Netflix Bingeing is Costing You Money, Relationships, and Potential

Airport
Waiting for a flight at LAX

Netflix is a wonderful company!  I’ve been using Netflix since I was in college and mailed DVD’s back and forth at Texas State University in 2002!  It was even more amazing when they began letting me download or stream a few titles, and now I can take Netflix anywhere!  It has saved me when my kids had melt downs at Discount Tire, it has saved me at church when a sermon is uninspiring, and it has saved me on long discount airlines.  I love Netflix and will probably keep using their service as long as they remain the best for content and the price is right for my usage.  Also, Netflix has saved me a lot of money over the years.  Because I started using them in college, when I got out of college I just never got cable TV, and I really only see about 4-5 movies a year.  Movie nights are in my house since college.  I’ve never had to cut the cord, and I have enjoyed the freedom of watching my shows not when they come on TV, but whenever I turn on Netflix.  I watch my content on my time, and never have to wait or time my day around  a television stations start time.

However, in 2017 Netflix users watched 1 billion hours of content per week!  There were about 109 million subscribers watching the 1 billion hours of content weekly.  With the power to watch on our mobile devices, on our smart TV’s, and computers at work, we can watch a lot of content throughout a week.  Also, there are times when we can have 3-4 people all watching Netflix at once throughout our home on different devices. I might be watching Shameless on my phone, my wife might be watching a CIS type show, my sons might be watching some dumb cartoon, and my daughter might be watching some teenage girl drama.  We could be streaming 4 hours in 1 hour at my house sometimes.  This is not a typical day at our house, since the invention of Fortnite, but that is another blog post for another day.

Goo
Family bonding making colored Goo!

I don’t know what my family’s Netflix hours are for a week or a year, but I can estimate my own use of Netflix.  I might be the families lightest user of Netflix.  I spend about an hour a day watching on average and I can go multiple days without any TV time, but then binge for 3 hours on the weekend to make up for the lack of week use.  So, I know that every week I waste 7-8 hours minimum on Netflix use a week.  I know my kids are at least double this and my wife is most likely more than 10 hours a week as she uses it to wind down from mommy duties.

I think about my time used on a daily basis and this is why I try to control and limit my Netflix use to about an hour a day or a one hour long show.  I do this so that I will have more useful time daily.  I need to read books, blog, read others blogs, research investments, grade my students papers, lesson plan, or spend quality time with my family.  All of these things are bettering me, my family, and my situation in life.  I have friends who spend a whole weekend binge watching The Walking Dead, and they are in a worse situation in relationships, financially, and career wise.  They seem more depressed also.  I feel that the amount of wasted Netflix time is taking a negative toll on their lives.  They could be using that weekend to bond with their spouse (The most important key to wealth), or researching a side business opportunity, or just doing a little extra for their job to get a promotion.  Netflix is costing them a lot of opportunities and a lot of wealth building potential.

How you use your time today can determine your net worth tomorrow.  Time spent producing something useful can pay off in the long run.  I blog not to make money, but to help others see the light that I have found and has made my life better.  But, if I spent 7-8 more hours a week blogging, making my site look more pleasing to the eye (I just picked a functional wordpress setup and started), and networking with affiliates, guest writers, researching topics, and writing and editing, then I could have more money later from the hard work put into this.  However, I do not have a monetary goal for this site, except to pay for itself ($100 a year), so I focus my time on my kids, my wife, my hobbies, reading books, and 7-8 hours of Netflix a week.

Lets get back to the average American and Netflix.  Every day 100 million hours of Netflix content is watched…Every Day!!  Lets look at the state of our neighbors and friends lives, their struggles, and how this time could be better used.  Would the average America be better off if they came home from work and worked on a relationship or side business?  Of course they would!   Would the 55 million American subscribers with 2.5 viewers from each account get better grades, have better relationships, and be able to build more wealth if they cut their viewership in half?  Of course they would!

RV
TV time is everywhere, be careful…

So, lets challenge America to look at our viewing habits.  Lets see if we are addicted to this electronic crack, and lets wean ourselves off and back onto a path to a better wealthier life.  If you spent 7-8 hours a week working a side gig and made $50 a week from it…then you made $200 a month more from not watching so much Netflix.  That’s $2,400 a year and $24,000 every decade.  If you invest this of course you will make more, and this is just a start!  Your relationship with your spouse will be stronger and happier and divorce rates have the potential to decrease.  Your kids get more quality time with you and learn more life lesson from you instead of from Narcos, so their lives and relationships improve.  America can be richer, have higher net worths, and have healthier relationships with less Netflix in our lives.

I know this is hard for some, since Netflix has put so much into creating and buying amazing content to watch.  But, on your death bed will you be mad at yourself for not watching the rest of season 2 of Glow?   or will you be mad if you are broke, stressed, and watching your children follow in your same binge watching habits?  Some food for thought for your weekend…

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2 Comments

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  1. Love this article!

    Some loose thoughts surrounding this write-up:

    I think you hit on the idea of the idea of where people use their time. For example, I had a friend I went to grade school with who both he and his brother dropped out of college in large part because of being addicted to video games. They’re doing fine now but pretty wild.

    I myself purposely didn’t bring a video game system to college as even though I’m not a huge gamer I could sit for hours playing the various Tiger Woods golf games. I’d like to think my grades were better because of not playing video games granted I still spent time on other stuff aside from my academics.

    Another example is someone who complains about the house being messy yet comes home after work and watches tv for 3-4 hours. That’s 15-20 hours a week, pretty much the equivalent of a part time job.

    After much contemplation, I go now for quality or what I’m interested in regarding Netflix. I typically don’t binge for more then an hour, two at most. Currently rewatching Criminal Minds though typically only if I’ve got everything else mostly done. Watching season 2 of Ozark with the family. I heard once someone (maybe Katie Floyd from Mac Power Users) talking about certain shows such as The Office and how it’s 8+ seasons and thinking in terms of how long it would take to binge it and whether it’s worth your time. Granted breaking it up over a few months could be equally beneficial. You hit a great point about people either you know or that are in the world in which Netflix negatively affects them, specifically their relationships and financials. Sure $10 or whatever it is a month isn’t terrible though if you’re spending for example 15+ hours watching each week that’s $150 a week, $600 a month, and $7,200 a year. Another example would be I know people who instead of working on homework or things to move their life forward such as applications for jobs or college, they spend hours watching Netflix. I’ll admit I’ve done my fair share of procrastination through watching “just another episode” though now I’m more self aware of it.

    I recently have done a few things and realized as well regarding my social media usage. I find that when I’m bored I default to mindless scrolling on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Reddit. A while back I made my Facebook dumb by disabling seeing anybody in my timeline which has helped. I’m considering going back and adding a few close friends to see timeline stuff as for example one of them might get married soon. I had a Reddit app on my phone but found myself though entertained and often learning stuff, wasting time collectively. Given I start work this week (SPED Aid!) I’ll be busier and less bored as during the summer. I’m going to instead check Reddit once a week and see how that goes. Might have a few exceptions but that’s the plan.

    I have a side gig selling stuff on eBay. This coincides with getting rid of stuff in our storage unit and house. For a while I was buying stuff online to resell but after a stern talking to by my dad (I live with my parents at the moment) they’d rather not have extra stuff come into the house and instead get rid of stuff. Though I’d love to build my inventory up I can deal with instead finding it worthwhile to get rid of stuff.

    People before my time and I’m assuming yours such as in the 1950’s and 1960’s had time mean something different. House work took longer, tv dinners just started to become a thing, and many families didn’t have dishwashers. Now I can listen to radio from my phone (podcasts) while cleaning and loading things into a dishwasher. I can instantly see either what my friends are doing or have posted through Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. I can check in on my hobbies and the community and news surrounding it (Reddit) and even play games online between various friends. Though it takes management, our attention is being robbed or pulled in various directions and many either grow up with it (people my age or younger) or can’t handle it (people who spend countless hours on social media or binging Netflix where it causes problems elsewhere in their lives). I don’t know what the answer is though we’d be so productive if we treated Netflix as a treat instead of something to mindlessly watch in excess when bored or avoiding major things.

    Finally iOS 12 is supposed to have a set of features that tracks how much time you spend in various app categories or individual apps. It can also limit you from using an app for a set amount of time such as “I want to only be able to check Facebook for 15 minutes total each day”. Personally I think this might help as well.

    PS: As someone who subbed last semester in middle school, I loathe the Fortnite craze.

    Like

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