There are very few instances where I feel at all compelled to embrace anything resembling minimalism. But TV is one of those. Don’t believe me? Go take a look at your cable bill and tell me if you think that you are getting anywhere near as much as you are paying for. Still don’t believe me? Read on!
Danger: The below post is rated ‘R’ for serious ranting!
1. An HD antenna costs less than basic cable
At the bottom end of the cable TV barrel, we have something called basic cable. Where I live, basic cable gets me all the local stations, and HD versions of the local stations. So I can watch that perky news babe tell me what’s killing me this week in either standard or high definition. Do I (does anyone?) really need two or three different ABCs, NBCs and CBSs?
Basic cable costs will cost me about $20 a month ($15.40/month plus a bunch of taxes and fees). One quick trip over to Amazon tells met that I can buy an indoor HD antenna for somewhere in the $30-$60 range. So for less than the price of four months of basic cable service, I can get most of the same channels with an antenna. If you’re interested in finding out which HD channels are available around you, check out this website.
The big question is, will an HD antenna work in your home? Simple way to find out. Order one and try it out. If you don’t get reception, send it back for a full refund. And if it does work, then you can still watch the nightly news, just without paying the egregious monthly subscription fee.
2. You are paying a metric crap ton of money for channels that you don’t watch
In addition to basic cable, you can get various tiers of ever more stations going all the way up to “preferred” which costs about $90 a month (my local pricing). Unfortunately for you, you will never, ever, watch almost any of those channels. So why are you paying for them?
TV viewers, much like the general population, comes in two basic varieties – sports fans and not-sports fans. I am willing to make the bold assertion that unless you are a sports fan, there is absolutely no reason for you to pay for cable TV. What you probably don’t realize about your cable TV bill is that a large portion of it is going to ESPN and other sports networks. Sports channels account for about 40% of your cable bill! So if you’re not into sports, you’re basically paying through the nose for channels you don’t watch. And if you are into sports, you’d better be watching quite a bit of sports to get your money’s worth.
3. The bulk of TV can at best be described as a blight upon your mind
Have you ever thought about what would happen if an advanced alien species ever picked up and bothered to decode an episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, or any of the other reality TV garbage that we regularly beam up into space. It would be a lot like the movie Independence Day, except that it wouldn’t be an invasion, it would be a mercy killing.
4. Happy people don’t watch very much TV
Happy people spend more time socializing, going to church, reading, and otherwise being actively engaged in the world around them. There isn’t a way to be much more passively engaged than by watching television. You literally sit down and stare at a screen. Sometimes you press a button on the remote to change the channel.
Everyone, even me, has a favorite show or two that is completely engrossing. That amounts to a couple hours a week. Watch those shows with vigor and then turn off the idiot box and go live life.
5. What would you do with 20-25 extra hours a week?
The average person consumes 20-25 hours a week of TV per week. Holy crap! Do you know what else you could do with that much free time? You could get in shape. You could learn a new skill. You could take up another hobby. You could learn to play a musical instrument. You could work a part time job. The possibilities are endless.
6. You will save money
This is a personal finance blog, so I should probably do more than just allude to the fact that you will save money. I should outright tell you that you will be saving money by eliminating your cable TV subscription. How much money? If a subscription costs between $20 and $90 a month, that’s between $240 and $1080 per year. That is money that would be much better served in your investment account helping you achieve financial independence.
7. Killing off your TV doesn’t mean not watching your favorite shows
Everyone has a few favorite shows. Thankfully there are many ways to watch them without subscribing to cable. You could rent DVDs or employ a streaming service like Netflix. Many TV stations also allow you to stream shows directly from their website. Dig around, no matter what you like to watch, there is probably a cheaper way of getting access to it.
No, giving up your cable TV doesn’t mean giving up all your favorite shows. It just means giving up all the crap that you probably didn’t want to watch in the first place, freeing up loads of time to develop yourself as a personand build and strengthen relationships, saving a boat load of money, and becoming a happier person.
Readers: Have you removed TV from your life? Did you find that cutting out massive TV viewing had positive effects on your happiness and life satisfaction? Negative effects? How were you able to still watch your favorite shows?