Unplugging

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My number one goal with Atypical finance is to help you improve your financial life, and I regularly partner with companies that share that same vision. Some of the links in this post may be from our partners. Read my disclaimer for more info.

So I can promise you this is not yet another “get rid of your cable” type post, although I do advocate for that. Also, this post doesn’t have a ton to do with finance. Just a fair warning if you want to turn away now. 😉

I am writing this in the middle of a road trip to Colorado from good ole Chicago. We’re about two thirds of our way to Colorado at the moment. In fact, we just entered the state so the scenery is going to start getting interesting again (sorry Nebraska).

As we were driving through Iowa and looking at all of the hilly farmland, it got be thinking back to the road trips we took when I was younger. My family didn’t have a ton of money.

In order to save money, instead of flying, we would take the car everywhere. It’s the same reason I’m currently driving to Colorado right now. We’re saving about $1,000 by driving instead. But I digress.

We took 3 or 4 trips from Chicago to Dallas when I was younger, drove to Disney World in ’95, and while my dad was in the hospital for Leukemia, we took many three hour drives out to Iowa City, Iowa to visit him in the hospital.

This got me wondering what the heck we did with our time. Obviously, this was well before smart phones and the internet was barely starting to catch on. Today, I have about an hour train ride to work every morning and everyone (including me) is glued to their phones.

Unplugging Pinterest

So in Iowa we stopped for a quick break and my wife was nice enough to take over driving. We got back in the car, and I looked around for a second then instinctively grabbed my phone to start to surf social media. After about 10 minutes of this, it dawned on me that I was missing the scenery and adventure! So I put my phone down and just stared out the window.

I’ve always enjoyed the scenery of hilly farmland that Iowa is so good at showcasing, but like many other things in life, I was missing it by being too “connected.”

How many other things are we missing because of the amount of time we spend staring at a touch screen all day?

Back in 2013, mobileinsurance.co.uk reported that the average person in the UK spends about 90 minutes a day on their phones. That’s 23 days a year or 3.9 years of the average life span. That’s almost an entire month out of your year spent looking at a mobile screen!

In the U.S in 2015, it was reported by Informate Mobile Intelligence that according to data usage, Americans spend an average of 4.7 hours a day on their phones. The average American also checked social networks 17 times a day, about once every hour awake in a day.

I want to encourage you to look up more often. We’re missing a lot. Smart phones are great (believe me, I love my iPhone), but it seems the more connected we are to them, the less connected we are to actual people.

Maybe that’s one of the reasons it’s so hard to show love for our fellow man these days.

So because of all this (and the irony that I’m staring at a computer screen instead of enjoying the scenery while writing this), I’ve made the decision to unplug as much as possible this weekend.

I hope you’ll consider doing the same more often. I guarantee it’ll be good.

Add your voice in the comments below.

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Hey! I’m Tim.
I am an expert budgeter and certified Dave Ramsey Solutions Master Financial Coach with a passion for teaching you how to manage your money the best way for you. I’ve been around the block with money and now I live to teach others like you and me what I’ve learned. Read more about me.
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