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My FI Journey » Reflections » 7 Reasons why you will save money and live better by cutting TV consumption

7 Reasons why you will save money and live better by cutting TV consumption

1224537_couch_potatoThere 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.

 

Conclusions

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?

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10 Responses to "7 Reasons why you will save money and live better by cutting TV consumption"

  1. I really wish they would come up with an “a la carte” option so you can pick and choose what channels to get. I don’t watch that much tv so it’s not that big of a deal to me. We have the very basic service at the house, but it was only like $5 more tacked onto our internet service, so it’s cheap enough for me.

  2. Terry says:

    To your excellent list I would add, not having cable stops my kids from wasting time watching too much TV.

  3. [...] 7 Reasons why you will save money and live better by cutting TV consumption at My Finacial Independence Journey [...]

  4. Like JC, I really wish they would come up with an a la carte option. Outside of sports we watch MAYBE 5-6 channels on any sort of regular basis. We do have satellite but 90%+ of what we even have on is while we’re working late at night anyway.

  5. E.M. says:

    I don’t watch much TV at all. I have a few favorite shows, and I don’t like adding too many more to the rotation. I don’t pay for cable as it’s included in my rent, but we do have all the special channels with movies and everything, and it’s just overwhelming. No one needs that many options at all. My parents pay almost $150 for their internet, phone & cable package. Ridiculous! I couldn’t fathom paying that much a month when there’s so much else to do.

  6. I completely agree with you. My wife and I just recently cancelled our satellite plan and I’m very happy with the decision so far. It’s tough to get used to, but not having TV makes me more productive with my time at home.

  7. I hear you!

    We don’t have cable TV. We use an amplified indoor antenna, although it only picks up a few channels reliably. It works for me because most of my “entertainment” time is spent online anyway.

    Best wishes!

  8. Integrator says:

    We have cord cut at our place. With 2 young kids, we don’t have the time too watch many shows. Investing in a google box was the best thing I did. The amount of free content including news and documentaries available on the web is amazing.

  9. Untemplater says:

    I enjoy TV and doubt I’ll ever cut it out of my life completely. But I do restrict the amount of hours I watch each week though and only turn on the TV after I’ve finished everything I wanted to accomplish each day. TV makes time evaporate super fast so it takes discipline to keep viewing habits under control.

  10. I do tend to pay a lot for channels I have no intention of watching but I have to get them to get the programs I do want. Wouldn’t it be great if you could order channels a la carte? I don’t think we will ever cut cable but maybe look at other options. We do get out a lot but I am sure we do more if there were no tv at all in the house.

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