Anchor Intro: With gas and food prices up and the economy down, for many families cutting costs isn't just a goal, it's a necessity. And speaking of necessities, it's possible many of the things you spend money on aren't as necessary as you think. Bankrate.com explains.
Voice over 1: If you're over 40, you can probably remember a time when computers and cell phones were luxuries. Today, at least for many, they've emerged as necessary to modern life. But other things you consider necessary might not be, and they're costing you a bundle.
Voice over 2: Example? Bottled water at 30 cents per bottle -- about as cheap as you can get it. That's still $110 a year: for less than a dollar's worth of water.
Voice over 3: Judging by the number of coffee shops in this country, you'd think $5 coffee was a necessity. You can make it yourself for 5 cents.
Voice over 4: Cable's 30 bucks a month, twice that if you make it premium. So the reality of watching all that reality TV? It's costing you nearly $800 bucks a year.
Voice over 5: Books have always been a necessity. That's why your tax dollars pay for a library where you can get them free. Bookstores are a luxury.
Voice over 6: And by the way, the library also has movies you can check out free, so DVD rentals are a luxury.
Voice over 7: Your taxes already pay for public schools, yet many feel paying for private school is necessary. Is it? Of the last 10 U.S. presidents, only three -- Kennedy and both Bushes -- went to private high school.
Voice over 8: Many people think their time is too valuable to mow their own grass, so they pay a lawn service.
Voice over 9: Then they pay hundreds of dollars a year to get their exercise in a health club instead.
Standup: Bottom line? There's a silver lining in economic dark clouds: Iit makes us reassess what's really necessary. Track where your money's going and remove a few expenses from necessity to luxury. For Bankrate.com, I'm Kristin Arnold.