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Why Unplugging is Good for Your Wallet

The following post is from Christina of Northern Cheapskate:

Power Supply
photo credit: semihundido

I’m a bit of a technology junkie.  Whenever I get a spare moment, I’m checking my e-mail, reading other blogs,  looking at Facebook, or writing blog posts.  We’ve got a ridiculous amount of gadgets, too – iPods, iPhone, desktop computer, laptops, iPad, Kindle, a Wii…it seems like one of us is always looking at a screen or plugging in a gadget to be charged.

My husband and I recently reminisced about our gadget-free days early in our marriage.  We used to throw some clothes in a bag and hit the road for weekend getaways without hunting down the car chargers for phones and gadgets. We had no movies to watch on an iPad at the hotel. We didn’t even have digital cameras, so we couldn’t share our photos with our friends until we got home. There was no GPS to guide us. And the thing is, I don’t remember ever having a bad time on those trips.

Periodically, we try to have a day or two where we completely unplug from all our gadgets.  We find activities to do as a family that don’t involve staring at a screen.  I love these days because it helps me to focus on real life relationships.  I’ve noticed that unplugging has been good for our finances, too.

Appreciating the World Around Us

When your face isn’t staring at a screen, and your hands aren’t swiping and typing, you can experience the world around you. I find myself turning to low-cost (or free) experiences to spend my time. I can savor a delicious meal, enjoy the smell of a campfire, or feel the wind in my hair on a boat ride – things I might not notice if I’m checking e-mail on my iPhone. Unplugging helps me enjoy the beauty of nature and makes me appreciate all the things we have.

Resisting the Marketing

When you’re unplugged, there are no e-mails announcing the latest sales.  No flashing ads on websites.  No temptation from fabulous one-day only deals. We aren’t bombarded with television advertising or product placement.  On days that we’re unplugged from our gadgets and tuned into nature, we spend much less money.  I hear much less “I want” and “I need” from the kids.  I’m less tempted to go out to eat or head to the mall when I’m bored.

Forgetting about the Jones’

Who hasn’t read a post on Facebook and felt a twinge of jealousy that a friend is on a fabulous vacation?  Or maybe you’ve been intimidated by the beautiful home decor you found on Pinterest?  Whenever I find myself comparing my wardrobe, my home, my garden, or my lifestyle to others, it ends up costing me money.  Unplug and you’ll be able to forget about keeping up appearances. You can get comfortable in your own skin.

Time for Reflection

You find that you suddenly have a lot of free time  when you unplug – time you can use to reflect on your life, your habits, and your goals. You’ll be able to devote time to nurturing your soul and to coming up with solutions to challenges in your life without having to respond to every phone call or e-mail notification like Pavlov’s dog. You’ll have time to do all those DIY projects, crafts, and home-cooking you’ve been meaning to do.

It’s not easy for a technology junkie to log off, but every time I do, I have noticed that I spend less money, and enjoy life more.  It’s good to log off and start living.

How often do you unplug?  What have your learned from the experience?

Christina Brown is the creator of Northern Cheapskate, a blog dedicated to frugal living through coupons, freebies, and money-saving ideas.  She lives in the rural north woods of Minnesota where she clips coupons, pinches pennies, and chases her three boys (a 7-year-old and twin 5-year olds) as a stay-at-home mom.