The Do You Watch TV Post

Personal finance blog posts about the latte factor are always devolving into arguments in the comments about whether or not we should get rid of tv and whether getting rid of tv means you’re some sort of effete arugula eater who thinks you’re better than anybody else.

I know you all are just dying to know where we stand on this issue.

Well, we can both afford latte factors. We have savings goals, but we’re managing things well enough that we could do cable without guilt if we wanted. Sure, one of us has housing debt and the other student loan debt, but we’re not really at the rice and beans stage of our lives anymore.

However… that doesn’t mean we’re not elitist effete snobs!

#1: We had a super cheap tv in graduate school. When we worked as graduate RAs and had some extra income freed up, we bought a fancy video projector. We kept the projector but ditched the cheap tv after moving after graduation.

We *meant* to get a tv. But we never got around to it. Plus the DSL + landline option was cheaper than the cable option so we went with that. (Eventually we were able to get rid of the landline.) Then what with one thing and another and Netflix… well, we never did get around to getting a tv and cable. We really prefer watching our shows via netflix after the entire series has come out. No missing shows, no commercials, no series getting canceled without warning. Plus we’re so behind on everything we can easily be patient.

We also use Comedy Central, Hulu, and CBS for direct streaming of recent shows.

#2: I do not really watch TV right now.

But boy do I love me some HGTV.  I also like Daily Show and Colbert Report on occasion, but not enough to track them down.  Most of my “TV” viewing comes via things like Netflix.  Dr. Who, Torchwood (LOVE!).  I watch football on TV mainly as a way of taking a peaceful nap, while occasionally awakening to root for whichever team has guys with names I enjoy saying (Chris Fuamatu-Ma’afala, I’m looking at you).

That said, we totally don’t care if you watch cable or not. If you like sports or whatever, go for it!

Interesting and related post from Little Miss Moneybags:  Does TV ruin your life by making you think you can never measure up?

From SonyaAnn:  Our life without TV.

Where do you stand on the TV question?

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49 Responses to “The Do You Watch TV Post”

  1. Crystal Says:

    We love our DVR, don’t complain much about our $110 cable and internet bill, watch at least 20 hours of tv every week, and think the $1300 we paid for our 47″ LCD TV in 2007 was more than worth it. So we are solidly in the “pro” category, lol. Come on, anybody who has seen the Big Bang Theory would be with me, right?

  2. Molly On Money Says:

    I’ve always loved TV. In college when my arty-snotty friends would spout off the evils of TV I was hosting weekly Star Trek Next Gen. viewings at my house (they all came-hypocrites!) . Strangely, with that love, I’ve never had cable.
    I live in a small house and if your in one room you can hear the TV in the next and it’s a bit distracting. My husband has no patients for TV so 3 yrs ago I got rid of it. I haven’t missed it but that’s because with hulu and netflix TV watching has crepted back in.
    The huge difference is we watch TV on our schedule. If the kids have an activity or homework we don’t rush to get it done so we can watch a particular show.

  3. Linda Says:

    I have a TV and I have cable. To put the cable in perspective, though, my cable package is the most bare bones, basic level possible; it’s the minimum I had to sign up for to get cable Internet installed for the lowest cost. (DSL is not a good option here since the phone lines are in bad shape in my older neighborhood.) The pricing was supposed to be good only for a year, but it continues to be just under $55 a month nearly two years later.

    The cable company recently started scrambling all channels (although they say it was to enhance viewing through digital signals…right…) so I can’t even view the handful of extra channels they threw in (local city cable, MSNBC, and C-Span) since they never sent me the required converter box as they promised. I really don’t care as long as I can pull in the over-air signals for the shows I watch, mainly on PBS and a few comedies on NBC like 30Rock (I *love* 30Rock!) and Parks and Recreation. That’s about the extent of my TV viewing. I do use Netflix and Hulu to view stuff, but not every night. TV is often just a background noise for me as I do other things on the Internet, work on chores, or knit.

    While in Sevilla, Spain I stayed in the spare bedroom of an apartment occupied by a couple with a toddler. They had no TV, but did have a computer they used to view shows via YouTube, including educational cartoons for their child.

    Most of my friends watch stuff on Netflix and Hulu more than they watch nightly programming. I don’t think I know anyone with a DVR. My boyfriend had one, but he cancelled it several months ago along with his expensive cable package; he now watches Netflix streaming and Hulu, too. ;-)

    I guess this is a long way of saying I watch TV programming but I don’t plan my life around it.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      DVRs are really awesome if you’re gonna do any type of cable thingy. Skip commercials, automagically record all airings of a show, etc. But sounds like you’ve found a system that works for you!

  4. Dr Becca Says:

    In both grad school and post-doc years, I didn’t have a TV in my apartment until I moved in with a dude. Never minded not having one, but when I did I watched it a lot. Now bf and I pretty much exclusively watch DVR’d stuff and Netflix streaming, although that’ll change once baseball starts.

  5. Perpetua Says:

    I love TV. I mean, really love it. I love having a huge cable package and spending hours surfing channels. But now that I’m in a financial position to afford it, I have small kids, and don’t want them watching TV. So we never have it on, and have gotten rid of the cable. We just netflix and hulu everything. Going to conferences is about channel surfing for me! It’s like therapy.

  6. Everyday Tips Says:

    Life is meant to be lived. If I want to escape for half an hour and watch 30 Rock, then I shall do it guilt-free! I also love me some HGTV.

    I don’t sit and watch tv every hour of the evening by any means, heck we are usually not even home. But I do love having the ability to watch basically whatever I want when I feel like it.

  7. Frugal Forties Says:

    I started to say that TV is my guilty pleasure, but honestly I don’t feel all that guilty about it. I watch TV. I have cable (including HBO, but not any of the other premium channels). I have a TiVo. I am somewhat addicted to FoodTV, Discovery, the History Channel, and shows like Bones, Castle, and House.

    I don’t think anyone who doesn’t have a TV or doesn’t watch TV is any better or worse. We all have priorities, right? :)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Oh yeah the food channel! I loves me some Iron Chef and also some Work of Art (is that what it’s called? On Bravo. The one that’s like America’s Next Top Artist or whatever). The food channel always makes me want to eat.

  8. Paula @ AffordAnything.org Says:

    I watch only Hulu.com and Netflix; those two give me everything I want. Except, of course, for the Prince William – Kate Middleton wedding … how on earth will I find a television in time to watch that??

  9. Kathryn C Says:

    People who don’t have TV’s are always telling people about the fact that they don’t have a TV. They say something that makes them sound intelligent like:

    “I don’t have a TV, I think it’s a waste of time and I like to spend my spare time reading.”

    That’s when I know we probably won’t be friends

    I like to watch TV, and when I do it, I am well aware of the fact that I’m not being productive. And that’s the whole point, for me.

  10. Kathryn C Says:

    sorry no coffee yet this morning! didn’t type my website name correctly above
    kathrynsconversations.com

  11. Dr. O Says:

    We watch the news and a few different shows (Gray’s, Big Bang Theory, no more 2 1/2 Men), and we carry cable during football season so that we see more of our games. But Monkey has eliminated a lot of our *normal* TV-watching time, since he likes to stare at the screen when it’s on, wo we just don’t have it on when he’s awake anymore. We’re moving more and more towards Netflix and season DVDs of shows we like. If it weren’t for football, we’d probably never bother with cable again.

  12. Comrade PhysioProf Says:

    The only things I watch on teevee are sports and Top Chef.

  13. MutantSupermodel Says:

    I like it as a rare treat and hate it as a standard. The people who walk into a room and turn the TV on without even thinking? That drives me NUTS. The ones that flick channels incessantly. Drives me NUTS. The ones that need to have it on to fall asleep. Drives me NUTS. When my kids whine and cry cause I’m turning it off. Drives me NUTS. So in my case it causes more harm and arguing than not. I’ll pop on a DVD but I just hate having the TV on. It IS fun to occasionally indulge though and there’s very little else I want to do when I’m really sick. And while I don’t think I’m better than anyone else, I just think there’s always something better to do than watch TV. Always.

  14. Tara Says:

    I have a TV and a TiVo. I pay the $13.73 for limited cable which gets me the main networks and then tape the shows off of those. I love watching TV at my own convenience. I watch the shows that don’t come on limited cable on Hulu. In the summer when there isn’t network TV, I think I’ll pay for Netflix.

    Personally, I wouldn’t pay $50-100+ per month for TV, but for $13.73, it’s pretty much worth it. I think in a few years, I might be more adventurous with a DVR solution than the TiVo, but I’m happy with it for now. I definitely wouldn’t do TV without any DVR. That’s a terrible TV experience.

  15. bogart Says:

    TV: Yes, the full cable package is cheaper than divorce, which is what DH would subject me to if I dropped cable. So there you go.

    He watches a lot, I would watch never if I lived alone (which is not to say I watch never now, though that’s close. It drives him nuts because we will be sitting in the same room and he will try to make conversation by remarking on something that just happened on TV and I will have no idea what that was. Unless it was an ad: I love ads!). There’s just little I find interesting. I do appreciate DVR as it allows one to skip the ads (my aforementioned proclivity notwithstanding, or maybe it’s because of said proclivity). And I wish DH watched less as the ceaseless noise of the contraption drives me batty.

    DC did not watch TV (his choice, I mean, he just never cared about it even when presented with age-appropriate stuff, not that we did that tons, but he’d seen some) until about his 3rd birthday; whereas I used to wonder how it was possible that US kids watch however many millions of hours of tv they watch per week, I now wonder how it’s possible they watch so little. With an only child who gets-up-and-goes and wants to interact with me for 13 hours out of ever day (he sleeps the other 11, thank goodness), having him plunked down in front of a tv is, let me be honest, a tremendous relief (and I’d happily send him out to play with the other kids in the neighborhood, for the record, but they’re not there — either at organized sporting activities elsewhere or in front of their own tvs, I guess). But not to worry (unless you are of the no-tv-for-preschoolers set, in which case you’d better start wringing your hands), he does also get lots of outdoor time, activity time, unstructured play time, etc. etc.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      The problem with putting your kid in front of the tv all the time is that they LOSE INTEREST. It’s horrible. That’s why we limit the tv. So it’s there when we really need it. Netflix streaming is AWESOME.

      • bogart Says:

        LOL, indeed. We also enjoy Donald Duck classics (etc., but particularly DD for whatever reason) on Youtube — e.g. “Out of Scale,” “Applecore,” “Out on a Limb.” DS is already aware of the existence of two different sets of laws of physics, having recently pointed out that, “Cartoon animals do not fall as quickly as we do.” True, true.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Youtube is totally awesome.

  16. First Gen American Says:

    My husband believes that TV, video games and books all fall within the same category..entertainment and it’s no nobler to watch a book than a good series.

    I thought I could live without TV til the other day when I noticed that the only uninterrupted snuggle time with the kids is when we’re all tucked under a blanket on the couch watching their favorite cartoon.

    At bedtime we do books, but it’s not at all relaxing because they are usually fighting to read more books and other stall tactics to keep from having to go to bed.

    TV is okay in my book.

  17. Lindy Mint Says:

    I’m going to be writing the infamous cable post soon too (it’s a right of passage for a pf blogger).

    I think its becoming more the norm these days that people are doing without cable and they aren’t considered aliens because of it. I’ve been to several parties in the past few months where the subject has come up. In one case, I was the only chump in the room still paying for it, while all the others were using Hulu.

    I grew up watching a ton of television, but now I find I start to lose interest after an hour. Husband and I huddle up once a week to watch Top Chef, and I’ll sneak an episode of trashy reality TV when he’s out, but other than that I’m usually doing other things. I never thought I would be a person who didn’t watch TV, but here I am. And I mean that in the most non-snobby, non-better-than-thou ways.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      It’s just so nice to be able to watch what we want on demand. It’s like, you never get so hungry for tv that you’ll watch whatever is on because there’s so much good stuff easily available. That makes it harder to watch the junk (and their commercials).

      Not that I don’t watch trashy stuff, but it’s the kind of trashy stuff *I* like (in my case, harem anime).

  18. bethh Says:

    I have a tv and I think I have free illegal basic cable in my building – I don’t bother with it though. It’s not that I’m a snob so much as never able to remember what’s on when, and don’t care enough to figure it out. I watched Lost mostly live for the final few seasons, and watched Mad Men at a friend’s on her dvr. I was watching Glee for a bit but it’s just not convenient to remember when I’m supposed to watch it, and I found I don’t really miss it.

    But I use my TV all the time for dvds. I LOVE watching shows in great gulps.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Me too! Who wants to wait a week or two weeks or a third of a year for the next episode? And when your series is canceled, that SUCKS. I LOVE shows on DVDs. I totally binge.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      DVRs will totally take care of those problems for you. Set it to record a show and never have to remember when it’s on ever again. Wait a couple weeks and watch 2 or 3 episodes at once. Fun!

  19. Jacq @ Single Mom Rich Mom Says:

    The TV snobs are a little odd. Having said that, I don’t really watch TV myself – but my kids like it so the cable isn’t going until netflix improves their selection or we get hulu in Canada.

    I don’t know why I’ve never liked it, I think it’s a noise thing and I don’t seem to have the right attention span for it. I like using it for knitting. When I do watch, I’m a binger though – I polished off The Tudors last month (last season and a half). And this month or so I’m going to watch The Riches – love Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver. And it’s an added bonus that the 10 yo likes it. And Jeremiah, he seemed to like that one too, but it didn’t really grab me like The Riches did.

    We get a fair amount of British TV with netflix – do you guys?

  20. Carnival of Personal Finance #302: Opening Day Edition | Money Beagle Says:

    [...] Nicole and Maggie:  Grumpy Rumblings gives us their version of ‘The Do You Watch TV Post‘ [...]


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