This may be hard to hear. You may need to sit down first. Brace yourself….
You don’t really need a TV. Or cable. Or Netflix. Or Hulu.
Phew, I said it. I’m glad we got that out in the open. You look a little green….. Are you feeling ok?
Stay seated, just relax. Breathe…. Let me explain.
What do you do with your TV?
You turn it on to relax at the end of the day and drown out the stress. Maybe you watch the news, sports, or put on cartoons for your kids or maybe you all sit down together and watch a movie.
None of those are bad. They are also not life necessities. TV, cable, all that jazz, they luxuries.
Here’s the thing, there are many free ways to relax that don’t involve a TV, or even a screen. It might take some lifestyle adjustment, but I promise you will get used to it. You might even enjoy it.
What would you do with your life? You could read a book, go outside, go for a walk, play a game, talk with your family, really anything that you enjoy that doesn’t have an on button.
Yup, I am encouraging you to be old fashioned- life Little House on the Prairie style.
Honestly, I think they had something that we sometimes drown out with noise and business. They spent time together. They enjoyed each other. At least that’s the way it looked on TV ;).
Ironically, I have found that without our noisy box in the living room to fill up the evening hours, we have been forced to do the same.
We aren’t completely screen free. We still have internet and with the magic of YouTube you can still find sports, cartoons, news, pretty much whatever you want to watch.
We also had a very gradual and accidental divorce with TV. I think my husband might have killed me if it had happened all at once.
It started with freezing our cable account for a few months to save extra money before my son was born. While I was home on maternity leave, we turned it back on. However, I noticed that if I let it, the TV could steal my entire day and pretty much melt my brain. My husband would come home to find us in the exact same place he’d left us and I would have absolutely nothing to talk with him about except for the latest episode of Fixer Upper.
So, I stopped turning it on and forced myself to get a life. Suddenly, I felt more productive, motivated, and happier.
I got the crazy idea to cancel it all together. Many convincing arguments later, my husband agreed.
The first few big soccer games that my husband missed were painful (for him, my son and I enjoyed not having a grown man screaming at the TV in the living room).
He quickly learned to visit friends when a big game was on and we enjoyed the quiet.
We still had Netflix for about a year after our TV break-up. One month, as I was going through the budget, I began to think about how often we actually watch Netflix. Was it really worth the $10 a month? That’s $120 a year. Do we watch $120 worth of Netflix? No.
So, we watched our first and last family movie (the toddler was bored after 20 minutes) to bid Netflix farewell and away it went.
The next step was to limit screen time. My son was obsessed with phones and computers. Every time he saw them, he would throw a fit because he wanted to watch videos. We started hiding all technology while he was awake until he calmed down.
It was a lot harder for us than it was for him. He adjusted pretty quickly to life without screens because it meant more time playing with Mami and Papi. (No, I didn’t spell them wrong, we speak Spanish at home. That’s a story for another day.)
Eventually we reached a balance. Now, I let him watch about a half hour in the morning so I can take a shower and get dressed and another half hour at night while I cook dinner if my husband isn’t home.
Is TV good for toddlers? No.
On the other hand, neither is letting him climb up on counters or in window sills by himself or draw on the walls. So, I see the computer as the lesser of two evils when I can’t be watching his every move. Please keep your hate mail to yourself. An hour won’t kill him.
How do I keep him busy the other 23 hours of the day? We play, read books, run around outside, we do the same things I did when I was a kid.
The crazy thing is, I don’t miss TV at all. Even when we are out of debt, I won’t turn it back on. Without TV there is somehow more time in the day. We have room to just be together and I love it. Instead of the sounds of the latest soccer game filling the air, I hear my husband crawling on the floor neighing like a horse while my son melts with laughter. We don’t have to wait for the weekend to find time to create memories, we get those moments every day.
I know that ditching TV isn’t for everyone. It’s a hard adjustment at first. However, if you are trying to save money, I dare you to try it for a few months. Many companies offer the option to freeze your account (not have service for a few months without the finality of actually cancelling). I bet you’ll realize it isn’t so bad. Especially after you calculate how much money you’ll save. We save $660 per year (we had a very basic TV plan) but according to this article the average household savings is closer to $1,237.20.
Do you watch over $1,000 worth of TV? Is it really worth the price tag? I’d love to hear what you think below!
Mom. Writer. Lover of all things DIY. My mission is to empower my fellow creatives to show money who’s boss, ditch debt and follow their dreams. Achieving debt freedom isn’t easy but our dreams are worth it!