Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Financial reasons to turn off your television

(This was not written by me, but I thought it was too good not to share. Copied and pasted from here. There are many other reasons not to watch TV, most notably moral standards, but looking at the financial aspect is certainly worthwhile, too.)

Cable / satellite bills Our cable bill used to cost us roughly $60 a month. That adds up to $720 a year spent just to get more programming. Three years worth of that and we’re looking at a very nice vacation. Five or six years of that, put into a savings account, potentially replaces a car.

Electricity We had two televisions, and they would each be on an average of four hours a day. Given a cost of $0.10 per kilowatt hour, and the fact that the smaller television used about 100 watts and the larger one used about 160 watts, that meant we were using a bit over a kilowatt hour each day. There’s another $40 a year that vanished.

Guilt Television programs often create a glamorous image of a life that is far outside the financial capabilities of most people watching. When viewers watch such programs then reflect on their lives, it creates a set of negative feelings. For me, the most prevalent feeling was guilt – I can’t give my family this stuff, I would think. Thus, my sense of self-worth would go down. This would put me in a mindset to be more susceptible to the ….

Commercials Those wonderful short little programs that are designed to sell you stuff, period. Even better: they often work in concert with the programs to create a sense of guilt – and they offer a psychological way out. One commercial isn’t powerful, but when you’re inundated with them… very powerful.

Less time for other opportunities If the television is on for four hours a day, that’s four hours where I could be doing something more constructive with my time, like starting a successful blog (*ahem*) or starting a business or working on a novel or getting household chores done and so forth.

Stress When we spend a lot of time watching television, we put off other things that we should be doing, like paying bills, playing with the kids, and so on. After a while, these things build up and we begin to feel stress in our lives that wouldn’t be there if we didn’t spend so much time watching television. Over time, elevated stress leads to health issues.

Poorer dining habits Instead of spending time preparing a healthy, inexpensive meal from scratch, we would hurry up and eat an more expensive prepackaged meal (or takeout) so that we could catch certain television programs. These costs added up, not only on our wallets, but also around our waists.

Poor health / obesity Television is almost always a sedentary activity. Over time, it begins to show. Television is the big reason for the “obesity epidemic,” because Americans simply don’t get the natural exercise from doing non-sedentary activities that they once got. The health costs from this can be tremendous.

Less communication When the television is on for hours each day, it’s much more difficult to have real conversations with the people in your life. Over time, less communication means weaker relationships with the people you love, and this means that quite often you have to “supplement” the relationship with additional spending.


  1. This is sooo true. I wish my husband will let us cancel our tv. He is a full blown addict:) I try to keep it off while he is at work. The kids don't seem to mind much. They are too busy exploring their world!!! We do have parental controls set, but with them set their isn't much to watch anyway.

  2. Good post. The tv is on very little here anymore. I hope to get rid of it completely one day. I went to the website and read some of the comments. I think another reason people should quit watching television is because it clearly makes you less intelligent as evidenced by some of the people who felt they must defend their excessive viewing.

  3. We have never had cable since we were married. We have a TV set, but we don't even have an antenna for it. We like it that way. All we can do is watch DVD's with it. We were given the TV so that was even better.

    We do allow our boys to watch Brainy Baby, Baby Einstein, and Baby Faith. They will also be allowed to watch any other Bible based DVD's we get. They aren't allowed to just sit there and watch them though, they have to watch them while they are playing. They like that and so do I.

    I like our set up and am so glad that we don't waste money on cable TV. We could never afford it anyway.

  4. What I absolutely love about not having television (we've been TV-less for 7 years) is when those cable salesmen come knocking at my door offering a lower rate with more channels. I love the look on their faces when I tell them we don't own a television. It's priceless!

  5. We don't have cable, so that's not a problem. I don't have it on during the day. It's only on in the evenings when my son is home(he's 23), and even then, I don't watch a whole lot that's on. Just not interested.

  6. While I partly agree on the obesity issue -- a bigger issue in our country is portion control. If we looked at portions today vs portions just 50 years ago they are hugely different!

    I do agree as a country we watch too much tv and I'm just as guilty as everyone else. Difference is I don't have kids at home, etc to keep me occupied. I plan to leave it off once I do have them (hopefully sooner than later!).

  7. I think television in moderation is fine. We have a very basic cable service (only the regular networks, we weren't able to get much with an anntenna) and a netflicks account. We have a few shows we like to watch, I like to watch the local and national news a few times a week.
    Our child is too young to be interested in tv at this point and I haven't pushed it on her. We save our shows for when she is in bed.

    Nurse Bee

  8. Wish I could get rid of mine, But my hubby would just pick up and leave with it, I find it very irritating, especially when the history channel "educates" him on their incorrect version of the Bible.

  9. Heh, looks like we read the same blog!

    I don't have cable anymore, either. I haven't had since I was probably 16 or 17 - my parents couldn't afford it, and I got used to not having it so it was no big deal.

    I do use Netflix, though. $8.99 a month, movies in the mail, and I get streaming movies and tv shows through the internet. Way cheaper, and I get to watch it whenever I want instead of being a slave to TV.


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