When I got married, I got cable for the first time. Up until that point, only “rich” people had cable; (or so I thought) clearly not a luxury we could afford. It wasn’t a big deal when I didn’t have it but it was dangerous when I was around it. For example, when I was in 8th grade I would babysit, every day after school, two boys and a girl from our church. They had cable. I’m pretty sure I nearly neglected those kiddos on account of: I could watch nickelodeon TV….(I said “nearly” neglected). High school was a little tougher because EVERYONE watched MTV (were music videos birthed around that time?! Seriously! 1989-ish?). It wasn’t embarrassing enough for me to lie about having cable but apparently I was missing out on something significant.
When my husband and I got married, I was never under the delusion that we would be able to afford cable! We were scraping by on less than $20,000 a year (Before taxes). I didn’t realize that in some apartments, you couldn’t get ANY T.V. unless you had cable and I was pretty surprised to learn that basic cable was fairly inexpensive (I want to say it was, like, $9 per month).
My perceptions then were that poor people didn’t have cable. Now, it seems to be very trendy to not watch TV. You know those people who “Just don’t even have a TV” (Crazy, I know). These are the people who -as best as I can tell,- can afford all of the media bells and whistles (Flat screen, surround sound, etc…). And it also seems like lots of families who most likely can’t “afford it” are sittin’ in front of their 60+ inch screens, with a closet FULL of the latest blue-rays (somehow always able to pick up the newest movie for $20 a pop).
After 14 years of marriage and much to my hubby’s dismay, we still do not have a flat screen TV. Our TV is really heavy and has a big ol’ butt coming off the back of it. We have a Nintendo Wii that we bought this year and a DVD player (almost no movies). BUT (before I get too “High-horsey” here), I should be honest with you #1 – we pay a premium for cable (all the channels, HBO, Encore, Starz, you name it!) and #2 – very soon, I am hoping to have a huge TV with blue ray and 3D capabilities, surround sound…the works! My daughter is in Jr. high and my son isn’t too far behind. In order to insure that my kids and their friends always hang out at my house, I need to have it cherried out so….don’t judge! 🙂
In an interesting twist, one of those little boys I used to babysit is now my dear friend and our financial advisor. (Shameless plug: he works for Merrill Lynch. Super talented and I would highly suggest him to anyone who was looking to seriously get their financial affairs in order). Anyway, I was talking to our financial advisor about our emergency savings and I was telling him that if we needed to scale our life completely back, I would need to have enough saved up for cable since we wouldn’t be going out to the movies, traveling and so on. So now the poor, little, rich, white Mexican, is making sure to have cable in her darkest hour.
Cable. It’s an enigma for sure!