All over the web, you will read stories of how people saved money by cutting certain things out of their lives:
- Giving up gym memberships in favor of hand weights, running outside, buying home gym equipment, etc
- Getting rid of a home phone line and only using a cell phone.
- Giving up cable and only watching network television, or sometimes, just watching movies and dvds
- Giving up home internet access
- No longer eating out
- Buying a nice coffee maker and giving up those morning coffee runs
- Giving up the Netflix/Blockbuster/Hollywood Video membership and renting movies at the library
All great ideas, and great ways to tighten the budget. But these lists lead me to ponder the things in my life that I don’t want to give up. The things that perhaps belong on this list, things that are expensive and not necessities, but things that bring me enough joy to make them worth it.
And I thought about it.
And thought some more.
For me, the one thing that I don’t want to give up is my DVR service, and along with that, my whole cable/internet package. I don’t watch a ton of television, and often when I do, I’m also checking my e-mail or chatting online with a friend or working on one of the many crochet or knitting projects I always seem to have in progress. But there are a few shows that I try to keep up with, and I absolutely refuse to schedule my life around a tv show.
Sure, I could just buy some VHS tapes and record shows as they come on. But it’s so easy to just tell the DVR what to record. And I can tell it once to record every new episode of, say, “Chuck,” and it will do just that.
Yes, it’s an expense I don’t need. But to me, it’s worth it. And more importantly, I can afford it. I have budgeted for the expense, and my numbers still work out just fine.
What “unnecessary” expense do you choose to not give up? Is it your gym membership? Your morning coffee runs, a.k.a. escapes from the office? What expense is just worth it to you?
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.