“If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”
Lets go ahead and count on gas staying in the 3.25-3.50 a gallon range for quite some time, and then we can adjust again when it gets up to 4.00 a gallon. With that in mind, I’m wondering what gets tossed from a family’s budget when there is more month left than money. Assuming that credit becomes harder to get, people will at some point need to make sacrifices, right?
Ok, if fuel has gone up by roughly a third in one year, chances are that utilities increases are not far behind, and I can attest to skyrocketing food prices, since I do the shopping. If prices for necessities have gone up by 25%, and fuel by at least that much….what will go unpaid once the envelope is empty?
I’d like to think people will make fewer car trips, but I’ve seen no evidence of that thus far. If conservation isn’t embraced on a large scale, something will have to suffer as a result.
Will it be cell phones? I doubt it. They have become almost indispensable in a fast-paced, sometimes hostile world. Would you want your loved one broke down somewhere with no way to summon help? Perhaps people will once again view them as a tool to use in an emergency, instead of as a way to stay connected to their friends and family 24/7.
Food? This is actually an area that it is pretty easy to slash expenses in, provided you have time to prepare real food. The pre-packaged, pre-cooked frozen stuff is quite expensive. If Mommy and Daddy both work full time jobs, and are expected to shuttle kids to soccer, or karate, or what-have-you, there will be no time to plan and prepare meals.
Television? Depending on the type of service you have, you might be able to do without and save somewhere between 40-100 bucks each month. Thats 25 a week on the high side. Our family doesn’t eat out, we don’t go to movies, and rarely rent them. Television is our sole entertainment. Even so, this is our first budget cut. We will ditch the Dish.
High-speed internet. Fuggetaboutit. Too valuable a tool for this family. Also, we can watch re-runs of television on our computer. 10 bucks a week seems reasonable.
You see where I am going with this. We are re-working our budget, constantly tweaking it to adjust for rising prices and a stagnant income. I will find places to save…but I am wondering what are other people’s priorities? I’ll give one more example: Vacations. I will not sacrifice our family vacations. Sure, we won’t be traveling the globe, staying at 5 Star hotels and the like, but we will find interesting and fun trips to take as a family each and every year. I know that soon, the kids will have less and less interest in hanging out with Mom and Dad, so I plan to make use of this time.
What do you think people will do without, or, better, what cuts will you make in the future?
(I’m exempting Democommie from this exercise, as I kinda figure he already lives within his means, kills what he eats, etc, in his cabin there in upstate N.Y.)