Life has been changing around here at a semi-dizzying pace, but all in a really good direction. HH and I have actively made some of those changes, and others have simply happened as a result of those. The first thing we wanted to do was get out of debt. We sat down, added up all the debt we have so we could look at it in one place, passed out on the floor for a while, stood back up, looked at it again, slapped ourselves in the forehead and then got down to business. We were spending money in places where we shouldn’t and neglecting other things that were much more important. So, since neither of us seem to be getting a new job or a tremendous raise anytime soon, we had to make the changes with what we already had. The task seemed seriously daunting, but when we really took stock of what is important to us and what we want for the future, it wasn’t all that hard. A little sacrifice now will go a much longer way in the future, so that’s what we decided to do.
First to go was our recreational activities. Everything but snowboarding had to go. We already own everything we need in order to go snowboarding and bought super cheap season passes in September, so that’s pretty much all covered. Plus, we needed to leave ourselves with SOMETHING to do, so as not to lose our minds. Next, we put down the credit cards. If it ain’t cash(debit), we don’t buy it. My mantra on credit cards has become this, which must be said loudly and in the ilk of Samuel L. Jackson, circa Pulp Fiction: “It’s not yo’ FUCKIN’ money, Honey!” Also, credit cards are from the devil, and that’s all I’m gonna say about that.
The last thing we looked at was where we could save on the bills that are just a part of life. I switched my electricity supplier to wind energy. It was cheaper and I felt greener every time I turned on or off a light. Nothing much changed that was noticeable, except my bill went down. Cool. Next we looked at the cable bill, which had just gone up for some unidentifiable reason. I checked out the bills and couldn’t figure out why it went up, so I called. They told me that my two-year promotional rate had expired and that this was the standard rate. I asked what I could do to get back the other rate. Basically, I was told that I was shit out of luck. When I asked why a loyal customer should be treated worse than a new one, they said they could offer me $5 off my bill. Great, thanks. You just jacked my bill by $50 a month for the same exact services I had before and now, out of the kindness of your hearts, you’ll give me five whole dollars back? Gosh golly whilikers, how awfully generous of you.
And so, the decision was made that much easier. Let’s just cancel TV altogether. (I’m keeping the internet. Someone’s gonna have to pry the internet from my cold dead hands.) So we did cancel the whole package (internet included), but only so I could sign back up a week later, for just the internet, as a nice, shiny new customer. So my bill went from $150 a month to $33 a month.
Now I know what you’re all thinking. No TV? At all? What are you people, crazy!?!? I thought we might be a little crazy at first too. However, my dad told me that there is still free TV being broadcast over the air and all I needed was an antenna to access it. Cool. $30 at Radio shack, and we’re in business. It wasn’t exactly HD, which is sad, since my father had turned me into an HD snob, nor did I have 387 channels, but I got 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13 pretty well. But, even better, when the cable guy came to install my internet back, he took one look at our rabbit-ear antenna and took pity on us. He took the cable line that ran into the house and simply plugged that right into the back of the TV. Voila! HD channels, plus Animal Planet and Food Network, the only 2 cable networks that we watched anyway. Completely free and legal. Awesome.
But the best part of it all, really, is that during the week when we had nothing, we had to figure out other things to do besides watch TV and surf the internet. And you wanna know what we did? We TALKED to each other. Like, a whole lot! And we always knew this about ourselves, but we had let it get away from us, had let the TV and the internet drown out the fact that HH and I really, really love talking to each other. And we love cooking together and coming up with ideas together and just being together, without distractions. And I think, just maybe, we fell in love just a little bit more.
Now we do have some TV back in the house, as well as the internet, but we don’t use it half as much as we used to. I’ll admit to being hooked on Glee and Grey’s Anatomy. But all in all, 2 hours a week of TV watching, down from probably 20 hours, is a vast improvement. The only other time we really put it on is for 20 minutes, on a timer, so we can fall asleep. That’s it.
So yeah, it may seem crazy, but it may be the best thing you ever do. Turn off that TV for a while and see what happens.