Netflix Actually Costs Me $480 a Month (and Other Thoughts on 'Going Without')

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March 10, 2014
Let me start a non-religious post with a short religion-related note: Last Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent in Catholic faiths. In short, Lent is the forty days leading up to the celebration of Christ's resurrection at Easter. Many people in the church use Lent as a time to "go without" certain privileges or pastimes or vices in order to focus more on their mental, physical, and spiritual health.

Though I'm not Catholic per se, I appreciate the thought behind Lent + sometimes decide to participate. This year, I've decided to mostly give up Netflix. I'll explain why I say 'mostly' in a second. 

Over the last few months, I've steadily started watching more and more television. A year ago, I would have said that I rarely watch TV--once or twice a month usually. As of right now, I watch at least an hour, usually two or three a day. I sometimes watch an episode midday or mid-afternoon when I just don't want to work. Then, when I get in bed at night, I watch one or two more episodes. 

I'm actually pretty ashamed to admit that--it's a lot of television and I know it. And when I think about all the many, many hours of TV I've watched, I just feel embarrassed. But when I think about all the things I don't manage to get done, even on days when I watch an episode or two of SVU, I just feel sad. How can my priorities be so off that I can go a full day without talking to my family or exercising or spending time with friends but I always have time for Dance Moms? 

And so I did some calculating, because (in case you're new here) I'm super analytical and that's what I do. Assuming I only watch one hour of TV a day (and that's for sure a minimal day), that's at least 30 hours a month. I make $16 an hour (when I tutor). And this is what really hit me: besides that teeny $8 a month charge, Netflix costs me $480 a month. Every month. At the very least. That's $5,760 a year. 

Think about that. 

But even more than the money I lose in time wasted, I lose valuable opportunities to connect with other people, love myself, and live a more fulfilled life. In six months, I'll be moving out of my house and starting a new life an eight hour drive away. These are the days I should be making the most of, not wasting away watching Dance Moms (which, I know, is beyond trashy). 

And so I've been considering just that. I'm not going to cut out TV because I do consider it my 'me' time at the end of the night. But I want to be more intentional with my time + take care not to miss the important things. For Lent, aka the next 40 days (or a little less now), I will only be watching one episode a day, 45 minutes maximum. 

But more importantly, I will use my newfound time carefully, investing it into my family, H, my faith, and myself.

What do you waste time on? Are you going without anything for Lent?
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