TV: The Thief of Time

A few months ago, our cable TV stopped working. We had to wait a few weeks for an appointment, as we work full-time and weekend appointments book quickly. My husband loves TV, and was pretty upset. I didn't care too much, since I hardly watch TV, or so I thought.


During the weeks we had no TV, I became acutely aware of what a thief the TV was. It was a thief of time. I would turn it on to keep me company as I was preparing meals and watched longer than I intended to. Practically every show, even the news, had some kind of "cliff-hanger" before commercials. It was also a thief of time because I was working more slowly than if I weren't watching TV, or were just listening to music. It made me want to watch more TV, with advertisements for forthcoming shows.

It was a thief of money. There were advertisements for food, local events, services, clothing, and anything else I could think of. Many of the products advertised were unknown to me until the commercial aired. These commercials wanted to make me feel like a "have-not" if I didn't acquire them. Many commercials advertised sale prices, and limited time or supplies, so I had to act fast if I wanted that great deal.

It was a thief of intelligence. During the weeks I had no TV, I was forced to read more and indulge in hobbies that I thought I had no time for. I had the perfect excuse before; I work full-time. Those little snips of TV cost me an hour a day or more!

It was a thief of health. Without the TV, I had more time to exercise. My appetite was less because I wasn't bombarded with endless ads for food. I got to sleep at a reasonable hour. There is scientific proof that watching a TV or computer screen interferes with sleep.

When the cable was finally fixed, I was a different person. I now watch the traffic and weather in the morning and the news at night.

Frugal people guard their resources. Time is precious. Don't waste it!

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October 8, 20182 found this helpful

I agree. My problem is the internet. I waste a lot of time looking at this computer. It has gotten to be a habit that's hard to break.

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October 9, 20180 found this helpful

I gave up on cable TV a couple years ago because I found that I was scheduling my life around shows that were on and missing out on real life. I haven't missed it.

My rule right now is to subscribe to one streaming service at a time. I will switch periodically because they all have different shows. I can catch up for a month or two and then move on to a different service.

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October 9, 20180 found this helpful

Most people thought I was crazy to say so, but I was the happiest gal in the world when our TV completely broke. I had my family back and doing great things with the time, and everyone lost their extra pounds. :)

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October 9, 20180 found this helpful

I never did hook up cable when I moved to my current home three years ago. It was expensive and didn't provide me with value for my hard earned dollars. I do stream though and from time to time I'll watch an documentary or movie that interests me.

When the local video store closed shop, the owner gave me many dvd's and now I can watch the old classics and musicals that I like to my heart's content when I'm so inclined, which isn't too often.

Am I addicted to tv watching? NO Do I miss not being current with trending shows? NO Do I like using my time and $$$ otherwise? YES

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October 9, 20180 found this helpful

And people used to think me strange when I told them I haven't owned a television in yeas. Anything really important, storm warnings, etc., I catch on the computer.

I can honestly tell you, in all these years, I haven't missed TV one iota. Occasionally, I watch a full length movie I've downloaded and not one commercial from start to finish. Yeah!

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October 9, 20180 found this helpful

Thanks for all the kind feedback.

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October 15, 20181 found this helpful

I have to be on the fence on this one. I am retired, and love binging shows that I never got to watch on cable. I told Xfinity where to put it in 2014 and during a time when I was home sharing, I never needed it.
When I got out on my own again, I got a 40.00 I have ever spent.
So now, I can go days without turning it on but since I am on a limited income, I do find it's my cheapest form of entertainment. A little bit of both...

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October 17, 20180 found this helpful

I understand the fence sitting on this one. I do a portion of my ThriftyFun work in front of the television at night, either binge watching a favorite show or listening to the local news. But, there are certainly times when I realize that I have been watching and not working for too long. I think, like most frugal tips, it depends on the person.

I'd put the smartphone as another thief of time. I try not to take it out when with other people but there always seems to be an alert or message that makes you check it. But, the smartphone can save you time and money with all it's different organizing apps. You just need to keep a balance.

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October 16, 20180 found this helpful

Do I like spending the $? No. I also have a limited income; & being disabled, not able to do alot physically...However, I must admit that "Gaming" is greatly addictive!!! I've lost countless hrs playing Solitaire. It actually drives me nuts; & yet...

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October 3, 20191 found this helpful

You just have to be strong. I admit to enjoying television! I had in-laws once that were snobs of TV watching. My husband at the time upon their expected visit took apart the VCR to hide it from them. Two years later they are bragging about another son who owned a VCR. Hmmmm.... And their taste when they did start to watch TV was to indulge in viewing The Dukes of Hazard... Really?
I listen to certain shows when I am working on a project that I need to pay attention too. I watch while doing a project when my visual attention isn't required.
I will haul my portable speaker outside when I want to work in my 11 garden beds and listen to music or a news talk show. I spend an average of 3-8 hours on good day in the beds.
I can remember seeing kids my age while growing up who became zombies in the presence of TV. That was crazy.
You just have to have a different set of control for watching TV.
My heaven is a series with over 200 episodes!

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October 3, 20190 found this helpful

My husband and I enjoy our TV, too. I'm selective about the programs I watch, and I DVR everything so that I can fast-forward through commercials. I also enjoy reading (have an M.A. in English), crafts, sewing, etc.

I really like the crafts I can do while watching TV. We enjoy our Netflix, Primetime Anytime on our Dish, PBS, and Hulu and Roku. We watch TV at night while having supper, usually a 30-minute sitcom while eating, and then the more dramatic hospital or legal hour-long shows.

He's home all the time, so we have plenty of time for conversation aside from mealtime.

When I was growing up, there was a period of 2-3 years when we didn't have a TV. When the other girls would talk about shows like "Petticoat Junction," I felt left out. Then, we had one TV and we watched whatever western my father wanted to watch, so I'd stay in my room and do homework or read.

When I got married the first time, my boss, who'd known me since I was 12, asked, "What are you going to do when he wants to watch one thing on TV and you want to watch something else?"

I told him I'd go in the other room and watch the other TV. His secretary laughed out loud and said, "They're not poor like we were, Mr. P.!"

People will say, "There's nothing good on TV." I want to ask, "How do you know since you never watch it?" While I enjoy some of the shows from the 50s/60s/70s, such as "Father Knows Best," "I Love Lucy," "The Odd Couple," and "Mary Tyler Moore," I've tried watching some of the very early TV sitcoms, and I don't really enjoy them. Much as I love Betty White, I tried "Life with Elizabeth," and I turned it off when she referred to her husband as "my lord and master." Blech!

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