On getting rid of TV.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Last week we got rid of TV.  Since then, the kids have been melancholy.  Steve and I will find them playing tic-tac-toe by themselves while their Kix cereal congeals into a lone, milky mass of yellow goo, each piece indistinguishable from its neighbor.  Either that or they're on the driveway, biking around and around in too-small circles, helmet low, eyes cast downward.  Repeating mumbled, incoherent phrases.  Maybe an expletive thrown in from time to time?  Directed at us?  We're not sure.  

But, let's be real.  It's gone well.  You've heard me wax at length before on my desire to live on a commune (and then you've heard me wax at length on Bachelorette commentary.  Hypocrisy!  There, I admitted it.).  So, when Steve was going through a massive pile of bills and came across our Verizon one, he threw his hands up in the air.  "I'm sick of this!"  I agreed.  So, a quick phone call to Verizon, and poof!  Channels be gone.  

When I called, Verizon-man was confused.  I don't think many people call to totally eliminate the TV portion of their "bundle."  "What can I help you with today?"  "We'd like to get rid of TV."  "You'd like to downgrade your TV portion?"  "We want to get rid of the TV portion."  "You want to do WHAT?"  "We want to stop watching people live their lives (except Monday night's on ABC) and live our own."  I think I said something about wanting to drink wine in Italy and he laughed.  He was a really good sport.

It's been a little over a week now, and it's going really well.  To be honest, we didn't watch much of it.  William will miss Whale Wars and Lindsey will miss Phinnias and Ferb.  I'll miss watching the Bachelorette while it airs (catching up online as soon as I can Tuesday morning) and Steve will miss the occasional documentary.  We weren't huge TV-offenders to begin with.  So, it just made sense.  And, I'll be honest, it feels good.  A little slap in the face of the whole "keeping-up-with-the-Joneses" thing.  Next, we're giving up showers and I am DONE shaving my armpits.

86 comments:

  1. Hahahaha "next we're giving up showers, and I am DONE with shaving my armpits" BEST quote I've read aaaaall day!!

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  2. We have a digital antenna and netflix through the wii... so we have our local affiliates {ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, & PBS} and it is free. When my husband talks to his friends at work about not having cable, I think they are pretty sure we are Amish or something. We've been cable free for probably 10 or so years and after the initial shock, you just don't miss it.

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  3. man, i would totally do this if sam would let me. i too would miss the bachelorette, but there is always tuesday! ha. you go girl.

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  4. Good for you! When I moved just over a year ago I decided the heck with t.v. - I don't even own one, nor do I miss it! Enjoy :)

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  5. S and I didnt have tv for almost a year...granted you can get pretty much anything online now a days...so its not like we went without entirely...but we did find ourselves talking a lot more and just spending fun time together. We recently got one because we were NEVER in our living room and always in the bedroom (which sounds dirty.. but it is where the big desktop computer was) and now we spend more time in the open space that we pay for..

    i think going for so long without though really helped, because we still dont watch much tv.

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  6. I commend you. I could not do this!!!

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  7. @cindy, don't commend me toooo much... i failed to mention that i also hit up netflix on the regular for some friday night lights. :-\

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  8. Well, I've already stopped shaving my legs. There's just no time for it anymore. *sigh*

    I've been trying to get my husband to OK the no more TV rule. He's skeptical. So, he downgraded our package. Which is good. We're saving more money. But, I'd like to get RID of it. It is taking away family time. We'll see if I can talk him into it. For good measure, I've not been watching the new lower package. At all. Feels good.

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  9. We don't have cable! I grew up with no cable and didn't want to pay for tv when we got married. We have a digital antenna so we get some local channels, cbs, abc, and fox. People may think it's strange but once you live that way it's pretty nice! Props to you guys! As for giving up showers AND not shaving your armpits... well maybe you should choose one or the other hahaha!!

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  10. Whoo hoo! So glad we're not the only ones. We haven't even had a TV (or cable, obviously) for 4 or 5 years now. It's so funny watching people's reactions when they come into our house ("...so where do you keep your TV?), but honestly I don't really miss it. Sure there are some things I miss watching, but Hulu pretty much satisfies it. I love that I can watch things online, because it's more about making the conscious choice to watch, rather than getting sucked into hours of something you really didn't care about. Amazon Instant Video has a bunch of movies and shows too.

    We also had a similar conversation with Comcast when we moved into our new house and were setting up internet. "Well, you should at least have the basic cable package..." "But we don't have a TV." "Wait..you what?!" lol

    Good for you! You'll find you have so much more free time. Give it about a month and the kids won't miss it either :-)

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  11. Girl, I know people who live in communes. Shit gets weird.

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  12. When my husband and I got married we chose to not even get cable. It's WAY too expensive out here and all I would really watch is the Food Network (cuz' everything else is wither uninteresting, dumb IMO, or negative). It was a bit of an adjustment, but really it's been great. We have Netflix for movies and some shows I like, but overall the negative vibe isn't around, because of no tv!

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  13. We did the same about 6 months ago and I love it! The husband definitely misses baseball, though. Fortunately our team currently has the worst record in baseball so he's not missing much right now!

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  14. We haven't had tv since 2008ish. Haven't missed it one bit! ; ) Good for you guys!

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  15. I kinda love this. My husband grew up without a tv and we always talk about getting rid of ours now. Good for you for taking the no tv plunge!

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  16. I've seen more and more people giving up watching TV. I can't see it being something we do in the near future, but it does make a lot of sense to me. Especially with the high bills. We don't have a home phone, which cuts down about $20 a month. Good job giving it up though!

    http://laurensweetnothings.blogspot.com/

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  17. Good for you. We are getting ready to cancel our cable this week. It's like brain rot.

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  18. so good! we've done the same at various times in our marriage and we NEVER regret it. Right now we've just decided to move the tv into the basement (which is quite dungeon-like) and it's amazing how much less we watch!

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  19. No TV is the way to go. Jake and I both had bad past experiences with roommates who LIVED in front of the television, so when we moved in together we said no way to having any sort of TV hook up. We do have a glorified computer monitor to watch movies on...but since we moved in May we haven't even bothered to set it up. Hulu and Netflix are our friends for watching "Parks and Rec" and some travel/cooking shows, but its really nice to not generally have the distraction. Here's to drinking wine in Italy!

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  20. My husband and I have been living without a TV for a few years now, and it makes watching our favorites shows on the Internet even better.
    The kids don't love it, though ;)

    (We did get some weird looks when shopping around for a new bundle when we moved to Nova Scotia last month - one company even had a special going on and offered us a free TV - they couldn't believe it when we turned it down... Aliens ! From France !)

    Seriously, good for you.

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  21. Hurray for no TV! We have been without one since 2008 and I haven't had cable since 2005. Netflix on our laptops definitely helps fill in the gaps (and I can get caught up on Emily on my iphone during commutes) but I absolutely LOVE that it isn't an option to just turn on the TV and zone out.

    Plus, it is amazing what you can do with your living room when you don't have to focus it around a TV. Enjoy!!

    P.S. My husband and I are huge Tour de France fans and you can always stream sports live on Eurosport!

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  22. We quit too. I thought I was going to into withdraws at first but it ended up being okay. I don't waste as much time watching stuff just because it's on TV. Now, I don't even think about it. I have Hulu and Amazon Prime.

    I only watch The Bachelorette during the summer and Modern Family, P&R, and 30 Rock during the fall.

    I do miss the random TLC shows. A good episode of Hoarders now and then does the soul good.

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  23. We got rid of cable a while back and have Netflix and Hulu Plus so that's about 15 dollars a month which is WAY better than the price of cable. But we still watch too much of it!! Some people grow up with tv as background noise (not me, that would be my other half) and it's hard to get them off of that habit. work in progress! way to go b!

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  24. We went without cable for a couple of years, but we did utilize our TV's built-in antenna (most modern TVs are equipped with one)for local channels. I do think it's important to have local channels just for weather emergencies. Online weather sites don't really do it for me in those situations. It was an excellent money-saver though. :)

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  25. I want to do this so badly! Any advice on how to convince a sports-fanatic fiance?

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  26. We haven't had access to a TV/cable in 4 years and we're still surviving! Most people look at us like we're insane when we tell them, but we've saved a ton of money and use our computers to stay up to date on our favorites.

    Admittedly, I do miss Bravo with all my heart sometimes.

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  27. we havent had cable for months and i love it. im temporarily at my parents for a few weeks and they have 600+ channels. just turning it on gives me anxiety. and i find that i mostly have it on for background noise so whats the point?

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  28. My hubby and I have been TV/Cable free for 5 years now! It's the best way to save money and honestly we still get doses of our favorite shows online for free! Enjoy more quality time with your family and more money in your pocket :)

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  29. You're one brave lady! I love me some tv shows and (sadly) dont know what I would do without having that to fall back on when I want to be lazy (far too often) I realize my dependence on it and yet I am still not ready to give it up... I think I may have a couch addiction... yikes!

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  30. at university i didn't have a tv at all and i think it really helped make me get out there and meet people and do stuff. and i think it is because of that the husband and i don't want too much tv as when we met we didn't have one, although we do have far too many films ;)

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  31. When I brought up the idea of canceling cable and just having the TV for DVD's and Netflix, my husband looked at me as if I'd lost my mind. He grew up in a home where there is a TV in every room and at last half of them were on at all times so the concept of no cable (and hence, no ESPN) is too much for him. I'm a bit jealous of you guys. I'd love to do away with cable because it sucks so much time and money from our lives.

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  32. i support this wholeheartedly.

    (specifically the TV, but occasionally i lean towards the shower thing... especially while traveling. TMI?)

    i haven't had a TV in ten years, and i don't miss it! i will also be honest and tell you that hubs and i both are a little like moths to the flame when there's one on, though- we have a very hard time looking away, not because we miss it, but because it's sort of like the 'OOOH shiny!' instinct.

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  33. (we are also sans TV box, and hilariously, people keep trying to give us one. no one understands why we keep turning down a free one!)

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  34. I gave up the TV portion of our Comcast as well. The lady could not wrap her head around it. I didn't watch much and the bill was outrageous. Now the bill is still hefty with just internet but not as hefty. They really stick it to you when you don't do packages. I have been tv free since March. It really isn't that bad. I must confess we do have Hulu Plus for $8 a month which I watch maybe a few times a month here and there.

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  35. My friend had 8 siblings and they grew up with out TV. He was the only one of them that didn't get the Hinckley scholarship at BYU (tuition X 1.5 I think) he ONLY got a full ride. I'm pretty sure it was because they didn't have TV (okay fine, and maybe genetics and other stuff) Plus I loved how he told me about movie night. They would rent a VHS from Blockbuster and head over to the church and all gather together in a classroom and watch it on one of the church's TV/VCR sets. That just sounded so charming to me!!

    Long story short: You are my hero, and I hope to someday be that strong (because I'll also have to box my husband first)

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  36. husband and i made the decision to cut off our cable almost 4 years ago and its one of the best decisions we have ever made. dont get me wrong, i spend too much time watching the popular shows on hulu. the first year was a really big difference. we both read thru the harry potter series together, we spent entire evenings sitting on the floor playing with our pup and talking and we also played a lot of cards, went for walks and just talked. now, we spend a lot of time watching netflix and hulu but i still think it makes a huge difference, not to mention we are saving a ton of money. congrats to you and your family!!!

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  37. yipppee!
    We gave up TV when we got married 2 years ago. We figured: if it's there, we'll watch it. If it's not, we'll ride bikes and garden, play scrabble, and listen to music.
    We have netfix, and I do watch the Bachelorette on Tuesday evenings, but I don't get stuck watching the Kardashians do stupid staged shit in LA, NY, or FL. BAM!

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  38. Congrats! We cut the cord about a month ago and so far it's been smooth sailing. We do have a digital antenna and also an old laptop hooked up to the TV in case we want to Netflix something but these days watching TV is a conscious decision rather than a default and it's been for the better in our house!

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  39. I got the same reaction from Time Warner when I called and cancelled our cable. He questioned me three times to find out if my husband knew that I was cancelling it, and that if it were his wife, he would be pissed. Well thank you mr. time warner guy, but i'm sure I can handle it :-)

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  40. I did the same thing a year ago, which was a totally unpopular decision in my kids' eyes. I was so tired of telling them to speak kindly to one another (and to me)and then having them watch shows where disrespect and rudeness are rewarded with a laugh track. It felt wrong.

    That said, I am wondering how I am going to get through the Olympics--they are my every-two-years crack. I've actually thought about getting cable turned back on for a month and not telling my kids about it. (We have bunny ears that I break out sometimes, but they aren't very reliable, especially for NBC.)Do you think my kids would notice the cable box appearing in the family room? Ha ha!

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  41. Oh gosh - you really scared me - I was afraid we wouldn't be getting your Bachelorette commentary anymore - I LOVE IT!!! Please keep it up!! :) Love your blog and style of writing!!

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  42. I'm done with shaving my legs!

    We gave up cable and lowered our phone plans to pay for daycare 2 years ago! LOL! And in that time, I signed up for Netflix to stream thru our blu-ray and it is great! We pay $7.99 a month and we can watch it from any room with a tv and computer. Plus almost all shows are online now, so we do that too.

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  43. we have had cable for maybe a year of our three year marriage... with netflix and hulu i don't miss it at all. the only show i watch regularly is the bachelorette, thanks to you :-)

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  44. I love how you're talking about this so openly. We haven't had television in years and although I love not having one, I actually HATE not knowing what goes on in the world. Even though I'm on the internet constantly, I still am so out of the loop. But it's not worth the time suck and money so we're not going back.

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  45. We have like 5 channels, abc being one of them (team Jef!) and people think we are crazy.

    we also don't have a microwave though, so we might be a touch loopy.

    Laura

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  46. Good on you! We still have tv, but I watch more online than actual on TV. Most of the times we don't even watch live anymore but something we recorded digitally. Can't say I miss it much. Internet, I would miss that definitely more, but then again, on holiday, I don't think once about checking my mails, catching up and commenting on blogs :-) and so on.

    We grew without all those things and it worked just fine for us. As long you don't give up the blog we're ok with you guys sans TV or shaving your armpits and showers LOL

    Have a great one!

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  47. Good for you! I would gladly ditch the box, but my husband would revert to a shell of his former self. We had no TV for my first year of law school so I would not be distracted, but I also would just study all hours of every day, so I would catch my poor husband sitting on the couch staring at the wall...

    Now we use it to mentally unwind after chaotic days, although admittedly, we could be way more mentally productive with those hours.

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  48. You are an amazing woman for doing this! I hope to one day do the same. But Craig won't allow it as long as Breaking Bad is on. Sigh.

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  49. Props! I've been wanting to do this for years.

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  50. Good for you! I know I watch far too much TV but I'm too much of a wimp to give it up. But, I feel a little better knowing I can go a whole weekend without it when I go away with friends.

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  51. 10 years ago we dumped cable. I admitted that I watched waaaayyy too many E.R. and Law & Order reruns.
    I was amazed at how much time I had to do other things like reading, making art, and gardening. There was an adjustment period, like a withdrawal of sorts, but it was the BEST decision I ever made.
    I still keep the tv b/c I like to be able to watch the weather report and an occasional Seinfeld rerun.
    Your soul just feels better when you're not sitting in front of that box!
    ( can't wait to see if it's arie or jef!)

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  52. Bravo! Not something that I think I could give up, but I am impressed. Can you imagine how good the commune could be if it was in Italy and had a vineyard?

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  53. We did this about a year ago. It is very freeing. Or at least that is how I feel. But if you are ever board, hulu is your friend.

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  54. We've had bunny ears for a long while now that way we still get all the news stuff (especially during storms) and I can indulge in batch love.

    Good for you Hunt Family! Who needs TV when you've got bats to watch.

    Too soon.

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  55. Nice one!! We grew up without a TV as my parents could afford neither the actual TV nor the subscription, then a few years later we got an old 2nd-hand TV but no channels. Every Friday evening was a family trip to the video rental store to pick 2 films for the weekend, and it was awesome (despite my classmates' confused "But how do you watch 90210?!" - I was 12 at the time).

    Anyway I may have complained a bit at the time but I'm so grateful my parents did that approach. 28 now (eep) and still refuse to own a TV, otherwise it'd be too easy to get home from work and plotz in front of shows I don't even enjoy. I do enough of that with netflix ;)

    Yay to no TV, and lovely to hear the kids go along with it! :)

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  56. Good for you! Someone gave us the advice of not having TV for the first year of marriage. We did that and it went so well we kept doing it for years. We just signed up for a 6 month contract so my husband could watch the Thunder games and then we are done. D. O. N. E. I think going against the grain is a good thing sometimes!

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  57. I (the oldest of six) grew up without TV. And guess what? My siblings now have some of the best imaginations of anyone I know, and they're super-creative... I think a lot of that is due to no boob tube. We read books and amused ourselves instead. :)

    Hubs and I have been married for 2.5 years and still no TV. Honestly, we've got no place to put it! We catch the occasional baseball game at a friend's house, and we have Netflix for watching on our honking big computer monitor. Love it.

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  58. I am so proud of you! I think it would really force me to get out and meet people if I did that. I just moved to a new city and its so easy to just go home and watch tv by myself at night rather than making an effort to go out and be social. Plus the savings would be amazing.

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  59. my dad always threatened us with this when we were kids. looking back, it wouldn't have been so bad at all.

    i want to hear your thoughts on last night's men tell all!

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  60. We haven't had cable in almost four years! We use netflix streaming and redbox. That's it! We are still alive and kickin'

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  61. We haven't had cable in almost four years! We use netflix streaming and redbox. That's it! We are still alive and kickin'

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  62. We haven't had cable in almost four years! We use netflix streaming and redbox. That's it! We are still alive and kickin'

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  63. hi there! my two cents: make sure your kids don't try to hang out at friends' houses just to watch their favorite shows...this happened to me when i was growing up (friends would come over & want to sit in front of MY tv for hours instead of playing with me) and ultimately it affected us, as in, we didn't stay friends.

    just a thought from the perspective of your kids, since they "know" what having a tv was like and might think they are "gaming the system" if they start watching it elsewhere...when in reality it could frustrate their friends and change their dynamic.

    BUT overall i am a huge fan of this movement, we have cable in our house only because it is cheaper to have cable & internet than internet alone...we watch about one show per month, at best!

    good luck!

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  64. I recently got rid of cable and it's been one of the best things. I was never a big tv watcher to begin with and it was such a waste of money every month. Shows I do want to watch are usually on iTunes the next day anyway. I can imagine it being tough on the kids, but they'll be back in school and busy before you know it :)

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  65. haha. last line, so funny. we did the same thing this time last year and the RCN guy i talked to was also confused/funny as i tried to explain my reasons for getting rid of it. there's hulu for a show or two i still like to see, and its more fun to watch football out or with friends anyway! good choice, hunt family!

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  66. good for you! trust me you won't regret it. we are going strong on TWO YEARS tv free. people look at us astonished sometimes, and i then joke that we're amish. seriously, though, best decision. our little guy is almost 2 1/2 and has never watched tv.

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  67. Before I moved in with my sister for almost a year now, I didn't want to get cable, because I knew I wouldn't be watching much of TV. Of course, my sister wanted cable, so I had to agree. And I don't watch much of it, but it's very inspiring to read how you totally gave up TV. Especially with kids! I'm a Nanny, and I for one, am grateful for TV now and again!
    Bravo to you guys.
    And I liked the 'Verizon' part of your post. That was funny.

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  68. I love it! I can't believe you did it right before the Bachelorette finale. That is commitment!

    We cut our cable as well (to save through law school) but when we plug it in we still get the basic channels. So maybe the Bachelorette will still come through for you :)

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  69. We got rid of tv after our first child was born and haven't looked back...except we really want to watch the Olympics.

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  70. Nicely played! We had cable for about a month when we got married and when we called to cancel it they were so shocked. While we are living with Kurt's family it's fun to have, but anything I wanted to see badly enough was online...much better! Good for you guys!

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  71. Yesss you've joined our no tv commune. Well done. We ditched ours coming out here and it has been ahhh-mazing. I dont miss it at all. We did get a projector though so we can occassionally watch movies big screen on our bedroom wall.

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  72. go hunts! i was a child of no cable, which meant i really never watched much tv, because pbs can only excite you so much. think it's really good for the kids!

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  73. does this mean you also won't be using my netflix account? could have sworn i saw several hours of friday night lights recently watched.

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  74. @ahn, if you SCROLL UP YOU WILL SEE that i outted myself alreadyyyyyyyy. geez.

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  75. I haven't had a tv since my daughter was born over 2 years ago. We occasionally watch things on the laptop (in fact more than I'm happy with right now) but I've never regretted the decision. Go you, life will be that much fuller now :-)

    http://myfroley.blogspot.co.uk/

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  76. oh girl!!! I don't have cable...part by choice and part by finances. I'm a single mom with not much excess cash...I used to be a tv junkie...give me reality tv and I'm hooked...not moving for hours. After my baby was born, my husband left, I lived with my parents then when I was finally able to live on our own..tv was just not on the list of things we needed. I do have a TV and I have netflix...but we rarely turn it on, my little one is almost 2 and she's so content on just playing with her books and toys..mostly books. and I think it's really due to having no tv. no distractions. And for me it's given me much more time to play with her or get things done when I'd normally be glued to the couch watching tv...

    good move!

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  77. We haven't had tv in over a year! I thought I'd die but it's actually been pretty cool. I mean we still watch the occasional rented movie but other than that it's worked out surprisingly well. We save a load and it forces us to be creative as a family. Which is cooler than it sounds. I thought it was going to be hell;)

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  78. This is awesome. I'd love to give up tv, but my husband can't seem to part with espn. Stupid sports.

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  79. If you are watching shows online or with Netflix, isn't that a little hypocritical?

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  80. If you are watching shows online or with Netflix, isn't that a little hypocritical?

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  81. @alison, indeed! that's why i said so myself!

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  82. Good for you. We've never had cable, just the free channels our antenna picks up and we don't mind one bit. I never wanted to pay money to sit and do nothing. Luckily PBS is one of the free channels or else I might have thought about paying. :)

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  83. Your last line cracked me up!
    I would love to get rid of TV, and exist solely on the netflix we stream through the Wii. We hardly ever watch cable!

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talk to me.

(also! if you have a question, check back as i usually answer it here!)

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