Why We Ditched TV and Never Looked Back

I get some pretty funny reactions when I mention in conversation that my family doesn’t have any TV service. Several times I’ve gotten the response, “Did you just say you don’t have a TV???” I smile and clarify, “No, we still have a TV, we just don’t have TV service.” So why did my family decide to ditch TV?

photo courtesy of quinn.anya at flickr.com

photo courtesy of quinn.anya at flickr.com

Initially it was a financial move. My husband and I were trimming our budget and recognized that we were not utilizing our satellite service enough to justify keeping it. Plus, we were recording a majority of our shows to watch later, which we could easily watch using Netflix and Hulu.

A year or so later, we took another close look at our budget. While Netflix and Hulu were certainly much more affordable than satellite, we still felt we weren’t getting our money’s worth. In addition, we had a young child in the house now, and we didn’t want her staring at a screen all the time.

It was a tough decision. I think we went in phases. First we dropped one service, then the other a few months later. Looking back, I can’t help but be amused at my emotional dilemma. What was I going to do if I didn’t get to see how they handled the next season of Castle? I was really starting to enjoy Modern Family. Where would I get my laughs every week? I was going to miss out on the opportunity for Hawaii Five-0 to wow me again in the fall.

Well, here we are, over a year into our TV-free lives. Wouldn’t you know, I don’t miss it. Not a bit. Not even a teeny tiny eensy weensy bit. In fact, I kind of love it.

Here’s why I love having no TV service:

  • It saves us money. We are able to use those financial resources in other ways to bless our family and our community.
  • We have more time. Do you find yourself running out of hours in your day or week? Chances are, you’re losing more time to TV than you may realize.
    • Not only is there the time watching a show, but also the time deciding which show to watch, getting the kids settled, grabbing a snack, pausing to pee, pausing to help your kids pee, and cleaning up popcorn kernels afterwards.
    • There are some days when I still pause and think, “Wow, I still have 3 hours left before bedtime,” and realize that those hours are a such a gift that we wouldn’t have if we were still following TV shows.
  • My mind is clearer. I wasted so much mental energy replaying suspenseful scenes and funny moments from shows. Now my mind is clear from all those distractions that kept me from focusing on what truly matters: my family.
  • I have deeper conversations. Similar to the above bullet, my husband and I spent so much time commenting on a show we had watched and speculating what next week’s episode would hold. Now our conversations consist of planning a fun outing, sharing our dreams, and sharing our hopes for our children.
  • My daughter plays independently and is madly in love with books. I truly believe that Margaret would not have her love of reading or would play as well as she does if we watched TV regularly. I’ll peek in her room to find her sitting on her glider reciting Brown Bear as she excitedly turns the pages. She also plays incredibly well on her own. I love hearing her jibber jabber as she imitates Mom and Dad and discovers new and entertaining activities.
  • I once again find peace in silence. There have been periods of my life during which I’ve had to have TV on in the background or music on in order to go about my day. Silence used to make me anxious, as I didn’t like where my mind would wander. Now I can work, clean, and relax in silence,  enjoying conversation with God or simply enjoying the calm. I actually prefer it, and find myself getting agitated if I’m in an environment with too much background noise.
  • I’m setting goals and accomplishing them. One goal I have this year is to read 40 books. My husband set this goal for 2016 so I decided to do the same. We’re both well on our way to meeting our goal and loving every minute of it. Now I don’t leave the house without a book.

Now for the record, yes, we still own a TV. It does stay off for most of our week. Sometimes Jeremy and I will pop in a movie after Margaret has gone to bed on our day of rest. If Margaret is sick and wants to cuddle all day, I have no issue with snuggling up and watching Inside Out. The main difference is that TV is no longer a focal point of our lives.

Hesitant to take the plunge? I’m not suggesting you go all or nothing. I will challenge you with this: take some time this week to imagine what life would look like without TV (or even if you dropped just a few shows). What could you accomplish? What might you and the family enjoy together that you haven’t had the time to? How might your relationship with God grow?

For any readers who have ditched or cut back on TV viewing, what has your experience been? Please share in the comments section below!




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3 thoughts on “Why We Ditched TV and Never Looked Back

  1. Tricia
    I enjoyed reading this post. My husband and I both have cut back tremendously on watching tv and it is wonderful. We were never ones that stayed glued to the tv any way. I am retired and during the day I listen to music, podcast and read. My husband has always been one to read read and read. I too find peace in silence. I will be here for hours with nothing going and I love the quietness.
    Yes the no tv time gives us a lot of communicating time.
    I am so excited about your journey and being in Maximum Potential Academy with you!
    Janice L Vance

    • Thanks for sharing, Janice! I’ve also begun listening to more podcasts and I love it. Having good stuff like that feeding into our creativity is how we make things happen! Thrilled to be in MPA with you.

  2. We have gone back and fourth with services for about a decade. We have always had Netflix, since back before digital streaming existed and it was just DVDs through the mail. Netflix is probably the most difficult for me to part with when it comes down to TV services. In the early years with my husband we never watched TV, we had an old giant TV that needed a converter boxes when everything went digital but we never got one and I don’t recall our tv really being on much. It was always a nice surprise to come home and find a new DVD in the mail for a nice movie night. Once we upgraded our tv and digital streaming came into the picture we were on cloud nine. Especially when my first born came along… I was in school and working full time so she was often at home with her father, and they would watch cartoons and play most of the day. My daughter became fixated with characters like Shrek and Nemo, which at the time we thought nothing of and carried on with our lives. My husband and I got into playing fantasy football which turned into us getting our first cable service so that we could watch all the games. Besides the few tv shows I grew to watch on a weekly basis I really felt like I never got the full use of all the channels and the money it was costing didn’t seem worth it. When we moved we decided not to hook the cable up again, but did continue Netflix. As of last September my husband began itching to be able to watch football again, so we agreed to try it out again. About two weeks ago, since football is over for now, I called and cancelled the service again. It’s just simply too costly and there are no benefits. I enjoyed reading all your reasons for why you love not having a TV, specifically the ones that involve the time you get to spend with your family and your daughter loving to read. Although we still have Netflix and occasionally rent movies from Amazon Prime, we have a rule of two hrs of screen time per day for my oldest daughter. Remember when I said she used to watch TV as a baby, we’ll it’s an unfortunate and costly mistake that has taken a lot of patience and practice to break her of bad habits and get her more into learning as she started kindergarten this past year. She has truely come a long way and is reading beginner books all on her own now. But I feel like the main mistake we made was thinking the TV was a good way to keep her occupied. In trying to correct the mistakes we made, she is truely starting to shine and is a little science experimenting and crafty little girl. We fill the time she used to spend watching TV or playing games on her computer or tablet with hands on activities. Overall her behavior and personality have started to shine. It’s something we have learned from and definitely won’t make the same mistakes with my other daughter who is now 7mo old. Thank you for sharing your story! Family and love is what it’s all about!