In recent months, I’ve drastically cut back on the amount of TV viewing I do. This change of habit has yielded positive returns and helped me live a more interesting lifestyle.
Cutting the cord is not a new trend or groundbreaking idea by any means. Studies show that it’s an emerging trend, with the proliferation of online video sites like YouTube and Netflix. I haven’t had cable since 2011 and will never go back. I’ve saved a small fortune by not having to pay the monthly bills.
If you’re a heavy TV watcher, I’d urge you to try cutting back. Here are five reasons to do so:
You Won’t See Commercials Anymore
This is something I recently realized. I’m now exposed to advertising only once a week, while watching the Saturday night hockey game on CBC, which is pretty much the only time I watch regular television. That’s the only time during the week that I’m ever subjected to all that direct and subliminal messaging. There’s no way to quantify how much money this has saved me, but I don’t remember the last time I made any kind of impulse buy. I suspect that avoiding advertising has played a role in my frugality.
TV is Generally Terrible
I recently moved to a new apartment, which meant no internet for one week while I waited to be connected. I decided I’d give TV a shot. I was limited to handful of over-the-air channels. Nevertheless, I couldn’t believe just how much bad programming was on TV. It was all terrible and unwatchable. I spent a lot of time outside, going for long walks through the downtown core. There is zero chance of you becoming a better person by watching most of that crap.
TV News is Toxic
Watching 24 Hour news channels, especially those from the US (CNN, FOX News, MSNBC) is poison for your mind. The endless talking head segments just become echo chambers of partisan though and push everyone deeper into their political camp. Liberals spend too much! Conservatives are intolerant! And round and round it goes¦ All these news channels feature lots of advertising time too. Not good.
You’ll Learn to Love Radio Again
Radio is making a comeback in my life. It’s great because you can multitask while listening to the game or catching up on the news.
In my opinion, radio is the best way for you to get the news you need. I’m not one to advocate tuning out from all news, all the time. However with radio, you can get everything you need to know from a morning radio newscast without too much sensationalism.
Today’s news provided a perfect example. As I write this post, the big story of the day is that Justin Bieber was arrested in Miami. I heard about it on the morning newscast when I woke up and that’s all I need to know. I saw lots of chatter about it on social media today, but I didn’t waste any further time reading about it. There was no need to. Radio told me the essentials and I was able to focus on more productive things like work projects.
When I do hear about a story that does interest me (another current example is what’s happening in Ukraine), I’ll investigate further, reading online news sites or maybe even Reddit.
To get your news from radio, I’d suggest you set your alarm to one of the following:
If those are too elitist/liberal in your view, then I suggest your local AM radio station. If you’re traveling or live the life of an expat, the BBC World Service offers an excellent global roundup of news. CBC, BBC and NPR all have up-to-date, on-demand newscasts available on their websites as well.
Whichever you choose, you’ll get the news you need to know in five or six minutes. Efficient.
You’ll Read More
With TV out of the way, you’ll need to find alternative forms of entertainment and distractions. I find myself reading much more often. Instead of staring blankly at the TV for hours, I now consume and consider litterature or helpful lifestyle/educational blogs. My reading time per day has grown significantly in recent months.
To summarize, cutting back on television has helped save me money, freed up time for more productive endeavours and helped me to become a more well read person.
What about you? Do you watch much TV anymore? Have you recently cut back? How has it impacted your life?