A 2019 study done in the United States showed that the average monthly cable bill was US$217 including fees. I then did my own unscientific Canadian survey by checking with a few friends and was informed they paid approximately CA$150, give or take.
While visiting my local community health food store, I had an informative chat with a knowledgeable health guru. She shared some frightful news with me: The latest risk to our health is no longer smoking; it has been replaced by sitting!
This is particularly poignant during COVID-19 when we are confined or working from home. As someone who is guilty of sitting in front of my computer for most of the day, she suggested an important ratio:
For every 50 minutes sitting, do 10 minutes walking, standing on your toes, dancing, playing with the dog, or bouncing on a mini-trampoline. Just get up and get moving!
In 1992, Bruce Springsteen told us there were “57 Channels (And Nothin’ On).” My son tells me there are now over 900 channels. Good grief! How does one find time to actually live a life?
Once your posterior has settled on that couch, you may find yourself flipping through the channels rather than turning it off. You are already comfortable, and it is so hard to get up.
With cable gone, you will no longer be mindlessly watching game, interview, or reality shows simply because staying put is just so easy (and deadly).
It has been over three years since I cancelled my overpriced cable. I missed it for a couple of weeks but then discovered how easy it was to find alternatives that I could enjoy during scheduled downtime.
So, if you have Wi-Fi, below are my six suggestions in no particular order:
I think we can all agree that if you are watching mainstream media outlets, we are getting more opinion than actual facts. Your station is choosing what they are going to report, and much is missed – including good news stories. Alternatives are free:
Try your country’s Reuters if you would like to receive just the facts.
My suggestion is to chose people and organizations you trust to follow. My husband, a diehard Twitterer, tells me I would be astonished at the world news I am not hearing about. I am still undecided whether that is a good thing or not.
Smaller, hardworking news sources that receive their funding from subscribers rather than governments do not have an agenda to push. Choose one that you believe is giving you the truth. They are free but might ask you for a paid subscription or donations.
For just a few dollars, I sign into my Cineplex Cinemas account online and rent a movie for a day. This is available in Canada but movie chains in your country may offer something similar. The price is approximately $5 to $6 each.
I had no idea what a fountain of good programming is available on YouTube – and all for free! Documentaries, old movies, how-tos, comedy, politics, music, and bygone shows. I just finished watching all the seasons of the Dick van Dyke Show. Now that was entertainment!
The library where I live is free to join. I thoroughly enjoy HBO, FX, and Showtime productions, and discovered most of their shows are available at my library. Keep in mind this requires a degree of patience.
Good programs are in high demand, so get your name on the list, and, in due course, they all come available. You can also enjoy online shows we loved as kids. Butter the popcorn and watch Walt Disney’s The Castaways with your grandchildren.
Sadly, Netflix Canada doesn’t compare with USA programming due to slow copyright access. But if you live in the States, you are truly fortunate to have an abundance of diverse shows. You can’t beat the price: US$13 to $16 per month as of this writing.
There are many streaming services to choose from, and to my knowledge, all offer free trials. I recently took Acorn, Britbox, and Sundance on their offers and gave each a try. Out of the three, I settled on Acorn for less than CA$7 per month. Now I enjoy great quality programming.
Depending on how smart your television is (and apparently mine is neither new nor smart) you may need to go old-school. I purchased a Chromecast device that hooks up to my illiterate (no Wi-Fi) television and voila! Through the magic of the Internet, my TV has now smartened up.
Hopefully, I have helped in reducing your monthly television watching bill to about $20 (give or take) and got you off the couch.
Do you have cable TV? What’s your monthly bill? Have you tried an alternative that isn’t as expensive? What are your suggestions in your part of the world? Please join the conversation!