The following is an article by Nicole Ouelette of Breaking Even, Inc. If you enjoy this post, be sure to check out the Breaking Even Blog.
“Did you watch American Idol?”
“Hey about that guy on the Today Show this morning?”
“When’s the game on tonight?”
When you start paying attention, it is amazing to find how many conversations rely on television. You only start noticing when you don’t have it.
I’ve only had cable television for two years of the last ten. I am now in a period sans television.
You wouldn’t know it talking to me. I follow enough news and celebrity gossip online to know what’s going on. I am only sometimes completely out of the loop.
“Why don’t you just get cable?” people have asked me.
I’ve found there are several reasons (some monetary but mostly personal health-related) to not have cable.
- I save the money I would pay on a cable bill. The two years I did have cable, it was included in my rent. I find that I can find better ways to spend $60 or more a month. . . like high speed internet.
- I save money on electricity to run the television. Sure there is a television that we have to watch movies but not running the television means one less electronic device is running.
- If you do have a favorite show, there are plenty of ways to watch it without having cable. You can watch many shows online. You can also rent or buy the DVD of a season of your favorite program. You can borrow from you local library or a friend for free. You can have it all, without commercials, which brings me to…
- I’m not constantly seeing commercials that make me want to buy things. While I can’t prove this, I bet people who don’t watch commercials buy less.
- Television leads to higher incidence of obesity and depression. When I had cable, I was headed towards both as I ended up watching hours of it every day.
- I have more time to do other things. I walk the dog, I blog, I read… There are so many things in life that I do that not watching television seems like a very small thing to not do.
- I have less negative energy in my life. I don’t know if it’s less electromagnetic waves or less reality television but I feel like I have less negativity in my life.
All this said, it is clear that I don’t have the willpower to turn off my television. If you can watch an hour or two a day and then turn it off, more power to you. If you can watch television and still do what you need and want to do, good for you. I am not disciplined in that way. And I think maybe at least a few other people aren’t either.
No matter what, I know that having at least one no television night is doable by everyone. As kids my family had it. We ate dinner and played games usually. It was kind of fun, since we were purposely not turning the television. My mom usually made a special snack. I highly recommend it for anyone. If you live alone, make it the night you have friends over for a potluck dinner. When I lived alone, having my friends over one night a week forced me to socialize initially but after a few weeks, I was looking forward to Wednesday nights and the happiness that only real people can provide.
If you do want to watch less television, 43Folders has some great tips. Actually, I’d recommend anyone who thinks television is too big a part in their lives to skim the article because it’s pretty interesting.
So here’s to more money in your pocket and a happier life being less controlled by a cathode ray box.