Netflix, the greatest distraction since sliced bread

I’m here, checking in because it’s Friday. But I’m not staying long because I’m treating myself to a little Netflix before bed. Sure, I could be doing more productive things. But I have learned that when your days are long and chaotic, and you spend them endlessly serving others, who may be cute but are also quite exhausting, you deserve a break at the end of the day. A little “me time” if you will.

I am currently binge watching all seven seasons of Mad Men. It’s a show I had heard a great deal about, yet never had any desire to watch. And now I can’t stop watching it. Which is strange because so much of it infuriates me: gender inequality, racial discrimination, homosexual discrimination…. Say what you will about today’s society, at least we have come quite a ways since the 1960’s.

And with that, I’m going back to my show for a little bit longer before passing out into bed. Because we all need a break and to do something for ourselves from time to time. And Netflix is a pretty entertaining way to take that much-needed break, especially when scheduling your crazy life around the fall broadcast line-up is next to impossible…..

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Cutting the cable…

When we first moved into our house, the only reliable Internet service around was Comcast. We were running a business from home, so fast and reliable Internet was a must. And we threw in cable TV too, just because. Our monthly bill was… well, pretty high.

When we started looking at finances ahead of the arrival of Ben and Alex, we still were afraid to change our Internet to anybody else. We were more than happy to get rid of cable TV, except the crazy thing was, it was actually cheaper to keep the most basic of cable channels and get a deal by bundling two services. So we went that route. We lost all the good television channels, but at least our monthly bill had gone down a bit. And let’s face it, it’s not like we had that much time for watching TV anyway.

Well I recently sat down to review our budget, and while I will spare you the details, it was ugly. If you ever wonder whether annual raises really do keep up with inflation, I challenge you to compare spending over the last few years. The numbers will frighten you….

Okay, we needed some dramatic cuts to our spending, and fast. It was time to revisit with good old Comcast. I called and asked them what they could do for me. Then I went searching for alternatives. It turns out Century Link has been busy expanding in our area over the past few years. And while they cannot offer Internet speeds as fast as Comcast, we took a close look at our usage and found we didn’t need the faster speed. So after carefully comparing services and rates, we took the plunge and cut the cord, both figuratively and literally.

Best move ever.

Our upload speeds are a bit slower, but it’s nothing we can’t live with. We no longer have basic cable that can barely pass for cable. Instead, we have a nice little $10 digital antenna sitting on our entertainment center. Since we brought our monthly bill down from roughly $85 to $30, we decided it was worth the $8 a month to subscribe to Netflix, and now we have access to a ton of movies and television shows, which we can watch on the computer or our smartphones. In order to get Netflix on the TV, we bought a Roku streaming stick, which basically hooks the TV up to our Internet connection. After coupons, that was just $40 out of pocket. So if I break down the cost of the antenna and Roku over a one-year time frame, our monthly media costs have dropped to $43, half of what we were paying before.

If you feel like you are paying too much for services that aren’t worth it, I highly recommend you take a much closer look at your options. Do your research, ask your friends what they use, don’t be afraid to shop around. We are now saving ourselves about $500 a year by making this change… almost enough to pay for a year’s worth of diapers… almost.