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TV has Become Part of Life

One of the greatest pastimes of Americans is the good old sport of television watching.  It seems that everyone has their favorite shows and even their favorite commercials that they talk about. I know this is true with people I’ve met as they discuss the pinnacle moments from certain shows around the water cooler at the office. The point is many Americans watch television, but is your television watching making you spend money?

Commercials

Everyday millions of Americans are exposed to countless commercials from their television sets. These commercials sell everything from junk food to roller blades to toasters and everything in between. There are also a fair amount of commercials that advertise for high-end items such as cars and far-off vacations.

It is only too easy to begin wanting something that you may not be able to afford, especially if the commercials make it seem exciting and vital to have. Advertisers are not stupid people. They know how to play up to your wants – desires that can only seemingly be achieved by purchasing their product.

Even if you are barely paying attention to a commercial on potato chips, you may get the subliminal message and reach for that salty snack the next time you are in the grocery store. You may even wonder later how you are over budget on your food expenses. This very thing has happened to me. I will write a list of food items that I need to get and then mysteriously end up with a few boxes of cookies or chips in my cart. Later, I realize that those were the same things that I had seen commercials for only days before. I couldn’t believe I let that slip my mind!

Living Up to the Hype

There are a lot of shown on television that feature shows about people in lavish circumstances. These are shows that don’t have to account for the actual reality of millions of Americans – even if some of them are labeled “reality tv.” When was the last time you saw a sitcom about a family living below the poverty line? There is a lot of attention paid to celebrities as well as their habits of buying ridiculously priced things that are way out of reach for the majority or Americans. If you watch that enough, I can almost guarantee that you will feel poor in no time time – just because you can’t buy that speed boat or that island off of Tahiti.

Oh well, maybe I can buy at least a brand new purse or tool belt to compensate? Hmmm, you see the problem?

Tearing Yourself Away

Studies have shown that more television watching is linked to a greater prevalence of depression and overspending.  This is fairly easy to see as the more we watch, the greater exposure to advertising and shows that may feature these wealthy lifestyles. Lowering your television exposure is not going to keep you away from all advertising, but it helps. The good thing about television is you can switch it off with just one click of a button.

Don’t know what to do with your free time? How about planting a garden or taking a walk? Both are low cost ways to have fun while saving money at the same time. Probably the best part is you will cut down on your electricity bill which also means more money in your pocket!

Crystal's Comments:  Although I can see how television can hit you with advertising or lavish lifestyles could lead to a little jealousy, I think it is just on you to make your own life decisions.  I don't eat potato chips because I see them on tv – I eat them because they taste good and I want them.  It's not a commercial's fault they end up in my mouth.  Less exposure to ads can help – I agree.  But I do think we all have complete control over our spending decisions and need to take ownership of that responsibility.  By the way you should go check out how much Hulu cost because you can watch all your favorite shows for a lot less. I'm currently looking for the best internet provider in my area so we can possibly cut the cable and save money. The other option is using mobile hotspot to replace home internet. All of that said, I like our DVR – I don't have to watch commercials ever…love it!

What's your view of tv and commercials?