29 June 2012

Less is More

I'm the kind of person who has a hard time getting rid of stuff.  I wouldn't say I could be a subject for 'Hoarders': I throw things out constantly, and I'm not a compulsive shopper (anymore.)  But when it comes to certain unnecessary things, I have a habit of holding on to them for no good reason, and then when I finally get around to purging, it's such a relief I ask myself what took so long?  It basically comes down to procrastination. 

So the thing that took me forever to get rid of this time is cable TV.  Okay, you can say it doesn't take up a lot of space: after all, it's only a box (or in my case, two boxes, but they don't really collect dust.)  You can even argue that it doesn't necessarily take up time.  It's like anything you have, it only takes up the time you put into it, or get out of it.  There are plenty of people who would argue that in the age of DVR's and TIVO, you can budget your time by recording the shows you want to watch and only watching that.  Well, that should be true but for me it wasn't.  Even so, I wasn't chained to the TV by any means, but what was really bothering me was the monetary expense.  How could I, in my right mind, spend so much for so little?  In the end I'd gone down the basic package, so I didn't even have most of the good channels, yet I was still paying way too much. 

I try not to be a cheapskate.  There is a difference between being cheap and thrifty, though there's a fine line.  Still, the longer I kept cable, the more I'd do sums in my head, thinking of all the other things I could spend my money on.  Therein is the key:  if I think about things like rent and utilities, sure it's useful but it's not a satifactory means of saving.  So I operate on my Wishlist Currency: how many months of savings = another trip to London, Afternoon Teas, a fabulous pair of shoes, art books, or even a gadget I'd been eyeing.  Now all those cable shows don't sound as exciting, and certainly aren't as tangible. 

What really did it for me, though, was when I got around to calling my cable provider, in an attempt to find a lower priced TV/internet package.  I see ads all the time for deals that were more than half of what I was paying, for new customers, and that didn't seem fair.  In the past I'd call from time to time and get a small chunk of money lopped off my bill, and it seemed reasonable that this should happen again.  This time, though, the person I spoke to wouldn't budge.  Well, fine with me lady! 

So it's been a few weeks since I've been TV-less, and I have to say, I rarely notice it's missing.  Yes, I have Netflix, but that's dramatically cheaper, and I borrow DVD's from the library which is free.  In the future I'll probably get some sort of coverter/antennae so that I can have a couple of network channels, but I'm not even in a rush to do that.  Picking this time of year to quit was convenient, because most of the shows I follow are on hiatus, but even when Fall comes around I can watch them the next day online.  (I didn't have BBC America, so I'd have had to find another way to watch Doctor Who anyway.)  Actually, what I miss the most is the clocks on the two boxes I had to bring back, but that too shall pass. 

I don't know if this has been a rant or a smug back-patting moment - you decide.   All I can hope is that life is slightly less complicated.


Rita said...

I got rid of cable and my son and DIL hooked me up with a computer box so I can the internet for cheaper, record shows, and get Netflix streaming. I only get the over the air TV, so only a handful of stations. But I also can order a DVD off Netflix and see the shows I really liked. I don't miss the higher bill or all the channels. I did for just a little while, but was shocked at how quickly I got used to it. There are a lot of shows you can find to watch on the internet for free, too. I don't even have to watch commercials anymore! I love it! Good for you! :)

Anonymous said...

Your blog description made me smile....and I LOVE almost any type of tea.
Cable, never had it. thank goodness, because I'm sure I'd be making the same decision you are now. Take care : ) (thank goodness our local public TV carries Eastenders...have been hooked on it for years)

Introverted Art said...

oh Catherine, I still have a shirt from when I was 19... I don't know why I keep it, since I seldom wear it, but I can seem to find the courage to get rid of it.

Catherine said...

Rita: No commercials was the big bonus!

Lynn: I don't think I've ever seen a whole episode of Eastenders...I'm probably missing out. Well, I think I saw a cameo on the Doctor Who episode Army of Ghosts. Everything's about Doctor Who for me these days.

Ana: Nothing wrong with holding onto some things from the past. It's like being the curator of your own life. It's when you can't close the closets and are terrified of people dropping by that a few things need to go.