Things We Prefer to Not Live Without

by Erika Torres
can't live without this mutt

can’t live without this mutt

In our journey to pay off debt, Eric and I have made some significant changes to our lifestyle in order to be debt-free faster. But through it all, there were some things we just weren’t willing to give up.

While money was definitely tight at times, it was never like we were scared we wouldn’t have food on the table (Thank goodness we have never had to be in that position).

Our list of “Things We Can’t Do Without” is not so much because we couldn’t live without these things, it’s more of a “Things We Prefer To Not Live Without.”

  • Cable. We never had to give up cable. When we lived in the shack, it was included in our rent. When we moved, we started paying $40 a month for cable; we now pay $60. I really enjoy TV. And I get the whole Netflix, Hulu, Amazon thing…but I want to be able to watch shows now. Not two seasons behind, and none of these alternative options offer all the shows I want to watch right now.
  • Cell phones. Granted Eric and I both had crappy phones for a while, and it was only in late 2012 that we both upgraded to the Iphone 5 (my first Iphone EVER!). Now that I have my phone? I love it and am not willing to give it up unless we find ourselves in extreme dire circumstances.
  • Going out with friends. Between work, school, family and other commitments, we rarely get to hang out with our friends for a night on the town. So when we do, we don’t hesitate that much on dropping well over $100 on a single night. It happens so rarely–maybe once every several months–that it feels worth it to us to be able let our hair down.
  • Groceries. Since starting our “clean eating” this January, our grocery bill has almost doubled. But we’re eating really well! We buy a lot of organic food, almost always buy organic meat, and sometimes even splurge for grass-fed! We hardly have anything in the house that is processed. We couldn’t afford eating this way before, so now that we have a little more wiggle room in our budget, I’m glad that we can afford this luxury.
  • Our Dog. He would definitely be considered a luxury, especially when you’re trying to pay off debt, but he is such an integral part of our family, that even listing him here is laughable.
  • Travel. I’ve said it again and again: Travel will always be a priority for us. Yes we could probably have been debt free by now if we hadn’t traveled at all in the past few years, but postponing that debt pay off debt is completely worth it to me in order for us to be able to enjoy the money we work hard for through traveling.

I’m sure there are other luxuries that we choose not to live without, but these are the ones that come to the top of my mind right now.

What are your things that you prefer to not live without?





Rita P June 28, 2013 - 10:33 am

Good list. I can’t give up traveling and pets. But I can give up TV subscriptions and may be also cell phones, but not sure how long i can stay away from cell phones, but your post is very good inspiration to start.

Teacher Girl June 25, 2013 - 7:04 am

I definitely can’t live without my cat, my iPhone, internet access, and my Hulu subscription. Travel is also a big priority for me!

Lisa @ Lisa the Vegetarian June 15, 2013 - 9:07 am

Your dog is so cute! I fully agree with keeping some luxuries in your life even while trying to save money or pay off debt. It’s important to keep enjoying your life and not putting off the things that are going to make you happy for the future. When I was paying off debt, I still traveled and splurged here and there, but cut back on other smaller and less important things.

Anita June 14, 2013 - 1:43 pm

I could maybe give up my cable, but my dogs are like family! I would never give them up!

Jessica June 14, 2013 - 1:31 pm

I totally agree with all of these! I would not give up cable (even if we have only ESPN because my DH would probably kill me in my sleep lol) all the other’s are essentials to keeping me sane lol..

Rich Uncle EL June 14, 2013 - 12:36 pm

Great list and yes we all have that list of things we cant live without. Travel is important, but just think of how much traveling you can do without debt. Something to consider.

Army Amy June 14, 2013 - 11:54 am

I had to laugh about the fact that the first two things you listed (cable and phones) are things we ditched this year. (In part to simplify our lives and in part to save money.) We still have phones, but just pay-as-you go. We still carry our iphones so we can get online when we are around wifi. Living in Germany for a year weaned us off of watching TV or having regular phones. We just didn’t start back up when we moved back to the States.

That said, I won’t compromise when it comes to food. I’ll gladly go to a more expensive grocery store if it is better quality and I happily pass up the cheaper toilet paper for my favorite Angle Soft. And when it comes to my doggie, there’s no compromising there. I’ve told him before that he’s luckily I love him so much. Pets are expensive! But he’s worth it.

Debt and the Girl June 14, 2013 - 8:42 am

I don’t ever think I could give up my organic milk habit or wireless internet access at my house. Now that I am working more on my blog, it has become a required thing to be able to have internet at home. I would be losing money otherwise.

Finance Romance June 14, 2013 - 6:05 am

I’m totally with you, I could never give up my dog Porkchop, although he does cost a fortune to maintain, he’s my little amigo nowadays, it seems small change and money well spent when all thats taken into account.

Greetings from Detroit | Budget and the Beach June 13, 2013 - 5:44 pm

[…] Erika from Newlyweds on a Budget has things that she just prefers NOT to ultra frugal about. With the exception of cable, I agree! Things We Prefer to Not Live Without. […]

KC @ genxfinance June 13, 2013 - 6:57 am

I agree with you on travel. It’s important to us as well even though we are well aware of what the money can do. There’s just so much life and the world has to offer and we can’t just let it pass us by.

Budget & the Beach June 13, 2013 - 6:52 am

For me it would be a lot of healthy living type stuff like going to the doc if I felt something was going to be preventative medicine (like a mammogram), eating healthy, taking vitamins, etc. I also wouldn’t “let myself go” to save a buck. I think how you look on the outside is often a representation of you how “feel” on the inside.

Thomas | Your Daily Finance June 13, 2013 - 4:46 am

I personally could live without cable as well but we still have it and I doubt we will get rid of it. Though I would never get rid of my dog I don’t plan on getting another one after her. They are great and part of the family but huge responsibilities not to mention the cost. Not giving up my phones but thinking of switching to a cheaper carrier.

Tushar @ Everything Finance June 12, 2013 - 7:31 pm

I would never give up my pets or cell phones or fun time either. I don’t have cable and I don’t really want it, but that’s just because I don’t like the sound of it on in my house. Good food – that’s something I wouldnt’ give up!

Kayla June 12, 2013 - 6:06 pm

New reader here! 🙂

I can absolutely relate to this list. While I would happily give up cable, my partner can’t do without it. We also have three dogs, and they can be so expensive! But, they are an important part of our family so we make do. The only thing I’m not nodding in agreement with is travel- and not because we wouldn’t love to! But, neither of us has even been big on vacations, so it’s not something we miss. Instead, it’s just something we can happily look forward to doing in the future!

SavvyFinancialLatina June 12, 2013 - 4:00 pm

We don’t have cable. We wouldn’t give up food. Food is a high ticket item in our list. Both our companies pay for a smartphone. We keep expensive outings with friends to a minimum. Our friends and us like doing fun things that don’t cost a lot of money. We need to travel more!

Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies June 12, 2013 - 3:41 pm

haha, Kitty PoP and internet access are pretty much non-negotiables at this point. So’s basic running supplies. Mr PoP would probably add coffee beans to that list, too!

krantcents June 12, 2013 - 2:10 pm

My wife and I enjoy dining out. It is a great social time with friends although we keep it low cost. y monthly budget for dining out is about $250 and I rarely if ever exceed it.

Ceci Bean June 12, 2013 - 1:58 pm

I’m with you on all of that except the cable! Pets, good food, and travel especially.

Michelle June 12, 2013 - 11:56 am

I am with you with this list! These are all things that we plan on keeping also.

kathleen June 12, 2013 - 10:50 am

same on the food. cheap food is only cheap in the short term (I constantly remind myself of that when I’m grocery shopping!).

Katrina June 12, 2013 - 9:50 am

Going to coffee shops–we have a specific line item in our budget for going out for coffee. And I suppose technically home internet should fall in this category. We went the first 5 months of our marriage without internet and it spawned a lot of arguments.

eemusings June 12, 2013 - 9:05 am

I’d happily live without pay TV, but marriage is all about compromises.

Food and travel are it for us.

Ana June 12, 2013 - 8:57 am

I`d not give my iphone! Ever!

Jen June 12, 2013 - 8:43 am

Hulu and Hulu Plus let you watch current shows just a day late.

Tanner June 12, 2013 - 7:54 am

Travel is a big one for me, even if it is toned down, simple or close by. Most of my friends are out of state (or even out of the country), so I will save up to go hang out for a week every year. During that time, I wont mind going out to dinner or doing activities within reason. Another one? My phone. It’s my main source of communication, especially with out-of-the-country friends thanks to Blackberry’s BBIM being free across countries. Those are my big two and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Jordann @ My Alternate Life June 12, 2013 - 7:49 am

I definitely wouldn’t give up my dog for debt! We’d have to be in some pretty bad financial shape for that to happen. Other things I really wouldn’t want to give up include my cell phone and beer. I love my beer.


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