It felt like the longest day ever.
I've done this a few times before. A 15-hour direct flight starting several hours after my regular bedtime. I’ve never been good at sleeping on planes. Economy class seating doesn’t exactly lend itself to comfort. I was better prepared this time. Earplugs. A thick hoodie jacket to act as a blanket, eye mask, and pillow. Surprisingly I got 6 hours of decent rest at the front end of the flight, leaving plenty of time to watch Transformers: The Last Knight, The Emoji Movie, The Dark Tower, and several documentaries and travel shows.
Most of my TV/Movie time happens on planes. We actually never got rid of our TV, because we never bought a TV. We don't have a TV, no Netflix, no cable. We stream things on our computers when we want to watch something, but it's pretty infrequent.
The last 4 years, we chose not to get a TV because we didn't know where to put it. The logical spot was to set up the couch facing the window, so a TV would have to go in front of the window blocking our "million dollar view", as my wife puts it.
Now we have a house with plenty of space and a nice wall that could mount a TV. But we continue to live without.
Walking through Best Buy in search of a wifi router, I couldn't help but walk past the TV section. $400 gets you a 49 inch pretty decent looking TV with a wall mount. Of course, you can go all the way out and get a curved Samsung 55 inch for something like $3000.
Netflix is $9-$14 per month ($122-$190 per year after tax). Cable is $50-$100 a month ($678-$1,356 per year after tax)
How much am I saving?
I'm saving $400 up front for the TV. About $150 a year on Netflix, and about $1000 a year on cable.
The time I save not watching TV is spent talking with my wife about our life, our goals, reading books, working on my side hustle, and cooking dinner.
I grew up with a tube TV, my parents consistently upgraded our technology to a big screen box projector TV, and eventually to Plasma and LED. I never knew a life without a TV, and neither did my wife, but somehow we decided we didn't need it and have lived a happy life without it. We may have disconnected from popular culture and TV a bit, which we find a bit problematic when our social circles make small talk about TV shows, but the reality is, we couldn't find the time to keep up with every show anyway.
Without a TV, we can save thousands of dollars in cable costs, we save hundreds of dollars in TV hardware upgrades, and we have the time to save on our food cost by cooking. We potentially can improve our relationship, our finances, and our minds by spending time talking with each other, managing our finances, and reading books. We can and do sleep a lot more without the late night visual stimulation. Sleeping at 10 pm is late for us. Getting in excess of 9 hours of sleep a night is a great way to manage stress. For all these reasons, I believe we live a happier life without a TV. We live a financially richer life as well.
Would you be willing to give it a try?
Save Money Retire Early is written by Jon Lo, a barely 30 something change optimist, and personal finance guy. I believe anyone can be rich or poor, it's what you save that makes the difference.