Oh, we're getting radical now. My DH and I cut off the our cable on New Year's Eve, Dec. 31, 2009.
I should have had someone take a before and after picture when I turned in our stuff. I'm standing there in a long line at the TWC office with my box, looking half-happy and half-I-can't-believe-we're-doing-this. Besides the two other people holding equipment, it seems like almost everyone there is paying a bill (on the night before the due date), which is so primitive to me in this age of e-banking... but I digress. It's the last day of the decade, and I'm about to off-load that box and realize a savings of more than $1,200/yr for our household.
At the same time, I know this could have been an even bigger blessing if we cut our cable when God told us to do it back in January 2009. I had just lost my job as a recruiter, and we had some important financial decisions to make. Down to one income and slightly pressed for bill-money, it made sense to us that the first thing to go would be a luxury item, such as our HD cable w/DVR. Now some might argue (as did we) that cable is sort of a necessity (The Weather Channel, hello!?), and even moreso once you've experienced the thrill of rewinding live HDTV using DVR. Oh, the joy of skipping commercials and re-running the funny parts of The Office and Psych. And of course DH loves his Sunday football using picture-in-picture on the big screen. So we kept cable and cut out other things like eating out and going to the movies.
Then in August, I got a new job. Amen and thank you, Jesus! Suddenly we all Steve Winwood circa 1986 -- back in the high life again. We could definitely afford to keep the cable now, and yet something still wasn't right. Our five-day Texas trip for Christmas helped us figure it out. In Texas, we didn't have cable, but we did have family, fellowship, reading time, four-mile walks in the morning, and great food (e.g. The Salt Lick in Driftwood -- best BBQ!).
At that point we realized we didn't need cable anymore and, more significantly, we were missing out on a lot of living because of it. During this first three days of 2010, we've been more productive, more focused, more active and more engaged. I'm creating things. I'm listening to more music. I'm reading again, something I loved to do as a child. I'm blogging! Better than all of that, I have more time for prayer and study, and true quality time with my husband. There's also something nice about the quiet, the absence of idle chatter from set. I don't need it to keep me company anymore. There truly is happiness sans cable. And if we do get a hankering for entertainment, there are plenty of suitable substitutes, like Netflix, Hulu.com, Wii, and even NFLlive.com. Just connect the computer to the TV and you're good to go.
The biggest lesson I learned from all this was not "how to save money," but the importance of being obedient, focused, and kingdom-minded. Kings aren't distracted by things that don't matter, the things of this world. Kings are steadfast, unmovable, and always abounding in the things of God. I look forward to seeing what testimonies, fruits, and adventures will come this year as a result of not being tied to the tube.