It’s not cheap being a stay-at-home-mom. For one thing, I’m not making any money. For another, my earning power came to a stand-still six years ago, and another state away. On the plus side, we save a lot of money on childcare, not going out to eat, and our really lousy housekeeper (me!).
Recently, my husband and I decided to aggrandize our saving potential by canceling cable TV. Our rates just jumped up to almost $100 a month for DVR and cable television in two rooms. That’s over $1,000 a year that we could have been contributing to our children’s 529 plans. Still, the thought of not being able to turn on PBS Kids while I made dinner made me really nervous. How was I ever going to get the nitty-gritty stuff done in the house?
Yesterday I was trying to exorcise all remaining flu germs by cleaning the bathrooms. Jenna(2.5) felt she wasn’t getting enough attention, so she dumped her sippy cup of apple juice on the carpet. I soaked up the juice, and was putting the rags into the washer when Jenna grabbed a red marker and colored all over her body and the playroom wall! Then, when I was trying to wipe off the walls, she ran into the bathroom, slammed the door and tried to eat toothpaste. Ahh! Why do I even bother trying to clean the house? It’s not worth my daughter suffering from possible fluoride poisoning.
I don’t know if I can handle being a SAHM without TV, so I started talking to people to find out how other families handle screen time and television. A lot of these were conversations that made me feel like I should have “OLD FOAGIE” written across my forehead. Our television is 14 years old, so if we plug it into the wall, all it will get is fuzz because it can’t receive digital signals on its own. Netflix, our old frugal standby from our newlywed days, no longer mails out DVDs. Our local Blockbuster is closed. Whoa! The whole television industry has radically changed and I didn’t even notice because I was too busy writing out large checks to the cable company.
So here’s our hoped for solution; I purchased a Wii with the Sports and Resorts package, as well as a Wii Fit. Previously, my husband and I had held firm against any type of gaming system at all, because we thought it would be too addictive for Bruce(7). But we talked about it, and figured that “active” games would probably be okay. Since I don’t have a gym membership, maybe the Wii Fit will be fun for me too.
Now, our plan is to get Netflix and Hulu Plus streamed through the Wii for a grand total of $15.98 a month. Even with the second Wii remote I just had to buy, that still comes to “a heck of a lot cheaper than FIOS”. I think this will all pay for itself within six months. Having a dinosaur of a television is a good thing in this case, because if a Wii controller accidentally goes flying through the screen, it’s no big deal.
Maybe now I can finally finish cleaning the house…
P.S. In neurotically researching all of this, I realized that bloggers can sign up to be Netflix Affiliates. So if any of my blogging friends would like to do this, leave a comment and I will happily click through you.