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5 Things I Could Eliminate If I Had To

February 5, 2012 · 128 comments

in Personal Finance

I am a pretty frugal person.  I save where I can, and I don’t have expensive tastes.  So, when I read articles about how to cut your expenses, much of the information does not really apply to our family.  We don’t drink, we don’t smoke, we don’t gamble, we don’t drink expensive coffee,  and we shop only when necessary.  However, there are some things that could go if they had to, and my list is as follows:

  1. Newspaper subscription.  We subscribe to a local paper because it covers school sports that my kids participate in.  However, I could always print the articles off online if I had to.  (But the coupons that come with the paper pretty much cancel out the cost of the paper.)
  2. Magazine subscriptions.  Our stack of magazines that have not been read is getting pretty high.  I have not subscribed to any new magazines, but the old subscriptions need to run out.  I could call and cancel, but I do still like to read magazines when I don’t  have time to get involved in a book.
  3. Gym membership.  The main reason we have the gym membership is for the racquetball and basketball courts.  I have a problem using weight machines after other sweaty people, and I have some cardio machines at home.  We also use the pool in the summer time.
  4. Eating out.  I love to eat lunch out with friends as it is my main source of socializing.  If I had to, I could forgo these meals.  However, my family may kick me out of the house after the isolation drives me insane…
  5. Travel sports/sports camps.  We spend plenty of money each year on sports-related activities.  However, the cost of the sport itself along with gas and hotel costs really add up.  If we hit a financial crises, travel soccer would be the first thing to go.
There are some items that are definitely discretionary, but I would have a hard time giving up, such as:
  1. Cable TV.  It really isn’t a very expensive form of entertainment.
  2. Internet.  Can’t live without it…
  3. Vacation.  I love vacation, and my heart and soul need a break every once in awhile.  I would make taking a couple small trips a priority, even if it was just taking the family camping up north.
Do you have many expenses that you could get rid of if faced with salary reduction or job loss?  Is there something that is really discretionary that you just would not give up?  (Like vacation in my case.)
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{ 125 comments… read them below or add one }

Kaycee February 5, 2012 at 8:51 pm

I’d easily give up cable, keep the internet and watch tv on it. Win/win. I too don’t drink, smoke, gamble, drink ANY coffee, dye my hair nor do I get my nails done. So I always snort with laughter about the save $5000/year statements that litter the internet over the year. I can however save $5000 in a year if I give up ALL forms of eating. 😉

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Kris February 6, 2012 at 11:13 pm

We have the same spending habits Kaycee, as I don’t dye my hair or do my nails either. However, I can’t give up cable. Watching TV on the computer doesn’t seem the same to me.

I too like to spend on food! 🙂

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Barb Friedberg February 6, 2012 at 12:44 am

No way could we give up cable, I love tv. Well, we could if we had to , but it would be the last to go! Personally, I think there’s always some way to cut back! I’m also not giving up my hair care! 🙂

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Kris February 6, 2012 at 11:09 pm

TV really is cheap entertainment if you think about how many hours you can watch and how much you pay. I love it especially when walking on the treadmill. I also would have gone crazy during my ACL recovery if I didn’t have TV.

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Money Infant February 6, 2012 at 7:31 am

I had to give up cable when we moved to Thailand and we miss it. And unfortunately the cost of some favorite Western foods more than makes up for the cable bill savings. If I had to I could give up those foods and save probably $200-250 a month. Other things that could go are beer and vacations, although we do have beaches quite close with very inexpensive rooms during the low season anyway. I am NOT giving up internet or air conditioning!

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Kris February 6, 2012 at 11:08 pm

Gosh, A/C is another one that I don’t think I could live without. I just didn’t think of it because it is winter time here in Michigan!

How lucky to live so close to beaches, that is a great thing.

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Money Infant February 6, 2012 at 11:14 pm

I’m kinda getting used to the heat so only really need the a/c to sleep at night. Yes the beaches here in Thailand are amazing (Caribbean type beaches and seas) and if you are willing to forgo the 5 star hotel experience lodging is cheap, especially compared to what we’re used to from the east coast beach destinations.

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Rachel February 6, 2012 at 11:03 am

If I had to, cable would go. I would have cut it already, but HBO is stingy with their programming, and that makes me a sad panda. My online gaming subscription is on the chopping block now, but that’s because I’ve stopped playing. It’s rather inexpensive for the time I used to put into it (40+ hours/mo @ 14.99 isn’t bad). I must have internet at home. I’m not prepared to cope without it.

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Kris February 6, 2012 at 11:07 pm

Can you win anything win internet gaming, or is it just for amusement? (Wasn’t sure if it was gambling or some other type of games.)

HBO has been disappointing me too, although I love ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’.

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Thomas - Ways to Invest Money February 6, 2012 at 12:10 pm

I think it would be no problem to give up internet and eating out. My phone and internet now that would be another story altogether.

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Kris February 6, 2012 at 11:05 pm

I don’t think I could even consider getting rid of the cell phone. I don’t feel safe without it anymore if I am going to be out and about. (I don’t drive and talk, but like it in case of an accident or car trouble.)

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Roshawn @ Watson Inc February 6, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Items 1-3, and 5 would not be challenging for me to give up at all. Number 4 though….is different. When I do want to go out with friends and have time, I feel like it is a small splurge usually. That would not be easy for me to give up.

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Kris February 6, 2012 at 11:04 pm

I agree Shawn. Giving up social ties would be difficult, and probably not worth it at all.

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FG February 6, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Gave up cable ages ago, and not missing it at all. Internet on the other hand… no way. 😉

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Kris February 6, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Really, no cable? How??

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Charles February 6, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Cable TV and Internet is something I don’t think I can give up ever. It’s like one of those things where once you cross over and try, you can never go back. When I first crossed over from dialup to high-speed internet, people told me that I would never ever be able to go back to dialup. I think they’re right.

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Kris February 6, 2012 at 10:55 pm

I totally agree with you Charles. Remember watching the screens load back in the day?

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101 Centavos February 7, 2012 at 6:57 am

Dog grooming is one thing I would push hard for. I’d just volunteer to shave the poodle with a pair of barber clippers, and let the hair grow back… eventually.

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Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter February 7, 2012 at 11:37 am

Great list. There are many things we could give up like our vacations and our purchases for things around the house but we don’t want to. It is always easy to come up with the list but to actually act on it is different. I think it is because the things we enjoy end up on the list.

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The Prudent Homemaker February 8, 2012 at 1:05 am

The only one of those that I spend money on is internet.

We’ve had a 7o% loss of income the last 5 years. Right now we’re not making enough to make ends meet and it’s even a higher cut than 70%.

The only reason we can still justify internet is that my husband works from home enough.

It would be foolish to charge any of those things–including vacations–if you can’t afford them.

We’re not even buying food right now.

It really depends on your circumstances.

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Shawanda @ You Have More Than You Think February 8, 2012 at 11:32 pm

I’d give up my cell phone data plan. It’d be rough, but I’d still be able to access the Internet from home or from wi-fi hotspots when I’m out and about. If I really, really had to, I’d sacrifice my gym membership, but, boy, I sure wouldn’t want it to come to that. Internet would probably be one of the last to go. However, the library is right up the street from me. Assuming I kept my data plan, I’d be able to access the internet from my iPhone and do heavy research at the library using the internet there. I could also borrow books and stuff. I hear they’re good for researching things.

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Christa February 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm

I could give up cable, home phone, and eating out. Actually, maybe I should just do that now! But i couldn’t give up the internet.

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Kris February 12, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Are you considering giving up those things?

I definitely could not give up the internet, that is for sure. I need to know too many random facts throughout the day that I can get easy access to!

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MyMoneyDesign February 11, 2012 at 4:12 pm

If we had to cut expenses, I think we would scale back on family vacations, cable, and home improvement projects. I’d also probably stretch between certain activities like getting oil changes, haircuts, buying groceries, etc. Unfortunately, I think the Internet would be the last thing to go!

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Kris February 12, 2012 at 1:52 pm

It is funny you mention that about home improvements. I watch so many home shows and these people say “well we would need to replace that countertop before we moved in”. Well, when I was looking for a house, I just wanted a decent place to live, it didn’t need to be perfect when we moved in. People have such huge expectations today. (I know that was off-topic, but I just needed to rant.)

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First gen American February 13, 2012 at 8:28 am

Eating out for sure we spend a ton on. I could give up all sorts of things too, but that’s kind of why I work, so that we can have a good quality of life and not worry about tens of dollars spent a month. I already did my pinching of pennies for most of my life and now I get to reap the rewards.

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After College Money February 20, 2012 at 8:37 pm

I could drop cable in a minute as I rarely watch TV myself. I use the internet everyday so I agree with you, I can’t live without it.

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Kris February 20, 2012 at 10:27 pm

I am even getting hooked on internet on my phone, so I am getting worse!

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Hannah - HowMuchIsIt February 23, 2012 at 2:49 pm

I would LOVE to get rid of my newspaper subscription, but the only reason I subscribe to the stupid thing is because of the coupons just like you! I have been noticing lately that many coupons are slowly becoming available online. In fact, the last time I went grocery shopping, around 80% of my coupons came from the web.

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