We’ve made this decision for a variety of reasons, some financial and some life style choice. Disclaimer: We do use a laptop and iPad to watch movies or TV shows from time to time.
The Great Money Waster
Starting with the financial piece, let’s say the average cable bill is $100.00 per month. As I do with all discretionary expenses, I not only look at the actual cost, but the opportunity cost of not investing that money.
A quick number rule is take a weekly cost x 752 or a monthly cost x 173 to find the true cost of a reoccurring expense over 10 years (assumes a yearly average 7% return on investment).
So the true cost to me over 10 years is $100.00 x 173 or $17,300. This is roughly 5 months of living for our future selves.
Is having cable TV worth 5 months of my time working?
The numbers get even crazier if you consider the true cost over the average 40 year work life… $240,000!!! For average American family making $50,000 per year, that nearly 5 years of work to pay for cable TV.
The Great Time Waster
The second consideration in our decision was to purposefully give ourselves less opportunity to waste time watching TV.
I know myself, and when there is a TV around I will watch it, even if I’m not really that interested in the show I’m watching.
TV is a great time waster and takes time away from other more meaningful or productive activities.
Watching live TV is even worse, as you are constantly interrupted with commercials seeking to convince you don’t have enough or your life would be so much better with whatever product they are selling.
Finally, as we are getting ready to have our first baby, we think not having a TV in our house will help us to spend more time with our kids. And we hope not having a TV will help the facilitate the kids to explore and imagine more.
Our nieces and nephews also do not watch much TV and we’ve observed them interacting and playing together so much more. They spend time reading, doing puzzles, playing music, and generally entertaining themselves.
Honestly I don’t mean to stand on a soap box here. I actually really miss watching sports on TV, but I’ve decided it’s still not worth it. If you really look at the numbers and consider the intangible benefits, it may be worth considering at the very least to drop your cable bill, if not your TV.
So what do you think? Will you give it a try?