I have hotmail and yahoo e-mail accounts and part of the daily ritual is reading the MSN or Yahoo headlines and social stories. Sometimes I resist clicking on the crazy headlines, like “WAS George Washington the first president?” and “Why it’s better to rent than to buy”, but other times I can’t resist. Since I have been ranting about how American love to spend money on luxuries like the iPhone, I clicked on 12 new ‘needs’ that drain your cash.
Before I go on, I just want to say that most of the Yahoo and MSN articles are really paid advertisements or promotions for new books or websites. That being said, this list was pretty solid. I will give my comments after each one.
1- Daily latte (Starbucks). I agree with this. Is it necessary to get “special” coffee at Starbucks or now at the freakin’ corner gas station? Home brewed not good enough for you? How about skipping on coffee all together and drink tea or something else which is a lot cheaper?
2- Cable TV. I agree with this. If you HAVE to get cable (or satellite) you’d better get basic. The premium channels are a rip-off, especially that you can rent all those cool HBO or Showtimes TV series on DVD. Cable bills kill families.
3- Manicures/pedicures: Suggesting to your wife or girlfriend to stop doing this is a one-way ticket to the dog house. But seriously ladies…just think about cutting it down and doing it yourself.
4- Botox: Truthfully, monthly Botox treatments seems to be a filthy rich thing and I don’t know any middle or lower class people that spend money on that.
5- Bottled water: I agree. If you live in a city that has clean running water, you are wasting your money. If you live in a city that warns against drinking tap water, boil it first and save tons of money.
6- The second car. Probably the most controversial thing on this list so far. It takes a lot of planning to just have one car in a marriage (and with kids), and many times it is truly a need. Granted, two cars does drain the monthly budget, but this one takes a lot thinking and planning about- and would probably cause a lot of arguments.
7- Cell phones. Regular DailySkew readers know that I am against cell phones. Some families have 4 of them. Time to think about prepaid ones.
8- Lawn service. Average cost is $65 to $90 per week. You may want to…gasp…do it yourself?
9- Clothes. They last a long time. So why do we keep stockpiling them? Again, try telling your woman to stop buying new clothes, shoes, or handbags, and see what happens.
10- Private school. A huge myth that is worth $8,000 to $35,000 a year.
11- Expensive birthday parties for your kids. Some kid parties get out of control. You need to plan fun activities without throwing cash into it. Kids don’t care!
12- Pet grooming. Pet’s vet bills are astronomical, so you can save by doing your own grooming.
Of course, if you don’t have a family of your won or pets you don’t have to worry about a lot of them. I don’t predict any changes in the habits of Americans any time soon, regardless of the state of the economy. However, it is good to at least THINK about where your money goes every month, and if you really NEED something.