WARNING: Watching too much TV may be hazardous to your finances!

Are you watching too much TV?

By Megan Pacheco

American, on average, watch 34 hours of TV per week…

Would you exchange your frequent TV viewing habits for something that could help you improve your financial stability and give you a higher probability of financial success in the future?

As you consider this question, here are few interesting numbers…

According to Tim Corley, author of the book Rich Habits – The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals , 67% of the wealthy watch 1 hour or less of TV every day vs. 23% for the poor

, and only 6% of the wealthy watch reality TV vs. 78% for the poor.

Today cable TV, with all of its “bells and whistles,” is pretty standard, even among those who struggle financially.

Did you know that, on average, Americans spend close to 5% of their annual gross income on entertainment? That’s roughly $2,600 per year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Based on a study conducted by The Heritage Foundation, nearly two thirds of those defined by the Census Bureau as “poor” have cable or satellite TV.

So, why are we sharing this insight with you?  How can NOT watching TV help you generate wealth when, on average, your cable bill may be only $85 – $120 per month?

Even though there is a financial component to consider here, I’d argue that it’s not just the fact that the wealthy don’t watch TV, but it’s what they use that extra time for that makes the difference!

So let’s take a look at all the ways that NOT watching TV can help you in achieving financial success.

The financial side

Even though our monthly cable TV bill may not be substantial, it’s still over $1000 a year. Considering the fact that many of us don’t have a $500 – $1000 emergency fund set aside, it would be much wiser to “pause” the cable and use those funds to build up your emergency fund. Why? Because unless you start using cash to pay for unexpected life events like car problems, home repairs etc. you’ll be bound to use debt in order to fund those emergencies. Saving is one sure way to finally break free from your debt cycle!


So what do wealthy people do in lieu of watching TV? They exercise! Yes, according to the Gallup poll, the wealthy pay much attention to fitness. Not only do they exercise, they also eat less junk calories per day and are more likely to eat home made healthy meals. So how do we mimic this lifestyle without paying fitness club fees?

Take a daily 30 -60 minute walk. It’s free, great for your body and your mind. Use this time to listen to a good podcast, think, reflect, ect.

Go online and search for toning exercises you could do at home. Create a quick 15-20 minute toning routine you can do every morning before you get your day going.

Take an extra 15 minutes in the morning to prepare your lunch. Use in-season fruits and vegetables to complement your sandwich or soup. This will not only be great for your health but for your pocket book as well.

Read and Learn

Instead of spending time in front of the TV, wealthy people tend to read and self educate. This is a great way for someone who can’t afford to go back to school to increase knowledge and add valuable skills without spending a penny.

Exchange 1 hour of your TV time a day and soak in some knowledge:

If possible, set aside a specific hour every day dedicated to self improvement and growth.

Get a membership card to your local library and rent out books that can help you grow in a specific area.

Find good podcasts / instructional messages you can listen to online.

Find good, reputable blogs that address subject matter you’re personally interested in. Opt in to receive newsletters or emails on specific topics.

As you can see, this TV issue is not really just about saving a few dollars every month, although for some that may be a good starting point; it’s about maximizing the way we use our time. There is nothing wrong with watching an occasional movie or a favorite show, but since we all have only 24 hours in our day, we can never “get” more time. Let’s use our waking ours wisely!