Getting Rid of Cable – The Habit and the How

This weekend, Laurie and I made a substantial change in our life: We got rid of cable. We officially cut the cord and told Time Warner to shove off, as we looked to dump any unnecessary items and bills. It was just the next in line of the many reductions we’ve taken over the past year or so, in order to help reduce our clutter.

We're taking a big step in our pursuit of reduction: Getting rid of cable. Is it forever? Doesn't matter.

We’re taking a big step in our pursuit of reduction: Getting rid of cable. Is it forever? Doesn’t matter.

The moment I officially handed off the cable box felt amazing, as if a weight had been lifted, one that we’ve been a slave to for some years now. It’s not that we’re giving up television, but through an HD antenna and Roku, we felt like we could get all the movies and television we wanted without having to pay for everything we didn’t. My only concern is for sports, which I think through Roku, I’ll be able to manage – although you might see me at a bar catching a basketball game when Kansas starts playing again.

After the drop-off, Laurie and I were talking and she said, “It’s weird without it here, though.”

I agreed, but then said something like “I’m glad we don’t have it anymore. I hope it lasts.”

“Well, I don’t mean to live without cable forever, but it’s worth trying.”

“Let’s make it a month before we start discussing forever,” I added.

We had just given up the box, and it felt like we had given up cable forever. Maybe we have, maybe we haven’t. It’s hard to say. But I know one way we should not look at it is whether this is a permanent solution.

While we both know giving up cable was a healthy and smart decision, we also know there will be an adjustment period. We’ve grown accustomed to certain amenities that cable can bring, especially when you’re on a budget. So we’re going to have to change some of our habits and routines in order to make up for what we once had. And these will hopefully be productive, healthy adjustments, but they will be changes, nonetheless. When you’re making these changes, you don’t want to think they will last forever. It will ruin the momentum you’re creating in the short-term, sabotaging any chance for that change.

Instead, looking at the reduction of cable as a fantastic short-term solution to help change our habits, offers a temporary look at our new lifestyle. We don’t see the sudden absence of cable as a hindrance to our habit formation. This allows us to explore ways to fill our time that cable used to hold. We’re not worried about forever, instead just focused on today.

With that change in perspective, we could form a new habit, leaving the reduction of cable forever as a possibility. But it’s a conclusion that we come to because we realize it’s no longer wanted. Not because we hope to fight off a bad influence.

So fingers crossed, this reduction of cable turns into 2 months, 3 months, 6 months, a year, 10 years. But first let’s get through this month. Then, hopefully, we won’t have to worry about that future.

Now, if you’re thinking of getting rid of your cable, I suggest taking these steps:

  1. Buy a HD antenna for your television. This will ensure you can get some basic channels, like ABC, NBC, FOX, unless you’re giving up television all together. 
  2. Buy a Roku or other media player, like Apple TV or a cord to connect your laptop to your television (not an option for us). This allows us to stream Hulu or Netflix. But adding these steps to search for what we want, reduces the amount of television we watch, while still ensuring we have options. Since Laurie and I are trying to see the AFI top 100 movies, it’s the perfect solution for us
  3. Connect your Amazon Prime account, if you have one. You can connect to Amazon Streaming through Roku, which provides more movies to choose from
  4. Pay for shows you can’t get elsewhere. I’m a huge fan of Breaking Bad. When it comes out, we will likely pay for the show via iTunes or some other service, if needed. But by going this route, you can actually decide what shows really matter to you, which reduces your television viewing, if you’re truly honest with what you want to see
  5. Turn to family members. It turns out using your family’s streaming logins is perfectly legal. So feel free to ask your sister for that HBO Go account login, if there’s a show you can’t miss (ahem, Game of Thrones)

Sports is still the bugaboo in all this, especially football and college basketball. If you all have any suggestions for getting around this, please let us know in the comments below!

photo by: 55Laney69
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