How I canceled cable and gained a new outlook on life

By Holly Johnson

For Get Rich Slowly

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 14 2013 12:05 p.m. MDT

A few months later, we discovered that we could get some really cheap TV by buying a Roku box. A Roku box allows allows you to stream shows through the Internet and onto your television via channels like Netflix or Hulu. We ordered our Roku box from Amazon.com for $60 and signed up for Netflix for $7.99 per month. Doing so allowed us to watch tons of documentaries and old movies. In addition, Netflix also offers entire seasons of kid’s shows and cartoons for the little ones we had at home. After a few months, we added Hulu to our Roku box for an additional $7.99 per month. The addition of Hulu meant that we could watch a lot of shows that are shown on the regular networks. Finally, we could catch up on some of our favorites like Parks & Recreation, Kitchen Nightmares and Master Chef.

Although our new set-up wasn’t completely free, we were now paying $15.98 per month for television instead of $80. Our $64 savings came in handy as we tackled all of our remaining debt. Using the snowball method, we paid off our credit cards and unsecured debts first. Then we attacked my husband’s student loans. After several months, we were able to begin making additional payments on our car loans as well.

Learning to love what we had

In the meantime, we began to love our new television setup. Sure, I missed some of my shows at first. However, I quickly realized that wanting something did not make it a need. I also learned that most of the shows I was obsessed with weren’t really adding any value to my life. I also learned to like the fact that I could no longer turn on the tube and watch whatever was on. My Roku box with Netflix/Hulu made me choose each show consciously instead of always getting sucked into countless hours of pointless reality madness. I now felt more in control than ever and the result was that we ended up watching higher-quality television overall. I also found myself watching a lot less as I embraced other hobbies and projects.

Eventually, we paid off every last one of our debts aside from our mortgage, and we emerged on the other side with a new outlook and new priorities. Although we had earned the right to start paying for cable again, neither one of us was all that interested. We found that our new system met our needs just fine. It didn’t matter that we could now afford to have cable. We didn’t want it. Although I’m still a reality television junkie at heart, I found that I no longer want to devote that much time or money to the cause. And now that we haven’t had cable for a few years, days and weeks go by without us turning on the television at all. Of course, I still like to be entertained. However, I’ve found other ways to occupy my time that aren’t so expensive in time or money.

Do you have cable television? If so, are you happy with how much you’re paying?

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