Why I Work Instead of Watching TV

I want to introduce everyone to Catherine Alford, our first regular contributor to Money Life and More! She’s pretty awesome and I’m sure you’ll love her stuff. Here is her first post!

I don’t want to come across as a “TV hater” in this post, because everyone knows that Modern Family + a glass of wine could cause me to waste about 5 hours straight (must I always mention wine?) However, in the past few years, I’ve almost completely weaned off of watching TV, and here’s why:

TV Costs Too Much

The first time I cancelled my TV was because I was trying to cut expenses. My husband had just quit his job and started school, and I really didn’t need to spend the $50 or so to keep it. I admit that it was kind of boring at first. After all, my entire Saturdays used to be spent watching one HGTV show after another. However, I gradually got used to my life without it, and eventually I didn’t miss it at all.

TV Makes You Lazy

When we had a nice TV, I admit that my husband and I often ate dinner in front of it. This didn’t do wonders for our physiques, and it definitely didn’t help us connect at the end of the day. Instead of talking to each other and catching up, we were wondering what type of cake Cake Boss would create next, and (gasp!) would the cake actually make it into New York City or would it smash into a million pieces? Don’t let lazy take over your life!

Turning the TV off gave me back hours in the day and forced me to be more active and find interests elsewhere.

TV Makes You Want Too Much Stuff

TV stars and reality shows definitely don’t show the world as it really is. So, when movie stars grace my screen dripping in diamonds, it always makes want more “stuff.” Additionally, when The Bachelor drops down onto one perfect knee and proposes after just returning from a trip around the world, it made my own romance of movie dates seem kind of lame.

I know it’s not logical to feel that way, but that’s the effect that TV had on me. So, without all those distractions or influences from the world, I am definitely more appreciative of what I have.

TV Makes You Unproductive

Sitting in front of the TV is easy and mind numbing. When you have one, you don’t have to be productive. It’s much easier to tell yourself, “I’m tired. I deserve to watch this show.” So, you get very little accomplished in the evenings.

That’s Why I Work

Now, instead of spending time watching TV after work, I instead work on my personal finance staff writing business. Instead of flipping endlessly through channels, I’m tweeting with my blog friends, getting posts ready for the next day, and pushing myself to make more income from my website than I do from my day job.

Ever since I started working instead of watching TV, I feel more productive, more connected to the world, and more motivated than ever. I also have more time to do things that are healthier for me, like taking a jog down to the beach and spending quality time with my hubs.

In fact, there’s a whole world out there people who are also using their downtime to succeed in big ways. I just had to turn off the screen to realize it.

Do you currently watch a lot of TV or are you a TV-free household?

**Lance’s Thoughts** I do probably watch too much TV but it is our main source of entertainment. We could probably cut back a bit, but we do enjoy our TV shows… That’s why I’ve made it known I won’t be cutting the cable cord anytime soon! 

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About Catherine Alford

Catherine Alford is a personal finance freelance writer who received a B.A. from The College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Virginia Tech. She enjoys sharing her adventures on her blog, www.BudgetBlonde.com.


  1. Yes, I am proud to say we do live in a TV free household. One caveat to that is we have a 27″ iMac that we do watch video on from time to time. This affords us the luxury of watching exactly what we want, when we want. Time to cut the cord if you haven’t already. Save the money, free some time, and do what you really want to do in life.

  2. My main TV watching these days is just sports, and even that’s decreased significantly. I have to admit that the main reason for this at first was my son being born and wanting to put more time there instead of TV. But now I just enjoy having that time for other things. We’re on our way towards cutting cable. I agree that you find much more enjoyable/productive things to do with your time.

  3. We’ve had limited Internet access over the past couple of weeks, so I haven’t watched any shows (we use Hulu exclusively for ‘tv’). And I’m starting to wonder if we should cancel it. I don’t need it on when I do the laundry or ironing or cooking. I could put the radio or a podcast on instead and feel better

  4. I think it’s a balance as it is with many things. We have cable as it is our main source of entertainment and live pretty lean beyond that. We do usually watch maybe an hour or so at night, but at least one of us is usually working on business stuff at least 75% of the time so we’re somewhat productive.

  5. Funny, I am cutting back on working! I was working as much as 40-50 hours outside my day job per week. I am finding a balance and TV, movies, reading, talking etc should be more of my day.

    When our children at home, dinner was always TV free. I think it made a difference in our lives. My children are adults now and we still talk several times a week.

  6. We don’t have cable, and watch very little TV (especially in the summer). When it is on it’s usually the local news, Jeopardy, and a couple other choice shows. I do agree that an evening of being productive makes me feel much better than an evening of watching TV. On a side note, I find it rather ironic that the previous article link is captioned “Your Chance to Win a Sweet Sony 50″ LED TV”

  7. I don’t live in a TV free household, but we don’t have cable, just an antenna. It gives me the channels that I need and it allows me to break away for a bit. I still do a lot of work when I am “watching”, but I don’t think I will ween off of it entirely. Nice post Cat!

  8. Jenny @ Frugal Guru Guide says:

    I watch TV while I’m ironing, folding laundry, cooking, etc. I use Hulu and Netflix so that TV fits my schedule instead of me having to fit to TV’s schedule.

  9. Thanks for the nice introduction, Lance! You are too kind!

  10. I watch a show or two before going to bed. Downloaded so they have no ads and are shorter. It is unproductive time but something I enjoy, although I am cutting back and not starting shows I have never seen. No Downtown Abbey or game of thrones!

  11. Kyle @ Debt Free Diaries says:

    My girlfriend and I don’t watch as much TV as we used to. Now we just watch the latest episodes that are streaming (after the air dates) of a couple shows. I agree! I feel so much more productive with my life without watching 4 hours of TV every night. (I really used to do that!)

  12. I have cut my TV time by almost 90%. I still watch about 30-45 min/day, but that’s it. As a result I have become so much more productive and more importantly, more happy. I sleep better (TV actually hurts sleep patterns if you watch before bed) and have more energy. I also don’t stress about the stuff that I don’t get to because I’ve been watching TV. It’s already done.

  13. I feel like I don’t really “watch” TV that much, but I am guilty of having it on in the background while I blog and do other things. I “justify” this because I use viggle to earn points and win giftcards from checking in to TV shows.

  14. We got rid of the TV in the master’s bedroom and working area. We only got one, in the living room. It makes us really productive. The things you can do when there’s no distractions.

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