Money is tight in our home right now, and we've got plenty of company there, I know. Since the first Toronto law firm I worked for dissolved, I've never got my income back to where it was. I'm grateful we're both employed in seemingly secure jobs (although security may be an illusion), and considering how many people are suffering all around us, I can't complain - and I don't. But we do need to stay within a budget, and there's not a lot of wiggle room.
Lately I've been poring over our bills to see what I might be able to cut out. One non-essential is the level of cable TV we get. The main reason we have cable - 99% of why we need it - is to watch out-of-town baseball games from April to the end of October. So for the months in between, while we're subscribing to Zip, why also pay for this level of digital cable?
Except for baseball, we watch almost no TV. Movies are on DVD; no cable needed for that. And CBC is on basic cable anyway. The only thing I use Rogers' "VIP" digital cable for is to find the comedies I like to watch before bed. But how much do I want to pay to watch The Simpsons from Halifax or Corner Gas from Calgary?
Today I collected all the information from the friendly, helpful Rogers representative (and they are always friendly and helpful, no sarcasm there), and Allan and I discussed our options.
I thought there might be some termination or activation fee, which might make downgrading not worthwhile, but there is none. With the "VIP package" that we've been getting, we get an extra outlet at no charge (cable hookups on two TVs for the price of one), and the digital box is included, and some other stuff. With basic cable, we'd have to pay extra for each of those.
So after crunching the numbers, here's what we're doing. No cable at all on one TV. That TV will only be used for movies. We never watch TV on that one anyway. On the other TV, we'll get basic cable only, but we'll keep the digital box for better reception. And I'm going to learn a new sleep habit: comedy on DVD.
This would only apply through the end of March, but the savings will still be significant.
Then, in baseball season, we normally buy: the "VIP" cable package, plus the sports package that gives us our Red Sox games, plus MLB-TV online, so Allan can watch games at work, which often accounts for half the games in any given week. It really adds up.
Now Allan is investigating whether we can run MLB-TV from his laptop through the TV. If we can do that, we won't have to upgrade back to the "VIP" cable package, and we won't need the sports package. We'll only buy MLB-TV for use at home and work. Over the course of the year, this will save a big bundle of money, and the loss seems almost insignificant.
I feel lighter already.