Frugal Living 

Save Money by Throwing Out the Television

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This is a guest blogging post by Julie Ali.

Unlike socially unacceptable addictions such as smoking nicotine, television viewing is seen as being relatively innocuous in nature. Most parents will plop their children in front of a television screen unaware of the fatal consequences of this act. I, myself, considered the telly to be educational at best, and a great free babysitter, at worst. This state of happy coexistence lasted until about 5 years ago, when I threw out the television and committed the whole family to a telly free treatment program.

Initially, the children and the hubby were not pleased. They were negatively addicted to the idiot box and considered that I was punishing them for being male. My brother and his family were aghast at this rebellion and wondered how the children were going to survive and prosper. Several pitying comments from other relatives and friends followed but I was obdurate and persistent: the television was a drug and we would not be pushing it anymore.

5 years later, the children (and the hubby) have survived the trauma of television lumpectomy and although, they tenderly massage the scar from the surgery in their memories – they have made peace with the surgeon. It has even been a growing experience for them. They have had to find other ways to fill in the holes in their day. They have had to play, write, draw, surf the Internet and even, horror of horrors – to read books. They have had time to visit friends, bike, swim in a swimming club on an almost daily basis, go to playgrounds, search for bug matter in the backyard, visit their grandparents, study and be bored.

An added bonus, is that we are not greeted with a chorus of “I want that, I really, really want that” for every new toy, movie and gadget that is advertised on the telly. Coupled with a refusal to take the children shopping (unless it is for their September clothes and shoes), the excision of the tumor of the television has saved us piles of money. Try it in your home. Don’t try to wean yourself off the telly – just throw it out. And while you are doing this surgery, throw out the Gameboy as well (and let me know how you do it – that is the next drug on my agenda).

Julie Ali loves to write and is a stay at home mom of two elementary school boys.

{ 9 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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9 Responses to “Save Money by Throwing Out the Television”

  1. Nick says:

    What about football games? How does your husband watch football (the only thing I watch on TV)?

    • echidnina says:

      He could go watch it at a bar… though depending on how many drinks he gets (and hot wings, and pizza, and…), that might not be the frugal choice 😉

  2. ~Dawn says:

    Nick I would think they would just wait until the next day’s paper or get updates online.

    Personally, I have a Tv, but I so rarely watch it that I should probably pitch it as well.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I stopped watching TV and spend about 5 hours a day on the computer instead.

  4. James says:

    Anything that reduced one’s desire to keep up with the Jones is A-okay in my book. Good for you for getting rid of the television!

  5. MoneyDummy says:

    Hooray for this article! I often tell people that we have A television but that we don’t have television itself. In other words, we have the box but all it’s hooked up to is the DVD and the PS-2. This compromise gives us the best of both worlds. We control what and when is being shown on the TV, and there are no clever commercials to saturate us with lust for unnecessary things. Nor are there any brain-numbingly hypnotic programs to segue us from something we actively wanted to watch into some stupid reality show, and we don’t have to worry about our son seeing the inappropriate material that is so often on TV. And of course, we save money on cable or satellite.

    But we can still watch the things we find beneficial: Baby Genius, Signing Time, MASH and Lost on DVD *grin*, and DH can play video games online, which is his primary way of staying in touch and continuing to “hang out” with his two brothers.

    I can’t imagine ever subscribing to a cable or satellite, and I genuinely believe that even if someone offered it to us for free we would decline.

    I think it’s effective, and I literally can’t imagine

  6. Ed Brown says:

    Two comments that I would like to share. First, when my wife asked our 3 year old grand daughter if she wanted to watch TV a few weeks ago, grand daughter replied “No Gramma… watching TV makes you stupid”. We’re not sure where that came from but it makes perfect sense. Talk about out of the mouths of babes.

    Second, as to “being bored”, my 78 year old mother was once told by our 14 year old son that he was bored. She replied “Only idiots are ever bored, grand son. The rest of us are fully entertained by our imaginations”. To say that he was shocked and surprised would be an understantment. They then went on to create activities that were fun and interesting.

  7. Beth says:

    Great posting. I sometimes miss TV but it has been years since I had one myself. The computer serves nicely as a means of entertainment and I discovered ways to get rid of ads on YouTube with “A Cleaner YouTube” All the ads are removed from the pages and you only see the videos (except when the ads are part of the videos themselves). I do not miss car ads in the morning. These remind us all that cars are still ‘king’ in America except that where I live cars are being pushed off their throne and put in their place so bikes and busses and pedestrians can enjoy the roads.
    I don’t know how parents keep their sanity when they don’t take any control over how much time their kids spend watching TV and advertisements.

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