One bite at a time together: Regularly turn off your TV (project 23)

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About Jeannett

Jeannett Gibson is a mom to four and wife to one who loves color and believes in story. She loves to tell you hers and wants to hear yours, too...because there is really no sense in wasting our suffering or not sharing in each other's joy. She blogs, fund raises, and sometimes even gets her crafty pants on at Life Rearranged.

We’re working through Tsh’s ebook One Bite at a Time together, because accountability makes it funner (more fun?).  Join in any time!  You don’t have to do the tasks in any specific order, so even though we are on Project 23, you can easily jump in now.  We’re taking it slow, and I’m always honest about what works for me and my family.  Buy the ebook here for only $5!

Television has long been a point of contention in our home.

My husband loves television (particularly sports), while I would happily toss the whole dang thing if I had the opportunity.  For years, whenever a special occassion came up, be it our anniversary, Valentine’s Day, my birthday, President’s Day—my husband would ask if I had a specific gift in mind.  Every year, every holiday it was the same response: “Throw away the TV.”

While that never actually happened, every few months he would commit to “watching less.”  The problem was that this would work well for about, oh, say a week, and then the tube would be flipped on first thing and stay on…even when he wasn’t in the room.

After a few hours on my couch and throw pillows watching reruns of Hoarders, I would turn it off only to hear exclamations from the garage: “Hey!  I was watching that!”

As you can imagine, this drove me batty.  Absolutely batty.

In the meantime, I paid the bills every month.  And while I don’t particularly like paying any of them, I would audibly groan every time I had to pay the cable company.  Finally, one day I really took a hard look at the breakdown of that $160 I sent away every. single. month.

60 dollars was for Internet, 10 dollars was for taxes and surcharges, and 90 dollars was for mediocore programming.  Mind you, we didn’t have anything fancy.  No HBO, Showtime, or anything else extra.  Just whatever was the basic package “deal.”

Ninety dollars, people!  Every. single. month.

So one day, while my husband was at work, and after years of threatening to do it—I called and cancelled the cable.  I don’t think he thought I was serious, but rest assured, I was.  Oh yes, yes I was.

Besides, there are SO many ways you can still get programming.  Internet, Netflix, Hulu, and Apple TV are just a few.  As a consolation, I left the local basic channels for $7 (which gives us about six of the main networks, which will be nice when it’s time for the Summer Olympics) and an instant streaming subscription to Netflix for another $8.  Oh happy day!

Look, we aren’t super granola folks who now sit around a fire in our organic bamboo blankets reading aloud Walden in the evenings.  No, we’re just an average suburban American family.  The kids still get to watch cartoons in the mornings while I pack lunches and make breakfast, and husband and I still curl up on the couch at night to watch some TV after the kids are in bed (from a much smaller selection).

Except that now, these are the only times the TV is on in our house.  Weekends are spent as a family with Dad in the garage, tinkering on something, while the kids ride their bikes in the cul de sac.

Evenings are spent jumping on the trampoline with Dad (but not 7 months pregnant Mom!) or building LEGO, or assembling elaborate Hot Wheels track.  We take trips to the park, go for warm cookies at the kiosk in the mall, or fly kites in the street together.

My sports-loving hubby vacillates between still being really annoyed at me and secretly enjoying it.  One day he might say to me, “You know, it really stinks that I can’t get the game tonight.  I’m dying.”  (Theatric much?)  And then a few days later, while the kids are blowing bubbles in the backyard and we’re weeding the garden, he’ll say, “I miss the TV, but it is really nice how much more time we spend as a family.”

I think he’s gonna make it after all.

Are you able to simply turn off the TV more often or would it require something more drastic like cutting cable completely?  Would you be willing to do it?

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Comments

  1. I was actually just talking to the spouse about this the other day. Our cable bill is north of $200/mo and we don’t have any premium channels … its crazy!

  2. We canceled our cable over a year ago. Don’t really miss it. The TV is still on way more than I’d like but at least we aren’t paying $60 plus a month for it.

  3. This is too funny, because tonight for the first time in WAY too long I chose to watch one 30 minute show then turn it off and read a book instead of mindlessly watching for a few hours. I am a bit… conflicted in this area. I am both the tv addict and the one who asks to throw the tv out (my husband really loves sports and has friends over for that purpose often, so ditching the satellite will probably. Ever happen. He’s actually not much of a watcher besides that. The kids and I are the ones with the full TiVo queues!). I recently realized that somewhere along the line I started turning to the tv, computer or phone whenever I have down time instead of reading. Ick. Time to become a more intentional screen user!

    • avatar
      Beth Gillespie says:

      Oh my goodness!! This is so me – I would take the TV upstairs and hide it, but then watch 3 hours of re-runs on my laptop! I am so conflicted in this area too!

  4. I don’t know if you want to tell hubby this, and I don’t know about other sports, but we can get major league baseball TV broadcasts on our computer or mobile for $20 a month. Our local (175 miles away) team is blocked out but we get all the rest. We don’t pay that, but we do pay $20 for the season to get access to all the radio broadcasts and that comes with 1 free TV game (the least anticipated game) a day.
    Our TV which we use to watch sports and DVDs has recently been giving us fits. We can’t decide if we want to replace it. I wonder if Goodwill has flat screens.

    • They do now, Christie, because I gave mine away this weeked!
      I didn’t even know it was the day before “Screen Free Week” until I logged in to the “Simple” blogs. Aside from the annoyance at the monthly bill that I couldn’t manage to get below $60/month, we gave this no more than 10 minutes worth of thought…just did it!

  5. We just did the same thing about 4 months ago, and it couldn’t have been a better decision. We’ve lost some sports channels, but my husband now goes out to spend a little of our extra cash that we are now saving by going out to a sports bar to enjoy the important games.

    We are saving SO much money by using Hulu Plus alone. So. Much. Money. And yes, while channel flipping is no longer possible (I missed it for a total of about 5 minutes), I can say that the TV is never on in the background anymore!

    One of the best decisions we’ve ever made. It’s really been amazing.

  6. My husband & I discussed this for years. He was addicted to the television, and I wanted to get rid of it. One day after a LOOONG discussion, we sat down and decided we no longer wanted to be paying $110 per month for the TV. I compromised & we picked up Netflix instead, but we are STILL saving oodles of money!

    As of April 27th, we have been four YEARS without even local broadcast stations. I’ve got a 16yo and a 12yo, and they don’t miss it at all. And *I* love the lack of influence from commercials! This past Christmas, the kids’ grandmom asked for wishlists and neither of them could think of anything they wanted!

  7. My husband is a tv addict too. I dont mind much (probably becasue he doesn turn ot off when hes done!)

    But he inflicts it on the children, and that kills me.

    At the first whinge from either girl, the tv goes on. It’s automatic. And then they sit there, agape, soaking up questionable ethics and behaviours and NOT playing outside, NOT creating, NOT learning how to be bored, NOT learning how to manage their emotions without a distraction or crutch… It KILLS ME.

    I call him on it, but it takes a whole heap of impetus to change. At least I’ve convinced him to limit their viewing to suitable shows. I’d be happy to goss it entirely.

    My mum actually did throw out our tv. She chucked it through a window. Dad was having trouble finding time for finishing his PhD, but could always catch the dawn, morning, midday, afternoon and evening news… Lol

  8. We have thought about cancelling the cable and just switching to Netflix, but the sport is the killer. My husband is a HUGE sports fan. It’s hard – I know that he would love to play more sports, but the cost and time commitment make it difficult. Regular channels show a lot of football (soccer :P) but the golf, cricket and rugby that he loves are only available on paid channels. It seems a fair compromise.

    I have got to the stage now where I could take or leave TV. I absolutely adore some shows while I’m watching them, but I don’t get the urge when I’m not. Except for Ringer. I’m ashamed to say that I’m addicted to that.

    • avatar
      Jeannett says:

      Sports was the reason it took years for us to make the jump too. Every time I brought it up, he would say he wouldn’t mind losing the programming, but he couldn’t do without the sports. Losing sports was non-negotiable.

      Finally, I told him: “So if the ONLY reason we keep cable is for sports…at $100 a month…you are basically saying that you are willing to cut a $1,200 check every year over and over again…to watch games. Seriously? You could buy season tickets for that much money!” When I put it in those terms, and the fact that you can stream a lot of sports through ESPN (we paid $4 for an app on our iPad)…he ends up still missing a few games…but very few.

      • I _wish_ we could buy season tickets for that amount… baseball is a killer, with 4-6 games a week, and our local team (Red Sox) is (a) sold out every game and (b) blacked out if you try to go through internet channels.

        My husband made the leap and we are doing without cable for all of 2012. We still get broadcast channels, so sitting down to watch baseball is becoming more of a special thing for him to do with the kids, as it’s on FOX about once a week.

        I’m sure it helps that the Red Sox are doing terribly this season (so far). Makes it less compelling to watch.

  9. Sus acuarelas son simplemente increíbles, y van muy bien con el estilo de sus fotografías. Usted tiene un gran gusto para estas cosas, y me alegro de que hayas publicado sobre este evento. En cuanto al retrato, que se parece mucho a usted, especialmente si nos fijamos en la expresión de la cara, muy so?adora y teniendo en cuenta, al mismo tiempo =) cejas grandes, demasiado;)

  10. I know I am in the minority here, but my husband doesn’t like tv at all so we have never had one since we’ve been married. I feel very blessed that we’re on the same side of the issue. We spend much more quality time together and as a family. We do let out boys watch some dvds on our computers and will occasionally have a movie night the same way, but it is not a huge distraction in our home this way.

  11. My husband and I got rid of the cable a couple years ago. I wanted cable, he didn’t. But then one day, I just got sick of the TV. So I told him to cancel it. Then a friend was looking for a used TV, so I unplugged ours and we gave away the giant one-eyed dust magnet. I thought it would be the worst thing ever having no TV at all. Ends up, it’s the best thing ever. I love having no TV! My kids are doing wonderful growing up in a house with no TV. Nobody really misses it at all. If there’s something we want to watch, and that rarely happens, we can watch it online.

  12. There are usually a couple of different venues for internet service in any given area, and another source might be less expensive. For instance, where I live, internet through the satellite cable company is significantly higher than internet through the phone company, and the phone company bundle still beats out dedicated internet providers, too. We pay $20 per month for DSL internet this way. It might be worthwhile to shop around.

    • avatar
      Jeannett says:

      Yes, but we also don’t have a landline (and haven’t for almost 10 years!)…so to go through the phone company, we would then need the added expense of a phone line…which last time I checked ended up being a wash. But your comment is a good reminder to take another look…it might be cheaper now!

  13. We got rid of our tv maybe 5 years ago because we couldn’t find a good place to put it in our tiny apartment. Now we’ve moved but neither of us have ever missed it. It doesn’t mean I have less screen time, though- unfortunately. We both zone out on our laptops a lot in the evenings. That feels somewhat better than having the t.v. going in the background, but mindless screen time is still mindless screen time for me, even if it’s on a laptop and not a t.v.

  14. We have a TV, but it’s downstairs in the basement and we use it as a movie machine for Redbox. We don’t have cable. I’ve never lived in a house with cable TV. I don’t know what I’m missing and I love it this way. When my kids visit their Grandma they sit in front of the TV and flip channels and I’m SO glad I don’t have to deal with that issue here at home!

  15. We had cable our first year of marriage. We cut that and now we don’t even have a TV. But we do watch shows on hulu and pbs kids. We’ll have to figure something for the Olympics though…

  16. Love this post! We have very strict rules at when the tv can be on in our house. The majority of the time it is off, because I don’t want our bean to watch it mindnumbingly all the time like I did growing up. It’s so nice having it off, and spending really quality time together, as opposed to only being half. Involved because the other half of you is involved in a show. This rule for us applies to all electronics, cell phones, iPads, tv… We only allow ourselves to be “plugged in” while our daughter is napping, or in bed, and I’ll admit occasionally when she’s nursing but is getting distracted easily.

  17. We cut cable last September, like so many others lots of channels without much content. When we realized we were primarily watching PBS, we dropped cable and installed an HD attenna. Works perfectly. My concession, satellite radio in the car with the sports channels.

  18. We watch a grand total of 3 hours of tv per week. Not much at all for a family of 7. 2 of those hours are programming our entire family enjoys and we watch together and talk about from an educational standpoint. We are also reducing our satellite bill because we realized we pay a lot of money for channels we never watch!

  19. I wrote a post about living without tv not that long ago. We love it! Kudos to you for having the courage to just get rid of it! And I’m sure you’ve found how quickly you forget it was ever there.

  20. avatar
    Beth Stokes says:

    We got rid of cable when we first got married seven years ago. You know, there IS life without cable. Much more of it in fact! Here’s to more play time.

  21. avatar
    Heather T. says:

    We don’t watch much tv in our house. We have more interesting hobbies, and even our vegging is more likely to be reading or gaming (which is way more interactive and social than watching tv). Every few weeks or so, we might have a night where we don’t want to do anything except watch tv. So we DVR shows we’re interested in, and watch them in one go. We watch a lot of Jon Stewart (and just delete any of them older than the current week), and we try to follow Bones weekly (though we’re usually at least a week behind).

    That being said, we do have cable and have no plans to get rid of it. We don’t go without watching hockey, but we rarely just sit there and watch a game. Usually we’re cooking or doing other things while a game is on. We’ve looked into getting a smaller package, but it’d end up being more expensive just trying to get the things we actually watch. Plus, we’re in Canada and don’t have nearly the options that Americans have. Our Netflix is terrible, and things like Hulu are blocked.

  22. avatar
    Lillian D says:

    We also got rid of cable a few years ago. We have a Roku for streaming Netflix and Hulu. We can also hookup the computer to the television for an even greater selection.

  23. avatar
    Jennifer says:

    My husband and I have considered dropping cable many times. But right now, we live in the country, so streaming via the internet is not an option, and we share our cable with my inlaws, we have a “main house/guest house” set-up with our cable and we cover their cable as part of our house payment. So for now, dropping it is not an option. But if we ever more or get better internet out here, cable will go away pretty quickly.

  24. We took the big step before we had kids to get rid of the TV all together. We’ve been a TV-free family for 7 years, and it’s been one of the best decisions we’ve made. You can check out our story here: http://familysponge.com/parenting/tv/ I love the book One Bite at a Time!

  25. I’ll admit once its on it is HARD to turn it off. But we try not to turn it on in the first place. Funny thing is, my kids play all the time without the TV and enjoy themselves. I prefer not to hear the tv unless I’m actually watching something. So for the most part while hubby is at work the tVs are off. We do still have LOTS of cable though!

  26. avatar
    Sharon says:

    My husband and I cut our TV service shortly after we got married 3 yrs ago and neither of us misses it. We each watch 1-2 shows online now and that’s it. Thank you for reminding me how fortunate I am that my husband and I are on the same page in this area.

  27. We cancelled our cable 3 years ago, and it’s awesome to save that money!! We do have netflix and hulu on our ps3 (so we watch it on the big screen). Even having those things can eat up a lot of tv time. Although, it is significantly less time than actually having cable. It’s too bad so many of us are addicted to watching hours and hours of tv rather than living out our lives.

  28. We cancelled our satellite dish a couple of years ago and got a subscription to Netflix and I couldn’t be happier. The thing my husband and I both love the most is that it is commercial-free viewing. Our children are not constantly inundated with things they “need.” We have the streaming and 1 DVD a month plan ($17/month). We all have our favorites that we stream and the kids keep a running queue of newer release movies they want to see that come in the mail by DVD. Between the two we have plenty of things to watch. My husband and I have some series that we like (we are watching Lost now) and we can just zip through them — all commercial free. It’s fun to sit down to a show or two after the kids go to bed.

    My husband, too, likes to watch sports. If there is a game he particularly wants to see, he heads up the local family-style pub to watch (which I am perfectly fine with.) Sometimes he goes alone, particularly if it’s late. If it’s earlier in the day, the kids and I will join him and we’ll all enjoy dinner while he watches the game. Makes it all that much more of a “special event” for all of us.

    I am thinking about local stations for the summer Olympics though. I know we will all enjoy the games.

  29. We got rid of cable in January – terrific decision! Like you, I just got tired of paying $80 a month for TV – seemed crazy! We ended up going with Hulu Plus and Netflix, and can watch whatever we want whenever we want. We may eventually let go of Netflix, but for now it’s great for documentaries for me and cartoons for the kids.

  30. We have satellite TV but we limit our tv watching at home. Our kids are very little, but we do not let them watch tv on weekdays, and on weekends it’s limited to 2 hours a day, and ONLY educational channels and ONLY after they’ve been playing outside for a few hours. We will watch TV after the kids go to bed, but we also have designated no TV nights for ourselves where we read. I’ll be honest and tell you we do keep it around for the sports. Our house has the biggest TV out of all our family and friends and is where they congregate when we have big games, which we don’t mind as we love to entertain during those times.

  31. Like so many others, I don’t care if we have a television, but my husband loves to kick back in the evening and channel surf. We’ve gone without cable/satellite/etc twice in our marriage, both times after a move. Moving always makes money tight and we just didn’t bother to sign up for anything for a while. The first time we went without for about 6 months, when he finally wore me down and we got satellite TV.

    We moved again last September and still haven’t signed up for anything, and we probably won’t in the foreseeable future. My husband is working second shift right now, and I don’t turn it on if he’s not here, so the only use it would get would be weekends. When he wants to lounge around he plays video games on the TV and once in awhile we rent a movie to watch after the kids are in bed.

    I had to laugh at the comments about husbands missing sports…that is the one thing that *I* miss about not having TV! I love college football and basketball! But I’ve found that I can often listen on the radio. And on a couple of occasions, I may have loaded the kids in the car to go visit my parents when the game just happened to be on. ;)

  32. Despite serious protests from my husband and two daughters, out family will be going “screen-free” starting on May 20th. We’re going to blog about it and anyone who would like to join us on our screen-free adventure is welcome! http://www.screenfreesummer.blogspot.com

  33. avatar
    Lindsey says:

    We got rid of cable 2 years ago in preference for Hulu. In 10 months the savings from no cable paid for the computer we bought for the living room. Then about 6 months later the computer overheated & became trash. So we started using the laptop instead. Because that was quite a pain, we ended up watching a lot less TV. We really only use it for occasional kids shows and 2 adult shows we follow. So much nicer, freeing, and plenty cheaper.

  34. It gets much harder to turn off the TV the older they get. My tweens are being to give up toys. I have a no TV until after lunch on the weekend. They do read and sometimes we play a board game together.

  35. We cut the cord more than a year ago, too, and I haven’t once missed cable. Do do have access to HBOGo, though, which allows us to watch Game of Thrones. Without that, I’d have second thoughts!

  36. Next month will be our two year no cable anniversary… and you know what, I don’t miss it one bit. We kept Netflix (streaming and dvd’s) and even dropped that down to just the streaming package when they split their services. We’ve even considered dropping that, but there are a few shows on there that the kids like so we’re keeping it for now.
    We only get the local channels, so there are times where my husband will complain because he can’t watch this or that game, but it hasn’t bothered him enough to want to increase our services. If there’s a game that he really wants to watch, he goes goes out and watches it with his friends.

  37. Such a great point about how we can get for free the things we actually want to watch. (thanks hulu!)
    We don’t watch tv and have it places strategically in a harder place to see in our house so it’s not as much as a temptation. I imagine as our kids get older it’s going to be harder to keep them from. We’ll see how it goes.

  38. We’ve never had cable, and I still think TV can get to be a problem around here. After all the TV itself offers the chance for DVDs and video games, too. Plus, like you say, there are TV shows on the computer now. I miss the days when my kids were small and I could better control TV use.

    I have to say, though, that I really wish we could have cable when it’s time for things like the Olympics, because so much of the events have been moved to cable stations and the basic stations only cover the bigger, more standard events. Even a lot of major league sports and college play offs are no longer on non-cable channels. The kids end up knowing nothing about the less common sports available for us to watch on ‘regular’ TV when i was growing up…and those that replaced all those sports shows are mostly not worth airing, in my opinion.

  39. avatar
    Andrea says:

    We just finished doing the Screen-Free Week Challenge – only it was really just the TV, not the iPad, computer or iPhone. (I use those for homeschooling!) And I’m so glad we did it because I didn’t think we could. Hubby wasn’t too thrilled, but he travels a lot so it really affected the kids and I more than him. My middle son (age 4) missed the TV the most, but it was easy enough to distract him. It also made me realize how often I use the TV to babysit while I shower, blog, clean, exercise…YIKES!

  40. We have done this for YEARS now! We pay NO cable and jsut do the netflix streaming and 1 movie. It is SO SO worth it! Then anytime we go on vacation and stay at a hotel, it’s a treat to watch THEIR cable!!

  41. We haven’t had cable for over 10 years now and we just recently got the Netflix. We generally watch a little something to wind down from the day and that’s about it. We don’t watch tv channels unless it’s something special like the Olympics or the Super Bowl and we get those through an antennae. LOL! We wouldn’t have it any other way.

  42. We cut out cable a few months ago and have barely noticed. But, we are definitely a little addicted to netflix! Maybe that should be my next project!

  43. We went for about 6 months without any television at all (at my husbands request – shocking!). It was fantastic. Then we bought an internal antennae and that is all we have now. We have basic channels and even still there is too many channels with junk on them. If we want to catch a special game we have friends with cable and then we get to have some fellowship as well.

  44. avatar
    Catherine Marie says:

    We have one 8″ TV with a VCR inside it [no chanels]…. great for old VHS cartoons for the kiddos. We watch some kids cartoons from playlists we have created on YouTube. About 30-45 mins per day of screen time. BUT — we are cutting off our internet soon so we’ll need to check email and such from the library… bye bye to youtube cartoons. And bye bye to you all on a very regular basis! = ) Just wanted to post and be the biggest luddite out there. The people that you actually see and touch and interact with deserve the most of your time!!

  45. We don’t have cable or any TV either! We tried hooking it up a few times when we moved but the cable company flaked three times so we decided it was a blessing in disguise. We still watch a few shows but do so online, and not having TV makes it easy that our two year old doesn’t watch any either.

  46. We switched to a Roku device about a year ago and we get Instant Netflix. I grew up with very little TV watching rules or guidelines–as kids we watched TV for hours. My parents still watch a lot of TV and have twice as many TVs as we have. Before we had kids we decided to cut back our TV watching significantly. My kids watch 1/2 hour – 1 hour a day and even less in the summer. It depends on the day but I usually watch an hour in the evenings before I go to bed.

  47. I started out so good when I was first a mom. But the more kids we had the more TV we watched. But in the last 2 years we have cut back dramatically. I love it. :) You can read our journey of going mostly media free here. http://enjoybirth.com/blog/2011/07/18/more-boys-more-tv/

  48. you know, i don’t think we are “granola” either, but we haven’t ever had a tv our whole 10 years of marriage. we have had several people try to give us one and even a cable sales guy who was calling us tell us, “good for you!”

    i find that we have so much more time as a family than we would have if we had one here. both of us grew up in families where it was always on and we just wanted something different. i haven’t regretted our decision for one moment.

  49. Oh my, how timely:)! It was screen free week this week, so the tv was off all week. I loved it:)!!!! Kids read more, played more games, etc, etc. I hate the tv & would happily get rid of cable. My husband does not watch much either….so it seems dumb to keep it. But, on the rare occasion he does watch, he likes to have the sports channels. I think it’s a big waste of $ & we could definitely use it in other areas. One of these days…..

  50. We don’t have cable. We just get the free channels (using a receiver and a good old-fashioned antena), and pay for Netflix, MLB.com, and internet. :)

  51. Good on you!!! From what I can figure TV is BIG in your end of the world. I actually went “extreme”and whenI left my husband, left the TV too! We now have another but not hooked up. Meaning we can watch DVD andVideo (remember them)but no TV. My children have all sorts of other and more meaningful ways to chill out now.

  52. We got rid of cable about 2 years ago. Although we do have Netflix I’d rather spend $15 a month than the $100 we were spending. We seem to watch more during the winter, being cold we all curl up and watch movies together. Now that warmer weather is here the TV is off more and we are outside a lot.

  53. we cut cable when my son was born – never regretted it!

  54. My husband and I have never had cable as a married couple (4 1/2 years) and every once in a while he’ll figure out how much money we’ve saved. We do have a tv and an off brand DVR so we still watch tv, but we’re more selective and only watch things we’ve taped to skip the commercials. Our tv goes on only after the kids are in bed. A few months ago we started a “no tv night” and we try to play a game together, cribbage is our favorite, or work on a project together. Our tv is older and when it dies, I hope we can try life with out one before we decide if we want to replace it.
    Thanks for sharing your story!

  55. Last year we didn’t own a TV. We had moved and our old TV was, well, old. So we gave it away. It was wonderful.

    But then a little while ago we bought another and I’m so sick of the kids watching show after show when they could be playing! I think this summer, no TV.

  56. avatar
    Jennifer says:

    We cut our cable in September 2010…I was sick of paying the hefty bill and having it increased by at least $5 every year. We currently have Netflix and that really helps. Also, many of the major broadcasting companies (CBS/NBC/ABC) have links to full episodes of their shows, including classic shows that once aired on their networks (like Dallas for example). I think this “TV” option is healthier for our children, but sometimes I miss regular TV. My husband is a college basketball fanatic, but we’ve found that our conference has links to some of the games and we were able to purchase a NCAA tourney viewing pass on CBS for $4 during March Madness. We are in the process of adding back local channels, but this is mainly so that we can access local news again. Thanks for sharing this…it’s nice to know we’re not the only ones out there cutting back on TV. Most of our friends think we’re nuts! :)

  57. I’m thinking of cutting the cable as well. We’re not watching that much tv and the bill is pretty hefty. The only show I actually don’t want to miss is NCIS and this I can watch on the CBS site. Such a waste of money!

  58. This is really funny. We don’t have a TV and I thought that we were unusual until I read in the comments how many people don’t have one as well. We are big readers and we don’t even know how we would find the time to watch TV if we had one. I actually also just recently was reading a parenting book called “To Kindle a soul” which discusses how amazingly detrimental TV is got kids growth in all ways. In cognitive development, in encouraging commercialism, in promoting violence etc., which made me realize how lucky we are that we don’t have one.

  59. We cut out cable/internet/home phone last June, I believe it was. Gave it a 6 month trial period to see how we liked it. I LOVED it! We live in an urban area, so we have internet access 7 days a week at the library, plus on our cell phones. We rented movies from Redbox, bought DVD collections of our favorite TV series, and checked out DVDs from our library. I didn’t miss TV at all – we were doing so much more as a family, and the kids’ creativity soared.

    In December, my husband decided he wanted to get cable again. As he is the head of the household, I left the decision up to him, complete with who our provider would be. He signed a 2 year commitment (!!!) for a basic package and now we are back to bickering over who can record what show, who gets to watch what and when (the kids and him, not me), and much less work is getting done on the house than was getting done when we were TV free. Plus, we aren’t as active as a family anymore, as we were then.

    We still don’t have internet at home. The kids really want to get it back, because they have a couple of online games they enjoy to play (with our permission), but when we said we were considering it, they began fighting over who would get to use the computer and when. Oh, heck no! Ain’t gonna happen…

    I’m just counting the months til we can break away from cable again, if I can sweet talk my hubby into it. (Right now, we have 19+ months to go… that’s forever in my mind!)

  60. Thumbs up for less TV in the house!!!

  61. Awesome post! We got rid of cable early last year and there’s no looking back. My husband is a sports fanatic too but adjusted better than I expected. He now watches games at a friend’s or at a sports bar.
    As bad as it may seem, sometimes I miss cable to “babysit” the kids while I try to get work done. lol
    Overall, there’s no way I would go back to paying that bill and I didn’t realize how much of couch potatoes we were until I cut the cord. I feel a bit more productive without the distraction.
    We have Netflix instant and thankfully most networks have their shows right online to view for free.

  62. A few weeks ago I committed to watching no TV for a week and my husband agreed to extend that commitment to the whole family. I was surprised that I didn’t miss it much! I was so much more productive with my time which made me really happy. My son grumbled, but I’d just cheerfully suggest something else for him to do. We’ve gone back to watching TV, but it’s nice to know we can go without and survive just fine. My husband and I have never had cable the entire 6 1/2 years of our marriage and have no regrets. (I LOATHE commercials.) And for the first few years of our marriage we didn’t even have a TV. We loved telling the cable company telemarketers that we didn’t have a TV. They were always so shocked and speachless! haha!
    I do enjoy watching movies or catching up on my favorite shows in the evenings, but we use Hulu and Netflix and survive just fine. I do miss not watching the Olympics though…

  63. avatar
    Samantha says:

    We cut out our cable when we moved about a year ago and never rebooked it back up. Instead we watch Hulu and Netflix for much cheaper. I only miss cable now that I am on maternity leave but hadn’t missed it before then! It does save us money because cable is way too expensive now!!! Sheesh!
    And hubby does miss the games… But thats what espn.com is for right? Or we can afford live games now, we’d just actually have to make time for it :)
    <3 Sam
    http://Www.loosingweightgaininglife.com

  64. I love this post! We are one step removed from having anything but a digital antenna and internet access to Hulu, etc. I instated a rule several years ago, when my daughter was 3 about no TV before 7pm during Daylight Savings. The rule wasn’t really targeted at her, but meant to benefit her over the long run. It’s been several years in the making, but my husband has really gotten much better about it. He still will turn it on for the evening news sometimes, but turn it off after one evening news broadcast. Before, he would watch it for nearly two hours straight, just because it was something to watch! We have the bare basic cable and as long as I supply him with books, he will often read before bed along with me, rather than watch TV. It’s nice!

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