20 Ways To Break Your TV Habit and Save A Fortune

television rules

I used to have a bad TV habit. A really bad TV habit. There were the daily prime-time shows during the week that I began watching as soon as I got home, and then sports the entire weekend. It never occurred to me that there could be a life without TV. It was just the daily habit that I had fallen into. When I started to write about personal finance, I was working a full time job so in order to do it, something had to give. Greatly reducing the amount of TV I watched was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I am not one of those people that feel that TV is evil just like I don’t believe that credit cards are evil. I watch TV on occasion, but not nearly as much as I once did.


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23 Responses to 20 Ways To Break Your TV Habit and Save A Fortune

  1. Dan says:

    OK, now I feel guilty about all the television that I watch. I’ve known for awhile that it is something that I need to address, but I keep delaying it. I guess there is no better time than the present to take the leap.

  2. Randy says:

    I hate all the people that are always complaining that TV is bad. What a bunch of BS!! It’s once of the cheapest forms of entertainment out there and you are telling us to get rid of it? great, then I will go out and spend way more trying to find other types of entertainment which will completely defeat the purpose and make this entire article worthless.

    TV is one of the most frugal entertainment choices that can be made. It seems like you have an agenda and are one of those Nazi no TV people that think they are better than anyone else.

  3. Jai Catalano says:

    Wow this is well thought out… I think it’s a bit heavy but I gather if there is an addiction and it has to be broken than your ideas are SPOT ON…


  4. Alexandria says:

    I really don’t identify at all with the “TV is a huge waste of time” mentality and we like our TVs, for sure. BUT, we have also had a DVR since the year 1999 or so. It makes ALL the difference. I see you mentioned that and I think it’s a good point. I’d agree that sitting and watching all promos and commercials is an incredible waste of time! We actually dropped cable and I am having a really hard time with the commercials on Hulu. The commercials just drive me up the wall. Meaning, I might rather pay for cable, personally. Because I do value my time. Anyway, when you can fast forward through the excess (promos, commercials, recaps, etc.) most TV shows aren’t very long at all.

  5. John | Married (with Debt) says:

    Lately we’ve been substituting “music night” to give an entire night without TV. We just hang out in the den reading, listening to music, dancing, playing with toys, etc.

    Cable, I suppose, is a cheap form of entertainment, but if one needed to, they could eliminate it and survive off Netflix streaming.

    Well thought out.

  6. Jeffrey Strain says:

    Love the idea of a music night. In fact, I bet there are a lot of substitutes that could be made like that. A reading night. A hobby night. A evening walk night. Doing a bit of planning like that could make TV an afterthought rather than a focus.

  7. My cable is free, paid by the association. So I get to enjoy something I like and the money I save.

  8. bben says:

    I only watch shows I want to watch. The TV is off at any other time. I have found that gradually the number of shows I want to watch enough to turn the TV on has gradually diminished to the point I rarely watch at all. And no, I am not an anti TV Nazi. still watch – but only what I really want to watch. I don’t stare mindlessly at whatever is on, and don’t channel surf to find something to watch.

    On the other hand, at my GF’s house, the TV is turned on when they get up and is often not turned off until the last one goes to bed. – 6 AM to 11 PM most days. I have seen her screaming at her grandkids to stop watching TV and get dressed for school. But she refuses to turn it off. Her entire family is addicted – and like any addiction, they claim they can stop at any time, and get upset if you suggest that they cut back.

    TLDR, My TV on about 3 hours a week. My GF’s TV on about 120 hours a week (Yes, seriously, I did the math.)- but she claims to not be addicted?

  9. ThadP says:

    We have cable, but I guess we watch 4 or 5 channels at most. There is a growing movement toward alacarte television, and Steve Jobs probably struck fear in the hearts of the cable companies when he said he had “cracked it”.

    We have experimented with Hulu and Netflix, and truthfully, I think were we able to get NBA via the Internet but to the TV, we would do it (and that is for my wife, who is a Spurs fanantic).

  10. fern says:

    Interesting story and range of comments.

    I like TV and have a lot of favorite shows, but I gave up cable last summer as a cost-saving measure, since I’m underemployed. I do kind of miss it; since I live alone, I usually wind up in front of my computer, so while I’m not sure I’m being more productive, I am still saving money I would have otherwise spent on cable.

    However, with the TV, it was all too easy to plop in front of the TV by 8 pm and pretty much rule out doing much of anything else for the evening. So at least now, with the cable gone, I can get other things done when they arise.

    Occasionally, I watch Hulu, but there are many shows Hulu doesn’t carry. The thing I miss most is my local news.

  11. We only have one television, and I just have never wanted more than one. I think kids in children’s rooms is just not a good idea either.

    But yes…we watch WAY too much television.

  12. Heather says:

    Interested by some of the comments here. “Nazi no TV people”? I hope that Randy never says “I wish I had time to _____” (fill in the blank). There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying entertainment. Especially if you are truly entertained. But I know that I for one, have found myself asking “Where did that 4 hours go, and why didn’t I finish such-and-such instead of wasting it?” after getting caught up in TV (or internet surfing, or video games, or…). It is very easy to end up spending more time than you intended on these sorts of activities. This article gives some great strategies for folks interested in recapturing some of their time. If you’re not interested, then don’t bother and enjoy your entertainment.

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  14. I have a TV habit. It’s gotten a lot better, but if I’m home alone I can watch for hours on end. Blogging and other good hobbies are starting to take up more of my time though, I usually only watch half an episode of Boardwalk Empire before I decide I’m ready to do something else. There are some shows that are truly amazing to me, most recently it was Breaking Bad. So I don’t feel bad watching shows like that. It’s just the filler, catty reality (aka anything on Bravo) and background noise that I’d like to cut out.

  15. Susy says:

    I gave away my one and only TV about 4 years ago and no I don’t miss it and I don’t feel that it is evil. I just realized for myself TV less was best. I finally found time to do all my hobbies (sewing, crochet, quilting). I spend generous amounts of time outside every evening during the summer and fall. I love being TV less.

  16. Gail says:

    We have one TV in the house that is connected to rabbit ears and a converter box which means we get the local channels at no cot to us, period. We had gone about 4 years without an “TV” at all except as a means of watching DVD and VHS movies. I tend to multitask when the TV is on, I read, use the lap top answering emails, etc., or do my hand sewing. Since I have to spend a lot of time sitting with my feet propped up, I have finally figured out when my favorite shows are on and so keep busy most of the time till then. I grew up with TV watching strictly limited and in general I would much rather read than watch, but on my ‘sick’ days I usually watch more as I’m not up to doing much else, but I would prefer to do other things.

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  20. Mike says:

    He clearly stated that he is not one of those people who think TV is evil. He’s explaining how it should be watched in moderation. If you don’t make changes to make it an inconvenience then it’ll be conveniently there for you to watch completely eliminating any chance of change. Maybe you should learn how to read instead of wasting your time in front of a TV. You must be single…

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  22. derrick says:

    TV is a terrible habit that most people don’t even consider to be a bad habit. If people could get themselves to stop watching TV, the productivity of this nation would go through the roof. There are too many people who say they don’t have enough time to do this or that when they spend hours in front of their TV. If you want to get your money matters in order, one of the first things you should do is throw out your TV. An added benefit is that you spend $100 less a month because you no longer have the cable bill.

  23. Tony says:

    Did you read the whole article? This person DID NOT SAY THAT TV IS BAD, DID NOT COME ACROSS AS HAVING AN AGENDA, A NAZI NO TV PERSON, NOR AS SOMEONE WHO THINKS THEY ARE BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE! I perceived THE OPPOSITE! I found it to be very sensitive to others, by not telling people to stop watching TV, as well as an, experienced and informing article, with very helpful advice.

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