Jana and I have been trying to simplify our lives the past few years. We’ve tried to be efficient with our time, money and resources. It’s something I’ve learned a lot about, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised how efficient I can be in an area.
For the past few months, I’ve thought about dropping our cable tv package. It’s not something we use all that often, and it’s an expense we can cut. My plan was to cut it at the end of the year, after the Husker football season.
When the various financial issues came up this summer, and then realizing we were going to have another baby, I started looking at how we could save money. I sold the iPad I won to help pay some of the bills, but it was still financially tight for us. I started wondering if I needed to drop cable tv right away, but I told myself no. Husker football is one of the few things non-essential things I still spend money on, and I told myself I “earned” it. (I know, it sounds silly. Bear with me.)
Well, early in August, Lead Pastor Mark preached a message about giving and enough. It prompted me to take a hard look at my finances and ask some tough questions. “Would I really put Husker football over the well-being of my family”? The answer? No. I also knew with the pending Double Your Impact campaign it would be hypocritical to ask people to sacrifice and give if I wasn’t sacrificing something.
It became clear to me that I needed to drop cable tv. Not just that, I felt I was being challenged to do it by God. If I really wouldn’t put Husker football ahead of my family’s finances and Double Your Impact, then prove it. It’s one thing to say you would do it, another thing to do it.
It sometimes is easy to joke about Husker football being “an idol” for people here in Nebraska. I don’t think it has been for me, but if I wasn’t willing to respond to this challenge then I had to ask myself if it really was something I worshipped over God. I was giving it my time and money, potentially to the detriment of my family and my role with Double Your Impact.
It was a Sunday I realized this, so of course it took me till Thursday to call Cox and cancel my cable tv package. While at it, I also downgraded my internet service. When I was talking to the Cox rep, she seemed a bit confused as to why I was doing this. She informed me more than once that I was already saving $60 a month with the cable tv package I had. (I was quite aware of this, since I had bartered with Cox on a deal when I got cable tv.) Nevertheless, dropping cable tv and downgrading internet would save Jana and I $65 a month. It would also make sure I didn’t pay for Nebraska’s pay per view games.
I called Cox on Thursday, and returned my cable boxes on Friday. In Friday’s mail I received a check from Wells Fargo. The check was to reimburse me for overpayment into an escrow that pays for property taxes. The check? It was over $2,000.
It very well could be coincidence the check came that day. You could say I was going to get the reimbursement at some point. I don’t believe because I “sacrificed” that I “received”. I do believe, though, that God orchestrated it to remind me that things were going to be okay. When this was going on, I was stressed about providing for my family. I thought the check was a sign that my family would be provided for in the coming months.
Now we have a digital converter box for our tv. This past Saturday I sat down and watched the Huskers play for the first time, and the reception wasn’t always great. Still, I felt good watching it. It was the right thing for me, and my family, to drop cable tv and downgrade our internet. Do I miss anything? So far, I don’t miss anything. Jana and I haven’t noticed any loss of performance with the lower bandwidth internet either. And, we get $65 a month savings.
(Oh yeah, I also felt good watching the Huskers game because they pummeled Washington.)
Is cable tv wrong? Not in and of itself, but if the cost is cutting into needs for you family then it is.
I’m glad I responded to God’s challenge of doing what’s best for my family and Double Your Impact. It sounds ridiculous, and it is, but I was surprised how much it meant to me to have cable so I could watch the Huskers. Learned a few things throughout this. I’m wondering what else I’ll experience during Double Your Impact. Looking forward to it.