For the sake of cheaper rent, I’ve opted to live in a little house outside of town during this season of life. Just across the road, within view of my living room window, is a field with a barn and a windmill and cows who graze the days away. The house at the end of my road has three donkeys and a llama, and someone in the neighborhood — I haven’t figured out who — has a rooster that greets the mornings. And the afternoons. And sometimes the evenings. Overall, it’s a pleasant neighborhood to live in.
This neighborhood, however, does not have cable. Which is fine for me as far as TV goes, since I don’t own a TV. But it means no cable internet. Neither does the neighborhood have DSL internet. But there is, I discovered after moving into my new place, a pricey fiber optic internet option available. I begrudgingly signed up for this high-speed high-price option, including the mandatory purchase of a $100 modem/router combination exclusive to this provider (and just what am I supposed to do with the cable modem and router that I bought only a year and a half ago to start up my internet in Washington?).
After a week of waiting, the new modem/router “gateway” arrived. Then I waited another 24 hours for the activation date to arrive. Bright and early on activation day, I commenced activation only to realize I wasn’t authorized to activate until after 8pm (for crying out loud!). I was busy that evening and didn’t feel like activating internet after 10pm. I finally got around to activating the next morning, only to discover the “gateway” didn’t work. I spent twenty minutes on the phone with a customer service rep and an entire day as a hostage in my own home waiting for a technician to arrive, and the issue was still not resolved.
It was at this point I realized that I’d gone without internet in my home for a week — why couldn’t I go for a few months? I can check email and social media on my phone, as well as look up directions and or do basic internet searches. Any task that requires using my laptop with wi-fi I can do at my boyfriend’s house, Starbucks, the library, wherever. I did a little math and figured I’d save almost $300 over the next six months by not having internet in my home.
And so I’m trying an experiment I’m calling Internet Austerity. The experiment wouldn’t work if I were depending on freelance income right now — but, since I’m planning to work outside the home for a season, I just might be able to pull it off and save some money. Actually, I’m finding that using my phone as my primary internet source at home helps me waste a lot less time. I really don’t enjoy reading articles or blogs on the tiny screen, so I don’t end up going off on rabbit trails, clicking from one site to the next like I would on my laptop. I keep a running list of online tasks that I need to accomplish on my computer, and I do them all at once when I’m around wi-fi, rather than being on and off my browser several times an hour from home. So far it is a blessed freedom. Here’s hoping I really make the most of this season of Internet Austerity!