Teaching My Baby To Read

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Wii Did It!

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.


  1. Claire H. says:

    We get DVD’s from the library or if it’s a newish release and we don’t want to wait in the library queue, we hit the Redbox machine down the street.

    • jenbrdsly says:

      That would definitely be “The Millionaire Next door” way to go. Another option would be to get a Ruku, which is about half the cost of a Wii, and stream the internet from there. Eventually we want to replace one of our televisions with a Smart TV, and then be able to get the internet streamed in both rooms.

  2. Nicol says:

    We do the same thing. My girls have DVDs to watch and we did get a digital converter box for our dinosaur TV which gives us PBS and Qubo channel for free. We did hook up Netflixs for $10 a month and feel pretty happy about this. Our last DVD player broke so when we replaced it we got a bluray which also streams Netflixs.

    There are times that yes the TV must be on so we SAHMs can get something done. Of course, it’s also tempting for me too to sit and watch something when I should be busy doing something active.

  3. Cindy says:

    Library fan here. We go to the library at least every 2 weeks – that’s how long you can keep them. I also skip buying books since we can keep them for a few months at a time if M likes them – but get rid of them when she’s sick of them. Also, I think you can get basic cable for like $15/mo and get PBS kids.

    • Anon says:

      An old fashioned rabbit ear antenna and a digital converter box would probably get you enough stations for at least your local PBS Station and local news. Lots of kids PBS shows and documentaries can be streamed for free on your computer from pbs.org.

      • jenbrdsly says:

        Hmmm… I just looked that up. I think the digital converter box we would need for our second TV would be $35. That’s a good idea too.

    • jenbrdsly says:

      We use to have basic cable a few years ago. But ugh! Once you have lived with DVR it’s hard to contemplate going back to commercials.

  4. Kristen @ TeachingStars says:

    I know it’s not one of their “Fit” games but we have LOTS of family fun with Super Mario Cart.

  5. jengod says:

    We have Roku (like the Wii) and just get stuff through Netflix and Amazon and Hulu, and then since we’re saving so much money not having satellite, we allow ourselves to buy select programs (Duggars for me, Mad Men for both of us).

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