When is an upgrade worth it?
Temptation comes in many forms. For Tim and I, it takes the guise of the TV channel G4.
This channel, which used to be known as Tech TV, is offering a free preview during March. Whenever there's a preview, we eat it up. Initially, Tim was the enthusiastic one. But he quickly turned me on to some of G4's offerings, and I was hooked too.
I took an immediate liking to "Attack of the Show" which makes me laugh. It also nicely sums up all of the hot YouTube clips so I don't feel quite so left out.
Tim loves X-Play which gives him even more information/reviews on games. (He has a subscription to a gaming magazine, but the show gives real time clips from the game and also often features cheat codes etc.)
Then there are shows like "Ninja Warrior" which I am now completely addicted to, and I couldn't tell you why. It's a ridiculous show, essentially showing various Japanese people attempting insanely difficult obstacle courses.
How difficult? Each competition starts with 100 people. The most I've ever seen advance is 11. Usually it's 2-4. Some people fall off on the first part of the course. Others almost make it to the end. But pretty much everyone who fails ends up falling about 4 feet into the muddy water below.
That's pretty much the entire show. The announcers (it's subtitled) are quite funny with their color commentary. Otherwise, it's just people trying (and mainly failing) to make it through the course. So why does it suck me in? I suppose the real allure is that, like many popular reality-based shows, it shows people failing -- and failing spectacularly. I mean, if it's just a little slip it's barely worth watching. But if you get to see someone tumbling end over end into the water, well that's entertainment!
I really never thought this kind of thing would get to me. But it's a morbid fascination. And I'm not the only one who's so enthralled. My mom, who doesn't even own a TV, watched a bit of it at my insistence. (Mainly because of the weird look she gave me when I was trying explain the show's appeal.) I thought she'd call time after a couple of people tried their best. She sat through the whole show, and even made the sympathetic noises -- "Aaaah, no!" as someone splashes down, "Oooo, almost!" as someone is 2 seconds shy of finishing the course.
So clearly, this show is a powerful substance.
So why do I rave about G4? Well because it's one package up from our current one on Dish. That's a $12 difference.
Logically, $12 a month doesn't sound like that much more. But it's $144 a year for the extra entertainment. I'm sorely tempted. But I'm just not sure.
Tim, of course, would be all for it. He doesn't just love G4. The package would also include his other-favorite channel: Animal Planet. In addition, some of the other channels in this preview are giving him access to some animated, comic-book-based shows that he loves: The Incredible Hulk, X-Men, etc.
And so my debate begins:
Pro: The extra $12 a month, would bring us hours upon hours of extra entertainment.
Con: We already watch a ton of TV. I'm not sure more is a good thing.
Pro: Tim gets antsy/bored easily, and more shows would mean less desire to go out.
Con: His Magic game on the computer provides many hours of entertainment and we already paid for that. (One-time $20 fee, paid 2.5 years ago.)
Pro: With Animal Planet on, I'd at least be watching vaguely edifying TV.
Con: I'd also be watching a lot of G4 silliness, and a whole lot more animated shows with Tim.
Pro: It's $12. You spend that when you and Tim each get a value meal!
Con: At least then we get out of the house.
Pro: You can't beat the cost per hour for entertainment. Even if we only watched the G4 shows we like, every day, the cost would be 30 cents an hour. More likely, we'd be looking at 10 cents or less an hour.
Con: However you break the cost down, it's still an extra $12 a month. And you're in debt. And may be losing half your income soon, unless Tim's unemployment benefits get extended.
It's that last one that I can't get around. I think, at least until we find out more about Tim's benefits, we probably shouldn't go adding to the budget. Even just $12 a month.
So we can't add to the budget. At least, that's what I'm guessing most people's answer will be. That it would be irresponsible, short-sighted, etc. (In other words, I'd be American consumer 1999-2007.)
As a result, I'll try to find it in the budget. I have to call the phone company and get some information on specific fees -- what they are and why I'm being charged them. And whether I can just NOT have a long distance plan. Last month, we used 6 long distance minutes for 55 cents. With fees, it was $9. So in other words, we paid $1.50 a minute.
If this were you, and you found out the benefits did get extended, would you upgrade?