Money Saving Tips
May 9, 2019

What’s an “Unplugged” Weekend and How Will It Help Your Wallet?

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated May 9, 2019

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Simple. Thrifty. Living.

Think back to the last time you listened to music offline. When was that? How often do you say you don’t have time to do something — but you make time for a Netflix binge? “Unplugging” and going analog for a time, whether a few hours, a day or even a whole weekend, can have astounding effects on your state of mind, not to mention your wallet. Read on a for a few of the benefits, and consider giving your phone a break for a while.

The brain loves dopamine and endorphins. These brain chemicals make us feel good and are part of our natural reward system. When you’re connected to your devices, you are constantly stimulating the reward center of your brain. When you’re in the habit of responding to every notification and there aren’t any, you go in search for stimulation. That’s why we’re constantly picking up our phones. But there are other ways to get that feel-good buzz — for free. Exercise is an especially popular method. Ever heard of the “runner’s high?” That’s the boost of endorphins runners get after they’ve been running for a while. For alternative endorphin and dopamine sources, try singing, or other activities you know you enjoy.

Humans are creatures of habit who tend to follow a routine. In this case, you might spend the rest of the day, or the weekend, catching up on things you missed during the week because you were too busy. Then you don’t do other things you want to do because you don’t think you have time. So you decide to rent a couple of movies and buy a few new apps that caught your eye while you were watching the movie.

If you had unplugged instead, you wouldn’t be out the money for the movies OR the apps you bought while scrolling. You would have the time to cook instead of dine out, saving money there. You wouldn’t be exposed to ads or commercials, urging you to buy — or have access to one-click shopping. Plus, you would actually be more productive without constant distractions and interruptions.

Melatonin is a hormone that regulates our wake-sleep cycles. The production and release of this hormone are connected to the time of day, increasing when it is dark. Lights from our devices have an impact on our melatonin production, which leads to poorer sleep. Their “infinite scroll” capablities also keep us up later at night. While there are apps which can be used to alter the light on our devices around sundown, it is best to regularly unplug from our devices an hour or two before bed.

When you’re not attached to your phone (or TV, or computer) you’ll naturally look for something to do. Maybe it’s cleaning your home, reading a book, playing a musical instrument, learning a new language, or going out. It could be exercising, playing a sport, rollerblading, bowling, or any number of activities. But most likely, you’ll be moving. And being active tends to make you happier, too.

Aside from being more active when you unplug, you are more likely to get things done that you have been putting off. Whether that’s organizing your kitchen, working on the yard, writing a book, getting your finances in order, or even planning out the upcoming week, you’re going to take steps that have a net positive impact on your life.

When you’ve set distractions aside, you can finally focus on building your wealth, learning to invest or even getting a new job.

You don’t have to give up your devices forever … but make a regular habit of turning them off, and see if you can’t make some improvements to your life. These are only a few examples of benefits of why you should regularly unplug, even if only for a day. Your devices aren’t the only ones that need to recharge!

About the Author

Mary Beth Eastman

Mary Beth Eastman serves as the content manager for Simple. Thrifty. Living, where she is dedicated to helping readers use money and credit wisely. Mary Beth believes that access to the right financial information paired with a growth mindset are essential tools for getting out of debt and building wealth. Mary Beth has a degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University and has focused her 20-year journalism career on putting readers front and center, carefully considering their concerns and presenting information that will help them in their everyday lives. She has won numerous statewide journalism awards. Her writing on personal finance as been featured on numerous websites in addition to Simple. Thrifty. Living, including Huffington Post and Lexington Law blog. Mary Beth resides in Pittsburgh, Pa., with her family and two rescue dogs.

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