The other day I read an article over at Free Money Finance titled Three Expenses I Thought I Couldn’t Live Without. I found the fact that the author addressed these things that he sacrificed as expenses instead of necessities very interesting.
I admit that I do think of certain things as necessities and do get very attached to certain possessions; like the author of the article noted, his roommate exclaimed that she would die without the internet. I understand how people can be pretty dramatic about their possessions.
That article got me thinking about things that I personally thought I couldn’t live without but learned to over time?
Here are the basic amenities found in most homes that our family chooses to do without.
Cable or Satellite Television
Growing up, my family only had Cable TV in my later years of teenage life. I did live without it before and decided that we couldn’t afford it when my wife and I bought our home, so we tried to go without. We have been without Cable or Satellite TV since 2007 and haven’t looked back. There are way too many ways to get entertainment for free now that TV is just irrelevant. Now if I was a sports nut, things may be different but when basketball season rolls around and my wife wants to watch a game, we just go to the in-laws to get our fix.
Subscription services (Print and Digital)
I hate the thought of being under contract to anyone and not being able to cancel. If I decide the service is no longer worth the money, I want the option to drop it!
We don’t subscribe to any magazines, movie subscriptions or home delivery services. The only things we pay on a monthly basis are insurance and utilities (including Internet service).
We have never had a land line phone but some people just can’t let go of their land lines. For some circumstances, this makes sense, but I don’t know too many people that don’t have a cell phone now and I have a hard time believing that you are getting the amount of use out of your land line you are paying.
As far as cell phone service goes, my wife and I both still use a cell phone but my wife has a prepaid cell phone without any contract and my work currently pays for my cell phone. I will be honest here, I love my phone. It is so convenient to be able to do many of the things I used to do on my computer, on my phone but honestly, if my work decided to stop supplying cell phone service, I really believe I could live without it. Before my work started picking up the phone bill, I only used my phone for calls (no data or text) and I could definitely get by with a prepaid phone. I could also opt to use a VOIP service like Skype or Magic Jack if I needed to make a long phone call that would use too many prepaid minutes.
Here are a few that we could probably cut, even though it may be difficult, if we absolutely needed to.
My wife and I value eating out. We enjoy it and do it more often than most people in the frugal circle, but we cut other expenses from our life in order to be able to eat out more often. If we absolutely had to, we could cut eating out from our expenses. We have experimented with cutting down the frequency of how often we eat out and have gone several months with only a single visit to our favorite restaurant without too much fuss, so it is surely doable.
Utah is not known for its transportation system and until recently it didn’t have anything other than bus that would travel between cities. Recently, a rail system was put in that travels between the two major cities, and stops in all the cities in-between which is only about a 100 mile stretch. I have run the numbers and if you consider the time I would lose (it would take 4 times the amount of time to get to work), it’s actually cheaper to drive my car to and from work than it is to ride this new train but if it became absolutely necessary that we do without a vehicle, we could probably survive.
Finally, one thing I don’t believe we could do without, not because of the entertainment or communication aspect of it but because a portion of my income is dependent on having it:
I do have Internet at work but with the amount of things that I do online, only 5% of them consist of recreational activities. I do IT consulting, web design, and freelance writing just to name a few of the activities that I do online at home that help supplement our income. We also have a really inexpensive internet plan with no frills or additional services tacked on. If it were life and death, we could cut the net, but if it were a choice between the cost per month and the income I receive that is dependent on that service, the Internet stays.
Are there any luxuries you have cut out of your life to better your financial situation?
Image by SantiMB br>
Tags: amenities, basketball season, cable television, cable tv, car insurance, cell phone, free money, hassle, money finance, necessities, payphone, possessions, roommate, satellite tv, sports nut, subscription services, teenage life