If you’re looking for an easy way to save time, money, get better quality sleep, think clearer, and give your eyes a rest, reducing screen time can do all this, and more. Although every family is unique in how they handle screen time, most families have some level of screen use every week, whether it be cell phones, tablets, TVs, video games, laptops, or time in front of a home or work computer. All this screen time can lead to eye strain, less sleep, higher energy bills, and more money spent than we may realize. How can we cut down on our screen time and save money without giving up the things we love? The good news is, it really is possible!
Share subscriptions. If you have an Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix subscription, consider cutting back by sharing with another family member or friend. For instance, if your parents or an adult sibling live in another household, you can pay for one subscription and share it with them, while they pay for another and share it with you. Since most subscriptions allow for multiple users, this is a quick and easy way to save money every month. If you cut out one $12 per month subscription alone, you have just saved $240 per year. If you don’t have a friend or relative willing to share, try dropping one subscription for a few months, and see if it really has a major impact on your viewing pleasure. Or try switching subscriptions every 3 to 6 months to see what you’ve been missing. Chances are, you’ll find you can live without at least one subscription without feeling deprived.
Ditch high cost cable, pay per view, and premium digital TV packages. With the advent of things like the above-mentioned subscriptions, live streaming, and $1 movies at Redbox, you can save a significant amount of money by ditching your costly satellite TV package. Why pay $100 per month ($1,200 a year!) or more for a premium movie or sports package when you can pay a fraction of that for a monthly subscription? Even if you rent a movie from your local Redbox every weekend, you won’t spend close to the same amount you would on a high dollar satellite bill every month. If you need motivation to cut the cable cord, just think about other things you could spend that $1,200 on, like a vacation, or paying down a debt.
Reduced screen time can save you money on your monthly energy bills, as well. With multiple televisions, computers, and other screened devices charging or drawing electricity while in use, your energy bills can climb without your notice. If you have multiple TV sets (the average American has around three) consider removing one and unplugging anything that uses electricity when that item is not in use. Even when an appliance is turned off, it still draws electricity if it remains plugged into an electrical outlet. Since large appliances like TVs and home computers put out heat, you can save even more money in summer by getting rid of or unplugging one or more TV sets, thereby reducing the amount of cooling needed to offset the heat put off by these devices.
Resist the urge for the latest video game or cell phone. Do you really need the latest and greatest cell phone the moment it’s released? If you’ve been in the habit of buying the newest version of the most popular phone or electronic device as soon as it’s on the market, consider waiting a few months the next time you feel the urge to purchase. With new phones released almost every month, there’s bound to be a sale or reduction in price within four to six months that can save you a significant amount of money. Since video games can also be rented, waiting to try the latest version of your favorite game can save you from spending money on a new game that turns out to be something you wouldn’t have spent the money on if you had given it a trial run first.
Reducing your cell phone plan could also offer a money saving option, especially if you have unlimited everything, but don’t use that much data, phone time, or texting. Bumping your limited plan up to unlimited usually costs around an extra $30 per month, which adds up to $360 per year. Try looking at your monthly usage over the last six months, if your habit is using a couple of gigs of data, or you hardly ever talk or text, research the monthly plans your cell phone provider offers with limits. You may discover you can save a good chunk of money without changing your phone habits.
As you can see, there are several ways to save money by reducing your daily screen time. With the added benefits of less eye strain and better quality sleep, not to mention more time with the family, you can save money on medical bills, as well. So go ahead and unplug – literally and figuratively – and watch the benefits add up!