Living without TV Saving Money Family Time

During these hard economic times, most people may, sooner or later, have to sacrifice the extras in order to keep the basics; food, clothing, shelter. At least, that is how it appears at the moment…during this current recession. On tight budgets, entertainment is usually the first thing to go. However, there are many wholesome recreation activities that are free!

How can you save money by getting rid of the televison? Easy! My husband and I did it four years ago. Money was not the main factor, at the time. We no longer could stomach the canned-laughter sit-coms that were not really funny, nothing-worthwhile-to-watch every night and enough commercials to make you want to pull your hair out!

In 2005, we pulled the plug on the brain drain and put the idiot box and us out of our misery! Paying $60.00 per month for cable which gave us around 50 extra channels, for us, seemed crazy! Who can watch 50 channels at once anyhow? Our final “shows” consisted of watching reruns. We liked them, but when we got so we knew what the actors were going to say next, it was time to quit! So, that was it!

In the last four years we have saved $1,500 alone in cable service charges. Not even counting the electricity saved in pulling the plugs completely out of the walls. We had two televsions and gave them away to charity.

Did we have withdrawal symptoms? Yes…for about a week. After that, we learned to enjoy the quiet. Do we miss it? Absolutely not!

We have been conditioned to love our TV’s so much, like everyone else, that they have practically become the centerpiece of every American livingroom, not to mention, one in every bedroom, too!

Perhaps you are not ready to throw your TV out the window yet, however, you can still save money by possibly considering the following.


1. Can you cut your cable or satellite down to the basics? The major Networks still give a variety of the newer programs and carry live news. Maybe you can live without the extra channels. And public broadbacsting is usually available in every town and city.

2. We get all the news we need off our Internet and our radio. Also, for entertainment, we pay $15. per month which gives us rotating movies by mail. The service is a quick-turn around, no postage, no further than your mail box to return, plus over 5,000 free movies come with the different packages offered. It is much less expensive to rent a movie this way and play it on your computer. And, no annoying, interrupting commercials! Check it out!

3. As a family can you bring back the good old days by having just one TV only in the family room? Each family member can list their favorite shows and a rotating schedule can be worked out for viewing. This will help cut down on your electric bill also.

4. Your final solution to saving the most amount of money is by getting rid of the televison altogether. It will help you and your family in another way you may not have thought about yet! Remember those annoying, in-your-face commercials constantly pushing the latest and the greatest every ten minutes at you? No more temptations and its refreshing! Life is complicated enough.

A little research on televeion watching in American households showed some disturbing facts to consider.


1. The average family watches TV 4 hours a day, or 28 hours a week. Here is the incredible part. By the time a person reaches his 70th birthday, he or she has stared at that box an incredible 12 years! 12 years, I was shocked! What a waste of time! TV watching is addictive and insidious. Ask any 70 year-old would he dump his TV, if he could gain 12 years back of his life? We all would without a doubt!

2. The average American spends 38 meaningful minutes with their families per day. When you factor in the 4 hour TV viewing per day, it does make us think twice as to what are we giving our priority too!

3. Children will view a whopping 40,000 commericials during their growing up years. All those imposing ads enticing everyone of every age to “buy this, its bigger, better, newer and improved.” Advertisers know this, if we watch a certain ad long enough, sooner or later we will buy it. Sad to say, that happened to me on the Home Netowrk Shopping Club. I stared at this Tiffany-wanna-be-lamp shown every day for a few months. The lighting in the studio made that lamp appear so beautifully, before I knew it, I sent for it.

Was I happy with it? I quickly realized without the perfect studio lights making it look like colored crystal, it had lost its luster in my livingroom and I was $150 poorer for that plastic Tiffany-wanna-be lamp shade which I thought was at least made out of glass! And, I use to brag I had good sales resistence!

4) It is no secret obesity is on the rise for children and adults alike. This is simply caused by not burning off all the calories we eat. It is no wonder the term “coach potato” was born….we all have the potenial to end up looking like one! TV watching does not burn off calories. So, even if our children (or us parents) are eating fairly normal, healthy meals, this is still only half the battle in controlling obesity.


You must be wondering what is it we do to take the place of TV. Well, we have discovered exciting and interesting books at our local library. There is a “Children’s Hour and a book-club of sorts for adults to have stimuating conversations about the books we read. Once children discover how interesting stories can be, they develop an interest in reading books. Then they will want to pick out books for themselves. And never forget, the more they read, the better readers they will become and this will help their reading skills in school. Good deal all around!

We have rediscovered the fun of playing cards and board games with friends who visit. Our friends have the assurance when they visit, we will give them our utmost attention because they are not competing with a TV running in the background! We appreciate them and they appreciate us more.

Also, we ride bikes, have more picnics and enjoy going for nice walks. This has improved our overall health. We do stop and smell the roses now.

However, I have to say, the best benefit we have gained by getting rid of the television is, we have much more interactive family conversations every night. We actually sit around the supper table and share the events of each other’s day. The ups and downs and the in-betweens.
We feel closer as a family because we are more aware of each other’s needs. No longer is our time wasted and eaten up by a useless nonsense talking box that had separated us so much before. Instead, we’ve gained precious family time. And that cannot be replaced..ever!
Yes, getting rid of the TV altogether poses no real hardship. Instead, it awakens our imaginations to be creative with other adventures. And we are saving money on the ever-increasing cable/sattelite bills that seem to keep growing….and probably will continue to climb through these hard times, just when we need to be saving the most!