Year of Less – Week 3 Life without cable TV

I’m embarking on my third week of less and have made some significant improvements. I still have purchased nothing (oops I did rent a movie) from my favorite online retailer. There are still items sitting in my cart, and I consider that a win!  I did go grocery shopping and blew my budget completely. I forgot that my mother would be here, and I bought extras for her that I normally wouldn’t have, and at that point, I gave in and threw some extras in there for me!  I still did NOT purchase any soft drinks. That makes two weeks without a soda of any kind. I was hoping I’d feel better and lose some weight, but, nope, all the same. Normally, I’d give up and give in because I did not get instant results, but this year of less is also a time of more so I’m giving it more time, 3 months.  Lastly, I purchased more fuel for my car; $20 this time and got a half a tank. Even with appointments every day last week, I still have fuel.  Even with blowing the grocery budget and renting the movie, I still feel like it was a positive week.  I still have not purchased anything new that isn’t consumable big 👍🏻 in my opinion. 

This idea of less was brought on by necessity but wasn’t just implemented in a few days. I had been wanting to do it for a while and realized a new year would be a great time to start. However, I cut the cable cord about 3 months ago.  I have 5 televisions and each had a cable box and a whole home DVR.  I used to love TV.  I scheduled my life around it, and on occasion, I will still do that.  But I found myself watching the same things or not watching until bedtime because I was working so much or I’d have it on in the background while I was reading or listening to a book. I had stopped watching the news months prior because the election stuff was making me ill (all sides), and truthfully, I have enough sadness in my life. I don’t need to watch the news to feel worse about things I can’t change. I still get local news notifications on my phone and look up the weather regularly. But I was paying $130 a month to watch about 3 or 4 channels that I wouldn’t be able to get over an antenna and it really seemed ridiculous. However, I greatly enjoyed watching “my shows” when I wanted to through the DVR and not having to watch them live or to watch the commercials (which are so stupid or raunchy or both) so I started looking for an independent DVR. I found a few options, like TiVo, but it required a monthly subscription. I didn’t want to trade the cable bill for just another bill. I decided on the Channel Master DVR. It cost about $300, but I figured a few months of no cable would pay for it. I also continued my Amazon Prime membership, which allows me to watch lots of things for free, and Netflix , which I had anyway. In addition, I also had an outdoor antenna.  Hooking things up was relatively straightforward and the Channel Master is intuitive as well. However, I’ve found a couple of things I don’t like about it. There is a lag on the DVR playback due to the wireless network. I often have to fast forward through the show and then rewind so it can “catch up.”  This is really annoying and faster internet and router have not solved this problem. The other downside (odd thing) is that I cannot catch all of my channels through the DVR.  PBS is completely missing, the signal from a couple of channels come in and out at times as if the wind affects the antenna. However, if I change the input to just TV, things work much better, except still no PBS. On all other TVs in the house I can catch everything. I have changed out cables and even switched the antenna input to the old cable lines because I knew those all worked in every room.  These appear to be quirks I have to live with, at least for now.  I tried SlingTV for a month. It actually would have let me get those few channels I used to watch, but they spanned two packages so I would have been paying more again to watch just a few channels. It did not have a contract so you could watch a month and then not, which I have considered. However, not having cable I’ve begun to watch even less TV. I watch a 30-minute game show at lunch and then an episode or two of something on the DVR, Netflix or Amazon in the evening and that’s not even every night, usually just with dinner, and then I turn the TV off and do something else. 

Overall, I’m very satisfied with life without cable. I get more done most days.  I spend my mornings on the porch experiencing nature, my dog, the quiet instead of in front of a screen getting all the bad news locally, nationally as well as worldly.   All of these screens in our lives are such distractions. We no longer take the time to just be with our own thoughts that might help us find solutions to our problems, experience the positive and especially negative emotions we have or if nothing else, just get to know ourselves and what we really want, not what someone on a screen tells us to want.  If you are considering cutting that cord yourself, I say DO IT!  You can always add it back and they’ll probably give you a deal for a while to come back – but I bet you won’t. 

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