I’m cutting corners, recession-style. Everyone is keeping a closer eye on their money these days. Those of us with jobs are thankful to have them and are mindfully scrimping and hopefully saving. Recently I’ve cut my cable service back down to basic (without the upper channels for the first time in six years: farewell E!, MTV, VH1, Bravo, Lifetime, TBS, HGTV, TLC, Food, Travel…wait, did I make a mistake canceling that?!), as well as drastically reduced my discretionary spending (music, books, movie outings, bars & booze, coffee to go, going to restaurants, clothing, etc.) in order to more efficiently funnel my cash. Like many others, my main priority is to reduce my debt and grow my capital as much as possible. Because who knows how bad things can get?
I personally don’t consider this a splurge at only $17 a month, but it’s something I’d never cut out. I’m a big fan of watching TV shows on DVD this way (buying seasons is expensive, and who wants to see the same thing that many times), and you can get pretty much any movie out there. If it sucks, send it back. I’ve almost always enjoyed their smart recommendations as well. I think you’d basically have to be crazy to waste $9/a person on movie tickets (forget the inflated-priced snacks!) these days when you can just curl up at home.
Mine is only $10 a month, so it’s practically painless to begin with. I just joined about a month ago, and it’s become a fun activity my boyfriend and I do together. We enjoy it and we reap the physical benefits of exercise. In short, it makes everything better and it’s worth the effort and the little bit of money spent.
It makes me sad to hear that animal shelters all over the country are seeing an influx of abandoned animals due to the fact that the owners can no longer afford to care for their pets, largely because they lost their job. While I know that the combined costs of veterinary care, food and supplies for pets (I have two cats) can most certainly add up, I love my kitties and would do just about anything I could to keep them. In the past, no matter how hard up I’ve been, there’s always been enough money for food and litter to keep them going. The reward is always greater than what I pay, anyway.
There’s nothing wrong with a few music downloads now and then, and cover fees to support local bands. My love of music is far too great for a bad economy to suppress. However, I do look for deals on amazon.com and iTunes for cheap(er) MP3 albums and buy used CDs and rip them to my iPod. (I am proud to say I have never illegally downloaded a thing…yet.) Don’t underestimate the potential in sharing music with your friends and lover(s). Chances are they like similar stuff as you, can introduce you to great new music, you can expand each other’s collections, and it’s a bonding experience to boot. What could be better?
There are probably a few other luxuries and splurges I’ll be indulging in as the economy worsens, but for the majority I’m embracing frugality as more of a personal challenge than a no-fun sentence. My boyfriend and I both have limited cashflows and have found many satisfying ways to pass the time without ever being bored. It’s good to find a balance, that way you can focus on what really matters.