Life Without Cable


by Karen Newcombe

Yes, I'm one of those people. I cut the cable off about two years ago, and I don't miss it. That was probably the real beginning of my journey to get rid of too much stuff. 

I had three reasons: first, there was almost nothing on 500 channels that I wanted to watch. I'd spend half an hour clicking through all the listings and end up settling for a rerun of a show I'd already seen twice. Second, I absolutely hated paying to watch commercials. Third, a lot of television feels like angry strangers have invaded my home and are yelling and throwing things. 

During a lengthy run of commercials one night, I started doing a little calculating. Most one hour TV shows run about 40 minutes, and the remaining 20 minutes is commercials. So thirty-three percent (33%) of every hour is devoted to commercials. 

At that time my cable bill was just over $100 a month, or $1200 per year. Thirty-three percent of $1200 is $400. I was paying $400 a year just to watch commercials. 

I hated that I was paying to watch something I didn't want to see, and that it was chewing up hours of my time every week. how many hours was I actually losing? If I spent three hours a day watching TV (an hour of news and weather in the a.m., a couple of shows in the evening before bed) that worked out to about 21 hours per week. If 33% of that time was commercials, I was spending seven hours a week just watching commercials. Throw in a lunch hour and you'd have an entire working day every week spent on just watching commercials. 

The next morning I called the cable company and turned the thing off. 

I never missed it. 

The Wii console is hooked up to the TV, so I occasionally watch a movie from Netflix or Amazon. I can even watch YouTube videos, some of which are considerably better than anything produced by network media conglomerates. 

The angry strangers are gone, and I am more deliberate about using the TV. I don't just turn it on to fill the time, or compulsively check the weather and news, or to create background noise. My house is quieter. 

All that quiet eventually made me pay more attention to what I was doing with my time. Eventually I noticed how much of that time was being spent on The Stuff. 

What can I get rid of next? 

Photo credit: Abri_Beluga / Foter / CC BY

© Karen Newcombe 2014