Saturday, January 10, 2009

Consider Paring Down

With the current recession going full bore with no end in sight, many people are considering paring down on services and items they are now finding not-so-necessary. Here's my take on a few things:

Phone Service
I can't for the life of me find any good, legitimate reason for a household to have a land line when everyone in the house has a cell phone. If you have a good reason, please, let me know! I know a couple in their sixties who have a land line, which they pay too much for, and both have cell phones. Nobody ever calls either of them on the land line anymore. The only calls they receive are from telemarketers. Why do they still have a land line then? I've asked them myself before, and they can't think of a single good reason, and yet they still have the land line. They still pay for it every month. If you want to save money, ditch one or the other. My husband and I decided to ditch the cell phone. Yup, you read that right. We only had one cell phone between us to begin with, and it didn't have good reception where we were previously living. Now we just have the land line, and, as far as I can tell, we haven't missed a thing. As a disclaimer, though, we did invest in a Tracfone in case of emergency. We don't use it for regular calls.

Cable Service
I know a guy who gets like 700 channels on his big-screen television. He works 7 days a week, for 12 hours at a time. (He has two jobs.) My best guess is that he may have about 2 hours each day in which to enjoy his 700 channels. In all fairness, he does get about tow full days off per month, but he usually doesn't spend his days off watching television. So ask yourself, do we really need x-amount of channels? How often do we even watch television in the first place? Sit down and figure out how many hours per month you watch television and divide that by the amount you pay every month for your cable bill. I can't tell you how much a reasonable amount to pay-per-hour would be. I'm biased, though, because I find television generally to be a waste of time. There are plenty of other things I could be doing with my time. At the same turn, my children watch Sesame Street 2 or 3 days a week, and my husband and I watch between 1 and 4 hours a week as well, depending on if the Packers are playing or not. Needless to say, we don't subscribe to cable service.

Going Out to Eat
Do you often find yourself driving through for lunch or dinner? Do you then wonder at the end of your pay period where all your money went? This goes back to budgeting. I'm not against fast food altogether- I consume the occasional burger as well. If you haven't yet, watch the documentary "Supersize Me". You'll have a better understanding of what happens to your body and your health when you eat fast food. I'm not a nutritionist, but it's common sense to know eating fast food is not healthy for you. That feeling you get a while after having consumed a bunch of junk? That should be enough to tell you the "food" you just ate is wreaking havoc on your body. At the same time it's wreaking havoc on your wallet. So what to do? Eat at home. Learn to cook. I'm not talking about buying a boxed meal from the grossery store (misspelling intentional) and warming it over. Adding water doesn't count either. I'm talking using real ingredients to actually prepare a real meal. If you think you don't have time, make time. Eating real food is too important to make excuses for. Your health, and the health of your family, depends on it. Stop robbing yourself of real nutrients in exchange for stomach filler. I'll stop my rant now to give you time to look up some recipes.

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