When Peter and I moved in together three years ago, neither one of us owned a TV (although we jointly owned entirely too many small kitchen appliances, go figure). We discussed briefly whether or not we should get one together, but decided buying the TV and paying the monthly cable subscription was too expensive at the time. (Apparently 7.6 million people have also come to the same conclusion.)
What started as a frugal decision has turned into one of the best things we’ve done for our lives and relationship. Rather than turning on the tube and mindlessly watching things we don’t really care about for hours on end, we find more quality ways to spend our time. We play games together, go for walks, and make meals together. We connect more. We both comment all the time about how much more we appreciate our time together without a TV.
Just because we gave up our TV doesn’t mean we don’t watch our favorite shows. We just control when and how we watch them; we are no longer slaves to the primetime schedule – eureka! Over the last three years, we’ve found some great online resources for watching just about anything:
- TV shows and movies: Generally we use Amazon Prime or Netflix (and less often Hulu) to watch our favorite shows. We also rent from RedBox every once in a while. We can usually find what we’re looking for on one of these services, and the combined cost of the subscriptions is far less than a cable subscription.
- Live sports: The one thing I’ll admit we miss about having cable service is being able to watch live sporting events. For the last few years, NFL.com has been live streaming the SuperBowl, which is a step in the right direction, but we’re hoping other sports will follow suit. In the meantime, we go out to the local bar to watch big games, and Peter likes to watch highlight reels from recent games on ESPN.com for short clips or NFL.com, MLB.com, etc., for longer clips.
- News: I listen to NPR or read news websites to get the latest info. Plus most online news sites have a lot of video content, so I don’t feel like I’m missing anything.
- Other: Some channels like PBS.org post their shows online 24 hours after they’ve been aired live.
Another consideration: Replace your cable box with a streaming device. We recently got one and totally love how easy it is to connect to our favorite services. CNN recently did a story on streaming TV devices that gives stats and reviews – check it out here.
If you’re still on the fence about ditching your cable service, just remember – nothing is ever permanent. You can always subscribe again, but you’ll never know what you are(n’t) missing unless you try it.
Have you ditched your TV? What are other ways you spend your time now? Share your experiences in the comments below.