Times Are Tough: What Have You Cut From You're Budget?

5 years ago

The Recession is in full swing and they say it may take years to get out of it. Times are tough for all of us. Everyone I know has made adjustments or had to adapt somehow.  

Drastic times call for Drastic Measures.

My family, like many others, have been trying to cut back on our spending.  We have cut  a few "extras" out of the monthly budget but last month we broke down and got rid of even the most basic cable.  I dreaded telling my boys there would be no watching the NBA games at our house anymore. 

We became a family without TV, and I knew it was not going to be pretty.  We talked it over with the kids one evening and as my husband finished explaining the how's and whys of the decision making process, I braced for impact.  I had mentally prepared myself, but my kids surprised me.  Although I new there would be a few moans and possibly a couple of heavy sighs, I did not expect to have them agree with and fully support the decision - but that is exactly what happened.  My kids even suggested we quit getting Red Box videos.

It turns out that between HULU, Netflix, Amazon and the Internet in general, just about any program and almost every NBA game can still be seen if we don't mind being a bit flexible.  My kids love Hulu PLUS and we have found it to be cheaper than Netflix while also offering a much larger selection of TV shows to view. My favorite is Amazon Instant video.  I signed up to be a PRIME member about a year ago which gives me free access to a bunch of movies, TV shows (old and new) as well as documentaries.  Love, love, love Amazon.  

Having so many options, while not really missing out on our favorite shows is awesome.  We cancelled Netflix a month ago because we really didn't use it much.  With all the changes, we are saving  at least $100 dollars a month. Who doesn't like that?!

Just in case you are gasping at the mere thought of a family living without all those channels to choose from, let me put your mind at ease.  My family is still happy and functioning without our cable subscription.  I realized there were many times the TV was on, but no one was really watching anything important.  

TV had become our "white noise", our comfort when we were bored, and the distraction when there were important things to be done.  But the biggest change from having no cable has been positive.  We became a family who's greatest source of fun, joy and entertainment was each other.  The past week I think I have played at least 20 hands of CANASTA. (Lindsey and I won) We have played more games as a family in the last few months, than in the previous months, and that's saying something because we are a big game playing crew!  I have spent literally hours spending one-on-one time with each member of my family and we have had some great quality time with each other.  

Granted, one of those bonding times of "entertainment" ended with one of my sons catching his older brothers hair on fire..... And  I admit it was impressive when the boys got together and did some "brotherly bonding" by building a huge potato gun, even if that incident also resulted in a few injuries and a very messy yard full of potato parts.....but I like to think of it as my kids making memories.  

(FYI - I only think of it that way NOW...not when I could smell burning hair in a yard full of potato chunks.)  

At the end of the day, my family got rid of something that we once felt was necessary part of everyday life and it turned out to be a blessing.  We have given ourselves the gift of TIME.  Time spent being a family.  Time to bond, to talk and share.  Time to laugh with the people we love the most and time to make those important memories. Getting to spend time with my favorite people - it is the gift I give myself. Quality Time...it is the gift that keeps on giving.  

100 digital channels to choose from!  Everything from the Food network to the Cheese channel....Who needs it?!  Not me!  Family time is so much better than TV, and I don't miss it at all! 

Although, I do sometimes wish my kids had a Mute button.

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