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I used to be addicted to TV.

During the long summer months of my childhood I would lazily stare at Nickelodeon, eyes glossed over. It really wasn’t until I went to college that I was able to break my habit since I didn’t have cable at college (oh, the horror!).

When I was fresh into the adult world, I didn’t even have internet service for a year, let alone cable. I never thought I could get by without the comfort of a TV playing in the background, but after living some lean times I discovered that I could—and easily.

We don’t live so bare-bones nowadays, though. While we don’t watch TV as a hobby, I think it’s a good way to unwind and keep up with the world.

Our total cost per month for our TV setup?


Here’s how we stay entertained without high cable bills or break-your-back contracts.

Roku Saves the day

Mr. Picky Pincher and I kind of had a janky setup for Netflix when we first got married. We streamed Netflix on our laptop and then hooked it up to our TV with an HDMI cable.

Was it high tech? No.

Was it convenient? Negatory.

Was the streaming high quality? Nope. It was blurry, slow, and sad.

All I could really say is that our setup was functional. While it was cheap as hell, hooking up our laptops to a TV every time I wanted to watch Chopped was annoying and inconvenient.

We decided to get a fancier streaming capability, and that’s how we found the Roku.

Why I love our roku

The Roku is a nifty device that allows us to stream Netflix, Hulu, SlingTV, Youtube, and more directly from our TV. The Roku uses a nifty remote so you can access Netflix with just a touch of a button. We got rid of a crapton of cables and it’s easy to stream shows now.

It was crazy-easy to install the Roku, too (and I’m bad at technology in general). We moved into our house in October and I was in charge of getting our entertainment set up.

I thought Mr. Picky Pincher was kidding until he walked away and left me with a box of cables and breakable-looking electronics.

But I did it!

To set up the Roku I just had to plug it into a power source, connect it to our TV, and log it into our wifi.

Boom, hi-def Netflix in five minutes.

Score your own Roku

The average American pays $123 a month on cable. Over a year that adds up to $1,476! That’s a handful of car payments or an emergency fund.

Switching to a Roku streaming system has enabled us to be satisfied with our (endless) entertainment options while continuing to cut our expenses.

If you’d like to score your own Roku, these things are actually pretty affordable nowadays. The base Roku Streaming Stick starts at about $40—you can check it out here. You can get more bells and whistles for a little more; we have the Roku Ultra. P.S. I think these things are cheaper on the Roku site. We bought our Roku for $150 at Walmart. Sigh.

Don’t fear cable withdrawal

Once you have a Roku, you can sign up for whatever streaming services you like. We had Netflix for a while, but canceled that and now have only SlingTV—it has more options for us.

If you’re scared of cable withdrawal, I recommend pairing the Roku with a SlingTV package. Sling basically allows you to watch a handful of channels with live TV. We have the base package, but the fancier packages do have sports channels for you sports fans out there.

I’ve honestly been overwhelmed with how many options we have now with our Roku. I feel like I’ve just barely scratched the surface of what this nifty doo-dad can really do. And that means I never have to buy expensive cable packages!

The Bottom Line

Our Roku gives us an additional $100 of savings each month by avoiding a pricey cable package. There are simpler options available beyond cable that don’t require a blood oath or promising your firstborn. Try dumping your cable company and streamline your life with a Roku system.

We want to know: Do you use streaming services?

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