Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fixed Income Retirement-Keeping the Cable?

In another day or so, I'll be (mainly) finished with school. In the next few weeks I'll be hosting a church cookie exchange, doing various Christmas "fun" stuff, making Christmas gifts, going to craft fairs and planning a trip to Santa Fe and Denver. I'll be making some New Year's Goals (coming soon). . The other thing I'm doing is retooling my budget. 

Now that I've been on my Social Security and pension for two months, I have a better idea of what changes I need to make. I hope to share those categories soon. I'm definitely looking at cutting in a couple areas, as well as increasing some income.  These two changes will allow me to live at the current level as long as possible (to all the people who get nervous here about their monthly income, remember that unlike many of you, I have a full blown mortgage payment and will for awhile-many of you don't have that elephant in the room, or will not for long).  I've been looking at ways to cut expenses, and be more self sufficient. I've also been researching prices and costs. It's an ongoing process and we should all do this every so often no matter our income, I suppose.

After some research, I decided that for now, I will keep the cable. This is not a decision I made lightly, and I have done research and am negotiating a better rate with a different company. But for now at least the cable stays.  Since I did research both streaming (through something like a Roku box), and limiting myself to ten channels, I thought I would share my thought processes as to how I got here.  My reasons may not be your reasons, but here they are in no particular order:
  • As a single person, sometimes it's a simple companionship issue, especially in the evenings in the winter. I don't like driving in the dark, which means with one exception most of my socializing is daytime and I am at home at night.  Sometimes I want the noise and the company.
  • I adore sports. Neither streaming nor the network only option would be a real solution. At a minimum I also need TNT and ESPN in order to watch American football, football (soccer to you Americans), and college football and basketball.  This is a large concern. If I were younger I could spend my Sunday or Saturday in a sports bar-that's not working for me right now.
  • There is, frankly, some damn good programming on television. Yes, there's junk.  There are also programs that are stunning.  Most of those (with the exception of Grimm, Person of Interest, and Prime Suspect) are not on network TV, again.  They are not necessarily on pay TV either-but rather on those upper tier cable channels that go beyond thirteen or so.  FX (Damages. Justified), AMC (the Killing, Breaking Bad) and other channels are where the superior programming is.  Newsweek even wrote an article about this the a month or so, and of the tendency of screen actors like Glenn Close to move to TV programming.  This is where I make a disclaimer:  I like good, hard hitting dramas that keep your attention. It's okay for me if they are violent or R rated.  I don't have young children and I prefer accuracy in programming.  Violence, like anything else, works for me when and if it's well done and fits the plot.
  • I don't do a lot of "entertainment spending".  I see a few movies a year, generally those that are the type that need to be seen in a theater. I go to two real musicals or concerts a year and the rest is what I guess you would call repertory and community events-which I enjoy. TV is an entertainment alternative-I've watched whole concerts, plays, and classic movies recently.
  • I'm not a slave to the TV.  Whoever that guy or gal was who invented TIVO, they need to get a prize of some kind. I partake of TV when I am in the mood and have the time. I also rarely watch television when I am not doing something else.
  • I don't watch TV during the day. Ever. I suppose the last time I watched TV during the day was because my daughter who was visiting turned it on when Michael Jackson died.  Before that, I'm sure it was the Olympics or World Cup if I was watching television on a weekday.  Also, my body clock and my schedule (if you want to call it that) are such that most nights, I eat dinner at around seven and after that I am winding down.  A little mindless drivel can be good for the soul at this point.
Sometimes TV just gets a bad rap, and sometimes cutting television is the smart thing to do.  For those who dismiss TV out of hand, let me say that I cook, I clean, I garden, I read an average of at least two books a week, I walk, I go to school,  and I do lots and lots of constructive things both with my mind and my body.  TV is a small part of my routine-but one that I will keep as long as I can.

Have you cut cable?  Kept it?  Thought about it?


  1. I kept the cable. It's just very important in this household. Mom is pretty much confined to her bed, so it's her entertainment. I have a package deal where I get my internet service and a phone line for my security system. We get our money's worth, so I'm satisfied.

  2. I retired a couple years ago….retired/unemployed is more like it, our incomes are similar if I read a former post right. We have no house payment but our health care cost is almost as big as your house payment a month=hope to fix that soon as well. Anyway we just got cable three months back. We are not slaves to it either-but between the changing of the analog and different things we could only get 1 pbs channel so we got basic dish for two years-will have to see how it goes. On that note our internet is dial up ($10 a month) and drives our children crazy. I cannot see spending that money a month. Loving your blog, read it regularly and helps see there are others doing as we are.

  3. I have basic, family channels only on Dish TV for only $19 a month! Since I live in the mountains, I can't get regular TV. The basics work just fine for us. I'm not giving it up for anything!

    I NEVER watch TV during the day, but come 4PM, I tune in to Bloomberg news and get the recap of the stock exchange.

  4. We have only basic cable since all we watch is Netflix. Most of our screen time is on the internet.

  5. I'm just catching up, and wanted to write and tell you how sorry I was to hear about Magic. One of our goldens is dealing with some health issues that make us wonder if he'll still be with us for Christmas, so he's very cherished right now. I wanted to mention two thoughts about pets that I've been considering. I've begun having some mobility problems due to a progressive illness that I of course did not expect. Having dogs lying in my path or jumping up just as I reach them has sometimes proven problematic, so we're factoring that into our decision about future pets. Perhaps all of us ought to be considering such issues as we age. To counter that, however, is another thought: safety, especially for a woman either living alone or spending a good deal of time alone. While I happen to know my goldens would be more likely to lick an intruder than harm said intruder, they sound pretty fierce from the other side of a doorway when someone comes to the door unexpectedly. When I was still able to walk or jog, I felt safer with them at my side, too.

  6. We have basic- but we pay twice what Morrison pays. I will be checking on that.
    We watch the market and politics. I am a Squawk Box addict. My husband also loves sports and his woodworking shows. We watch the first ten minutes of network news and all of BBC news on PBS.
    There are a few other things that we will give up before tv.I would not be surprised if our Internet usage takes the tv's place within two years.

  7. I don't feel too badly about having cable. We didn't have it til by daughter was 12 and she's 21 now, so only 9 years in total. I keep it just for her so when she moves out it's GONE! I'm a reader, not a TV watcher, though I do LOVE to watch movies. Our local video store lets me rent all the movies I can watch for $9.99/month - now that's a rate I can live with!

  8. janette. I pay nothing close to what Morrison pays whatsoever. I have high speed internet and second tier cable and a whole house dvr for about seventy dollars a month before taxes. I simply cannot watch shows on the internet, its an eye issue. I should have clarified that this is both internet and cable

  9. Jane, I also read between three and four books a week. Right now Stuart wood, Lee Child, and two others. I have too manything sI like to do.

  10. Linda, thank you for our thoughts. I certainly agree that security is one reason to have a dog. I call it the early warning system.

  11. We ditched our satellite earlier in the year, and we've done quite well without it. Our IP has ESPN3, which helps with the sports fix, and there's enough football on the over-the-air channels to keep DH happy.
    Most of the shows we like can be seen online, too. We've still got a backlog of tapes and DVDs to watch, anyway, LOL!

  12. I cut cable about 3 maybe 4 yrs ago and haven't missed it. I did buy some movies and tv series on dvd but tv in general just wasn't worth it for me. If I had enough I enjoyed about cable I'd have kept it. I spend money on quilting and books plus I work full-time..if I werent' working maybe I'd watch more tv and have cable.
    on a frugal checkin we wre talking about cutting cable and one woman was wondering if she should but in her case I told her I wouldn't - a little reading and watching basketball and some other stuff were her main forms of entertainment and it made no sense to me for her to cut them out so long as she was able to pay for the necessities.


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