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10 Reasons to Turn Off Your Television

My wife and I have reduced our television viewing to roughly four hours a week: two hourly dramas and maybe two more hours combined throughout the week. I believe that it won't be too long before we turn the television off for good. Why? It's too expensive. Here are ten reasons why.

1. Cable Bills

Our cable bill used to cost us roughly $60 a month. That adds up to $720 a year spent just to get more programming. Three years worth of that and we're looking at a very nice vacation. Five or six years of that, put into a savings account, potentially replaces a car.

2. Electricity

We had two televisions, and they would each be on an average of four hours a day. Given a cost of $0.10 per kilowatt hour, and the fact that the smaller television used about 100 watts and the larger one used about 160 watts, that meant we were using a bit over a kilowatt hour each day. There's another $40 a year that vanished. Lowering your electric bill is simple and easy.

3. Guilt

Television programs often create a glamorous image of a life that is far outside the financial capabilities of most people watching. When viewers watch such programs then reflect on their lives, it creates a set of negative feelings. For me, the most prevalent feeling was guilt - I can't give my family this stuff, I would think. Thus, my sense of self-worth would go down. This would put me in a mindset to be more susceptible to the ....

4. Commercials

Those wonderful short little programs that are designed to sell you stuff, period. Even better: they often work in concert with the programs to create a sense of guilt - and they offer a psychological way out. One commercial isn't powerful, but when you're inundated with them... very powerful.

5. Less Time

If the television is on for four hours a day, that's four hours where I could be doing something more constructive with my time, like starting a successful blog or starting a business or working on a novel or getting household chores done and so forth.

6. Stress

When we spend a lot of time watching television, we put off other things that we should be doing, like paying bills, playing with the kids, and so on. After a while, these things build up and we begin to feel stress in our lives that wouldn't be there if we didn't spend so much time watching television. Over time, elevated stress leads to health issues.

7. Poorer Dining Habits

Instead of spending time preparing a healthy, inexpensive meal from scratch, we would hurry up and eat an more expensive prepackaged meal (or takeout) so that we could catch certain television programs. These costs added up, not only on our wallets, but also around our waists.

8. Poor Health

Television is almost always a sedentary activity. Over time, it begins to show. Television is the big reason for the "obesity epidemic," because Americans simply don't get the natural exercise from doing non-sedentary activities that they once got. The health costs from this can be tremendous.

9. Less Communication

When the television is on for hours each day, it's much more difficult to have real conversations with the people in your life. Over time, less communication means weaker relationships with the people you love, and this means that quite often you have to "supplement" the relationship with additional spending.

10. Less Sex

For a married couple, not only is it good exercise (and thus healthy), it's free and it can help heal a lot of costly relationship issues. With heavy television usage, particularly in the bedroom, couples can fall asleep watching television instead of in each other's arms. I know it's true from experience.