Cable television is a common target when budgets get tighter. Certainly cable is expensive and used mostly for entertainment, but as cable gets bundled with other services it gets more difficult to eliminate.
As a society, we lament the amount of time we spend watching TV. Certainly, many people eliminate cable TV and never miss it, but in doing so it becomes especially important to fill the gaps with other leisure activities. Here are some ideas:
- You can shift some of your leisure time to surfing the Internet, but keep in mind that the Internet can be even more of a time sink than TV.
- You can rent DVDs of movies and popular TV shows, or borrow them from the public library.
- You can take up hobbies that are relaxing but keep you occupied: knitting, cooking, gardening, woodworking, writing, painting, and many more. If you choose hobbies that have lower material costs you can save money.
- You can attend some of the many free talks and events that take place around the city. The library hosts many interesting talks that are open to the public, as do the Perimeter Institute, CIGI and the universities.
- You can get involved with a volunteer or community organization.
- Radio broadcasts and podcasts can be entertaining. They are especially good when doing chores because they leave your eyes and hands free to do other things.
- You can catch up on your reading.
- You can spend more time doing leisure activities with your children (who might be taking the loss of cable much harder than you).
Reducing cable costs
You might be paying for extra channels and services that you can do without. It is worth tracking what channels and shows you and your family watch the most. You may find that basic cable is enough, especially if supplemented with DVDs or other entertainment resources in the previous section.
Television via the Internet
More and more people are cancelling their home cable packages in favour of internet video streaming. Netflix is the most widely recognized provider, but there are many websites which provide video (often documentaries) for free. Keep in mind that while this option is free or lower in cost, it can use up your Internet bandwidth quickly, so keep track of your internet bandwidth usage or subscribe to an internet service provider with unlimited bandwidth.