As I mentioned before, we cancelled our television several months ago. Surprisingly, we've hardly noticed a difference, due to some of the reasons I list below. As we enter the winter months and our family begins to spend more time indoors, I hope this continues to prove true. I'm already looking for other sources of entertainment...let me know if you have any suggestions!
Here are some reasons to cancel your cable or satellite, and still be connected:
1. Cut monthly costs. The most obvious reason, in this time of struggle in our economy, is the amount saved in your monthly budget. For our family, cancelling our subscription to DirecTV saved us $45-50/month. This number could be more or less, depending on your package. For some of you, it's not enough to make a difference. However, to those of us SAHMs living on one income, it definitely adds up.
2. Get connected. As we move forward to a more electronically-connected life, many people find that they can stay connected to the world via the internet. This is true with newspapers, magazines, and television. With websites such as hulu, avid television watchers can continue to watch regular broadcasts of their favorite programs for free. In addition, you can choose when you watch the program, as well as pause and resume when needed.
3. On-Demand. As with hulu gives you access to your favorite shows, Netflix gives you access to your favorite movies. For as little as $8.99/month, you have thousands of choices both online and in DVD format. Utilizing both of these capabilities gives you control of what you watch, and when you watch it.
4. Over the Air. Another way to stay up-to-date with your television programs is to use the channels available over the air. Most areas offer local ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, and CW channels, providing that your television is capable to access them. To find out which channels are available in your area, visit here. Simply type in your zip code, and choose Broadcast (Antenna).
5. Focus on what is important. By cancelling your cabel/satellite, you decrease the amount of distractions in your life. Often, the family television is on even when no one is actively watching it. By cancelling it, you will learn to focus on what is happening in your life without the distraction of your television on in the background.
6. Reconnect with your children. I know from experience that television can be used as a baby-sitter. I used it to distract my children so I could cook, clean, or perform some other task without "help" from my little ones. I also used it at night to calm them down before bedtime. Instead of turning to television, find a game or craft that your child is old enough to handle and let that keep them busy while you work. And at bedtime, bring back the bedtime stories. It's been proven that this helps them learn the importance of books, which will help them through the many years of school in front of them. Even NBC agrees!
7. Discover a hobby. All those hours and nights set aside for catching up with your television programs are now free, so why not do something you enjoy? Start quilting again. Or work puzzles with your kids. Or find a new hobby. With all this extra time, you and your family members can dedicate 30 minutes or more a few times a week and learn a musical instrument. Lessons are available online for free, or you can find someone in your area to teach you.
8. Get involved. When you don't have your evenings set aside for television watching, you suddenly have free nights to fill. Find out what is going on in your community, and start enjoying what is offered. Many events are free or of little cost, and can add an appreciation for your community to your family's life. Check your libraries, parks, and other public organizations for fun activities. Also check the communities of cities surrounding you for ways to get to know your area a little better.
9. Boost your health. With your nights and evenings, you can find a fitness program to help you get back into shape. Whether it's aerobics, Jazzercize, yoga, walking, or free-weight training, we all need exercise to stay healthy. ALSO: Use your time to find healthy ways to prepare your meals, and decide to stop eating fast-food on week nights. You will be surprised how quickly this leads to a more healthy you.
10. Rest. Although it may not seem very important, sleep (or the lack thereof) plays a significant role in your day-to-day performance. The Mayo Clinic has found that adults need 7-8 hours of sleep per night. So, instead of catching up on your dose of reality tv, go to bed! Start fresh tomorrow, and enjoy your own reality.
Keep your camera handy. With all this extra time, you will be creating lasting memories that you will want to document.