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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Unnecessary expenses that are still worth it

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?


Francesca said...

I found your note on the turbo tax giveaway website - amazing where the web will take you. I gave up eating lunches out and take out coffee (at least most of the time) both when I was buying a new car and now paying for my daughter's college. I don't live in a city right now but spent many years in NYC and two incomes, one residence was the key to saving money there (plus in those days, low rent). Anyway, I consider internet a necessary expense right along with cell service for my daughter and her dad. Thankfully, as another fed civil servant, my cell/blackberry comes with the territory. Best of luck to you.

Francesca said...

just wrote and forgot the family blog - check out

pubish as a link if you want

Anonymous said...

A fine bottle of Aberlour single malt Scotch.

Peter said...

i recently did a post about 5 things i can do without -and the gym was one of them - because i can do without it and work out fine at home. But i do have to admit - one thing i can't seem to give up is that rare coffee from the coffee shop. I just can't stop - and it isn't a huge expense - so i don't!

Kacie said...

I think a DVR is a reasonable thing to have.

VHS tapes will be obselete before ya know it.

And, if you're unnecessarily depriving yourself--well, I just think that's no way to be.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't give up my gym membership unless we were in a major financial hardship. I'd give up internet first. Sure, we could work out at home, but I know from experience that we won't. Knowing we're paying for it gets us in the door 4 days a week.

J. Savings said...

Scratch off lottery tickets! Besides my current challenge of not spending extra $ this month, it's something i'd never give up.

The $1 spent is well worth the entertainment, and you might even be given money :)

Lindsay said...

The DVR. I am with you on that. I am a stay at home mom and I truly believe that the DVR makes me a better mother. It is not that I watch a lot of TV, as you said, I just want to watch the shows I like without interruption. So, instead of telling my children to be quiet mommmy's show is on, I have the freedom to be there when they need me and at night I get my time. Me, a glass of wine (another thing I won't give up) and the DVR! It's a wonderful thing.