I’m a 1980s baby, grew up in the MTV, in the cable television era. My parents always had cable television. So, I, too had cable TV in my own home. There were brief moments in my early twenties when I couldn’t scrounge up enough cable bill money to pay on a regular basis. But, I always factored the high cost of cable in my monthly budget and rarely went without it.
Well, all that ends now. After receiving yet another $175 bill from Uverse for my cable and internet, I had enough. The high cost of cable was a drain on my monthly budget and on my life. I decided it was time to consider letting cable go.
I went to Facebook to ask for insight from folks who cut the cord long ago. Many wondered why I hadn’t done this a long time ago. Others sympathized and admitted they missed their cable from time to time. Overall, I got a sense many felt more liberated and certainly their pocketbooks were fatter from not spending so much on this expense.
As a writer, television is a killjoy and I already know this. But, there’s something so satisfying about going home from a stressful job and escaping into television world. Instead of reading books and writing, I was watching TV, and lots of it. The only way I could change was not making it so easy to watch my television shows.
I called Uverse to remove cable and was told if I did, I would be charged a $165 early termination fee, regardless if I kept my internet with them. I was pissed off at Uverse, but mostly myself. I could have cut cable off last month, but I had to lock myself into yet another contract. I had finally talked myself into disconnecting cable, only to be faced with another decision. Do I just keep basic cable until next June or pay the outrageous early termination fee?
I decided to drop to basic cable and when I’m ready to stomach paying the early termination fee, I would. Fortunately, the fee goes down $15 every month. My plans to go cold turkey on my cable addiction didn’t go quite as planned. The plus side to having basic cable is I still get to watch a beloved local morning show, Good Day Sacramento for a little while longer.
I feel foolish paying all that money for so many years. Now I know better. I fantasize about how my life would be richer without cable and I instantly feel lighter and happier.
I was shopping in Walmart and a Direct TV sales rep asked me who was my cable provider. I said, “It was Uverse.” He asked me what I was paying then asked who I was going to go with now. I told him I am eliminating cable and using only the internet to watch TV, when I had time. He shrank back to his table and raised his hands in surrender. I almost asked him who he had for cable, but kept pushing my cart to the checkout lines. I already knew the answer. He wasn’t a sucker for cable anymore, either!
As I write this, none of my favorite shows are on and I’ve been writing away at my computer. I’ve only been away from cable for almost a week, but I’m not missing it.
What I learned through this experience is I saw what looked like a problem – high cable bills – and turned it into a way to connect with others, to enhance my life by finding creative ways to get entertained, while also finding balance. I found there is more time for meditation and reflection. And, I got a lower cable bill after all.
I am more abundant now than when I was paying the highest cost of cheap entertainment. Sometimes it takes a ridiculously high cable bill to demonstrate what needs to be adjusted in one’s life, and for that I am grateful.
~Your Curator of All Things Abundant, Kimberly Jo Cooley