I have always wished I could just get rid of our cable, but that may never be. I have 4 kids and sometimes the only way I can get things done is if someone is sitting down to a movie or TV program. It started when Diana was a toddler and I discovered she liked Diego which happened to come on when I needed to be making supper. It moved along through our family in the same way, until the twins came last fall and well TV really kept the girls busy while I managed the twins, especially on the long days Dave was working. We’ve tried the past to limit the usage, and even given it all up for lent a time or two. Dave still needs certain things like the news in the morning to prepare for his commute and Discovery for those nights he is up until 5am. What I came to realize is that we can cut back and save money. These are some things we have done to save us money but still keep something.
- Monitor what is being watched and by who, quite often you may be paying for channels you don’t need or watch. Check what packages you have and what is in those. Get rid of anything you don’t need. I just got rid of all the women’s type channels for myself, like slice, wnetwork and TLC. I never watch them or often enough, and most the shows now on those channels weird me out. I also got rid of the family package, this way now I’m not just talking about limiting the kids shows. They can still watch a few shows on local channels in the morning and that is about all they need, and me while I get everything up and going in the morning. Savings for down grading $15 a month + $180 a year.
- Only order packages as you need them. Dave only really enjoy watching Hockey, so when hockey season is over or his team isn’t in the play offs we don’t have TSN, Sportsnet or any sports channel. It can save us about $50 a year depending on the season.
- To fill in longer weeks and months of the year when the kids are just squirrely and it is too cold to be outside, sick or mommy is super busy with the twins or house. We go to the library to borrow movies. They have lots of kids TV programs on DVD and videos. The girls can then watch Barbie movies, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and I’m only paying for my library membership of $15 a year which has proved its cost many times over.
- Get hobbies outside the house, or visit places. Try things like Geocaching, visiting your library or local indoor play parks. If you look and ask around you can find lots of things to do for free. Even just letting your kids colour, cut and glue at the kitchen table can provide lots of entertainment, and no long hours spent looking up craft ideas. Make some homemade play dough and you won’t be sorry.
- Don’t rent movies. Borrow from the library and friends. About once a month I check out rogers video or blockbuster online for new releases and request them from the library. So I may have to wait a while for a new release but I don’t pay $6.99 a movie or what ever the stores and video on demand charge. I have not had trouble yet finding any of the new releases. Also ask to borrow from friends or family who are movie buffs and do buy new movies. If it is something you truly love then you know it is worth buying.
- If you don’t need things like sports or news, and don’t care to watch current TV shows consider NetFlix. For $7.99 you have access to lots of movies and TV shows. We talk about getting it but having decided to yet, so far I’d rather just save the money and most of the movies on it that interest us we already own. Netflix may also be perfect with a basic cable package if you don’t want all the extras.
- Check to see what you can watch on local network internet channels. Most of the time you can watch all the current shows online, so if you don’t care to watch the news you can save even further.
I may sound crazy or I may make a lot of sense. This is what works for our family and I would rather spend our money else where, and I know there are many more places I will need to spend that money in the future as my kids grow. Just remember it is only TV and didn’t we all grow up building tree forts, playing games with our friends in the park and spending time any where but in front of the TV. Turn it off, unplug it and give it a try. You may find you enjoy the changes and discover new adventures.