When jobs are hard to come by, unpaid internships prevail, and expenses never cease to multiply, it behooves recent college grads like myself to step back and prioritize when it comes to spending money.
There are some sacrifices I am unwilling to make. Food enthusiast that I am, I refuse to eat ramen and some easy-mac for dinner every night. I also don’t think that I would limit myself to once-a-week showers or lights off at 9 p.m. to save money on electricity. Recently, though, a friend brought his cable bill to my attention, in what is soon to be his first apartment: $100 per month for basic cable. His decision: to do without. I began to think about it too. Could I live without cable?
I’ve done it before. I lived without cable for two of four years in college (mooching off of friends was easy enough!). In fact, even though I had cable during my last year—complete with HBO, on demand, and DVR—I still found myself watching programs I had missed on Hulu and downloading shows from iTunes. Plus, my subscription to Netflix gave me more than enough options of shows and movies to watch.
Even watching the news doesn’t require cable. Most major news networks now have streaming coverage of their broadcasts, and sports (games themselves plus commentary, real time stats, and archives) are also accessible, either through packages that can be purchased online, or for free through memberships, as is the case of NBA All-Access. These options seem like more than enough to sustain me during the few hours of TV time I’ll be having. In our June issue, we showed you four apps for geting TV for free on mobile devices: Cartoon Network, HGTV To Go, ABC Player, and HBO Go.
There are drawbacks, of course. While I do think I’d be fine with not knowing the umpteenth winner of "American Idol" at the very moment Ryan announces it after the umpteenth commercial break, no cable also means a disconnect from the current goings-on in television media. I wouldn’t be able to talk about last night’s "Mad Men" with co-workers or see the newest HBO movie until it comes out on DVD. At this point in my life and career, though, I think saving $100 a month is a little more valuable to me.