Why We Canceled Our Netflix Subscription

by Mama Chocolate on August 4, 2011

We’ve been considering ending our Netflix subscription for awhile, and the looming price increase helped pushed us over the edge.

In the grand scheme of things, $6 extra a month isn’t going to break the bank or force me to gamble on partybingo.com for extra cash, and I believe it’s still a good value for what you’re getting and fairly competitive with the other options out there. From the outrage I’ve seen online, you’d think that Netflix was just out to greedily squeeze us all for every penny we’ve got!

But guess what? Newsflash: You can turn it off!

And that’s what we’re going to do! But the price increase was not the original or driving force behind our decision.

It’s just another step we are making to increase our productivity and strive towards excellence in our lives.

While movies are great and in and of themselves are not evil, (most of them anyway!) we’ve started to notice that they’re simply getting in the way of real life.

Evaluating how we were spending our time, we realized we just spend way too much time in front of the television. The national average for watching tv adds up to a 65-year-old having spent a total of 9 years glued to the tube! While our household was no where near that average, it does make you think!

It is way too easy, (especially with our Roku device and the hundreds of instantly-available movies online,) to just plop on the couch most evenings and check our brains at the door.

How many weeks, months, years of our lives are we squandering on this relatively useless “activity?” I’m ashamed to admit that awhile back we got sucked into the show “Lost” with our instant Netflix. We added it up…we spent approximately 95 hours just watching “Lost!”

And what did we gain from that? Mostly raised blood pressure and a lot of frustration at the stupid, confusing ambiguous plot! I was mildly horrified.

Think of the things we could be learning by reading books in that time! The relationships that are being neglected while we lounge on the couch! Literally years of our life could be eaten up just by passively watching other people pretend to live!

I challenge you to unplug your tv just for a week and see what happens. After you get over the initial withdrawal, (which I will admit we have experienced!) you might be amazed at the results!

If it’s so important to you that you can’t imagine living without it for a week, it might be time to step back and re-evaluate your priorities and decide if the time you’re spending on the couch in front of the tube couldn’t be spent in more God-glorifying ways!

Perhaps all those things you “didn’t have the time for,” will suddenly be do-able! You’ll have more one-on-one time with your kids, and you’ll be setting a good example to them on setting priorities. Children are like sponges, watching everything you do and soaking it all in. If nothing else motivates you, let it be your kids!

We’re not boycotting movies entirely…we’ll still grab an occasional Redbox or borrow a DVD from family and friends, and we’ll still enjoy going to the theater occasionally for a date night. Movies can be a great way to relax now and then, or to just unwind after a particularly stressful day, but we’re kicking the “habit!”

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Angie August 4, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Amen sister! We recently cancelled our cable service and have been without TV at all for about 2 months. Let me say, we have not even missed it. And yes, our reading time and quality time with our family members has increased. We do Family Movie Night every Friday, and we do allow the kids to watch videos occasionally if they are all caught up on everything they were supposed to do and there is some downtime, such as before dinner or on a really hot afternoon. But all in all, I know that it was a God-honoring decision. And, He even gave us guidance on what to do with the money we had been previously spending on cable – we are now supporting our local Christian radio station…a much better return for our money!


Dina August 4, 2011 at 9:26 pm

We pulled the plug on cable tv and Netflix two years ago. We will never go back! We are reading great books as a family and on our own.


Mrs. Skelton August 5, 2011 at 5:04 am

Way to go! My husband likes to watch movies once in awhile, but he says it just sucks the time away. And I happen to agree. Since we have lived in our new place we haven’t even watched one, except with or at friends/family’s places.


Brenda H August 5, 2011 at 9:10 am

This is a great post. Somedays I decide to just unplug and do one of my hobbies that I have overlooked, go on a walk, or whatever! It is so easy to sit in front of whatever electronic device we want and forget our lives our passing us by!

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Joseph August 5, 2011 at 9:52 am

You should try board games instead. :P


Mama Chocolate August 5, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Yeah, we need to get together and play with some of your pile! ;-)


Angela August 5, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Great suggestion. I have not been watching tv lately, simply for lack of time. Many weeks worth of programming is sitting on my DVR and I don’t think I will ever get to it. But you know what? I don’t feel like I am missing out on anyhing!
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RaeBeth McGee August 5, 2011 at 12:31 pm

I totally agree. We’ve cut down on the extra’s as well. We limited the time our daughter can use “technology” such as the TV, PSP, computer, XBOX, etc. She has her choice of what activity she’d like to do during the “calm down” time. I thought it’d be great to re-adjust our lives because my daughter is beginning school this year. I believe this means changes for everyone and not just her. Since we started this, I can feel the love within my house stronger and the bond we share has became stronger as well. I don’t regret making this decision at all.
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Elle August 5, 2011 at 1:18 pm

I agree 100% that is why we don’t have cable, we were just wasting time we really needed for other things.
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Laura August 5, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Wow, I have been so proud of not having satellite/cable for about 5 years, but this really turns it up a notch! Let go of my Netflix? I’ll actually think about it… would love saving the extra money, regardless of how little. Thanks for this encouragment!


Amber August 5, 2011 at 2:00 pm

We’ve found that since having two toddlers we simply don’t have time. By the time everyone is in bed and we’ve cleaned up enough to panic when we wake up in the morning it is too late. If there is time for something, it’s no more than 30-45 minutes and we don’t like to break up a movie. So, we don’t end up watching. But we love to play games–and snag that occasional movie when we are all done for the day early.


Diana August 5, 2011 at 2:51 pm

I never had netflix, or a dvr. My mother in law asked if we were dvr’ing the steelers game. I told her no, we don’t do that. If we miss a show, we miss it and aren’t worried about it. I do watch evening television while I do blogging, or social media stuff, though, so we aren’t totally disconnected.


Sadie August 5, 2011 at 8:25 pm

We haven’t had TV except for a few months out of the last 6 years. It’s easy to get sucked in! I love living without TV but you’d think we live under a rock the way people gasp at us when we tell them that we CHOOSE to live without TV! LOL! We do rent movies sometimes though!!


Karen Propes August 6, 2011 at 10:07 am

We cancelled our Direct TV to save money. It’s ridulous to have to spend that kind of money just for TV. I admit, I do miss that TIVO , can’t hear good and loved that rewind! But I do have closed caption for some shows. We are using an antella. Then the Netflix the price going up and only getting 2 to 3 movies a month due to their policy.. If you tell them the movie hasn’t arrived, they say their policy is to wait 3 days then mail another one out. I know its fair, but getting only 1 movie each time slows the other movies. But I usually just turn off the TV and the silence is so peaceful. We do puzzles and games and sometimes just sit and talk. Short story is I love the quiet silence God meant for us to have.


Roxanne August 6, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Congrats. I went without a TV in the family room for two years and without cable for a while, too. It was great. Then as the kids got older it got to be more complicated and we missed some significant events — inaugurations, Olympics. Then their Dad gave them iPod Touches and it was all over. I found that I had to manage technology differently as the kids got older. I don’t regret our TV free time at all. Recently got a DVR so that kids would not be tied to the the times that shows come on. I got Netflix so that we could watch old shows/movies instead of being limited to what is offered now for kids. I’ve introduced them to old movies that they would not normally see. I have cable now but many channels are blocked. Lately I unplug WIFI at night for the whole house. We have no movie channels, and no HD. Technology has made things so difficult. I need to block more and providers need to offer more ways for parental controls. But kudos to you. It’s a constant struggle. ugh.


Colleen August 7, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Great job! It’s not easy, especially when the long-term benefits are not readily seen. Cable is free with our rent, but soon we’ll be moving into our own place and it will be nice to give it up. I’ve recently discovered that our library carries lots of movies. It’s funny to see how many films I pass up borrowing because they aren’t “good enough” to bring home, but we might have watched if it was on tv.


Lindsey Morrow August 9, 2011 at 11:14 am

I’ve been thinking of doing the SAME thing. For the SAME reasons. Thanks for the encouragement!


Nicole August 16, 2011 at 6:19 am

I have been struggling with giving up our satellite. My hubby wanted to a while ago, which I was totally against. Now, I want to but we watch lots of sporting events on it. The funny thing is, even when they are on, we are usually also reading and on the internet. Why pay that much when they are just ‘background noise’? We didn’t miss the satellite when we didn’t have it, yet now we have it again. I guess we just need to bite the bullet and turn it off. If the specific sporting event isn’t on network tv with our antenna, then I guess ‘oh well’. Well have to see where the next few months lead us….thanks for the ‘food for thought’


Monica August 16, 2011 at 6:56 am

Congratulations on making such a big switch! We have no children, and my husband is usually gone at least 12 hours a day. I find I have the TV on just to have noise and to be able to listen to shows while I work on my hobbies. This is such a good reminder however that TV can suck away time you can’t get back, so it’s good to be responsible!

Monica @ theatypicalhousewife.com


Michelle T. August 16, 2011 at 9:50 am

Great post! I’ve been planning on canceling Netflix, too, for the reasons you’ve stated. We have another week, but then we’re going to go on a Netflix “break.”


Erika August 17, 2011 at 9:59 am

I totally agree!!! I had to laugh because hubby and I just watched LOST for the first time too… and well, I guess we wasted 95 hours as well! We live in a rural area- no movie stores, Redbox, or anything. We have a very minimum cable package (the local channels) and that’s it. We’ve considered canceling Netflix, but it’s nice to have the ability to watch movies or TV shows. We have drastically cut out our TV time. Family time is way more important than any TV show! Great post!
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Donna August 17, 2011 at 10:19 am

We haven’t made the jump to completely cancel cable (yet), but we have instituted an “electronics-free” hour every evening. No tv, no cell phones or computers; just books and talking. It’s amazing how much more relaxed our evenings feel.
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ladyscott August 17, 2011 at 6:08 pm

We have Netflix and get it instant to our TV through our Wii, but lately I don’t even want to turn it on! Even though we carefully guard what we watch, just flipping through the latest releases and recommendations is enough to boil my blood and avert my eyes! The pictures that accompany some of these movies are so discusting! I can’t believe how low our society has stooped and even worse, that people don’t see anything wrong with it in the name of entertainment! And these are just the cover photos for the movies. I can’t even begin to imagine what these movies contain! I did find a Christian version of netflix out there. Christiancinema.com. There’s also bluebehemoth.com.


Jayne @ Green Country Girl September 5, 2011 at 10:56 am

I actually learned a LOT from LOST. And yes, I think it was the best television show ever. I learned about the the people for whom some of the characters were named…people like philosophers John Locke, Jean-Jacque Rousseau, Jeremy Bentham, David Hume, Edmund Burke. Scientists that were referenced include Stephen Hawking, and Michael Faraday. The literature references were NUMEROUS to say the least. References to C.S. Lewis’ “Chronicles of Narnia,” and “Watership Down” come to mind immediately…the character, Charlotte, was named for C.S. Lewis. I read scientific papers on black hole theories and the like that I would not have even touched were it not for LOST.

I often will explore concepts, ideas, and books related to a television or movie. M*A*S*H gave me an interest in the Korean War, for instance. And our family spent hours discussing issues like redemption, forgiveness, and sacrifice after watching The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Seeing the movie encouraged my husband and youngest son to read the books.

I guess it’s all in how you use it. If you’re using it to let yourself soak into a fog, then I guess that’s a bad thing. However, if it is a tool or springboard that leads you to learn something else, then that’s a good thing.

I was recently struggling for some creativity so I watched some Project Runway. Although, I don’t create fashion, it has reminded me about passionately pursuing creative outlets and not giving up.

We don’t have any pay TV in our home. Actually, we have no TV. I don’t pay for online TV or movie service, either. Everything we watch comes of the ‘net and is free.
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Missy Lynnh September 7, 2011 at 6:52 pm

I can understand your reasons behind cutting it out. Now that the schoolyear has started for my kids I’ve cut back their screen time drastically. We now have one day a week where we go to the library and they can pick out unlimited books. The time we spent reading each day is a lot more satisfying to all of us.


jolly September 15, 2011 at 12:08 pm

awww, my husband thought netflix was cheap so he tried the 1month free trial. but we haven’t maximized our usage. i don’t really like tv, but he does. now, i’m at lost!


Savanah Fahrney-Day October 18, 2011 at 12:06 am

I can’t imagine getting rid of my TiVo or Netflix! I’ll admit, I use the TV to keep the kids distracted while I cook supper and we all love movie night. We fix popcorn (with a popper) and they get to stay up a little later to finish their movie. I also use the TiVo to record my husbands shows and send them to him. He’s working out of the country, 10-14 hour days, and watches 2 shows a week.

I only watch TV while the kiddos are in bed & I’m working on my blog or just unwinding for the night. They are limited to certain shows (using the KidZone) and don’t have free access to Netflix. We love shows like Little Einsteins & Book of Virtues. We homeschool & go to the library once or two each week. There is a limit of 10 books per big boy (6 & 4) & they each pick out 2 books for the twins (22-months). Needless to say, we read a LOT.
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