Minimalist Living: Time Wasters

 

Well, we did it! After a year of talking about it we finally pulled the cable plug!

Despite wanting to be more present, I found cable to be the very thing that caused me to be the most distracted (followed closely by social media, but I will save that for another post). Cable, by far, has been the hardest habit for me to break.

I have tried limiting my time watching it but seem to always fail at it.

I return home from a long day at work, pushing the little “on” button without much thought, lying to myself that it was just to have noise in the background. That “noise” would soon begin it’s hypnotic rhythm leading me like a zombie to sit mindlessly on the couch. The phone would ring pulling me from my trance. My husband was calling to let me know he is on his way home, which signaled it was time to start dinner. Guilt flooded over me when the realization hit me that I had just wasted two hours! The guilt was short lived because I would turn around and do the same thing again the very next day. Something had to give. So I decided there was only one way for me to combat this situation. So I told my husband that I was finally ready to pull the plug.

We didn’t want to go into this blindly. As with any situation in our household, this meant extensive research before we made any final decisions.

Minimalism is about eliminating the excess and only keeping the things you truly find enjoyable and what you deem necessary. Maximalism means excess and redundancy which is the perfect description of cable. Maximalism is the antithesis of minimalism, therefore in my mind so is cable. You have all these channels and only a few things you find enjoyable. Most of the time you are sucked into watching something you really aren’t into, just to have “something to watch”. More time wasted.

Our family has certain shows we love and want to continue watching, we just want to eliminate the excess.

I am not saying what we did will work for everyone. Just like the minimalist lifestyle is different for everyone, so is their entertainment needs. I am just sharing what worked for us to help others who may be considering their options. We did not want to eliminate TV all together, just the excess. For those that prefer to cut it completely, a call to the cable company letting them know you no longer are in need of their services will do the job. Maybe one day we will do that too!

So if you want to do what we did here are the steps to follow. Change as needed for your situation of course.

STEP 1:

Make a list of the shows you currently watch. Make sure you list everything! We went through our DVR and listed everything that we had one there. I was appalled at how long our list actually was. This is why you want to list everything, so you can truly see how much time you are actually wasting. This was a real eye opener for us.

STEP 2:

Now go through your list and circle only the shows you truly enjoy watching. Notice I did not say mark off anything. You just want to focus on what you love and once those are identified, eliminate everything else.

STEP 3:

This is where the research comes in. You take your short list of LOVED shows and you figure out alternative ways to watch them. Netflix, HULU, Amazon Prime, etc. Find the streaming device that works best for you. For us it was Apple TV. All of our devices are Apple products so this made the most sense for us. ROKU is another option. A friend of mine has it and likes it a lot. There may be others but these are the two that I found that met our needs. We bought one Apple TV to try out to see if we liked it. After several months we found that we were streaming everything on our list and weren’t actually using cable anymore. We were ready to cut the cord. Which leads us to the next step.

STEP 4:

Now determine what internet provider fits your needs. My husband works from home a lot and works in the IT sector, which means high speed internet is a necessity for us. Our current internet speed (around 105 mbps) was sufficient for us so we were good just cutting the cable. We were very disappointed when we called Comcast and they really didn’t want to work with us. They were going to charge us $90 per month with a data cap of 1 TB. We also had to rent their modem for $10 per month in addition to the other little fees and taxes I noticed they tacked onto our bill each month. They offered to let us keep what we were currently using for $120 per month for 1-year. I was slightly offended because they had been charging us 2 1/2 times that up until now. Frustrated, I went looking for other options. The only other option for us in the area we live in was AT&T Fiber. With them we were able to get 150 mbps with unlimited data for $80 per month and they waved the set up fee of $100. No additional fees or rentals needed, only the tax. That is when we decided to leave our 14 year relationship with Comcast. We have no regrets. Our home phone was voice over ip and we cut that as well. Most of the time it was just rotary sales calls we received on it anyway. So I’m a little relieved it’s gone. Now if I can remember to turn my cell phone off silent!

Not only have we terminated the unnecessary but we are also saving $2,100 per year and that is even after we purchase Apple TVs for the other TVs in our home. We are extremely happy with our decision.

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