One big way to save (even earn) money is to watch less television. Everyday after work I am tempted to turn on the TV. Once I get into a show I have little motivation to do anything else, and time spent watching TV is almost always unproductive. This time could be spent doing things that are beneficial to yourself and others. I like TV as much as the next guy, but limiting your viewing might change your life for the better. Here are ways that watching TV costs you:
1. Comcast cable/internet bill costs roughly $80 a month. That adds up to $960 a year spent just to get more programming. Instead, get an antenna and watch free programming. I know a lot of people think that the shows on antenna TV aren’t as good. Honestly, I used to think the same thing, but after ditching cable I realized that a lot of my favorite shows were free anyway. As for the internet, many phone providers are now offering internet without a landline for $30 per month. This allows access to websites like hulu (free) and Netflix with shows and movies that can be enjoyed on demand.
2. Watching a ton of TV gives less time for other activities. If you watch TV all hours of the day, that’s lost time. This time could be spent with your loved ones, writing, painting, reading, studying, starting a business, fixing up your house, cooking, or whatever else is on your list. When too much time is spent watching television things like these get put off.
3. Too much television can warp your thinking. Watching people live glamorous or risky lifestyles makes us want to imitate them on some level. Needing to have the biggest and best of everything can turn into a sickness and put you and your family in financial jeopardy. Also, just watching risky behaviors commonly seen on TV (casual sex, drug use, emotional abuse of others…) can subconsciously make you more accepting of those behaviors.
4. Don’t forget commercials! Commercial advertisements are specifically tailored to entice. Commercials make all of us want to spend money on things we don’t really need. A lot of the items will probably be put in a corner somewhere…forgotten… next to the ab belt and shake weights.
5. Watching too much TV can lead to obesity. Watching TV is sedentary and many people don’t get the natural exercise from doing non-sedentary activities that were prevalent in the past.
Here are some things you can do to fill your time when your TV viewing is limited…
1. Start exercising. Most exercise costs nothing and can be made more enjoyable by incorporating things that interest you like a sport or hobby.
2. Read a book that interests you.
3. Make plans for the future. This can involve starting a business, financial planning, or anything that helps you prepare for the future.
4. Take evening classes.
5. Learn a new skill or hobby like a musical instrument.
6. Do important tasks that you have been putting off. Start with the smallest task and work your way up to the biggest. This helps build momentum.