Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What's Not On

This is what our TV set will look like for the next ??

It’s official. I’ve pulled the plug on the cable.

Now before you start to applaud me for removing the mind numbing, brain sucking box that is the focal point of our family room, wait. Before you give me kudos for saying to the cable company, “I won’t stand for anymore of your endless broadcasts about absolutely nothing.” hold on.

Truth be told, I simply ended the video stream for economical reasons. I’ve come to realize that as the bank account reaches the desperately low level each month, there are still a few days left until it’s time to turn the page on the calendar. Another thing I’m painfully aware of is that those envelopes with the little windows in them keep showing up even if I don’t have any money in my account to pay for them.

So yes, I may be a slow learner on some things, but I eventually do catch on.

Finances are one of those areas that for some reason, I seemed to drag my feet on for far too long. At almost forty-two years old, I took a look at where I was headed, and decided it was time to make some changes.

The first thing to hit the chopping block was the cable. For me it’ll be a bummer when I want to sit down and catch a baseball or football game, but outside of that, I honestly don’t think I’ll miss it all that much. I mean seriously, how many episodes of Law & Order can one person endure anyway?

My wife and youngest son however, are a different story. Without their daily dose of Martha Stewart and Sponge Bob respectively, they may not be able to function properly in society any longer. I honestly think if I told them I was going to take a kidney from each of them, it would have been an easier sell.

Other things to hit the chopping block are the monthly flat fee movie rental pass, and are you ready for this . . . STARBUCKS!!!!

This one may actually cost me a little money up front. You see, both Lisa’s car and my truck have a tendency to pull to the left as we drive by our local Starbucks in the morning, so I’m afraid I’ll have to take both vehicles in to correct this problem!

Well there you have it an easy way to trim about $200 of the monthly budget, which, by the summer time should be about five gallons of gas.

You ever hear people say, “Money won’t make you happy”? I hear that all the time, and I do agree with that, but I wouldn’t mind having a bunch of extra and then find out for myself if I’m happy or sad.


Jahooni said...

okay i understand saving a buck or two or three, but i really came here today to share with you that my daughter's team kicked major butt tonight. 8-0 Go DIVA QUEENS! WOO HOO. Badda Bing! ;)~

i feel sorry for your wife. have her email me in times of withdrawls. poor thing.

Jules~ said...

Good for you! It is so hard to make those decisions. I know there have been times when I have counted change to get a $1.50 of gas. The attendant says, "You mean a gallon right?"
"No", I say. "I mean a $1.50." and I give over a sandwich baggie of change...mostly of the worthless penny variety.
As for the withdrawls of tv watching, it is amazing the amount of episodes you can find for free online. (wink wink to Lisa)

Desert Songbird said...

It's truly amazing how much money you save when you cut out things you seem to think are essential. With gasoline costing over $3.00 per gallon, we gotta think about skipping the little things, too, like always getting soft drinks when we go the gas station.

Dana said...

Jeff, good for you - and good for your family! Sure there will be an adjustment, but I bet in a few short weeks everyone will be wondering why they thought it was such a big deal to give these things up.

Oh how I wish *my* family would realize what a wise decision you've made!

Jeni said...

OUCH! I'm sitting here at almost 5 a.m. reading blogs from my reader (cause I didn't get any reading at all done yesterday) and while doing this, the tv is on, droning in the background. I can't imagine NOT having the TV available! That plus the fact my internet connection (high speed -YAY, YAY) is through the tv cable too. I am so indoctrinated to the tv, I fall asleep to it, wake up off and on and have a vague idea of the time then based on what is droning on the set. I know, bad, bad -but that's me, I guess. Without the cable, where I live, we would only be able to view snow and hear static as we are too far out and down in the gully to get any reception otherwise, so the cable bill will be among the last to get clipped out of the budget here!

Mel said...


My starbucks bill is more than my cable bill.....LOL And I don't watch television........ever.

That means.......I could get twice as much starbucks if I ditched the cable.
Wow......I could be on to somethin' here!

buffalodickdy said...

I always say "If I ever have too much money, I can always give some back". It hasn't happened yet! I am contemplating a career move that probably will cost me money, but money doesn't do you much good if you're dead.. One phone call yesterday to Verizon will save me $80 a month. We also are looking at our cable package, as 100 channels with crap on them all isn't working...

CrystalChick said...

Yikes, give up FourBucks! My soy cocoa bill... it would be sad to do the math and realize I could be blogging from the Bahamas right now.
T.V. eh... I guess we could go to the neighbors for LOST.
We actually cut out alot of eating out. We both go to the grocery store together now... oh the fun...and plan more meals home. No eating on the run or falling victim to cravings. It's much healthier that way anyway!

Shame tho that hard working men with families like you and my hub and many others have to give up basic stuff while the big co.'s get richer.

Matt-Man said...

People who say that money won't make you happy, usually have plenty of it.

Good luck Jeff. Cheers!!

nitebyrd said...

Yeah, Jeff, I want to try that money thing, too! I can definitely live without Starbucks and monthly movie rental things but I'd shrivel and die without my cable. You are a strong man.

kevin wecker said...

Suddenly I feel the need to curse. Scream explatives because your cold-turkey change has thrown my life completely sideways! As a friend, I implore you to reconsider as your wife will talk to my wife, and my wife is already a supporter of GETTING RID OF THE TV movement.

Yeah, cursing definitely would help. But I'll make sure to do it at the gas station - that way no one hear me over their own cursing.

Sandee (Comedy +) said...

We pulled the plug on cable several months ago. We did it because they just kept raising the rates almost every month. I haven't watched television for some years now. The hubby took a bit longer. We don't do Starbucks either.

It's good for all families to see what they are spending on what and figure out if it's necessary or not. Often folks forget they are paying for some things. Good for you. Have a great day. :)

katherine. said...

cutting back on items you truly don't need is honorable.

cutting back on coffee....is cruel and unusual punishment....if anyone tried to limit my Peets intake it could get ugly....

Marilyn said...

I think money would make me happier... Anyway, I'd like to find out.

The Teamster said...

cutting back on the non-essentials is what we all need to do during these troubled times......and diet dr. pepper is an essential......(my form of coffee)......

Jeff B said...

Jahooni- Way to go Diva Queens!!!

I think the pink uniforms psyched out the opponet.

Jules- Hey, I like your new picture. Now we get to see you all growed up!

Songbird- All those little purchases add up in a months time.

Dana- Who knows, we might even break down and talk to each other more. there's a novel idea.

Jeni- I grew up with the TV in the background too. It becomes white noise after a while.

Mel- The world is not ready for you on twice as much Starbucks! (smile)

Buffalo- That was a good phone call. Isn't it amazing that the more channels they make available, the less there is to watch?

Crystalchick- "FourBucks" I like that one. I'm sure some of these things will make it back into the budget after we right ourselves.

Jeff B said...

Matt- ain't that the truth.

Nitebyrd- I'm with you, I'd like to try the "with money" for a while and decide if I were any happier.

Kevin- Sorry in advance for the inevedible conversation between M and Lisa.

Sandee- The movie rental thing was on an auto draft. When I cancelled it I found out that I had been paying $10.00 a month more than I thought because the "introductory offer" had expired.

Katherine- I gave up coffee for a year once. After about a year it wasn't so bad! (snicker)

Marilyn- Let's both try it and compare notes.

Teamster- I cut out Dr Pepper too. That's the tough one for me.

Ron said...

GREAT post, Jeff!

WOW..$200 bucks??? Good for you!

God...can you believe I've NEVER had cable in my life?? I'm not a TV person, so it's really no big deal for me. However, I know with a family it can be such enjoyable entertainment.

(I guess it's time to get out the crayons and coloring books!?!)

Now...the Starbucks thing...I don't know if I could do that. It's like oxygen!!!!

Hey...I just had a thought, now that you won't be watching much cable...it'll leave you a tremendous amount of time to write more stories for your blog!!!

YEAAA for us!

Travis said...

Tough decision, but sometimes it just has to be done.

I cut Starbucks and lunch out from the budget, but there's no way I can do without my Comcast as we enter March Madness.

Jeff B said...

Ron- No cable ever? I think you're probably the lucky one. Not having had it before you certainly aren't missing it now.

Travis- I'kll mis it on Sunday afternoons, but outside of that probably not so much.

Gene Bach said...

Just go to mom's...she still has cable. We got rid of cable too...went to satallite. ;-)

P M Prescott said...

With what looks like to be the worst recession since they called them Depressions I think a lot of people will be tightening their belts, which means businesses that sell less lay off workers, who then have to tighten their belts...
Do you have library cards so that the family can read together?

Jeff B said...

Gene- Good idea, but the silence is kind of refreshing.

P M- We do have library cards. It was great to see my oldest son with his nose in a book last night instead of another show on the Discovery channel.

Thanks for comming by.

Anna said...

Jeff good move, we live of basic cable for many years now, the question is how much can you watch, and what we have is just enough. We count every penny at home too, and been working very well for us, but then like you said other items costs are on the rise, like gas (damn!) - I think its time to start walking. Thanks for sharing. Have a good weekend. Anna :)