So apparently, cable is NOT a necessity. Who knew? According to an informal survey I conducted on Facebook, many people are living without cable. I had no idea!
It's important that you know that I love me some t.v. This wasn't just about my family breaking away. It's started with me. Secretly, I was thinking about ditching the cable long before I uttered the words to my family. Once I decided (with my husband on board, of course) that we needed to be a cable free home, it was time to approach the troops. Now, if you have littles, this probably will only be a husband-wife thing. But my kids are 9 and 14, and much to my dismay they have opinions.
So, here's how I did it and kept the peace:
1. Talk it up for months.
Yes, I said months. It was kind of like a desensitizing tactic. When I first mentioned it, they were all like, WHAT?? WHAT??? NO WAY!! I would just leave it at that. Then a day or so later I brought it up again and then, again and again. Until eventually, they started to see that it was going to be a reality.
2. Invest in a smart t.v.
This may not always be possible. But we got a great deal on a smart t.v. at Sam's, kind of accidentally. The smart t.v. enables us to get things like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon and it's already built in the t.v. No extra equipment is necessary and our plan was to go cable free not t.v. free. We also still have internet (isn't internet a necessity???) We also bought a $15 HD digital antenna from Walmart and we get 57 local channels for FREE. (So what if 25 of them are in Spanish LOL). Apple t.v. is also a great option if you don't have a smart t.v.
3. Get your ducks in a row.
Know what services (like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon) will work with your t.v. set up and your budget. Try out the free trials if you don't subscribe already. Unplug the cable and try out an antennae for the local channels. (You can always return it if doesn't work like expected.) Call your cable company and see how much just internet will cost and get a good deal. Most likely they don't want to completely lose your business so they will work with you like ATT did with me.
4. Show them that its not that bad.
Once you bite the bullet and cut off the cable (I'm not gonna lie, it was tad bit painful), show your family how the new cable free t.v. works. Show them the local channels. Find a website that gives the local listings so they have a channel guide. Put their favorite shows in your Netflix Queue. The more informed they are, the less painful it will be and they will realize that they are not missing out after all.
My main concern with Netflix, Hulu and Amazon is the lack of parental controls. When we had cable I had all kinds of parental controls enabled. My kids could barely watch Disney channel without having me enter the secret code. I have trained them to only go to Netflix Kids, and of course get my permission before viewing. In Hulu, I've favorited the approved shows. This part is still a work in progress. I've instructed them never to search without my help. There's too much craziness out there-even just in the titles. So be careful! Also, check out the parental controls built into your t.v.
So why did we get rid of cable?
It wasn't a financial necessity-though we are going to save at least $1200 a year by being cable free.
It was a Priority Check Decision.
The Lord laid on my heart 2 things:
1. How the Hughes family was spending their money and
2. How the Hughes family was spending their time.
Many days we were spending LOTS of time watching mindless t.v. and only minutes in the Word. Not cool. And not the message we wanted to send to our children. Now we turn on Pandora on our t.v. and enjoy music instead of just turning on the t.v. for background noise. We are watching commercial free t.v. and being more selective in our shows. And in just one week our t.v. viewing is WAY down. Success.
And my family doesn't even hate me. In fact, I've hardly heard any complaints. Who knew?