12 new 'necessities' that drain your cash
|By Jay MacDonald Bankrate.com
True essentials never really change -- food, water, shelter and clothing.
However, modern life has created a host of "new necessities" that many people swear they cannot live without --
a daily latte, premium cable, a weekly manicure, a new leased automobile and cell phones for the family.
In reality, there's a more accurate word for those pricey add-ons: entitlements.
If you want to significantly cut spending, it's important to take a closer look at what you consider to be needs.
"Basically, what we need has nothing to do
with Starbucks coffee," says money coach and psychotherapist Olivia
Mellan, author of "Overcoming Overspending."
"A lot of us in wealthy, overspending America are either born or raised with a tremendous sense of entitlement. We
say to ourselves, 'I work hard or, I work at a job I hate -- at least I should be able to have a Starbucks coffee every day or eat
out for lunch.' But of course, those are not needs, they're wants. They're pleasures."
Mary Hunt, author of "Debt-Proof Living" and a recovering
overspender, fell into the entitlement trap to the tune of $100,000
in obligations before she realized that so-called bare necessities
were burying her in debt.
Today, Hunt avoids malls, shares a car with her husband, and spends much of her time helping groups wake up and
smell the Folgers.
"When financial ignorance and availability of credit meet ugly attitudes of entitlement, that is a recipe for a
horrible disaster," she says. "I know; I've been there. That's why I tell people the road's out up ahead -- turn around!"
|The cost of new 'necessities'
Jeff Yeager, who has long lived the frugal lifestyle
he espouses in "The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches,"
says the irony is that the more we consume, the more we are consumed.
"When you simplify, you almost always save money, but the really great thing is it makes us happier," he says.
"We take 'stuff' as being such a positive in our lives, but I'm not convinced that it is. It's certainly costing us more money.
Not only does it not make us any happier, it arguably makes us less happy. It makes the quality of our life decrease."
Dialing back the entitlements not only saves you money, it can start a domino effect. For instance, doing your
own lawn care and dog walking can eliminate the "need" for an expensive health club.
Meanwhile, commuting by bike or public transit can eliminate the "need" for a second car.
Here are 12 "new necessities" you might find you can
downsize or even live without. Average prices quoted are courtesy
except where noted:
The notion of giving up your daily latte and getting rich has become
a cliché for a reason: A barista-made latte costs roughly
100 times what a homebrewed cup of Joe does.
Would you pay $1,000 for a pizza? Get real.
Brew your own and save $25 a week, or $1,300 a year.