On February 22nd, 2017 Mr. SS and I decided to cut the cord. We cancelled our internet service, for a variety of reason. This small change has been so successful that we haven’t looked back, in fact the other day, when I decided to write an update on our internet-free life, was the first time I realized we’ve been “unplugged” for well over a year.
What have we learned and how are we doing?
Financially speaking, this change has saved us $840. No small sum! As before, we continue to have cell-phones. We have a bit of data that allow us to google map directions while out and about, or check in at the theater with our Movie Pass account, so while technically not completely “unplugged” we have no home internet service and it’s great! On the subject of cellphones, I’m glad to report these are now EVEN CHEAPER than our previous $15 per month (per line) as Mr SS has discovered shopping around on eBay and paying our bill annually resulted in an additionally 48% decrease in our service plan, we now just pay $18.25 / month for BOTH of our cell phone plans, and plan to pay even less in the future. Find out how!
We continue our Netflix subscription as it has a lot of content available for download. We still acquire this content, as well as meet our other internet needs, at the multitude of spaces where free internet is available. Through work, we’ve gained an Amazon Prime account, but use that content fairly rarely (we do use it a lot for free shipping on large items, which is why we have it in the first place). Amazon Prime also has content available for download, but it’s nowhere near the comprehensive compilations of Netflix and the download for offline viewing times seem to take much longer. Personally I’m not wild about it, but it’s a nice bonus, and Mr. SS uses the associated Amazon Prime Music (a Spotify or Google Play alternative) for much of his offline listening.
I love not being available 24/7. It makes it much easier to separate work and home life, and so far this has had no disadvantages. At the time of cancelling, we were both using Facebook messenger A LOT so our previous post included some concern on how to keep that service active. What a difference a year makes. Mr. SS has gone from mass deleting Facebook friends, to quitting Facebook completely, I still have the messenger app because one friend group uses it for scheduling our Thursday get-togethers… I check it Thursday’s, using my bit of data. Done, problem solved 🙂 For other communication, we use mostly text messages.
Delaying the Marshmallow
Yes, yes and YES! This is based on the Stanford “Marshmallow Test”, in which children were presented with a marshmallow and given two options. They could eat the marshmallow right away or wait and receive a second marshmallow when the researcher returned to the room. The study found that the children who were able to delay gratification did much better in life than their marshmallow inhaling counterparts. Since the key to success is discipline, I find “delaying the marshmallow” to be a very healthy exercise, especially when you have a strong reason. Like doubling your marshmallows.
In addition to doubling our marshmallows (aka saving money) we don’t always google everything- we engage in some very fun discussions. We also have lists of things to look up when we’re around the internet, which personally has helped me with retention of what I read. I also look at reading blog posts as a “special event” because I have to plan for it. On the whole, having to wait to look something up has had no negative impact on our lives, and if it REALLY matters we use a little data or go somewhere with WiFi and that’s that.
Surprise! Owning up to the fact that you don’t have internet at home, outs you as a weirdo*. It’s OK not to care, but prepare for some looks and conversations. My favorite was a time during a gathering with a large group of friends, and friends of friends, most of whom are a bit younger than we are. People were talking about some video, and one of them leaned in to me and asked: Did you see it? Without thinking I responded: No, we don’t have the internet. The conversation immediately died, as people eyed us with concern. “What do you…DO?” they asked. We started explaining our philosophy, but people were too shocked to listen. You just have really great data plans! they exclaimed. We explained a little bit more, but clearly our philosophy was incomprehensible. “We have data on our phones…” we capitulated. It was easier than to keep explaining.
We’ve also been attacked from the other viewpoint, when a person insisted we’re hypocrites for using the internet at all if we’re not going have it at home. The insisted that to truly cut the cord, we need to isolate ourselves from it completely. “OK”, we conceded, not seeing the need to explain that this is about savings, rejecting monopolizing companies and restoring our home time.
The moral of the story is: you can’t please everyone, but why would you even try? Make choices that work for YOU. Clearly, this worked really well for us and I am pleased with a year without home internet. If internet service comes down to a reasonable price, or becomes municipally available, we might change our mind. But for now- here’s to another year!
*We are micro-space-living, anti-consumerist, vegan activists who work in the theatre. We’ve been out as weirdos for a while 🙂