I’ve seen and read dozens of posts in the last few years about the time suck that is television. To summarize, everyone should cut cable at the very least and/or stop watching tv altogether if they really want to accomplish anything in life.
Cutting Cable WILL Save You Money
Yes, cutting cable can save you thousands of dollars. We’ve done it. It’s was a great feeling to bank that extra $75 a month.
BUT, we also reconnected to cable less than a year later because the savings wasn’t worth it to our friends/roommates at the time. I also was frustrated by the hassle of tracking down which other places I could find my favorite shows. Len wanted to be able to watch nationwide live sports easily (and legally). We don’t do the pirated streaming thing – he’s a rules-driven sports official and I am a goody two-shoes myself on most things. And the antenna was only getting him a few games a week. The legal options – connecting my laptop to our tv, using the slightly glitchy Chromecast, finding old episodes on Netflix, or watching commercials on Hulu – worked okay but it was always a process instead of lazy fun. We missed our DVR.
As a household, we are the definition of a cable company’s “target demographic”.
Not Watching Television WILL Save You Time
And yes, you could just stop watching television altogether and spend all of that saved time on something else.
When I was starting this blog, I watched way less tv since this was my evening fun. Now I work online during the day around my pet sitting schedule, so I was some easy, lazy boob tube at night.
I’m also a huge fan of having Electronics-Free time to reconnect face-to-face with your significant other, children, friends, and other family. It’s a good idea. Len and I just connect without stuff on regularly. I also watch less stuff when I am conquering a new goal (personal or career).
But you aren’t going to be an unsuccessful chump just because you indulge in sitcoms or dramas or whatever. My addiction to Fresh Off the Boat, The Big Bang Theory, Blue Bloods, Lucifer, Mom, America’s Got Talent, Orange in the New Black, etc. hasn’t led me into a life devoid of human contact or career options.
BALANCE IS KEY
Just as with absolutely everything else, BALANCE is the trick. With money, I preach about budgeting in the fun being as important as emergency funds and retirement investments. Why? Because it is possible to finance your future while living in the now.
No one looks back and wishes they had fewer relaxing times away with their family and friends. My grandparents never regretted the time they spent NOT working.
Would struggling to make ends meet in your golden years be worth spending every dime you have now on fun stuff? NO. But saving every penny for your future also leads to a life not lived in other ways. See? Balance.
When I get depressed and spend 8+ hours watching all sorts of crap on tv or off of Netflix, that is not balanced, healthy behavior. But if I accomplish my tasks for the day and want to watch some creative’s person entertaining vision of an alternate reality, that’s not going to turn me into useless mush.
Watching TV is NEITHER Right nor Wrong – It’s One Choice
I know this whole post feels like some sort of excuse for indulgence. Maybe that was a little bit of the reason I started writing it – defensiveness. But as with this whole blog itself, this post was mainly my attempt to start adding a little gray space into the current black-and-white culture.
Things aren’t always just wrong or right. Not everyone who disagrees with you on one subject is obviously wrong on all subjects. You don’t have to take a side on everything. I’m not planting my flag in the “TV is the best thing in the world” camp.
Cutting cable is a great way to save money, but that doesn’t mean that people who aren’t cutting cable are the weird natives that need to be shown the light. If someone asks, I’ll mention it as an easy way to bank extra cash every month, but I don’t think you are nutballs for loving your DVR.
It’s just one of the millions of choices we make about our own, personal priorities every day.
FYI: I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 per year. I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $70,000-$90,000 through blogging, professional pet sitting, hubby's reffing, and our rental home. If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you, PLUS a free custom header banner from me!). Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!