Cutting the cord - need help

EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 14,940
edited September 2013 in Music & Movies
My wife and I are going to cut the cable cord later this week. We are keeping our internet obviously, but will be no longer paying ~130 for our cable subscription. We have come to the realization we spend WAAAYYY to much time in front of the TV and we are setting a bad example for Skye. We have also realized a large portion of that time in front of the TV is spent either looking for a show to watch, or watching a show that is the “least disagreeable” between us and mostly just background noise. And its costing us an a leg.

With that said we do enjoy some shows and want to be able to watch them on occasion but not at such a high cost. We plan on using Netflix (upgrading to add a blu-ray disc option), Hulu Plus, Web & Amazon On Demand. We are totally OK with losing some of our shows, which will more than likely happen, it will be healthy for us to have less TV time in our life.

I am looking for advice from those of you that have done it on things I should think about/plan for ahead of time. I do have a couple questions as well so I have the right tools for the job.
  • Is there was any specific make/model of bunny ears recommended? I need 3 (HT, bedroom, computer)? Or can I just pick up a run of the mill 15 dollar set and call it a day?
  • Are there any other considerations or services I should be aware of regarding streaming TV?
  • How do you know there is a new episode/season of one of your shows on Netflix/Hulu? Is there a way to get notified of such?
"....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
Post edited by EndersShadow on
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Comments

  • Msabot1Msabot1 Posts: 1,903
    edited August 2013
    Enders....been using hi gain HDTV antennas for a number of years...receive over 40 stations from different cities....all free...what you will need depends on your location....topography ect. There are a number of good ones that you can choose from both inside and outside mount.reception is excellent...lot of the audio Dolby 5.1,pretty good for just the initial outlay for the gear.
  • disneyjoe7disneyjoe7 Posts: 11,520
    edited August 2013
    You won't missed it.

    Get a nice antenna which will work for you, start here http://www.antennaweb.org to find just what you may need for your location. I recommend Antenna Craft antenna's http://www.antennacraft.net/Antennas/AntennasHBU.html for their HBU antenna's 7-69 channels. If you need 2-6 channels then HBU won't work, but still recommend them. For the record I use a HBU44 with an amp Channel Master CM7778 http://www.amazon.com/Channel-Master-CM-7778-Medium-Gain-Preamplifier/dp/B0013CGNGY/ref=sr_1_63?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1377696800&sr=1-63&keywords=antenna+amp

    Also I used a powered spliter http://www.amazon.com/8-Port-Bi-Directional-Amplifier-Splitter-Booster/dp/B000WDR94U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1377696332&sr=8-1&keywords=powered+coax+splitter I'm 40 miles away from the signal tower for many channels and its installed in my attic.

    Speakers
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    Electronics
    Conrad Johnson PV-5 pre-amp
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    Sony CX400 CD changer
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  • pretzelfischpretzelfisch Posts: 161
    edited August 2013
    Netfix will tell you when a new season if available if you watched it before.
    Amazon you just subscribe for the season and it shows up in your queue.
    Hulu shows up in your queue.

    Mostly on amazon I add a season to the watch list and look at it every so often to see if the new season has started.
    you should check tvfool.com it will help you pick the appropriate antenna. I use a small winegaurd http://www.amazon.com/Winegard-FreeVision-FV-30BB-HDTV-Antenna/dp/B003L76BJS/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1377697546&sr=8-3&keywords=wineguard+hdtv+antenna
    but we need that model because in the bay area they broadcast on vhf still. Otherwise you want to look for a good uhf model.
  • AsSiMiLaTeDAsSiMiLaTeD Posts: 11,461
    edited August 2013
    We're actually considering the same thing. The hardest thing for me will be giving up sports, though my recent purchase of NFL Sunday Ticket will alleviate that to a good extent.

    Here's what I'd recommend:

    1 - Get a good outdoor or powerful indoor antenna and a good powered splitter like the one mentioned above.
    2 - You can get a TiVo to keep DVR functionality. Giving up cable I think I can do, but I know for sure that I can't loose the ability to watch TV when and how I want.
    3 - For any cable shows you do want to follow regularly, there's always iTunes and Amazon in addition to Hulu. You generally won't find current season of shows on Amazon Prime or Netflix, you'll need Hulu a regular purchzse on iTunes / Amazon for that. I'm ok with that, because I can purchase the half dozen or so cable shows I watch for less that I'd pay for two months of cable.

    The trick for me is still finding a way to support the cable shows that I watch. I know that ratings drive what gets aired, but I have to think that things are evolving such that online streaming and pay services are also getting factored in, so in that respect I feel good paying for my shows because I'm doing my part to keep them on the air.
  • nspindelnspindel Posts: 5,239
    edited August 2013
    I would love to cut that cord too, but the two things I watch most often on tv are sports and news, both are big problems in the streaming world. Even with the paid digital subscriptions like MLB TV, there is still the issue of local blackouts. Quite frustrating.
    Good music, a good source, and good power can make SDA's sing. Tubes make them dance.
  • drselectdrselect Posts: 654
    edited August 2013
    Gave up cable in February and just kept the internet with suddenlink. Ran around looking for an antenna before the cord was cut only to find out after much hassle that the internet service came with basic cable (local channels and weather with channel with locals also in HD) so no need for rabbit ears. Might want to check to see if your internet service will come with basic cable.
    Currently we are using Amazon prime from streaming and getting BR from Red Box. Wanted to try Red Box Streaming but don't have a device for it beside computer.
  • stretchlstretchl Posts: 767
    edited August 2013
    nspindel wrote: »
    I would love to cut that cord too, but the two things I watch most often on tv are sports and news, both are big problems in the streaming world. Even with the paid digital subscriptions like MLB TV, there is still the issue of local blackouts. Quite frustrating.

    Regarding news, try reading the wealth of newspaper and magazines available on the Internet. Some require a subscription, but the quality of the reporting and the depth of analysis will cause u to recognize the tee-vee bobble heads for the clownish entertainers that they are.

    Turn off the talking heads, start reading, and discover what journalism is all about.

    Start with the New York Times, your state Capitol's paper, and your local paper. Add in The Atlantic and you,ll be on your way.
    Hi-Fi
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  • pretzelfischpretzelfisch Posts: 161
    edited August 2013
    Most of the time the cbs,nbc, abc website will have episodes of the current season, you just need a computer hooked up to a tv to watch them.
  • pretzelfischpretzelfisch Posts: 161
    edited August 2013
    stretchl wrote: »
    Regarding news, try reading the wealth of newspaper and magazines available on the Internet. Some require a subscription, but the quality of the reporting and the depth of analysis will cause u to recognize the tee-vee bobble heads for the clownish entertainers that they are.

    Turn off the talking heads, start reading, and discover what journalism is all about.

    Start with the New York Times, your state Capitol's paper, and your local paper. Add in The Atlantic and you,ll be on your way.
    you can get cnn and bbc streams off of a roku for free, lots of other news programs a few hours later. for current news we us local public radio or on am there are local news stations.
  • BlueFoxBlueFox Posts: 9,425
    edited August 2013
    I just cut my Comcast back to the minimum cable service, which is just the over the air channels. I think this is in the $20 a month range. I just never watch TV longer than maybe 15 minutes a day, and I just got tired of paying for the extended digital. I watch HBO shows when they are released on Bluray, so I am always a season behind, but that is fine. I have a one DVD out at a time Netflix plan, and have around 80 purchased Bluray movies that I have yet to watch. In my mind, TV is only good for when major events happen, so I might even cancel the basic Comcast service, but that might cause the Internet access fee to increase. I need some more research into this area.
    Bud

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  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 14,940
    edited August 2013
    disneyjoe7 wrote: »
    If you need 2-6 channels then HBU won't work, but still recommend them.

    OK, so are you saying if I need a total of 2-6 channels then it wont work or if I need channels 2-6 it wont work? For me I watch Channel 4 (CW) and Channel 6 (ABC). Thanks for the link. It seemed to indicate I just needed a small multidirectional antenna to pick up most of the channels we watch. I still need 3 because I am renting and as such cant install a huge outside antenna, nor can I run wires through the wall to connect everything to one antenna.
    Msabot1 wrote: »
    What you will need depends on your location....topography ect. There are a number of good ones that you can choose from both inside and outside mount.reception is excellent...lot of the audio Dolby 5.1,pretty good for just the initial outlay for the gear.

    Well, I live in Indiana, so we are pretty flat here :smile:. I think I shouldnt have too much of an issue picking up signal I hope....
    Netfix will tell you when a new season if available if you watched it before.
    Amazon you just subscribe for the season and it shows up in your queue.
    Hulu shows up in your queue.

    Ok I will need to look at this further. If I remove a show from my queue on Netflix it will show back up, or how does that work? Bit dumb on this front.
    drselect wrote: »
    Might want to check to see if your internet service will come with basic cable.

    I use Uverse so I have NO IDEA how that would work if its even an option. My cable comes in via phone line, gets converted to Ethernet and streamed to all my devices that way. In addition my apartment isnt even wired for standard cable I dont want to deal with re-wiring it.
    Most of the time the cbs,nbc, abc website will have episodes of the current season, you just need a computer hooked up to a tv to watch them.

    Yup, we plan on doing that. I dont remember if they only keep up the most recent week online, or the entire season, and for how long.

    I also failed to mention we do have a Roku box for upstairs, which is how we plan to connect to Netflix and Hulu.
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • stretchlstretchl Posts: 767
    edited August 2013
    you can get cnn and bbc streams off of a roku for free, lots of other news programs a few hours later. for current news we us local public radio or on am there are local news stations.

    Ahh... CNN... the network that gives Miley Cyrus's twerking the lead spot over Syria, the March on Washington, wildfires in CA, etc., etc.

    http://boingboing.net/2013/08/26/why-cnn-put-miley-cyruss-pig.html
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  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 8,115
    edited August 2013
    Find someone giving away a antenna tower put up an outdoor antenna like this
    http://www.warrenelectronics.com/antennas/3671.htm
    get this [url]
    http://www.warrenelectronics.com/antennas/7777.htm[/url]

    buy a rotor for 70.00 at menards and you are set.
    I have this exact same set up and at times I get stations in Iowa/St. Louis granted its all ABC,NBC,CBS,FOX and the other lesser CW PBS and such but to be honest I get a good 30 stations BUT here's the kicker. When I got my panny plasma it does not allow me to set and keep stations that I knew I got before with my Sanyo tube TV it had a much better tuner in it. What it did that the Panny does not. I could set antenna at north scan and keep those, turn rotor dial 1/16 turn scan again repeat till you went 360* My Panny will remove all the stations that I had before turning dial where the Sanyo would just keep stacking the stations until I went 360* back to north. That is the only fault to the Panny's I have seen with OTA tuners. Depending on your location to the TV towers you could get by with this one
    http://www.warrenelectronics.com/antennas/4228HD.htm
    You will get the best reception with an outdoor antenna do not waste money on indoor amplified antenna's they will just boost all the noise also.
  • dkg999dkg999 Posts: 5,654
    edited August 2013
    There are a couple of internet antenna services which are ramping up and expanding that will give you all of your local TV stations via an internet connect. A recent court ruling has cleared the way for these types of services to expand. I use a ClearStream digital antenna and I am on the fringes of the KC metro and get over 40 channels. If you are up to the risk factor, there are several sites on ww2 where you can get HBO/Showtime current episodes. I kept having to fight the intrusions into my network so I quit using them.
    DKG999
    HT System: LSi9, LSiCx2, LSiFX, LSi7, SVS 20-39 PC+, B&K 507.s2 AVR, B&K Ref 125.2, Tripplite LCR-2400, Cambridge 650BD, Signal Cable PC/SC, BJC IC, Samsung 55" LED

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  • Msabot1Msabot1 Posts: 1,903
    edited August 2013
    Indoor omni-directionals made by TERK are fine...some with a built in R F amp too. Flat terrain,you should have no trouble. I don't stream anything,so have no input on that.
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 27,815
    edited August 2013
    stretchl wrote: »
    Regarding news, try reading the wealth of newspaper and magazines available on the Internet. Some require a subscription, but the quality of the reporting and the depth of analysis will cause u to recognize the tee-vee bobble heads for the clownish entertainers that they are.

    Turn off the talking heads, start reading, and discover what journalism is all about.

    Start with the New York Times, your state Capitol's paper, and your local paper. Add in The Atlantic and you,ll be on your way.

    New York Times ? Talk about clowns....only in print. Which I see no difference between the talking heads and the talking heads in print form. The ones on TV have time constraints, while the ones in print have more space to confirm that journalism is indeed a lost art.

    A lot of my friends have cut that cord and stream everything. Personally, I can't stand watching anything at their houses because you get interruptions, pixilation, drop outs, and those frickin' commercials on Hulu will drive you nuts. But they can stream it all over, to their laptops, tablets, phones, they tell me. I say whats the point if the quality of the audio/video isn't there or the dependability of uninterrupted service.

    To me, it's a compromise. You get some convenience and save some coin on one hand, but give up some others on another. Depends on whats important to you I guess. I would much prefer an ala carte menu for cable subscribers so I don't have to pay for a hundred channels I'll never watch. This still may happen if cable is to stay competitive with streaming services.
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  • pretzelfischpretzelfisch Posts: 161
    edited August 2013
    After I have watched a season on netflix if it's in our out of the queue, they will email me when the new season is available.
  • pretzelfischpretzelfisch Posts: 161
    edited August 2013
    One other fun thing you might consider for the antenna and a media center pc is a silicon dust box that will let you have one good outside anttena and stream that(your local wired network) to your media center where you can setup dvr http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100006519%2050012378%2040000047&IsNodeId=1&SubCategory=47&Manufactory=12378&SpeTabStoreType=1
  • disneyjoe7disneyjoe7 Posts: 11,520
    edited August 2013
    OK, so are you saying if I need a total of 2-6 channels then it wont work or if I need channels 2-6 it wont work? For me I watch Channel 4 (CW) and Channel 6 (ABC). Thanks for the link. It seemed to indicate I just needed a small multidirectional antenna to pick up most of the channels we watch. I still need 3 because I am renting and as such cant install a huge outside antenna, nor can I run wires through the wall to connect everything to one antenna.


    In digital tv world the analog channels numbers don't usaully relate to old channels so example CW 4.1 isn't on channel 4 but digital 48. Putting in what I felt is your zip code 46225 which states this

    CBS 8.1 is channel 9
    ABC 6.1 is channel 11
    NBC 13.1 is channel 13
    FOX 59.1 is channel 45
    CW 4.1 is channel 48

    Something like the HBU series would work since that receives channels 7 to 69 but not 2 to 6 which isn't needed.


    I like the u2000 for you but this picks up 14 to 69 which would KILL channels CBS ABC, and NBC being 9, 11, and 13 channels. So maybe something like the HBU series would work better, picking up the upper vhf band 7 to 13. The HBU11 could be just the ticket you need.

    Speakers
    Carver Amazing Fronts
    CS400i Center
    RT800i's Rears
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    Electronics
    Conrad Johnson PV-5 pre-amp
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    Pioneer 84TXSi AVR
    Pioneer 79Avi DVD
    Sony CX400 CD changer
    Panasonic 42-PX60U Plasma
    WMC Win7 32bit HD DVR


  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 14,940
    edited August 2013
    disneyjoe7 wrote: »
    In digital tv world the analog channels numbers don't usaully relate to old channels so example CW 4.1 isn't on channel 4 but digital 48. Putting in what I felt is your zip code 46225 which states this

    Joe my zip is actually 46077 if you wanted to double check yourself.... doubt the numbers will change but whatever..
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • rooftop59rooftop59 Posts: 3,752
    edited August 2013
    Hey Dan good luck. This is admirable, and I think you can do it pretty successfully.

    I do have to say, however, that this thread reminds me why I have never done this. I have three young kids and both me and my wife have very full time jobs, and for better or worse directv is one of our only forms of entertainment/indulgence. We never go to movies, rarely go out to dinner, and have been to one concert in the last 5 years. So I am willing to pay this. And if you want to have lots of options, this looks like a PITA to me, and I just don't have time or energy to mess with it. But if you do, go for it man!

    Sorry for the interruption. Proceed!
    HT Rig:
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  • disneyjoe7disneyjoe7 Posts: 11,520
    edited August 2013
    Dan even better same channels but now is one direction BTW you're sitting on the towers 7 miles. Whatever you do don't add an ant amp, but if split may need a splitter amp.

    http://www.antennaweb.org/Stations.aspx?Address=&City=Zionsville&State=IN&ZIP=46077&Housing=S&Accuracy=4&Height=6&Obstructed=False&StationList=&Lat=39.9831886&Lon=-86.2767995

    Speakers
    Carver Amazing Fronts
    CS400i Center
    RT800i's Rears
    Sub Paradigm Servo 15

    Electronics
    Conrad Johnson PV-5 pre-amp
    Parasound Halo A23
    Pioneer 84TXSi AVR
    Pioneer 79Avi DVD
    Sony CX400 CD changer
    Panasonic 42-PX60U Plasma
    WMC Win7 32bit HD DVR


  • dkg999dkg999 Posts: 5,654
    edited August 2013
    You want this: https://aereo.com/
    DKG999
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    Music System: Magnepan 1.6QR, SVS SB12+, ARC pre, Parasound HCA1500 vertically bi-amped, Jolida CDP, Pro-Ject RM5.1SE TT, Pro-Ject TubeBox SE phono pre, SBT, PS Audio DLIII DAC
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 14,940
    edited August 2013
    rooftop59 wrote: »
    Hey Dan good luck. This is admirable, and I think you can do it pretty successfully.

    Thanks, we are on the Dave Ramsey kick and this was just the next logical step.
    rooftop59 wrote: »
    I do have to say, however, that this thread reminds me why I have never done this. I have three young kids and both me and my wife have very full time jobs, and for better or worse directv is one of our only forms of entertainment/indulgence. We never go to movies, rarely go out to dinner, and have been to one concert in the last 5 years. So I am willing to pay this. And if you want to have lots of options, this looks like a PITA to me, and I just don't have time or energy to mess with it. But if you do, go for it man!

    Understand but we will have access to "Netflix for Kids" which has most of the TV shows we will want Skye to watch anyway. I want her growing up on the older better IHMO stuff like Transformers, Scobby Doo, Rescue Rangers, etc.

    Plus my mother in law watches Skye during the day and she has cable and can watch it there, at least till kindergarden. We had my niece over one night and darned if she didnt know how to work the Roku and find something she liked. I am assuming Skye will be the same.

    We have access to Netflix, Hulu & Amazon all via my Xbox 360 so the interface is similar (Harmony One Remote). In the bedroom its all via Roku and we will just get another universal remote in there as well if nothing else.

    If we could just a-la carte the channels we want we would be fine. We dont watch but maybe 5-7 Uverse specific channels with any regularity (HGTV, History, Discovery, Animal Planet, etc).

    But we are gonna give it a go and see what happens
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 14,940
    edited August 2013
    disneyjoe7 wrote: »
    Dan even better same channels but now is one direction BTW you're sitting on the towers 7 miles. Whatever you do don't add an ant amp, but if split may need a splitter amp.

    http://www.antennaweb.org/Stations.aspx?Address=&City=Zionsville&State=IN&ZIP=46077&Housing=S&Accuracy=4&Height=6&Obstructed=False&StationList=&Lat=39.9831886&Lon=-86.2767995

    Yeah, thats what I thought.

    P.S. I used to live in 46278 and could see them under 2 miles away :biggrin:
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 14,940
    edited August 2013
    dkg999 wrote: »
    You want this: https://aereo.com/

    Not available in my area...
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 8,115
    edited August 2013
    well then just get a bow-tie antenna and strap that sucker to the chimney run RG6 your golden. So does that tower transmit all channels? some do not.
  • rooftop59rooftop59 Posts: 3,752
    edited August 2013
    Thats funny, we have been dave ramsey lite for quite sometime, this summer is was basically so lite it didn't exist! But we will be back on the envelope system at least this fall, which the only part we have ever really done...

    And didn't mean the tv is for the kids, although of course it is very convenient for that. Its our only source of entertainment. But like I said, if its worth your time then do it.
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  • cnhcnh Posts: 13,310
    edited August 2013
    When you said you were "cutting the cord" I thought you were going to call up geppy1 for advice on how to cut off power cords in order to attach "others", why? Well I won't go there (but at the very least it devalues your vintage equipment to less the original status).

    As for cable and networks. We're in a "transitional" period and I suspect that "everyone" (providers) is shaking in their boots. When someone finally figures out how to FULLY set up, market, fund and distribute INDEPENDENT quality programming using low budget but HQ HD cameras and PC software as well as the "abundance" of talent that EXISTS in actors, musicians and other artists LOCALLY throughout the U.S.A., we will see something SO different from ANY of the services that are currently running that it will defy "belief" yet, as soon as we SEE it, we'll all sigh: Oh that's so OBVIOUS why didn't WE think of that before....it's so SIMPLE. And it will make Zuckerberg, Google and even Amazon look like they have EGG on their, well I can't resist, on their FACEBOOK! lol

    Wait for it. It's coming. If I knew who it was I'd be buying up that stock right now. But I can ASSURE you that it WON'T be any of the BIG PLAYERS we know!

    A new model is coming that will provide for an INFINITE amount of "seamless" integration and a diverse and almost endless amount of programming. Anyone who thought about it for more than a minute would understand where it should be going!

    And HULU, Netflix youtube, etc. don't even "begin" to TOUCH what is POSSIBLE!

    cnh
    Currently orbiting Bowie's Blackstar.!

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  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 14,940
    edited August 2013
    rooftop59 wrote: »
    Thats funny, we have been dave ramsey lite for quite sometime, this summer is was basically so lite it didn't exist! But we will be back on the envelope system at least this fall, which the only part we have ever really done...

    And didn't mean the tv is for the kids, although of course it is very convenient for that. Its our only source of entertainment. But like I said, if its worth your time then do it.

    Yeah, best thing is it will kill my wifes addiction to all those Housewives shows.... I PRAY!

    But yes we enjoy TV, but rarely find lots of stuff that's good on that we like, spend more time hitting the down button that watching lately. We have been watching mostly Netflix for the past month anyway.

    We are just getting into the envelope part ourselves.

    We really want to be in a house in the next year or two and want to focus on getting our debt down significantly or get rid of it entirely.

    This is just a small part of all that and a re-focus on family time, spent outside, or together that isnt just staring at the TV. Probably going to be buying some board games here soon to play with family and friends.
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
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