My husband and I just had our first baby, and he already started joking with people, “Yeah, we might have to finally cave in and get cable when she is a little bit older”. Wait, what?! You mean we are going to add $50-75 a month to our daily living so my cute bundle of joy can be entertained? I don’t think so.
However, over the past year when I have written how to save money by cutting the cable, many parents told me that cable was a NEED in their home because of their children. Let’s set things straight here. Your kids do not need cable. Trust me, I know where you are coming from. I was one of those kids. My schedule revolved around the cartoon show times. I would do my homework in front of the tube every night. I even routinely skipped church because my favorite show was on, and I spent most of my summer vacation watching anything and everything that was on television. I remember going over to someone’s house, and they said they didn’t have cable. They only used their television to watch movies. You can bet I looked at them as if they were five -headed aliens.
Fast-forward several years, and I am one of those five-headed aliens that do not have cable. I actually enjoy it, and I think more people would too if they tried it. Back to your kids. They will survive if you cut the cable, and you may be surprised by how much they do not miss it.
Four Ways You Can Save Money by Cutting the Cable( and Survive) with Kids
1. Dedicate that money to a family fun fund. Set up a family fun fund (try saying that three times fast). Take the money that you save from not having cable and put it in a jar each month so that your children can understand the concept. Say you save $50 a month by not having cable. That adds up to $600 a year.
Use this money to have fun with your family and to make memories with them. Six hundred dollars a year can buy a mini-vacation. Fifty dollars a month can mean a fun outing such as miniature golf and go-karts or family bowling night. Your kids will quickly see that it is more fun to go on these family fun nights then to be glues to the television.
2. Subscribe to Hulu or Netflix’s Streaming Options. Both Hulu and Netflix has streaming options available for about $8 per month. These can easily be streamed to your television through an Xbox. Both Hulu and Netflix have so many shows on available that a child will definitely be entertained. A bonus for mom and dad is that your child will be watching fewer commercials, which can mean a shorter wish list during Christmas time. Get two weeks of Hulu Plus free when you sign up.
3. Borrow DVDs from the Library. This tip has been recommended by frugal writers for many years. It is still a great tip today, especially since libraries are expanding their DVD collections. Look for your child’s favorite television shows and movies to watch.
4. Teach your child how to entertain himself without television. This can be hard for many parents, especially since many of us are very busy. However, if you can help your child to find fun in toys, such as Legos or creative projects, they will be much better off in the long run. Audio books offer a fun way to hear stories and use one’s imagination too.
The Cable Decision – To Cut or Keep?
In conclusion, I think America as a whole puts a lot of emphasis on cable TV. If you are keeping cable for your children, just take a few moments to evaluate the situation. Do your kids depend on cable? Are their grades suffering because of it? Are all of their favorite shows on Netflix or Hulu? Would your family benefit from fun family time together instead of TV time? The answers to these questions will help you make your decision of whether to cut or keep the cable.
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We do not have cable and haven't for most of our childrens lives. We do have locals of course... the best thing about it has been that the only programming my children had access to on a regular basis has been PBS... I kid you not when I tell you their teachers have been dumbfounded at how different they are than the other children in their classes. My kids thinking processes operate at a much higher level with much better comprehension and application. They knew all of the basics and beyond way before the other children. And their behavior is different- I believe from not having access to "commercial" television. Keep in mind I am no teacher... It's true that children learn mountains from what they watch on tv. As far as children "surviving" without cable I suspect that has more to do with the parents not knowing what to do with them if they don't have the readymade babysitter...
We have cable at home although we don't have any kids yet. We have friends of ours who don't have cable and do exactly what is said in this post. They go to the library to get free movies and find other ways to have fun. It's interesting to watch this family as they are always on the go and seem to keep busy. It's amazing how tv can tie you down without even knowing it. Great tips. Mr.CBB
Although we have cable at home, I think that my daughter will survive without it. However, I like cable for the sports and a few other shows. Very rarely do we watch t.v. if it's not pre-recorded. We watch maybe 2 hours of t.v per week