How Turning Off The TV Saved My Finances

Watching TVNot too long ago, I was one of those people who came home from work, grabbed a snack, and flopped down in front of the TV.

However, for the past 2.5 years, I’ve given up having a TV in my home altogether.

We’re completely used to it now, but it’s always interesting when new people come over. They all want to know where we hide our TV, and they are usually surprised to learn that we don’t have one.

The decision to give up the TV wasn’t made for any lofty reasons. For example, we didn’t give it up so that we could learn a new language or spend more time on puzzles. (I still love House like the rest of you.) I simply was trying to cut out expenses and decided to try going without it for a month. After the  month was up, it wasn’t so bad, so I went another month and then another. Eventually, I decided to sell the 50 inch plasma TV to a friend for $500 since we weren’t using it. Once I did that, I was even more excited about the change.

The Unexpected Side Effect

Even though not having a TV saved us a monthly fee of about $50, there were far more unexpected side effects that positively influenced my financial life.

First, the lack of commercials and other advertisements made me want to shop less. There was no great sale that I had to hear about. There was no new store to learn about. Slowly but surely I realized that it was the commercials and advertisements that I saw every night that drove me to want to buy certain things.

Also, I stopped obsessing over home improvement. A few years ago, I could waste away an entire weekend watching HGTV. I still love home design, but I don’t look around mine and wonder how it could be better. I don’t feel the burning desire to go and buy a gallon of paint. Now, I definitely love painting, but not having the TV took that pressure away. I didn’t have to compare my house to the those on the TV. I didn’t need to go run to a home decor store looking for the next tool. This change was not instant, but all of a sudden one day I realized I hadn’t been rushing to go to a craft store or decor store in a while!

Finding A Balance

Today, I have a few shows that I watch on my computer. There are rarely commercials, and it’s really great. I don’t waste away watching them anymore. I usually put a show on while I’m cooking or when I am folding clothes, but I’ve completely broken the habit of sitting on the sofa and watching hours of TV at a time. Now, I feel like I’ve eliminated most of the temptation to buy things, and I still get the benefit of keeping up with one or two shows. This balance works for us, and I’m so glad to be in a home that now cherishes quality time over TV time.

How many hours a week do you spend watching TV?

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons