What can’t you live without, even when money is tight? What’s most important to you?
I’ve heard it said that you can tell what’s most important to you by looking at how you spend your money. In the past, I haven’t wanted to believe that because I was ashamed at all the frivolous things I paid money for, but I think it’s probably pretty accurate.
These days if you look at our bank account you’ll see that most of our money goes to our mortgage, other household bills, and food. I guess that’s the part of growing up that isn’t too fun. But even so, I think these expenses say something about us. We didn’t have to buy a house, but it was important enough to us to have a place to call our own, to settle down, and to have a yard for our dogs to play in. We don’t have to pay for cable and internet, but it’s our link to the world. We don’t have to give money to our church, but we believe that God gave us everything we have anyway, and our church is our family. It couldn’t support itself without the giving of its members.
Apart from those things, there is very little that I won’t deprive myself of in the name of saving money, especially now that we’ve started our new budget. But the following are the few things that I find myself purchasing no matter what, even now.
Lean Cuisines for lunch. I realize that these are relatively expensive to bring to work every day for lunch compared to bringing leftovers or making a sandwich. But I can’t tell you how much I love them, and the ease of just throwing one in my bag in the morning is a big draw.
Netflix. First of all, we don’t really go to movies anymore. $9 a pop? No thank you. Netflix is more expensive than using Redbox, but we do it for the selection. It’s our compromise. Right now we’re watching through some of our favorite TV shows that we missed the first time around.
The occasional new book. I’m a big fan of the library, and I’m also a member of Paperbackswap.com and Bookmooch.com, so I rarely have to buy books I want to read. But sometimes our book club chooses a book that is either insanely popular or brand new, and then I have to bite the bullet. If I can’t find it used, I go to Barnes & Noble because I still have a membership there.
Of course, what I really can’t live without can’t be bought with money. Love of family and friends, hope for a future, and a purpose for my life are some of those things. If I had those things, I could live on the street scrounging for food and make it through.
What about you? What can’t you live without?