Yes, I am in Arizona. No, I am not writing this from there. But as you are reading this and as I am enjoying some time to myself, I thought it worth mentioning that today marks one week since we unplugged this:
No, we didn't get rid of our TV. We got rid of our satellite service and DVR. Since we weren't under contract anymore, they actually gave us some of our money back-- and rightfully so since we had paid through August (but a lot of companies would've just kept it).
Satellite service with DVR was costing us $70ish a month. Or $840 a year. And since we're trying to save some money so that I can hopefully leave work after B's birth and not return until the start of the 2011-2012 school year, this was a great way to start.
And to be perfectly honest. There's really not that much that we watch that isn't on regular network TV (which is free as long as your television is digital or you have a converter box). Our computer is hooked to our TV, so if we do miss an episode of something we want to watch, we can pull it up online and watch it on TV-- like DVR, only free. And for those shows that we like to watch that just haven't gotten around to going online for free-- ahem, Top Chef-- well, it's $1.99 to download an episode-- or $8 a month.
This past week we've spent just a bit more time reading, knitting, playing, going outside, talking, etc. because we haven't had the distraction of the TV. I like it. And I like that I'm saving so much money too. Maybe we'll spring for Netflix once B arrives and we're stuck inside a little more this winter. Did you know you can stream what you rent through your Wii? But event then, it'll only cost us $9 a month. Still a $61 savings.
And while we're on the subject of saving money-- my hubby and I (in the name of Baby B and an extended maternity leave) gave up our smart phones. There's another $60 a month. Although we hear Verizon might get the iPhone sometime next year. I do believe I smell a small splurge once I do return to work.
When we really sat down and started re-working our budget, it was actually pretty amazing at how much money we could save by changing just a few things. No internet on our phones, no satellite TV, no land line phone (no one called us on it anyway), eat out one less time per week (sometimes we don't even eat out at all), make our coffee at home instead of stopping in a coffee shops a few times a week, meal planning, and coupon cutting, are already saving us over $200 a month! It also helps that we take out cash to spend on everything from clothes to groceries to gas. We're a lot more conservative with our spending when we can't just whip out a debit card (we haven't used a credit card in three years).
And to be perfectly honest-- I really don't feel like our lifestyle has changed all that much. Because we do still eat out once a week. Or treat ourselves to a latte on occasion. And we're still planning to vacation this summer. And make some upgrades to the nursery so that it accommodates both Cate and Baby B.
Funny how much money you save when you really sit down and examine your spending habits. Dave Ramsey would be proud (we took his Financial Peace class two years ago and a lot of the above ideas-- especially the paying cash thing-- came from that).