How much is your entertainment costing you?

During lunch today, a bunch of my co-workers were talking about TV series that they’re watching. Discussions about the different TV series soon followed.

“House of Cards is a grittier version of The West Wing. It’s awesome. What? You haven’t seen it yet? You totally should!”

“You’re only on Dexter season 2? We finished all 8 already. I won’t ruin it for you by telling you how it ends then…”

“Game of Throne is great. I love how you can’t predict which character will get killed next.”

“We watched all 5 seasons of Breaking Bad over the span of a few weeks. We stayed up until 3 AM for a few nights.”

Since I don’t watch any TV series, I listened, and made some general comments.

The conversation soon turned into how much money they spend per month on cable and other TV related entertainment setup. It seems that everyone has a Netflix subscription in their household and love the overall Netflix services.

Note to self: Netflix might be worthwhile to invest (???)

“We spend about $70 each month on cable just so we can watch shows on specific channels. We don’t even watch TV in the summer but we’re too lazy to cancel cable.”

“We spend about $100 each month on cable and Netflix subscription.”

I continued listen in and was shocked to hear that couple of my coworkers are spending over $200 on cable, pay-per-views, movies on demand, and Netflix per month!

It was even more shocking to hear that some of them spend 3 or 4 hours in front of the TV each day after work. To them, watching TV is their version of relaxation time. I was having a hard time trying to determine how they are able to find 3 or 4 hours each day to watch TV. The math just didn’t add up in my head…

One of the coworkers even talked about his home entertainment system in great details and all the fancy equipment that he purchased to give him the best viewing experience. He apparently spent around $7,000 on surround sound system and the TV console.

As I listened in, I was doing some calculation in my head.

“At $100 a month, that’s $1,200 spent on entertainment. If invested instead, at 3% yield, that’s $36 per year of dividend income!”

“$2,400 can buy 2 airplane tickets to go to Europe with some money to spare for other expenses.”

I couldn’t comprehend why my coworkers are spending so much money and time on TV entertainment. We have been living TV free for over three and half years and do not plan to get a TV anytime soon. Mrs. T and I try to spend quality times together each night instead.

I also wondered how many hours my coworkers spend sitting on the sofa watching TV each year, instead of doing something meaningful, like reading books, learning about personal finances, or learning a new hobby. Boy that’s a lot of hours wasted!

Incidentally when I got home tonight, I received a call from Shaw Communications. I get a call from Shaw every couple months and I love this kind of calls because the sales person always gets shocked with my replies.

“Hi T, This is Tom from Shaw. I see that you have internet subscription with us. I have an EXCELLENT promotional deal that I’d like to offer to you tonight.”

“Umm OK, what is it?”

“We’re offering our valued customers a great deal. For $10 extra per month you can get 200+ channels including HD channels. We will even give you the HD box free of charge. Would you be interested in signing up?”

“Umm we don’t have a TV.”

“Excuse me?”

“Yeah we don’t have a TV at home so not interested.”

“Sorry? Did you say you don’t have a TV?”

“Yes no TV.”

“Oh… umm OK, well would you be interested in signing up for the package anyway? TV is very cheap nowadays.”

“Yeah no thanks, we have no plan to get a TV anytime soon.”

*Brief silence*

“Umm ok, so you don’t have a TV and don’t plan to get a TV anytime soon. Is there anything I could help with you tonight?”

“No thanks.”

Tom probably hung up the phone and started telling his coworkers that he just talked to some weirdo that does not own a TV!

Speaking of TV, Mrs. T and I went to view our new house over the weekend to make sure the seller repaired all the defects found during house inspection. I asked the seller to remove the TV wall mount in the master bedroom but he just couldn’t understand why we don’t have a TV in our bedroom. He told me that we should just get another TV because TV’s are so cheap now.

I didn’t tell him that we don’t own a TV at home.

Are you guilty of watching too much TV?

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15 thoughts on “How much is your entertainment costing you?”

  1. Tawcan,

    I have experienced a similar response by people who think i have gone off the deep end for not subscribing to satellite or cable TV. I do have a high speed internet connection, and HULU plus. All together, these services cost me $47.98 a month. One month of cable would basically cover a whole year of Netflix or HULU. I think the younger generation is starting to realize how much money is wasted on cable, and are gravitating towards streaming options. I have never been impressed by the selection on Netflix, but HULU is pretty good, and generally releases shows the day after they premiere. Great article!


  2. We love Netflix, and we don’t even pay for it – my brother lets us use his account that he pays for. Not that we save that much by doing that. Other than that, we don’t have cable, and we don’t go to movies or do any of that sort of thing that costs a lot of money.

  3. Tawcan,

    Thanks to your post I took the plunge and canceled phone and cable. I added Hulu Plus (so I can watch the 3 shows total I watch a week).

    So, my bill was 93.53. Now it is going to be 59.95 for Internet and 7.99 (likely 8.50 counting taxes) for Hulu Plus. Total of 68.45. Savings of 25.08 a month.

    Thanks Tawcan. I needed to just do it. Now I did.

  4. So, he wanted you to still get the package cause it was so cheap to what? give them some free money? Boggles my mind.

    I have a TV but don’t use it as much. I have a bundle – about 90 bucks for phone (that I dont use), TV (basic basic channels) and internet (used all the time).

    The thing is that if I cancel the phone and cable, I end up paying the same amount for internet alone. So, no incentive for me to change. :/

  5. We spend $7.99 a month on Netflix, which I’m comfortable with. Plenty for us to watch on there. I can’t stand watching regular cable tv- too many obnoxious commercials!

  6. HAHAHA! NO TV! Classic! Very few people can say they dont have TV in their house. I envy you! I used to watch so much tv before but nowadays I prefer a walk outside with my kid, reading, researching stocks/investment. We are still guilty of wasting time in front of our tv but we are currently working on it.

  7. Haha, this post made my laugh, Tawcan!

    I can relate to the telephone call… I have these kind of conversations with my coworkers all the time. They always talk about some new celebrity from show X, Y and Z, and are completely baffled when they find out I have no idea what they’re talking about.

    While I don’t have a subscription, I do have a TV set to play games on (especially when I have friends over for game night).


  8. DIrecTV and Comcast internet are costing me an arm and leg here. I think the monthly bill is around $150. I don’t watch TV much, but my family does. And they don’t like the idea of streaming since they can’t watch their newest shows.

    • That’s why a lot of people are still paying for cable. These people have slower internet connection so streaming doesn’t work for them. It’s a double edged sword really. Pick one of the evils, pay for cable or pay for internet.

  9. hahaha…i love seeing peoples reaction when you say something that they dont expect. “No TV?!” lol
    I didnt have a TV for teh longest time but splurged a couple of years ago and bought one. We still dont have a cable and dont think we ever will….even the nice TV we have, we barely use it – and occasionally use it to watch movies. The few TV series that we watch are just online. We finally got a Netflix last month and I am not very impressed by the collection…I donno why ppl rave about it.
    Speaking of which, its interesting that HBO is launching its own online service. This will give NFLX run for its money.

    Best wishes


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