We’re into our third month of not having internet at home, aside from minimal data on our cell phones, so I thought it may be time for an update!
We never really intended to do an internet break. We weren’t trying to be super super frugal or reset any bad habits (though we’ve done both). Our rationale was much more practical than that, and driven somewhat out of a combination of being lazy and busy:
- It is summertime – we spend most our weekends at the cabin, our days at work, and our evenings in the backyard or working on a house project. The amount of time we’d be streaming or scrolling would be limited anyway.
- The annoyance of getting it set up – neither of us has been able to take an afternoon off just to wait for the internet company!
- Money – since we expected to use very little of this internet, we decided to save the monthly costs and delay the setup costs as long as possible. [UPDATE: we’ve saved $180+ in monthly internet fees, around $50 in Hulu fees, a nominal amount in energy costs, and postponed the $150 internet setup fee so far]
- As a test – we have 4 gigs of shared data and a pile of unwatched DVD’s. We thought this might be a fun challenge to encourage us to use the resources we have (phone data and DVDs), be more present with each other in the evening, and be more mindful of the time we do spend on the internet.
We have yet to run out of data, though we are cutting it VERY close this month. We haven’t come close to running out of DVD’s, though a little more variety would be nice (our collection pretty much consists of standard romantic comedies, Star Wars, and “girl” shows like Gilmore Girls, Ally McBeal, and Dr. Quinn). We just finished and restarted the 4 seasons of Friends we borrowed from my mom, and are just about to start Season 3 of Dawson’s Creek (B had never seen it and was game to try).
We are, however, missing comedic variety and are craving 30 Rock, Parks & Rec, Brooklyn 99, and Top Gear – our go-to staples.
There is a lot that we don’t miss though. There was always a strange pressure to keep up with Facebook, Instagram, etc. With limited internet, I find I don’t want to waste data on a social media app when I might need it later for a how-to video on closing a water pipe valve or replacing a dryer vent. There are days now that I don’t remember that Facebook exists, and I’m ok with that. Neither of us miss the “what do you want to watch” conversation every evening – somehow having more choice makes choosing harder, and I’m terrible with decisions. When we only have one comedy and one drama to switch between there is way less stress of choice. And the ads – we, of course, do not miss the endless ads.
While not intentional at all, we’ve picked up some good habits during this break. More reading in the evening or weekend mornings for one. I’ve started writing down or screenshotting recipes instead of looking them up each time. We pretty much never Facebook anymore, except when we know it is someone’s birthday, or to comment on the occasional friend’s baby picture. And there are shockingly less Amazon impulse purchases when you’re saving data!
Keeping our technology fresh has been the biggest challenge. B has WiFi at work, and has been able to regularly update his phone, download books/magazines as needed, etc. I don’t have that luck and my phone hasn’t been updated in weeks. So far it hasn’t prevented me from using any of my regular apps, but one of these days I know I’ll hit a required update wall. I’m also running perilously low on downloaded podcasts. I like to listen to them over lunch on days when I don’t have a book. It lets my brain wander and restores my energy for the second half of the work day (the introvert energy drain in the office is real).
The lack of home internet has also thrown a wrench my side hustle as a social media manager / copywriter. I’ve been able to make it work through being very prepared, planning on paper and having my posts fully developed before hopping on the internet. I also discovered I can get to the public library, do 30 minutes of internet work, and get back to my desk before my lunch break is over!
But will we keep this going?
I don’t know. Come fall and winter, we will be taking on more indoor house projects, and most of those require research and how-to videos. YouTube is a lifesaver while renovation our house, and I anticipate us needing it more and more as we tackle larger projects like the kitchen remodel. Plus, we’ll be spending most of our weekends at home after we shut the cabin down in October. Dreary rainy fall days and cold snowy days will probably warrant the desire for home internet and steaming TV.
Overall, it is going well, we’re both happy without internet, and we’re going to keep the no-WiFi thing going for while longer.
I will, however, be happy when our data resets tomorrow!