In what I consider to be my giving the middle finger to our modern day culture I proudly and vehemently give this statement: I do not own a functioning television. For the better part of the last year my wife and I, and the hand me down TV provided to us without fee from my in-laws, lost function of it when digital upgrades occurred. At first we were somewhat shell shocked because of tests conducted with our local stations before the switch (what we thought) proved we would not need a converter box, but alas it has now been the best thing that’s ever happened to us. Gone are my nights watching trash TV and staring at a screen, and replaced are weeknights and weekends that include: talking with my wife, reading books, going to the gym 2 – 3 times a week, bike riding, home cooked meals, budget committee meetings (my favorite), participation in small groups at our home church, and being outside more in general.
The most impactful part of it though is my now felt sensitivity to advertising. When visiting the homes of others I now mute commercials or talk over them, and I routinely take out and throw away insert advertisements when reading my local fishwrap (which I have found, reading my local fishwrap, has been a lot less frequent lately). It is freeing to have this much time available again and amazing that I used to waste so many evenings watching TV shows, I seriously don’t think I’ll ever go back. Almost straight from the pages of “America’s Cheapest Family,” I plan to have one TV set in my future home, which will be kept under lock and key via some kind of elaborate cabinet, to be viewed sparingly and we will only watch materials that encourage the values that my wife and I want to impart on our children and guests.
Plus the side benefits are irreplaceable. I have zero subscription payments, my electric bill is that much lower, and I add it to my list of bragging rights in pursuing the ultimate cheapskate. So yes, I have not owned a car for eight years, I grocery shop at Aldi, am a flexatarian, do not have a functioning TV, shop for clothing twice a year at Salvation Army, current housing costs take up 15% of my budget, besides my wife my crock pot is my next best friend, I couchsurf, I take a cooler on vacations and I can tell you ten different ways to get to my local library from anywhere in Chicago, and I’ve never been happier J