What the hell is that draining my bank balance by £150 a year?
I had a look back at my expenses from 2010 and I came across a strange entry “TV Licensing”* and a cost of £12.13 for the month. Back then, I decided that since nobody actually thinks that watching TV is a good thing, that I should just get rid of it. It was taking up far too much of my time as an adult and my Mum had always threatened to do it when I was a kid (we watched too much TV as kids) but she never followed through. So, when I was getting a table delivered from a charity shop (why buy new?,) I gave away my TV – although it was an old big box type and the charity shop didn’t want to take it at first because back then only flat screen HD TVs were in demand.
August 2010, that was the last time that I paid for a TV Licence (see the difference) and over the last 8 years I have saved over a thousand pounds in the licence fee, probably that price again in TVs (getting bigger and bigger, flatter and flatter until they take up your whole wall) and I’ve probably saved a bit on electricity too. Total cost is probably £2500 over 8 years or around £300 a year – which for basic TV would need £7,500 in savings to fund.
If you want all an all singing, all dancing high TV with all the bells and whistles with full sky package for football and films and all that – you might be looking at £50,000!
Besides the financial saving, I’ve benefited in other ways too. I used to come home from work and plonk myself down in front of the TV – enjoying watching shows like Scrubs, the Simpsons from 5 until 7 or later and not noticing that it was getting darker and darker outside and that it was getting later and later.
In some ways TV and I had a real love affair – deep, passionate and committed; I’d spend hours alone with it, I’d be telling other people about what we did last night or at the weekend, we had our own little “in jokes” that only we understood and like all lovers – you buy the things that they suggest.
Now, I’m not suggesting that the Gentleman is as susceptible as the average person to advertising – but it’s amazing how people who watch a lot of TV want more consumer goods and services, have more interest in what’s new (and ignore what they already have). Was I affected by the thousands of adverts I watched over the years ? Of course, I was there’s no denying it. So giving up TV has inevitably meant that I became less consumerist and probably helped my eye sight too. 😊
One more thing that I can credit getting rid of the TV with is that it opened my mind to much greater possibilities. I read more books, did more things and had more free time on my hands.
As a little test, if you do watch TV, imagine what you could do with an extra day a week on your hands**? For those who don’t watch TV, imagine what you’d have to cut back on to spend hours every day staring at a box/screen? I’d definitely have to spend less time talking to the Lady and playing with the Master, less time keeping the house tidy, less time walking/cycling and probably just give up on boring things like hillwalking and camping. That’s not great, and I’d have to pay for the privilege?
So, after 8 years being TV free I feel that I have only benefited from the decision. It’s a real easy Win on the path towards FIRE.
*For those of you not from the UK, if you want to watch television in the UK, you need a licence which costs now £150.50 a year.
** Recent figures show that people in the UK are watching fewer hours of TV now than a few years ago – but that maybe just means TV by a different name, Netflix, Streaming or whatever.