So now I know - it has been about 5 years that I have somehow survived without a landline telephone or cable television. One advantage of keeping a blog - it helps you remember when things happened! Post below was published January 29, 2012.
Most people can't be easily lumped into either the "spendthrift" or "cheapskate" categories. We seek a cost/benefit ratio that makes some degree of sense - at least to us. And most of us are so tight we squeak about some expenditures and pour money down rat holes when it comes to others.
While I don't mind spending money on travel, grandchildren, personal technologies, or college tuition, I will not pay more than $10 for a bottle of wine or more than $100 for a pair of shoes. I buy generic cans of green beans and tomato soup or none at all, and my car is, well, not a Lexus. I'd rather go to an Olive Garden or Dennys than a fancy restaurant any day. Lights left on in unoccupied rooms drive me nuts. But what I really hate paying for are services that I don't use.
Yesterday morning in a fit of frugality, I cancelled our home telephone landline and cable television. In 2008 this bundled package of telephone, cable, and Internet cost $90 a month, but MediaCom's most recent "loyalty package" for the same services is $130 a month, going up to $150 a month the next year, with the two-year contract mandatory. Internet by itself costs about $45 a month.
The thing is everyone in my family has a cell phones that works just fine. We watch less than two hours a television a week and what we do watch (The Daily Show) can be viewed online. I was spending about $1200 (120 bottles of wine!) a year on services I just didn't use.
Maybe it is the winter doldrums, but I seemed to encounter non-sensical "values" all week. I've already blogged about Apple's "inexpensive" e-textbooks. I took a poor Barnes & Noble education representative to task on Friday about how their Nooks (like Amazon's Kindles) won't read each other's e-book formats (Would I buy a DVD player at Target that only plays movies I buy from Target?) and how the cost of e-books has been steadily rising instead of falling. I denied another request to add text messaging to the school's cellphone accounts. I'm a little surprised that three spirits didn't interrupt my sleep last night.
Maybe it's that I'm working both on my book's budget chapter and on our district's technology budget right now, so I'm just thinking about funding a lot.
Frugality has gotten a lot of attention when it comes to personal expenditures in these tough economic times. Why hasn't frugality been a topic in library and technology circles as well?
End of rant.