When Johnny and I were paying off our student debt (read Our Debt Story here), we sacrificed a lot. And we didn’t splurge on much. But there was one item we just couldn’t sacrifice: cable. Cable’s not cheap. On more than one occasion we asked ourselves if we should get rid of it. We had friends who were paying off school loans, too, or trying to save money for other reasons, and they DIDN’T have cable. But we just couldn’t give it up. To justify cable, we sacrificed in other areas of our budget. We never ate out at restaurants. Our big food splurge of the week was getting takeout (usually of the Thai variety). And our visits to movie theaters and sporting events were also few and far between.
Our friends who didn’t have cable would invite us to meet at expensive restaurants or to go see a movie in theaters. We realized that they were sacrificing cable in order to eat at restaurants. That was their sacrifice, and this was ours.
And why couldn’t we drop cable (and still can’t!)?
Well, Johnny and I don’t rent movies. And we go to movie theaters maybe once a year (and during Saturday matinee). We watch shows. For us, watching an episode (or three) of a show together is like a simplified date night. We get dinner all set up on our coffee table (super fancy) and eat and unwind while we watch a show. If anyone watched with us, they’d probably get annoyed pretty quickly because of our non stop commentary. That’s half the fun: playing off each other’s opinionated dialogue during a show. Here are our current favorite “couple shows” right now:
- Breaking Bad
- Walking Dead
- Gold Rush
- House Hunters
- Mad Men
- Dual Survival
Oh, and the other big reason we (read: JOHNNY) can’t go without cable? College sports. Johnny loves him some college football and basketball. Luckily, I like it, too. But Johnny gets genuine happiness out of watching his team play. Unless they lose… but let’s not go there. And during college football season we love being able to have a few friends over and hosting on game day.
Best Current Option
There are lots of other options that show lots of promise: Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Video, Roku, etc. Admittedly, Johnny’s spent a lot more time looking into all of them than I have, but the selection on each service is pretty sparse and segmented. And none of those options offer live sports. *Sad trombone* So until a tech or cable company comes to the rescue and offers a true a la carte solution, cable’s it.
But just because we have cable doesn’t mean we don’t find ways to cut costs. We never pay for anything beyond basic cable with HD. And every year, after our promotional price is set to expire, Johnny calls the cable company threatening to turn off the service and always gets off the phone with an even better monthly rate than the previous year. You should hear Johnny pretending to be dissatisfied cable customer. That whole process is probably worth a post in and of itself.
So it’s been worth the splurge to us. Of course, now that we have a three-week-old daughter, our time is very limited. And we are spending much less time watching TV. So while it’s been an expense that’s been worth it so far, we might be reassessing our cable expense yet again at some point in the near future!
Do you have cable? If so, what do you sacrifice for it? If not, where do you get your entertainment fix? What’s your must-watch show right now?… because all we need right now is ANOTHER show to be addicted to.