This post first appeared on the blog of Alex and Ellie from HisHerMoneyGuide. Today I open up on my cheapskate confessions, living life without one of the most cherished members of many families – a TV. Thank you Alex and Ellie, for this amazing opportunity. I hope you enjoy reading the article!
Starting A Life Of Intentional Living
Hi friends, today I’m excited to talk to you today about something that’s very normal to me and often surprises others: I don’t own a TV.
From the moment I started studying, I moved out of home. My grandmother gave me her old TV, and while you can imagine my excitement at a freebie – I was less enthused in reality. It was a really old TV that was the classic square shape, and only about 15 inches big. I could never get a decent signal and it was way too small to see anything from my bed. You can imagine why within months of getting that TV, I got rid of it.
Since then, I’ve never owned a TV again.
Let me tell you though, life without a TV is so much better. TVs are big, heavy, expensive, and always seem to change – so you feel the urge to upgrade to a bigger and more expensive version. One upside: at least they are getting lighter instead of heavier.
How Come I Do Not Watch TV?
When I was growing up, we naturally watched a lot of TV. My mom was raising me and my sister alone since my father’s passing, so she was always putting us in front of the TV to get things done – a classic case of a TV babysitter. We watched all the shows out there; there were even shows that my friends’ parent’s didn’t allow them to watch – so naturally they would come over to my house to watch them.
The thing is, we only had one TV in our house. My mom didn’t see the need of everyone having their own TV, so we didn’t. That meant that when I grew older and was spending more time with friends in high school, I started to watch less TV. I would still watch shows with my friends but that was about it – Gossip Girl and Prison Break, anyone?
When I went to university I got this aforementioned TV from my grandmother, which was not really meeting my millennial standards for a TV. I would not use it, hence I got rid of it. Even though that was the case, there was this hype about Popcorn Time – a way to watch all the series and movies online. During that time, I would binge-watch a lot of series and movies. Did it make my life better? No. Did it make me any happier? No. Did it stress me out I was binge-watching series instead of studying or seeing friends? Absolutely.
I started to become more deliberate with my choices and decided that I would watch less TV series and movies. Perhaps Popcorn Time becoming illegal had something to do with that as well, who knows!
Anyway, after that, I filled my university and working life with so many activities and things that gave me joy that I was hardly even missing the TV. It has since become a habit to not watch TV and I’m happy to keep it that way.
Benefits Of Not Watching TV
I have given the topic some thought, especially since I plan to move into a real adult apartment at the end of this year. There are several benefits of living without a TV in your home!
TVs Are Expensive
Costs of TVs nowadays are astronomical! I can imagine why people would want to go out on Black Friday to buy the cheaper electronics – that stuff is expensive! TVs can easily cost over $1,000 without even opting for the most luxurious model.
Besides the costs of TV itself, there’s also the cost of cable TV. I have never paid for cable in my life, I doubt I ever will. If you don’t feel like it’s adding to your life, why would you pay for it? Those few hundred bucks that you save on the cable, you much rather spend on something that is important to you. Add to that electricity costs, Apple TV/Netflix/Hulu, etc, DVDs, and you will be saving a whole lot more.
When I’m watching a movie, I don’t like having commercial breaks. It’s like listening to a speech and when it’s just getting interesting someone is interrupting for a break. Every 10 minutes. Thanks but no thanks!
I always see commercials like mini-propaganda. Generally, I don’t like the messages that those commercials are reflecting. Buy this Coke and you’ll be the superhero of your neighborhood. Buy this night cream and you will suddenly look 20 years younger. Buy this toothpaste and your teeth will certainly be white. It’s simply not true. They are promoting stereotypes and I don’t need that in my life.
More Time In General
When watching TV isn’t an option, you suddenly have many more hours in your day. There is less time that is simply mindlessly passing by without you noticing. That’s time that can be spent purposefully pursuing activities that you enjoy.
A few ideas to make the most of your time:
- Read more books – I love reading, and books are really my jam. Especially financial books that are giving people the basic knowledge they need to financially succeed in life. The book that has really helped me start is Rich Dad Poor Dad, which I absolutely recommend for everyone.
- Learn new things – Have you always wanted to learn something new but never got around to actually doing it? Now is the time! Start to learn how to play the guitar, learn Spanish, learn how to start investing, whatever you would like to start learning. The sky is the limit! You don’t need to wait for retirement to have more time!
- Spend time with your loved ones – I noticed that while watching TV with my partner or my family, I was spending time with them, but not really. You’re sitting next to them but you’re not spending quality time. Instead of watching TV you can call a friend or loved one and spend quality time with them and enrich each other’s lives.
- Be active – A lot of people are sitting all day. At their work, in front of their computer, or in front of their TV. Apparently sitting is the new smoking when it comes to your health. When you’re sitting for the majority of the day for your work, that’s something you can change little about. Sure, you can go for a lunch walk and walk to the coffee machine, but that’s about it. However, when you’re coming home in the evening you’re able to be active. Go for a walk, go to the gym, run with your dog, walk to the supermarket, there are so many options.
- Make extra money – It’s always a good idea to optimize your income outside of your day job. Go for that extra side hustle, or pursue that dream that you’ve always had. Now is the time!
- Give others a hand – The feeling that TV is often giving people is that the world is going down the drain and there’s nothing we can do about it. I think that is generally not true. You can do things that make an impact. How can you do things in your life so that you have a positive impact on others? That’s certainly not done by sitting at your TV and hoping, but rather getting out in the world and doing! Put out what you believe in and don’t underestimate the ripple effect.
Value Beyond Money
I believe that just like budgeting your money, it’s important to budget your time. Keep track of where your time is going and where you want it to go, so you can pivot towards your ideal life. You may be surprised how many hours per day you’re spending behind screens – I know I am.
I’m not saying I don’t ever watch any TV shows, I do. I just want to make you aware that you will find more joy when you deliberately spend your time. Not staring hours away in front of the TV, but rather doing the activities you love can be a change for the better!
So while I may have originally not got a new TV for financial reasons, that’s not what has kept me TV-free. I think we should all do more of what we love and less of what we don’t. That’s why I’ve eliminated the TV from my life: to fill it with other things that bring me joy and fulfillment.
How many hours per week do you watch TV?