7 Cost Effective Things You Can Do Instead of Watching TV

by Mike on April 7, 2010

Today’s guest post is written by Forest Parks the author of Frugal Zeitgeist

A lot of people complain that they watch too much television because they are bored. TV has become our easy quick fix and it’s actually generally a very cheap form of entertainment. Even if you shell out on an expensive television, divide that by the amount of hours you watch the thing for and it’s often an extremely cheap per hour cost…. This is why many parents use the TV as the babysitter!

I do own a television but I don’t watch TV. My TV is solely for my xbox360 and no that isn’t one of the tips to replace TV in this post! Playing the Xbox is just as bad as watching too much TV, as is watching movies and shows on DVD.

We all know too much television is bad for us and the kids. It can make your eyes bad and contribute to dwindling health and fitness. If you watch too much trash it’s thought that your brain could also start to rot (Ok I have no scientific base for that statement 😉 ). Getting away from the TV does not have to involve much costs and in today’s post I am going to throw out some easy and cheap ideas for things to replace this habit!

1. Play a board game
I really feel like boardgames are a dying pastime. When I was a child it was a family thing to do that involved direct interaction, building of knowledge and lots of laughs. Even chess can raise a smile and the healthy competition gets certain brain waves flowing. Cheap games can be picked up from thrift stores (just check for missing pieces) and it’s no doubt you have some stashed away in the basement or garage!

2. Go for a run in a busy area
I love running so this is easy for me to recommend. But seriously running through a busy area is entertaining. Weaving through people and just generally seeing what’s going on also occupies your mind and you may often find yourself running much further than you planned. If you really can’t face a run, then try walking…. Just leave the wallet at home just in case you are tempted to go spending out of boredom.

3. Draw something
When was the last time you picked up some paper and a pencil and sat down to do some drawing? For many it was highschool. Drawing can be really challenging and fun. If you are alone, just draw an object or what you see out of your window, even draw your TV if you like! If you are with the family then get everyone to draw a pic of each other, this truly can be hilarious!

4. Plant some vegetables
You may or may not have a vegetable patch but there is always somewhere else to plant a new vegetable plant. Pop down to the gardening store, pick up some seeds and get this project underway instead of vegging out in-front ot the TV. Even though it may cost a little for the equipment and seeds at least you will have something to show for it.

5. Call an old friend
Even if you talk to all of your friends via email it’s worth spending the time talking every now and then. So pick up the phone and call someone. Even better, call someone you have not talked to for years. They will likely be very surprised and happy to hear from you and you will have loads of catching up.

6. Read a classic
How many classics have you wanted to read but have never had time? How many hours a week, do you watch TV? Well use these TV hours to start reading through all the books you always wanted to read. I still have Wuthering Heights, Moby Dick and War & Peace on my list to read!

7. Start your memoir, on paper!
I don’t keep a journal and I rarely write specifics about my own life, so this idea is for me too! One evening just sit down with a pad and pen and start writing the story of your life. This could grow and grow and replace many nights of TV. I recommend doing it on paper as writing flows more naturally and your eyes are under less stress than on the computer.

These are just a few ideas to get your brain thinking about all the other things that you could be doing instead of rotting your brain. I would love to know what other alternatives you have.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jason @ Redeeming Riches April 19, 2010 at 8:59 am

Great ideas here! Love it. I am really passionate about making good use of family time and not just sitting in front of the TV. My wife and I make it a point to take walks, go to the park with the kids, do picnics and do family fun days so that we build memories, not just pass time!
.-= Jason @ Redeeming Riches´s last blog ..Tithing – How Much Should a Christian Give? Part 1 =-.

2 Moneymonk April 9, 2010 at 2:14 pm

I will add go to the park or library

3 Forest April 9, 2010 at 3:19 pm

I find it sad that libraries are suffering so much when they are such awesome resources.
.-= Forest´s last blog ..Watch TV On Your Computer =-.

4 PFJourney April 7, 2010 at 10:11 pm

What I like about all these is they give you a positive return that you don’t get from entertainment tv. Thanks for a great post Forest!
.-= PFJourney´s last blog ..7 Cost Effective Things You Can Do Instead of Watching TV =-.

5 Forest April 9, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Thanks Lakita, sorry I wasn’t around to answer comments when this was posted… Didn’t mean to be AWOL :).
.-= Forest´s last blog ..Watch TV On Your Computer =-.

6 Money Funk April 7, 2010 at 5:31 pm

Nice post, Forest.

Be careful with the vegetable gardening! From past experience, I have been known to spend all kinds of money on my vegetable gardening (fertilizer, weed control, many young vegetable plants). But, i still agree that it is cheaper than my cable bill. And I’d much rather be outside anyway. But the Mr… well, he loves his sports and TV is a must. LOL.
.-= Money Funk´s last blog ..How much did you earn to give up your dream? =-.

7 Forest April 9, 2010 at 3:17 pm

Ha ha, you do need to be careful with these hobbies but at least its still a hobby that produces positive results as you say.
.-= Forest´s last blog ..Watch TV On Your Computer =-.

8 Carlos Frank April 7, 2010 at 11:26 am

Great post Forest. I’m not a big tv watching person myself! I don’t have an xbox360 like you (but want one)! 99% of my tv watching is for sports! What really turned things around for me was reading about a millionaire real estate developer who said that a majority of his friends (who have a small fraction of his wealth) all have cable and watch tv and he doesn’t even own one! Made me think hmmmm, maybe he’s on to something.

I’m spending the whole week with the Lil Franks so these are also some great cost effective ways to spend time with them!
.-= Carlos Frank´s last blog ..Where Is The Proper Place For Your Money? =-.

9 Forest April 9, 2010 at 11:19 am

Thanks Carlos, I think keeping the little Franks away from the TV at a young age is a great way to make them more creative with their time at an older age…. Good luck with that 🙂
.-= Forest´s last blog ..Watch TV On Your Computer =-.

Previous post:

Next post: