No TV Week….Er…Life

kill the tv Pictures, Images and Photos

Each September there is a Nation-wide campaign called “No TV Week”.  We participated last year and it was actually nice to have some silence–well, as much as you can have with 2 kids!–for a change!

The last month I’ve been looking through our bills and trying to find areas that we can cut back.  Taking out all the unnecessary things, cutting back on groceries and eating out (that one is proving difficult–we love eating out!), and finding little things in our budget that can be eliminated.  I have been thinking about canceling the cable for awhile and have decided that it is time!

We didn’t have cable for the first 4 years of our marriage because we just couldn’t afford it!  It was a luxury that neither Aaron or myself had grown up with.  When we were little, cartoons came on Saturday morning only and the only “kids” shows we watched were “The Cosby Show” and “Full House”!  As a result, we both spent a lot of time outside.  I can remember riding bikes with my neighbor for miles at a time! ( It was 3 miles one way to my Granny’s house and we rode there almost everyday!)  We didn’t know any differently.

When we got married we just couldn’t afford it.  We ate cheap, we never went out and we watched movies or played video games in the evenings!  When I was pregnant with Annagrace I convinced Aaron to let us get cable.  You know–for her.  We’ve had it ever since.

But now that I have 2 tv junkies in the house I am seeing how much my children (and I) “depend” on tv and I don’t like it.  We spend too many hours just flipping through stations.  My kids waste time that they could be reading, or learning, or exploring outside, watching “kids” tv shows that are really way too advanced for them (Hannah Montana for one–I don’t need my 7 and 3 year old to see her chasing and kissing boys).

I have two blogging friends who have recently blogged about tv.  Kind of funny to me and it has helped me to make my decision to cut it off!  Sarah limits her child’s tv watching to 30 minutes a day.  My kids watch probably 4 HOURS a day.  Yes, I’m ashamed.  Once we cut back we will only have networks so they can watch Sesame Street on PBS and that will be about it.

Lindsey recently posted about limiting her son’s tv viewing.  She posted a link to a great article in Mothering magazine about a family that moved to the middle of nowhere and didn’t have access to cable, or even network tv.  They thought it was going to be the death of their children but in a very quick amount of time the kids lost interest in tv.  In fact, when they visited their grandparents their daughter watched for a few minutes, got bored and said, ‘I’m going outside.”  I loved it!

So we are canceling all cable tv.  I still want access to the networks because we live in Eastern NC and it’s almost hurricane season.  Weird, I know–but I feel the need to keep an eye on the weather particularly at this time of year!

Next decision is should we cancel our home phone as well.  We don’t use it much at all and never seem to use any of our monthly minutes on our cell phones so I am thinking we can let it go.  Dropping both will save us about $80+ a month!

Here is a list of FREE things that we can do instead of watching tv:

  • Walks or bike rides in the neighborhood (giving us a chance too to meet the neighbors!)
  • Board games (I’m going to invest in a few new ones over the next few months)
  • Family movie nights (we have Netflix so we’re going to start getting more family friendly movies)
  • Trips to the park (there are a ton of them here and we’ve only been to one so far)
  • Reading together outloud as a family (I have started a list of possibilities including the Narnia series)
  • Cooking/baking together
  • Yardwork (okay, so the kids may not go for that one but I love to do it!)
  • Crafts/Scrapbooking
  • More visits to the library (we go about once a week but I’m all for going more often!)
  • Trips to local museums (won’t be free but will be cheap and fun)

Also, canceling the cable will allow us to afford piano lessons for Annagrace and dance classes for Madalyn and I feel much better about spending that money on those things rather than on tv!

8 Responses to “No TV Week….Er…Life”

  1. 1 Lindsey August 6, 2009 at 11:41 am

    We had a home phone for just a couple of months after we got married. We got rid of it when we realized we used our cell phones for pretty much everything. We’ve been trying to talk our parents into getting rid of their land-lines to save $ but they haven’t done it yet. I think it’s becoming a much more “common” thing to do with our generation because we do have cell phones and pretty good plans for a decent price. We never really had a chance to get “used” to home phones. I say, GO FOR IT!

    Not sure what you’re paying for Netflix and how many movies you watch. We used to do the Blockbuster equivalent but really didn’t get our money’s worth. We just don’t sit down and watch movies. We’re always busy doing other things. My parents are the same way but they’ve recently discovered RedBox. When they do get in the mood for a movie you can get one super cheap – including new releases! $1/night I think. If you go to you can sign up and get a code for a free rental. My sister-in-law just enlightened me to this blog: that offers “insider” redbox info, including codes for free rentals. It’s also $1 to check out movies from the library….WHICH I THINK IS RIDICULOUS! I’m used to free checkouts on EVERYTHING at the library. But, depending on how many you watch it may be worth it to go one of those routes.

    This morning (day 5 of limited tv) Silas woke up and said, “I wanna watch tv.” I just said, “no not this morning” and without any fussing or pouting he went to get a book out of his library book basket to read!

    Ok, this was a really long comment. I’m done.

    • 2 lsaufley August 6, 2009 at 1:00 pm

      I agree about the library! I couldn’t believe it costs a dollar to “borrow” movies there! Crazy.

      Aaron is the primary Netflix user in our house. I rarely watch any movie that he gets from there because we tend to have very different tastes in movies! I tried to get him to do away with it and use Redbox but he doesn’t like how limited the selection is. He is a movie junkie!!! I’ll check that site out though because me and the girls could get movies there–I am guessing we would only watch about one per week at the most.

      I have been limiting the girls’ tv watching the last few days to just PBS to see how it’s going to go. It has been pretty easy. Annagrace could sit and read and be perfectly happy. Next up is limiting Madalyn’s computer use. I never thought I’d have a 3 year old computer geek!

  2. 3 Lana Daniels August 6, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Let me know what you decide about the phone. My husband and I only have cell phones but with a baby on the way we are thinking of getting a land line. The reason that I think that we might need a land line is because of baby sitters. I do not want to assume that they will have a cell phone of their own to call out for emergencies and I do not want to hand over my cell phone because I also might need it.

    At this moment it is an extra expense that we are debating about adding. It would be very nice to have another view on the topic.

    • 4 lsaufley August 6, 2009 at 12:56 pm

      Someone else brought up the point about babysitters. Luckily my parents are our primary babysitters and they both have cell phones. Our other babysitters that we use occasionally both have cells. And I figure if we are going out for the evening and our sitter doesn’t have one, I would just leave mine at home for her to use.

  3. 5 Aaron August 6, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    I am a big movie junkie. And Netflix pays for itself. I watch anywhere between 5-9 Netflix movies a month, which comes out to, at most, $1.92 a movie. Yeah, Redbox is $1 a night, but what if I don’t take them back on time? And I’ve gotta drive my gas sucking Ford Exploder to the kiosk. The mailman already comes, so Netflix makes much more sense. So I’m saving money and the environment.

  4. 7 Alison August 6, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    My kid watches wayyyyyy too much tv, too. But our satellite is free for us (my dad pays for it b/c he got tired of having nothing to watch when visiting, haha). I was raised a TV junkie…I’m hoping that once Charlotte and I start our “Preschool at home”, that having scheduled things to do will help us cut back that tube time!

    • 8 lsaufley August 6, 2009 at 7:53 pm

      I think having scheduled time for things definitely helps. This week I’ve let the girls watch about 30 minutes in the morning and then they do some other activity until lunch, then they watch a movie after lunch and do another activity after that (today it was play-doh!) until Aaron gets home. It’s worked well. Hoping to get back into a “school groove” several days next week…we’re starting back in 2 weeks!

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August 2009

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