Sunday, December 14, 2008

To Wii or Not to Wii - that is the question...

Sigh... hubby and I had decided that we were going to buy a Wii for our family for Christmas. We figured that it would be a great way to keep the kids physically active while having fun when it was just too cold, wet, snowy, and/or muddy, etc. this winter and beyond. Now I will start by saying that we did know what the cost of a Wii was as we made this decision, but what I hadn't given a huge amount of thought to was what the "rest of the story" was in terms of needing more controllers for multiple players and the cost of additional games. The other thing that I wasn't prepared for was how painfully difficult these boogers are to find to actually buy; we were afraid that we wouldn't find one to buy before Christmas (from a source that we were familiar with, such as Wal-Mart, Sam's, Toys-R-Us, Circuit City, Best Buy, etc.).

Then, finally, just this morning we found a Wii system on the Toys-R-Us site - can you say WOOHOO!!! I placed our order and we were all set, or so I thought! A short time later, I got what I call "that itchy feeling" - the feeling I get when something just isn't right. I couldn't dismiss it so I stopped to pray that God would guide Eric and I on whether purchasing the Wii was a good decision or not. When I shared my "itchy feeling" with my hubby, he agreed that if it didn't feel right then we needed to cancel the order; so cancel the order I did and now the "itchy feeling" is gone! WHEW!!!

BUT.... now my question is... what decision process have others had on the road of "To Wii or Not to Wii"? Why did you chose to or not to purchase it???

We had a hard time justifying the cost of the console, additional accessories, and on-going cost of games. My cost estimate was near $478.00 for the items that we felt we would need to get started, not to mention the cost of additional games or other accessories that we don't yet know that we "need". Plus, the questions we asked ourselves were these... do we want to encourage our children to play video games rather than seek out other sources of play that would be equally physical and even more imaginative??? Do we want them to think that all entertainment must come from either the computer or the television??

As a slight bunny trail, but still on the same thought... We are considering cancelling our cable TV in January for a couple of reasons (we would cancel it now, but, even though this was my idea, I am having a hard time committing to giving up some of the shows that I watch on cable). First, we pay approx. $80 per month for digital cable and some additional digital tiers. We think we can be better stewards of that $80 by using it to either build our savings or to pay down student loan debt rather than use it for pure entertainment. Second, because there is just too much on TV that we do not agree with; such things as the attitudes of some characters on some of the pre-teen/teen shows our oldest daughter suddenly wants to watch, violence (even the evening news is hard to watch with kids), not to mention the encouragement to "get more stuff" from watching all the toy and fast food commercials (especially this time of year) that we are always bombarded with. We have considered just blocking the channels that have what we consider to be questionable content, but that won't eliminate all of what bothers us.

All that being said, I still would like a Wii because I think it would be a lot of fun... but we just cannot justify the cost for our family. Please know that I am not judging other families that do have Wiis and/or cable TV, it is a personal choice that each family must make for themselves. All I am doing is sharing what thought process we have worked through (and we are obviously still working through them ourselves) and now I would LOVE to hear from each of you on your family's decision "To Wii or Not to Wii"; I look forward to hearing from you.


M. Stevenson said...


Your catchy title caught my attention from the BW Frugal Friday list. I can relate to you about the Wii and the cable issues. Last Christmas our kids' cousins sent them their old V-smile game (they had "outgrown it" and I think they got a Wii last year), and we welcomed it into our home, albeit reluctantly. It seems like every time they play, they end up fighting and bickering with one another, and when they're done, they are a little crazy because they still have all this pent up energy! (That's the one thing about a Wii that appeals to me.)After I got tired of them asking every day to play with it, I instituted Wednesdays as V-Smile day. That's the only day they're allowed to play. (Sometimes they have special exceptions, but those are "special.")

As far as cable goes, we had been watching only a small handful of channels that we could barely get through our poor-quality antenna, and I was fine with that. We only watched AFV and Nature with the kids, and football on Sundays. But because of everything changing to HD in February (and because we were changing internet providers), we decided to go with the basic internet/cable package (with no box). And I'm still not thrilled that we pay money to sit and watch TV. My goal is for us to watch LESS TV, not more. Now our picture is more clear than ever, and instead of having 3 or 4 channels to choose from, we have about 30! Don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed catching re-runs of Little House on the Prarie, and finding an occasional movie for us to watch after the kids are in bed, but I sorta wish we had just purchased the converter box. With a coupon, my friend bought hers for around $20--which is a one-time expense that gets her a few more than the original 5 or 6 channels. Now I'm still paying monthly for 30 channels, and we only watch about 5 or 6 hours a week (if you count football).

ALL THAT TO SAY...If you don't have the money set aside for the Wii, don't buy it. What you really WANT is for your family to spend time together actively enjoying one another and having a good time. Why not play hide-n-seek, Twister, or hallway bowling with plastic bottles? It is possible to do some things with your kids that are active as well as creative and interactive and AFFORDABLE. And save up for the Wii if you really want one. Let the kids help save for it too. It might be nice to have one when they're teens so their friends will want to hang at your place. (I may need to take my own advice here, and start saving.)

God bless you & your family this Christmas,

SB said...

I could NEVER spend that amount of money for a game system. I know friends who have bought them and they say the fun wears off after the 1st month anyhow....I know that Blockbuster or some other place will let you rent a machine to try it out.

Or if it's just the gaming system you want, why not buy a XBox 360 off of Craigslist. It's full of desperate people who need to pay their bills and are selling their gaming systems to meet their bills. It's a great time to bea buyer, that's for sure.

As far as cable goes, we have Dish Network, with the Family Plan, and one premium channel (Cinemax, which I pay ONE PENNY for....) Call your company and tell them you're considering cancelling and you need a reason to stay with them. Ask for something for free.

Merry Christmas to you guys.

Cindy said...

We have thought about a Wii from time to time, but we always end up saying "maybe next year." It's just so much money! Who knows, if we wait long enough, maybe we can get a cheap used one.

And we gave up cable TV awhile back, and I am SO glad. We still spend time in front of the TV, watching DVDs, but it is planned time, and it is also much less time that when we had cable. A big bonus is that the kids (and I) are not always seeing stuff to buy on TV! I think we spend much less on frivolous items now that we don't have cable.

Kris said...

Getting rid of satellite was the best $75/mon we've ever saved. We do watch a good deal of broadcast TV, those shows we know are on and want to watch. We also watch a lot of shows online, so I can't say we gave up anything. We have netflix, so we get seasons of cable shows we don't have access to during the season. No big for us.

On to the Wii... Yes there are extras that can really add up, but once the big investment is made, it doesn't have to be a monthly out of pocket thing. The Wii is a good way to burn off excess energy and we have a great time bowling and playing baseball.

You can save by buying off brand or used accessories. And buying older releases, used, and trading old games makes the cost of games a lot more affordable. In fact, for a while, on Cellfire, Game Stop had a 30% bonus on your trade and an extra 30% off of used games at GameStop. And you'd be surprised what kid's games get in trade these days.

As a personal choice we're a video game family. I could care less and would like to see less of them, but I married a video game addict. *le sigh* If the choice is between cable and the Wii though... oh, the Wii all the way! Even I love the Wii and if you find a Wii board, let me know! ;-) They are much easier to find off season.

Hadias said...

You may want to consider a cheaper option which is to purchase it refurbished through Gamestop with a warranty.

I can certainly understand your desire to be better stewards over your money. That is the driving force behind any of our purchasing decisions.

We waited two years and saved up before finally purchasing a high end game console for our children this Christmas. I saved and searched for the lowest deal possible. It was a great feeling to know that by cutting back in other areas and earning a little extra money through blogging we were able to purchase the game set burden free.

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Shari said...

We haven't got a Wii yet. The kids really want Guitar Hero, but we're getting them Guitar Praise instead and giving it to all 5 of them as a group gift.