I had quite a learning experience this summer. Perhaps more than I really want to admit in such a public forum. But hey, humility is part of this journey to debt-freedom, right?
In an effort to engage my oldest daughter (she’ll be 12 next month) to use math in real-life ways this summer, I asked her to calculate the costs of our television viewing. We’ve kept cable all this time for the educational programming and on-demand programming features, especially the pre-school programming since our pre-schooler is home all day with us, she enjoys the “Sprout” channel. (Note to those about to ignite a flame-war—we do limit our kids’ TV viewing, they don’t get plunked in front of it all day).
The cable cost was about $75 a month, plus taxes and the mandated lease on the cable box (no, we weren’t allowed to purchase one outright, which I’d far prefer to do) it all added up to $90 a month, plus pay-per view movies.
With two little kids and adults working two different shifts, we never go to the movies, instead, we make a note of movies that we’d like to see, and just watch for them on the pay-per-view menu. I asked my daughter to add up the past two years of pay-per-view charges and see what our average spending is. (Practical math at home) On average, our movie viewing was costing an additional $28 a month, with a grand total TV cost of $118.
With the kids involved in the decision (good family budget conversation here) we came to the unanimous conclusion to cut the cable and get Netflix instead. Now we’ve fixed our expenses under $20 a month for unlimited programming. The network programming that isn’t available on Netflix is on Hulu or other online … Read the rest