If you think back to your childhood, you may remember a parent telling you that watching TV was a one-way ticket to the land of the couch potatoes. In your parents’ eyes, watching cartoons was always second to things like going outside to play, doing your homework, or—worse—doing your chores. Unfortunately, mom and dad didn’t always have it right when it came to writing off watching TV as a huge waste of time.
Considering that the average American watches 4 hours of TV per day, there has to be more benefits of doing so aside from comfort and relaxation. By doing the math you can see that 4 hours/day x 7 days/week = 28 hours of TV each week. That’s as much as some people work at a part-time job! Here are some ways to turn your TV-watching habit into your own part-time job.
1. Download an App. If you have a smart phone or tablet, did you know that there are Apps that will “pay” you to watch TV?? Services such as Viggle and RewardTV let you earn points by watching your favorite shows. These points can then be redeemed for gift cards, merchandise, and services.
2. Join the Nielsen network. While you can’t officially sign yourself up without an invitation, if you ever find yourself to be the recipient of a large envelope mailed from Nielsen, you may want to join their network. Members of the Nielsen network get paid to record data about the shows they watch, which is how they come up with those famous “Nielsen Ratings” that TV conglomerates care so much about.
3. Bolster your financial education. If you’re watching TV, how about tuning in to the various shows and specials that can help you receive a free financial education? There are plenty of financial experts who now have their own shows and they’ll teach you about everything from saving money and budgeting to how to reduce debt and invest in your future.
4. Coupon. This goes hand-in-hand with sorting mail and shredding unnecessary documents: Turn your TV time into working time. Mindless activities such as clipping coupons and sorting your mail can be much more enjoyable if you’re doing them while watching your favorite shows!
5. Hone your writing skills. Become a TV critic, write a new blog about your favorite show, or seek out staff writing/ghost writer positions with your favorite blogs. Type as you watch (being careful to proof-read as you go!) and subsequently boost your bottom line.
6. Take advantage of freebies & enter contests. There are thousands of contests running each day—online, on TV, in the mail, etc. There are also thousands of freebies floating around. Use your TV time to seek out and sign up for these things. You never know when you may become the new big winner, so make sure to enter today! At the least, you’ll receive some great samples of your favorite products, which puts money right back into your pocket.
Kyle Taylor is the editor of The Penny Hoarder, a daily blog with weird & wacky tips on how to make extra money. Connect with him on Facebook/Twitter or subscribe to his newsletter to get his 5 wackiest ways to make money via email!