Since the beginning of time, necessities have consisted of food, shelter, and clothing. Basically whatever it takes to keep you alive. Today you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t add internet service, a cell phone, and dining out to the necessities list. Needless to say this has impacted budgets.
Take for example, email. Email is cheaper and faster than sending snail mail, but guess what you need to send an email? A computer. In order to simplify and save money you need to acquire. This is why people rarely save money. New necessities are constantly speaking for more and more of your income. It’ll be easier said than done, but you need to weed through your necessities. Working through this list of new necessities and answering the questions will help you save money, eliminate costs, and reevaluate your expenses.
Do you really need the fastest internet service available? Have you called your provider recently to see if there are any deals you can take advantage of? What about combining your services to get a lower price?
Do you even watch the premium channels? If not, downgrade to a lower package. Or can you forgo expensive cable for a cheaper alternative?
Yeah, I just combined coffee and tobacco into the same category. They are both legal addictive stimulants after all. Do you regularly buy expensive coffee? Would it really be that much of a hassle to make it yourself? Also, no question necessary, you should really quit smoking.
Music and movies
Music and movies can be their own sort of addiction. We’ve all been to that friend’s house who has the rows and rows of DVDs and CDs. Oh, that’s your house? Now’s the time to evaluate your collecting habits. Do you really need to buy that violet/blue-ray/3D/14 discs of extra features movie? Have you researched streaming music and movie memberships? What about the library? You know that place you haven’t been since college? They have lots of DVDs and CDs you can borrow. For free.
Eating out (specifically lunch)
Eating out on the weekends is a major social time for a lot of people, but weekday lunches are less so. You can easily say no to lunch out without offending anyone or missing out on some exciting meal. Make your own burrito and save the $7 bucks.
Call your provider and work your magic. Ask all the details of your plan. How many minutes, data, texts do you actually use? Can you reduce your plan size? You might be surprised at how willing customer service is to help you save money, especially if you go in person to a store.
You may only save $20 here or $40 there but it all adds up. In fact, you should make it your mission to work your way through this list and figure up your savings. Whatever number you’re able to save, should actually go to a savings account.
You don’t need to give up our glorious 21st century necessities to save money, but you also don’t need the most pimped out plan/phone/service. Taking yourself down to the next tier on all your plans could potentially save you hundreds a month.
Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning financial mind and a former comedian. He’s a USA TODAY columnist, author of ten books, and is the host of the popular radio show and podcast, The Pete the Planner Show. Pete is considered one of the foremost experts on financial wellness in the world, but he’s just as likely to talk your ear off about bass fishing.