When I posted about wants vs needs, there was something ‘missing’ from my wants list, cable. We have a very good reason for not having cable, we do not even have a television.
Today it is a conscious decision for us to not have a television, but it is something that has evolved over time. My first year of grad school I bought a cheap TV and then found with my busy schedule I never watched it. There were a few shows I would watch, but it was always in a social setting so I usually just ended up watching at friends’ apartments. When I moved after grad school, I brought my little TV with me with the idea that I would save up for a flat screen TV. But by the time I could afford the nice TV, I realized I was enjoying all the extra time I had by not watching TV and decided it was silly to spend the money on something I did not even really want.
When my husband and I moved in together he brought his big TV with him and I figured it was only a matter of time before we got cable. But again, I started to really love our TV-free lifestyle and could never justify adding a big cable bill to our budget when my goal was to watch as little TV as possible. When we recently made room in our 2-bedroom for our baby, we finally got rid of our TV altogether. We were never watching it and it was time to make room for something much more important.
When I think about whether or not to buy a TV, I think about the following:
Overall, I find TV to be a major time suck. It is so easy to sit down to watch a show and get up from the couch hours later. Even worse, it is easy to feel bored and turn on the TV just to see what is on. As a result of not having a TV I get more sleep and spend more quality time with my husband. The one thing that I have to admit is that I sometime worry the Internet is just as bad as TV. In an ideal world I would spend a lot less time on my laptop too.
We still have access to most shows and now we only watch TV when there is something we really want to watch. Almost all shows are now available online in some fashion. So while we do not have a TV, I am completely up to date on this season’s Mad Men.
We save money by not having cable. Where we live it is hard to get any kind of reception without having cable. Not having a TV, and not having cable frees up a lot of money in our monthly budget. Money we can spend on other things that we value more. This does not even include all the money we save by not having the big fancy TV I know I would want if we were to actually buy a TV.
There are a few times when I really wish we had TV and cable. There is no good way to watch sports online. Every once in awhile I get a big urge to watch a college football game and I really love to watch baseball. Last year our baseball team made it into postseason play and it was actually fun to not have a TV as it forced us out of the house to watch. But now with a baby it is harder to get out and I am not sure what we will do this year. It is also really hard to invite people over to watch a show or a movie. However, part of getting older seems to be that I see my friends less frequently so I usually prefer to socialize with my friends when I see them, rather than watch TV. I also really love the cooking channel and find myself glued to it every time we stay at a hotel.
Having a baby has actually made me question our decision a little as I worry that our baby will be the ‘odd kid with no TV‘ But we will cross the bridge when we come to it.
Now that I do not have a TV, I am actually shocked at how many others do not have a TV. Is this the wave of the future or am I just stuck in the dark ages?