, I picked up the phone and called them.

It was hard to explain to the kids why we’re making this choice. We’re not in desperate financial straits–we’ve just been stretched thin by events of the past few years–and the current inflation that the US is experiencing is making it that much harder to get by. But lots of people are in worse shape than us, as I explained to the Bee tonight.

We’re not losing our house, or having to sell one of our cars, or losing the ability to take vacations, or anything like that. We’re not buying only generic in the supermarket, or going any more meatless than we usually do. We’re not canceling any kid birthday parties, or deciding that, with the cost of daycare, it would really be cheaper for landisdad to quit working and stay home (I am, however, counting the weeks {5!} until we no longer have to pay $172 per week for daycare). We are, however, not paying off our credit cards every month. We’re not able to make the mortgage payment and the car payment in the same week. We have to plan our monthly spending more tightly than ever before, and an extra $80 will help with that planning, that juggling, that balancing.

In light of what’s at stake, it doesn’t really seem that serious to lose the right to watch Law & Order at any hour of the day or night.


July 27, 2008. family life.


  1. camiKaos replied:

    have you tried hulu.com?

  2. Lisa replied:

    Wow, good on ya for taking that step.
    I know we could survive without cable, but it makes it so much easier to have it, I don’t WANT to live without it.

  3. MommyWithAttitude replied:

    You know we haven’t had cable for about six years and sometimes lament that one day the kids will get big enough that we’ll HAVE to cave in. I know that can’t be fun explaining to the kids (mine don’t know better yet), but hopefully you’ll get used to it and it won’t seem like such a big deal.

  4. Jeff replied:

    Wow, big move. You’re right…you won’t miss it by the end of Sept.

    I’d love to get rid of it, but I’m such a sports nut that Fall is not the time of year to think about giving up the cable (Football, College Basketball).

    I did just quit my job though to stay with the kiddos! Eff 8/22!!!

  5. Clover replied:

    Wow- I admire you. There would be full-on revolt in my house if we tried that, and we don’t have HBO or any of the premium channels. My son would be PO’d of course, but I’m not sure my mom or husband could surive without it either. LOL- let us know how it goes.

  6. Jennifer (ponderosa) replied:

    We have cable only so that my husband can watch car racing — Formula 1 and all that. If he could watch racing online I *think* I’d cancel cable but then I’d have to buy another computer so the kids could watch PBS on it : )

  7. Wayne replied:

    We didn’t cancel our cable but we did downgrade to the basic package. That transition was easy to make, and from what I hear The Daily Show isn’t as funny as it used to be. We do use Netflix to fill the gap and it’s easy to rent seasons of shows when they come out on DVD. It just means waiting until after the season is over, which isn’t so bad.

  8. Sandy D. replied:

    We have a very basic basic (unadvertised!) service that gets us about 15 channels, including a couple of PBS ones – and it’s only $13 a month. You might check it out if you’re in an area where you can’t get good reception for anything.

    Our library has SpongeBob dvds, so my kids aren’t super deprived. 😉

  9. guerson replied:

    I just went through 15 months without a TV – let alone cable! – and the only thing I missed was watching news and documentaries once in a while and the occasional big event (such as world cup, olympics, wimbledon final, etc). We watched videos on our 24″ iMac and that was fine but I wanted to have a bigger screen to have movie nights with friends. So we cave in and bought a TV – a 32″ LCD – but we decided we wont get cable. If we really want to watch anything other than open channels, we’ll get an antenna at radioshack for about 30$ and get over-the-air free HDTV.

  10. Margaret in NJ replied:

    Wow! I’m about to make the opposite decision. We’ve never gotten cable and our kids are now 12 and 15. We aren’t big sports fans so that made it easy to skip. Every year we’d ask ourselves, “Do we want to spend a whole bunch of money on something that will just encourage us to watch more TV?” And always, the answer has been easy. No, we’d rather save the money. And when you look at what we’ve saved over 15 years, it’s impressive. Okay, so we spent some money on Blues Clues and SpongeBob videos when the kids were little, and got DVDs from the library, but on the whole, I think it was a good decision.

    So why the change? Well, my computer geek kid claims he can set up a Tivo-like program for cheap so we can watch whatever we want whenever we want. That’s enticing. And I’ve enjoyed the Daily Show and Colbert when I’ve seen them. And my daughter and I have gotten hooked on Project Runway–we’ve seen the first 3 seasons on DVD. And because there have been shows on the History and Discovery channels that I’ve wished I could have seen. And because I’m the kind of wonk who enjoys watching Congressional hearings on C-Span. And because I like gavel-to-gavel coverage of political conventions without annoying commentary from Washington blowhards. And maybe because I’d like to fit in with the rest of America.

    I’m still thinking this through, so if anyone has advice, I’m open.
    Thanks all.

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