So my parents called me boring…

When we moved to our current house in October it meant that we would be living closer to my parents. It used to take them about an hour to drive to visit us, now it only takes about 15 minutes. One of the advantages of living closer to my parents is that they can spend time with their first grand kid on a more regular basis. I think they’ve been thrilled to have such opportunity.

We typically ask my parents to come to our place to look after Baby T so we don’t have to transport a bunch of baby related items back and forth. The other day I asked if my parents could come to our place to babysit for half a day and had an interesting conversation.


Me: “Mrs. T and I need to go to downtown Vancouver to run some errands and would like to go on a movie date if we can. Could you come over to our place and look after Baby T for a few hours?”

Parents: “Yes we can do that but can you drop off Baby T at our place instead?”

Me: “Why? Isn’t it better to come to our place instead? We don’t need to move things back and forth.”

Parents: “Yes we can come to your place but…”

Me: “Huh? Is it because you need to do something specifically at your place?”

Parents: “Well kind of… you are boring.”

Me: “Pardon me?”

Parents: “You are boring.”

(Me thinking: Did my parents just called me boring?)

Me: “Sorry say that again?”

Parents: “Your place is boring, you don’t have TV so we don’t know what to do when Baby T is napping…”


We don’t have a TV at home; we’ve been TV and cable free for about four years. When I told Mrs. T about the conversation and she burst out laughing. She’s glad that we don’t have TV and cable at home so we can actually get things done.

The TV topic came up again a few days later on Boxing Day when my brother purchased a 55″ TV for his apartment (Wow that thing is HUGE!). His rationale was simple – he has free cable subscription for 1 years from Shaw so he might as well take advantage of this great offer.


Brother: “You guys should get a TV.”

Parents: “Yes, you need a TV”

Me: “Why? We don’t need a TV.”

Parents: “Baby T needs a TV when he grows up so he knows what’s going on in the world.”

Brother: “Yeah totally, can you imagine Baby T going to school and not knowing any TV culture or TV commercials?  How is he going to relate to other kids? He’d get picked for not having a TV at home.”

Me: “That is so ridiculous. There are other ways to keep up on things like that…”


The conversations made me realize a few things:


People use TV to kill time because they have nothing else to do

This makes no sense to me. We all have limited time on earth. Why waste time sitting in front of the TV for hours at the time? Why not spend that time exercising, reading a book, or spending quality times with your family? Before I run off completely guilt free, I suppose I’m guilty for sitting in front of the computer to kill time from time to time…


TV is centre of attention in many households
Sadly TV has become the centre of attention for most North American households. Go to someone’s house or apartment and see how they arrange their living/family room. I bet that 99% of the time TV is the featured piece. Living/Family room looks “naked” without a TV.


TV is ingrained in today’s culture
When I was young I remember that owning or buying a TV was a big deal and there were only 3 available channels. Most households only had one TV back then (I feel old for saying this!). Now most households have multiple TV’s and there are hundreds of channels available. People talk about their ultra-size HD TV’s like prized possessions or talk about TV shows all the time.


No TV means you’re a social outcast
Because owning a TV is the norm, not owning one makes you a social outcast. People see you differently and think that you’re weird. Many people judge others based on their possessions. Ever wonder why we keep hearing high consumer debt on the news? Keeping up with the Joneses anyone?


Being frugal is a lifestyle.
We do not own a TV and have no plan of owning one. This is our lifestyle choice. Instead of spending hours watching TV, we decide to use that time to better use. Not owning a TV or having cable subscription also save us money each year. Frugality is a lifestyle and it’s a great lifestyle.


Are Mrs. T and I really that boring?

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49 thoughts on “So my parents called me boring…”

  1. I absolutely love living rooms without a TV. I’d rather have a fire place as the centre piece and a place to sit and chat with friends and family around a coffee table or rug. I admit to also not owning a TV, but any shows I want to watch I can purchase from iTunes, watch on Netflix or visit my brother’s house or if I’m desperate, go to a Pub and watch a sporting even while enjoying a beer (55″ HD TV’s are kinda cool come F1 season). Apart from that, I don’t miss it at all.

  2. I have a TV, a great big 70″ one we got on clearance that is mounted to the wall. Though as big as it is, it takes up a lot less space than our old one due to newer technology that makes it lighter and thinner than our old one. We don’t have any furniture around it.

    I don’t use it much, but I think I’d miss it if it were gone. Sometimes I DO just want to waste a half hour and not be productive and if my husband is out of town for work I often leave it on low volume because a house that is too quiet freaks me out. It’s awesome for watching movies after the kids go to bed (no grandparents to babysit) and we also get a new FPS game every couple years to play together (and there is nothing like a big screen for movies and video games).

    It’s also a great treat for my kids. They love getting up early on Saturday and watching cartoons, and I prefer it to them logging onto a computer. I also like that it’s bolted to the wall and the remote is their only interface with it.

    I get people who don’t have a TV, though most of the people I know who don’t have one do it as more of a statement than anything, there are a few who just don’t have a TV lifestyle. However even though I don’t watch it much (the most use it gets is Sunday night and Monday night in the fall, if you know what I mean) I like having it as an option.

  3. We do have a TV, but use over-the-air signal for free. When I was going up we had one TV channel, CBC, so I am used to limited choices. Going up, our daughter definitely noticed that we did not have cable. To-day she is in her 20s and will not pay for cable. We also have a pay-as-you-go cell phone plans ($100 per year) don’t need $$$$ data plans. I do get a lot of information off the internet, so I am not at total Luddite.

  4. Not having cable I can understand (we don’t have it ourselves), but bragging about “no TV, no Netflix” seems less like “frugal” and more about being sanctimonious and cheap. A flat screen TV, amortized over its lifespan, costs pennies per day, and Netflix is $8 per month. Seriously, what’s your entertainment budget if you can’t afford that? My wife and I love documentaries and the occasional movie or streamed TV show. With the $100 Apple TV, we don’t even go out to movies anymore (at $25 a pop for the two of us).

    • Hi Darren X,

      I’m by no way bragging about not having TV or no Netflix. We simply just decided to not have TV so we can spend more quality time together as a family. Sometimes it’s not about money.

  5. I haven’t owned a TV in 25 years, and have managed to raise two kids without – works just fine! They’re now teenagers, and love Netflix, but there are still advantages; NO COMMERCIALS, easy control over what and when they watch, and no lying in front of the TV flicking through 375 channels, not wanting to admit there’s nothing worth watching.

    I really thought we’d have to get TV at some point, that it would be hard for the kids to be ‘outside’ of popular culture. But between Dora games on the computer when they were small, and short-but-intense periods of TV viewing at the grandparents or in hotels, they have always been fine, and we’ve actually never had a serious campaign from the kids to get one.

    The no commercials part is AMAZING when you have kids! Ours have NEVER asked for a specific breakfast cereal, toy, video game or brand of clothing, unless they’ve actually tried it out already. And guess what? Most of that stuff is not that impressive, in real life, so we’ve had very few such requests at all.

  6. Good for you.

    The vast majority of TV is absolute garbage + (annoying) commercials and people pay for this to the tune of hundreds per month! 60″ TVs, multiple TVs in a house, PVRs, it’s just madness!

    TV degrades one’s quality of life. I can think of no worse way I waste a Sunday than sitting in your dark basement, feasting on junk food and watching 12 hours of NFL football games, pregame, postgame, and analysis of said games, or Say Yes to the Dress or House Hunters International marathons.

    Netflix, now espoused by the cord cutters, is same stuff, different pile than cable. People zap their entire weekend watching whole series of shows.

    Having said that, I have a 32 inch tv (gift) with rabbit ears and get 11 channels for free. The odd documentary or tennis match is nice (or DVD from the publics library) but that’s it. Ensures I don’t waste too much of my life sitting and ossifying like some zombie. I take walks in my suburban neighbourhood on summer evenings and what do I see inside people’s living room? Massive glowing screens with Entertainment Tonight and Wheel of Fortune. No wonder we’re dropping dead of heart disease – and maybe poor taste.

    Ps – as a life long watcher of hockey, Strombo on HNIC was the last straw to quit watching nhl.

  7. We did not, nor do, nor will ever have a TV. All of our 14 children have grown up without one and they do just fine. We do have internet for the university/college/high school children for the purpose of research, jobs, etc. The younger children are allowed internet use with supervision for schoolwork. We don’t allow movies (we watch the occasional movie when we are ALL together (which is rare) on a projector/laptop/wall screen), games, FB, etc. The children are always finding something to do and never bored.

  8. We have a tv and we watch our tv a lot. Our in-laws don’t like babysitting here because we only have bunny ears and they can’t figure out our computer/tv/show setup. So, we’re boring too, even with a tv.

    For the stuff transporting issue, we helped make their house kid friendly and now they have a version of just about everything they need. Our daughter is two and half now, so we only bring over what she shoves in her backpack last minute. At first we did still need to bring a few things.

  9. Hi Tawcan,

    Last year when I bought my condo my mum also told me I should get a tv. I told her I barely watched it when I lived at home so it wouldn’t change much when I was living on my own. I didn’t buy a tv but she bought me one since I would otherwise be a cavedweller without one. I think I did watch one movie on it this year…


  10. Wow, pretty harsh label from the parental units. C’est la vie. To each their own. I think everything has it’s time and place. Like many who have commented, I have a TV but it only plays Netflix or video games. Haven’t had cable in a long while and will never have it again. Utter crap. And our over the air antennae does not get anything so I can’t even watch anything if I wanted to. I spend way more time online than anything. For me, that, this, is what I need to curb. Well, keep fighting the good fight.

    – HMB

  11. Tawcan, I must say that you are so frugal. I cannot imagine myself not owning a TV and even living a day without it. Frugality is really a lifestyle. For that, you gain my respect.

  12. I got a good chuckle out of the conversation about the tv. I am guilty of too much of it, but we try to limit the tv for the kids. I could eliminated another $600 a year if we dropped down to internet alone, but I think my wife likes having the cartoons to get a break from the kids at some point during the day. I just don’t have the discipline to cut the cord yet.

  13. Hahahahaha this is gold. I can totally relate. This topic of discussion has been at the centre between my wife and I for the last week. We visited my wife’s parents over xmas and the TV was running all day every day. And it drives both of us mad that they watch so much TV and we have to sneak in a decent conversation while everyone stops watching.

    Stay strong. Dont succumb to the TV pressure. We stand with you in solidarty! 🙂


  14. We went cable free a couple months and it was one of the best decisions we have made. I completely agree that without TV we now have a lot more time to get stuff done around the house, hit the gym, or read a book instead of sitting in front of the TV wasting a couple hours each night.

    Happy New Years!

    • Hi Mr.s Captain Cash,

      Thanks for dropping by. I find that I have so much more time to spend playing with Baby T and read without TV at home. Happy New Year to you too!

  15. Haha, interesting post.

    I understand why you and Mrs T don’t have a tv and no, I don’t think you’re boring for not having one – mine stays switched off most evenings.

    However, perhaps Baby T may need to watch a little tv when he’s older, if only to fit in with the other kids (after all, that’s all most kids want to do). Not saying that Baby T needs to just follow the other kids like a sheep but kids can be so cruel to anyone who might be a little different, in this case, not watching tv lol!

    You sure won’t be the type of parent to leave their child sitting endlessly in front of the screen but some tv can be educational for kids.

    My sisters kids have their tv time and their ‘computer time’ rationed, so they don’t turn into little zombies!

    • Hi Weenie,

      I think we can raise Baby T without TV. We can always watch programs or movies on the computer to allow him to understand a bit of the TV culture. 🙂

  16. We have TVs, but no cable. Started using XBMC/Kodi TV.

    Your post made me laugh because I think my parents are shocked we don’t have cable TV anymore. They can’t imagine watching TV without an HD signal.

    Personally, I get my news online. I have a Globe and Mail subscription that is part of my online business (blog), I have apps on my phone for news feeds, what do I need TV for?

    TV is entertainment. There are other ways to be entertained 🙂

    • Hi Mark,

      I get my news online and phone so no real need for a TV. If I miss anything I typically hear it from other people or on Facebook. TV is a form of entertainment but there are other ways to be entertained like reading a book or playing board games. Thanks for dropping by!

  17. We do have a TV (no cable, of course), but we don’t watch it much. I completely agree with you that it’s usually used to kill time and to the exclusion of other much more enriching activities. That’s pretty funny that your parents called you boring, because I think people who watch too much TV are the boring ones. I support you in your non-TV state ;).

    • Hi Mrs. Frugalwoods,

      It was pretty funny to hear that from my parents for sure. Good to know that I got the support from another frugal family. 😀

  18. No cable is actually becoming a normal thing nowadays among the younger generation. Just way too expensive and too much garbage. If not for sports (Which you could probably watch online), I dont think most young folk would even bother with cable. Old people are more likely to have cable because this is how they lived most of their life and they dont use the internet as much as we do.

    No TV on the other hand is definitely a bit too much. You can get a nice size TV for $300-$400 dollars and a $7 Netflix subscription. You can even get free basic channels. My dad hasnt watched cable since I introduced him to Netflix. Also sometimes at night I just wanna put on a Netflix movie and chill with my friends or a girl im dating.

    Just curious but what do you do in your spare time when you have time to kill?

    • To clarify the last question, I dont watch any cable and barely Netflix, yet I definitely dont use my time better because I spend it all on the internet 😀

    • Hi DividendsForDummies,

      Agree that it’s harder to watch sports without cable. A lot of people I know only have cable because they want to watch sports. I definitely notice that more and more people around my age are ditching cable and going to Netflix or other online streaming services.

      Having no TV is not the norm. When I moved out from home back in high school I didn’t get a TV. When I lived with roommates someone would always have a TV. Mrs. T didn’t own a TV either so naturally when we moved in together and got married we didn’t have a TV and had no need to get one. We are comfortable to say that we’re not the norm.

      For killing time I’m guilty for spending a little too much time in front of the computer. Mrs. T and I also like to sit down, have a pot of tea, and just talk on these cold Canadian winters. It’s a great way to build our relationships.

      • Tawcan, I think your comment about not having a TV not being the norm depends on where you are. In San Jose, where I was raised, unless you are still you are still living with your parents, most people don’t have cable and if they have a TV, it is more likely than not a monitor attached to their computer. But then I moved to Buffalo. And having a TV and cable is the norm here. I do think that by the time our kids our in school it will be less common and the bigger comment will be “you don’t have a computer/internet”.

  19. Sigh, you’re so young Tawcan. Try living in the midwest when it snows and freezing rain freezes the road. That TV starting to look pretty warm.

    Also being frugal doesn’t mean you can’t have a TV. buy an after christmas tv and get chrome cast. All hail the mighty chrome cast!

    • Hi The Broke Dividend Investor,

      Yes you can be frugal with TV by not having cable subscription. However if you don’t have a TV to start with, why spend the money and buy one? Owning one will only get you a step closer to watching more TV and wanting more stuff because of all the commercials you watch.


    • Actually, we’re experiencing a rather harsh winter where I live right now. My favourite part of the day is after supper, when I get to sit by the fireplace, put on some music (with the volume kept low) and read a good book. Once in a while, we’ll move into the living room and watch a movie on TV (a older DVD we bought for 3.99 or a download from iTunes, as we live out of town and have no digital reception where we live), but nothing beats a good book by the fire with a bit of mood music in the background, especially when you can hear the wind rattling the windows outside.

  20. Nice article, but I think you missed the point. Your home and lifestyle doesn’t include a television, and that’s just find. On the other hand your parent’s home and lifestyle does, and that’s just fine too. Neither lifestyle is correct. Their lifestyle is just different from yours and it’s the lifestyle they prefer.

    The problem arose when you asked them for a favor. They agreed to do you that favor (watch your child) but they didn’t want to inconvenience their lifestyle by doing that favor in your home. I think your conclusion that your lifestyle is “better” and that transporting your child’s things back and forth was too much effort is a little selfish for someone asking for a favor.

    I suggest agreeing to your parents requests, hire a babysitter, take your child with you, or cancel your date. It really is your kid and your responsibility.

    I hope I haven’t upset anyone by writing this. I think I just see too many people ask for favors and once they’ve convinced someone to do them that favor, they put conditions on that person. The worse case is when guilt or friendship is abused.

    If I’ve upset anyone, I apologize.

    Dennis McCain

    • Hi Dennis,

      Yes you made a good point, it comes down to different lifestyles. I’m not saying if our lifestyle is better, I’m simply making some observational points from this experience.

      Please note, I never stated in the article whether we ended up bringing Baby T to their place or if they ended up coming to our place so it’s unfair to assume that the latter happened. 😉


      • Unfair to assume what happened?

        You were asking for assistance. Your parents made a reasonable request as to what they wanted to do while watching your children.

        Your wife “burst out laughing” at their request.

        Yet you complain about not being treated fairly?

    • Don’t apologize, I agree with you 100%. If you want me to do you a favour, you are not going to tell me how to do the favour. I find that totally self serving, the same as thinking your two hours of sitting on a computer or reading a book is any better than me watching 60 minutes or a hockey game. While I am at it, is it any worse for me to discuss with friends what happened during the game the next day, than you discussing with people you don’t even know online, how frugal you are or what stock you like?

    • Actually that was the first thing that popped up to me as well. They are asking to go on a movie date yet they are criticizing the parents for using their TV to watch movies. If I am going to ask my parents to watch my kids then I would do it in a way that was most convenient for them. Sorry but the fact that you have great parents to watch your kids when you need them to is what this post should be about, not the fact that you have a TV or not because you obviously spend money to go to the movies.

      • Hi Juju,

        I was not criticizing my parents for having a TV. I simply made an observation. And we did not spend any money to go to the movies, the tickets were something we won that had to be used by a certain date.

        Thank you for dropping by and taking the time to comment.

  21. Being called boring by your parents? That’s harsh! 🙂

    Personally, I don’t have much against TV. Don’t see much difference between reading a book for 2 hours and watching Netflix for two hours.

    But the level TVs are ingrained into our lifestyles is amazing. Not having cable or TV in general is viewed as something completely out of whack. The downside is when people start tossing movie/TV show references around, I feel completely dumb 🙂

    • Hi Financial Underdog,

      I didn’t find it harsh, just found it ironic and funny. I have no problem watching TV/movie/Netflix for couple hours as a form of entertainment. However I think it’s very silly to sit in front of the TV because you have nothing else to do.

      I know how it feels about when people start talking about TV shows. I typically just nod by head and not say much.

  22. Tawcan,

    While I do have a TV, my family can’t understand why my wife and I live in the same house (1200 square ft) that we bought 17 years ago. They are constantly asking when we will be getting something bigger and more modern in a “nicer” neighborhood. I typically remind them of the nice monthly payment that I have…..$0.00 This usually leave them scratching their heads in confusion.

    Also, the fact that my extended family always has to stay at someone else’s house, or even worse a hotel, during the holidays always annoys them. Personally I view this as just one more benefit! 🙂


    • Hi MDP,

      That’s awesome your monthly payment is $0! No wonder you’re able to put so much capital into purchasing dividend paying stocks. That’s awesome.

  23. It’s very ironic to hear your parents calling you boring haha. Nevertheless I couldn’t agree more about your thoughts on TV, and hows its affected our society. Not to say its all bad, I own a TV but i have no cable television, i only use it for movies which is still a rare occasion.
    Proud to say i have been TV free for 5 years now 😉

    Happy holidays!

    • It’s kind of funny actually. I don’t think owning a TV is bad or anything, I mean we do watch movies on our iMac quite regularly. It’s just sad that people watch TV for the sake of killing time.

      Happy holidays.


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