The Costs of Living

So I\’ve been thinking about giving up cable TV lately.

I know, I know. You\’re saying: That\’s crazy talk! There\’s no way you\’ll be able to give that up. At least one of you has already said that to me verbatim. But bear with me, and listen to the rationale, and we\’ll see if I can convince myself, if not you.

What do I watch on TV? Sports. I probably watch the following channels 95% of the time: ESPN, ESPN2, Vs., and Fox Sports North. The other 5% ends up going to random viewings of The Daily Show, or Countdown, and watching the local morning news.

And for the privilege of watching all of this (much of it in beautiful High Definition), plus having high speed internet, I pay (drum roll please): $130 a month. It\’s almost completely insane for me to be paying that much money for what I use it for.

Consider, I could get high speed internet through a local phone provider who shall remain nameless, because I hate them, for about $30 a month. It doesn\’t take a math major to figure out that\’s a savings of $1200 per year. I could take a nice vacation on that, couldn\’t I? I could spend a small fraction (about 1/12) of that money, and use the high speed internet to watch baseball games via, which would help alleviate some of the DTs I\’d be facing from TV withdrawl. Most football is on free TV, and I could use an antenna (kids, ask your parents what that is) and pull that in. I\’ll admit it, I\’d miss hockey. Well, I\’d miss the playoffs. But I think I\’d live.

Also consider… I could watch more movies. I could watch TV shows via Netflix (without commercials). I could do more creative projects. I could exercise. The list of things I could do with increased free time goes on and on…

Between the fiscal and free time arguments, I could almost convince myself. This is something I\’m seriously considering. What do you all think? Is this something you\’d consider for yourself?







5 responses to “The Costs of Living”

  1. sparklegirl Avatar

    My husband and I have been cable-free since 2002 for many of the reasons you list above. What does that mean for our day-to-day viewing?

    1. We watch much less TV in general.

    2. We’ve found that a much higher percentage of our TV-watching time ends up devoted to public television, and it’s hard to feel too bad about that.

    3. We adore TV-via-Netflix (Lost, Project Runway, Entourage, Las Vegas when we need something really mindless, you get the idea).

    4. I’m more free to devote my disposable “entertainment” dollars to iTunes.

    Do I miss Bravo and the Discovery Channel (and, if I’m being honest, the “hangover” programming of VH1’s Saturday morning line-up)? Sure, but not that much. And being cable-free feels like the TV equivalent of eating salads instead of cheeseburgers. Take the plunge, Al!

  2. anderswa Avatar

    what are you guys, french? it’s your lee greenwood-american right and duty to have cable TV!

    we’ve kicked around the idea several times– like you, al, the only non-free channels we seem to watch are discovery, comedy central, and nickelodeon. if there were some way to encorporate DVR functionality into standard TV, i think we’d seriously consider it.

  3. Brian Scott Avatar

    In Red Wing we paid $10 a month or so for broadcast channels on cable. So we received the networks (plus, a couple of extras like WGN and ESPN). We got the Tivo from my brother-in-law a couple years back and everything was wonderful. Now in Eagan my parents moved in with us (My mom isn’t doing well) and my dad wanted cable so we have it. I do enjoy the Daily Show and Ella likes Little Einsteins, but really, if it wasn’t free, we would have no use for it.

  4. wadE Avatar

    I’ve advocated for years that I wish there was a buy per channel method for cable TV. But, I can’t imagine not have cable TV. I don’t watch near as much TV as I used to (especially with Heroes not being on for 6 weeks!) Actually, I hope there are more people like all of you out there so the cable companies are forced to lower their ridiculous prices to compete in an ever tighter entertainment market. Alex, you might as well give it a shot. It’s not like they’ll smack with a bunch of fees for signing back up in 3 months… right?

  5. alex Avatar

    I’m wondering if:
    A) I call and threaten to quit perhaps they’ll discount my rate.
    B) I quit and then sign up again in 3 months I’ll get a ‘new subscriber’ rate.

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