Envelopes and Basketball

While looking at this picture, you must say "Yao Ming Smash!" in your head in The Hulk's voice.

As you all know, I started full disclosure with my finances last month. That post went up two weeks ago, but it actually documents my spending in the month of September, which means it’s really been over 3 weeks since I updated. I got a lot of really helpful comments on that post and I’ve been doing my best to put these into action.

One of the most suggested things was to start a cash envelope system. I know that I mentioned our debt snowball in my last post, but at that time I hadn’t actually read Dave Ramsey’s book. I listened to the audiobook about a week ago and one thing he mentions in there is that a budget isn’t meant to be constant. For some reason, I thought that if I tweaked things just right that I would eventually come up with the perfect budget for us and we’d just keep using it. Instead, I went over the next few months and decided what bills we had and how much money was left over afterwards. After coming up with the total for this month (which was incredibly low because I didn’t actually do this until we were over half way through the month, so I had been using my constant number, which was too high in the case of this month, up until this point) and withdrew exactly that from the bank. I haven’t gotten as far as putting specific money into specific areas (something I plan on doing next month when I actually have money to put into areas), I do know exactly how much I have to spend. It’s actually a huge weight off my chest and I’m loving it.

The second thing that people kept repeating was that we needed to cancel our cable. This was Really. Hard. To. Do. Mostly for my husband. While he is entirely on board with getting out of debt and in general changing our spending habits, he isn’t too happy about giving up things he loves. For me it doesn’t really matter if we have cable or not because I can watch all of my shows on Hulu, but for him it’s the basketball. He’s not just a fan, he’s one of those crazy people that knows Every. Single. Stat. from games a decade ago. He’s not a huge book reader (internet is entirely another story), but he read an entire book about the history of basketball in probably about a week and it was over 700 pages long. I know that guys love their sports, but he really loves his basketball (and enjoys sports in general really).

And this isn’t the first time we’d discussed cancelling our cable. We started to talk about it somewhere around a year ago. This summer we actually threatened to cancel and got $20 off our bill. What kept bringing us back was the basketball. Even with NBA League Pass Broadband, it was still a hard choice. He couldn’t get NBA TV, he couldn’t get the blackout games, he may have issues getting all the Jazz (our local team) games. So we put it off.

When I posted about our money situation and everyone said to get rid of it, I started thinking again. I brought it up here and there and eventually we had a big fight discussion about it. He said to bring him the numbers. So I sat down and worked out how much it would cost us over the next year if we A. Stuck with DirecTV and even renewed our contract when it’s up in May so that we could get a discounted price again=$700; B. Cancelled DirecTV (with a cancellation fee) and did Hulu Plus instead=$225; C. Cancelled DirecTV, got Hulu Plus, and the basketball season (which is currently in lockout in case you didn’t know) started this upcoming month (which, of course, it probably won’t considering they got a federal mediator and still couldn’t figure out a deal) and therefore we bought the cheapest Roku (so we can watch the games on the actual TV since they don’t have a League Pass app for the PS3) and the cheapest League Pass package (just 7 teams)=$500, or D. Cancelled DirecTV, got Hulu Plus, got the most expensive Roku, and got the most expensive League Pass=$600. This doesn’t even consider the fact that the basketball season may start even later and therefore League Pass would likely get a nice discounted price.

With those numbers, he finally agreed. I called today and, to the dismay of the man on the phone, cancelled our DirecTV. Whoever said in a comment that they really don’t want you to cancel was right. He wanted to offer me deals, he talked about how much we’re going to have to pay upfront to cancel ($20 for every month left in the contract, so $140 for us), he tried to get me to just put the account on hold, blah blah blah. I told him no and that he’s not talking me into keeping my service. It shuts off at midnight tonight.

I know that some of you are probably reading this and thinking we’re crazy. I know that some of you are thinking “Why do they need to get Hulu Plus or NBA League Pass to make up for their lack of cable?” It all comes down to different priorities. Television is a hobby of both my husband and me. It’s how we spend time together. Therefore, it’s important to us. I know that we need to “Live like no one else so that one day we can live like no one else,” but there is a limit. You still need hobbies in your life in order to be a happy person. I like being a happy person.

I’ll do a follow-up later this week on the actual money we’ve spent since this became a much longer section than I had anticipated.

Do you have cable TV? Did you decide to give it up? Was it as big of a deal for you as it was for us?

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5 thoughts on “Envelopes and Basketball

  1. You don’t know me, but I’ve been reading you blog for a few months. We gave up cable in January this year. We have Netflix (streaming only) so the little ones can have a (short) dose of Calliou or Thomas while I cook dinner. My hubby was very reluctant too, but in the end it hasn’t been a big deal at all. If we really want to see something it’s usually availalbe online, often for free if we can wait a few days or even a week. But our list of shows we HAVE to see has melted away to a couple, and he’s found new things to watch on the streaming that we never got to see when we had cable before. We have more time to do other things in the evenings now too, and other things to talk about besides TV. It was one of the changes we made that seemed so painful to make, but in the end it has been a good change for our family. Good luck!

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  3. We have second cheapest Roku with Hulu Plus and Netflix (for the kid shows) after getting out of our Cable TV. I wouldn’t change it. I would have gone with the cheapest Roku, but my husband wanted the the rewind button. All in all, we pay about 15 dollars a month for the netflix and hulu compared to the 75+ a month for basic cable. The bonus is limited commercials and we still get to watch Colber and Daily Show!!!

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