Twelve "Necessities" That Drain Your Cash

Almost everyone is looking for ways to save money but they often overlook making cutbacks in areas they consider necessities. It may seem reasonable to do so until you consider that some of these necessities may not be necessary at all. An article by suggests that if you take a serious look at some of these so-called necessities you may find more savings than you thought possible, therefore, they have put together a list of 12 common “necessities” which could be draining your cash. The list, inside…

1. Daily Latte
A fancy coffee shop cup of coffee could cost 100 times a home brewed cup.
Brew your own and you could save $25 a week, or $1,300 a year.

2. Cable TV

If you can live without premium channels you could save about $25-$30 a month, or $300-$360 a year. If you are hard-core you can drop cable altogether and save $55-$65 a month, or $660-$780 a year.

3. Manicure/Pedicure
We don’t have much experience here but apparently if you skip a manicure and a pedicure once a month, you would save $50-$110 a month or $600-$1,200 a year.

4. Botox
Treatments usually run $300-$1,200 per visit. Try going “au natural” and save $1,200-$4,800 a year.

5. Bottled Water
If you feel ok about drinking tap water you can save $25-$40 a month, the average monthly delivery fee based on online averages.

6. Second Car

According to the article, this is the highest-ticket “new necessity” today. Getting rid of an old gas guzzler could save you thousands on insurance, registration, maintenance and of course, gas.

7. Cell Phone
Does EVERY child in the family need a cellphone? You could save $480 to $720 per year for every phone you eliminate.

8. Lawn Service
If you have the time, mow your own lawn. You could spend $65-$90 on average for weekly mowing, hedge cutting, and leaf blowing which equals $260-$360 a month.

9. Clothes
Unless you have an urgent need to keep up with the latest fashions, famous frugal-master Jeff Yeager has an idea that will probably seem radical to most, “I think most Americans could easily go for one year without buying any new clothes,” he says. The savings here could be monumental depending on your clothes-shopping habits.

10. Private School

Since you’re already paying for public school, why not use it? You could save $8,000-$35,000 per year according to the Boarding School Review website.

11. Childhood Parties

Nobody’s suggesting you take away a child’s day of celebration but you don’t always have to overdo it. Do you really need the inflatable moon-walk, magician, clown, and pony-rides every year?

12. Pet Grooming

Spend $25 on a set of clippers and learn how to groom your pet from a book or online. Professional grooming could cost $30-$90 depending on the size and breed of your pet.

Most people become complacent inside their comfort zone and are reluctant to go without those things to which they are accustomed, it’s only natural. But try taking a few steps back and look at your necessities objectively, and you may discover that some of those things aren’t necessary after all.

12 new ‘necessities’ that drain your cash []
(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. unpolloloco says:

    The private school part is much more debatable.

    On the elementary/middle/high school levels, private typically means smaller class sizes, more personalized attention, and more ability to teach to students’ individual learning styles.

    On the collegiate level, privates oftentimes give much more attractive financial aid packages (both need- and merit-based aid) than publics do. I’m currently going to a (higher-ranked) private for the same amount I’d be paying to go to a state school.

  2. pgh9fan says:

    This is a bunch of crap. The second car? Let’s see. I go north to work my wife goes south. We’d have to leave an hour earlier, put our son in day care longer, and spend a ton on gas.
    How many people actually use Botox?
    A good party for a child costs $250 or so. Not a lot of money and you know what? Sometimes you should make your kid happy.

  3. Marcie Vargas says:

    The only thing I have on that list is a cell phone, which I need for work and get partially reimbursed for, and use for long distance calls. I gave up TV completely when my ex and I divorced (he was a TV addict, heaven help me if I ever hear the theme song to Roseanne again). Hate to think how broke I would really be if I considered any of the above “necessities.”

  4. bnpederson says:

    @unpolloloco, pgh9fan: It’s a generic list meant for the general public. More to the point, it’s another list. Were you really expecting sage advice to come in a twelve bullet points?

  5. Stanium says:

    How on Earth did pet grooming get into the list on nessecities?!

    As for botox treatment, I think it’s for those who can really afford it without having to save on anything. But for most part the list look reasonable, especially for cable TV and cell phones part.

  6. Optimistic Prime says:

    @unpolloloco: I agree with you, especially in Cleveland. I want my kids to learn how to think, not how to pass a test.

    As far as the rest of the list, I can’t think of the last time I used any of these, except the second car. Though with conflicting schedules, it truly is a necessity.

  7. fever says:

    The biggest money-saver is not having children. I think we should all start advocating that. I certainly do. Almost as much as I advocate never drinking coffee.

  8. aishel says:

    I don’t know anyone getting Botox. For some people, private education is a must. I’m Orthodox Jewish, and public schools just don’t offer the education that I want my kids to have (learning about Judaism, and about the Bible).

  9. unleashed says:

    I’ve only got one of these “necessities” and it’s basically a necessities because we don’t have a home phone here.

    Our cable is free because the cable company is too lazy to turn it off from the previous tenants. :)

  10. bnpederson says:

    @aishel: They teach the Bible at Orthodox Jewish schools now? I’d kinda figured they just taught the Tanakh.

  11. strangeffect says:

    What kind of fantasy world do you live in where you think people who visit this blog would consider botox to be a necessity.

  12. tedyc03 says:

    @unpolloloco: There may be alternatives, like charter, home schooling, etc. While I’m not going to tell you how to raise your children, the article does make a good point. I live in DC, and while I would never send my children to a typical public school, I might consider some of the many charter academies here.

  13. godai says:


    The Tanakh is a bible.

  14. Gopher bond says:
  15. William Mize says:

    Thank goodness others chimed in about the botox.
    What the hell?
    On what planet is this a “necessity”?
    Well, okay, Hollywood might be considered another planet, but for the rest of us, it’s just “useless”.

  16. Brain.wav says:

    Useless list is useless. About the only thing on there that I could see applying to most people is Cable TV. Maybe cellphones, but where do they get those numbers? Most providers charge $10-$15 for an extra line, so long as your kid isn’t a texting fiend, that’s all the more you’ll be paying.

  17. coren says:

    Well, don’t buy coffee, don’t have a lawn, or kids, or a car. Or botox. Buy clothes probably once or twice a year (Juneish and Novemberish – apparently one needs to clear summer clothes before summer, ditto winter) Then again, with a paycheck of just under 200 bucks a week, I’m saving money, so maybe this list is right after all?

  18. WakefulD says:

    1. Daily Latte
    I have been brewing my own coffee for years. I consider Starbucks a treat, not a part of my everyday existence.

    2. Cable TV
    Haven’t had cable TV at home for years and years… And we never got the premium channels.

    3. Manicure/Pedicure
    I haven’t had one of these in … uh.. 6 years? It’s called “cutting your own damn nails.”

    4. Botox
    Somehow I never considered injecting poison into my face a necessity.

    5. Bottled Water
    I stopped drinking bottled water when I realized that New Orleans has no plastic recycling.

    6. Second Car
    I cannot afford one car, let alone another.

    7. Cell Phone
    Since I am the only child, and actually pay for both my line and my mother’s, I think I can safely skip this one.

    8. Lawn Service
    Been mowing the lawn for 9 years now…

    9. Clothes
    OK, this one I am a little guilty of. I had to buy professional clothes for my internship, so they didn’t think a hobo works here.

    10. Private School
    It’s called a scholarship. That’s how I made it through.

    11. Childhood Parties
    Wow, I didn’t even think about this until now… I didn’t have a birthday party from the time I was 7 or 8 to when I was 18.

    12. Pet Grooming
    Yeah, the dog’s never been professionally groomed. He’s tiny, I can handle it.

    So yes, useless list IS useless, brainwav. I seriously have to wonder who decided these things are necessities, anyway….

  19. crazydavythe1st says:

    Brew your own coffee? Seriously?

    I thought it was all about mooching free coffee at work….

  20. blitzcat says:

    13. Give up weekly crack and hooker binge, save $15k a year.

    Is there a real list somewhere for real people?

    I take issue with #6. Second vehicle lowered my total insurance more than I pay in other maintance fees, gas excluded.

  21. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    5. Bottled Water
    If you feel ok about drinking tap water you can save $25-$40 a month, the average monthly delivery fee based on online averages.

    Not to mention the fact that some of this water comes from regions suffering from drought. We’ve already got areas that are back at ‘Extreme’ and ‘Exceptional’ levels of drought. You think that’s gonna stop the bottling plants? It didn’t last year.

  22. bigdave914 says:

    Who gets cable for $55-$65?

  23. Jozef says:

    The only two things from that list I pay for are:

    Cable TV – Can’t wait for a la carte programming; I watch only about five channels, but all of them are on basic extended cable. Once I can select my channel lineup, I’ll be dropping the rest.

    Cell phone – Some may consider me to be pretty stupid with my cell phone: I still pay month-to-month service after my contract expired over 2 years ago. In my defense, I’m still waiting for Verizon to start selling bar-shaped phones again. Anyway, I was strongly considering switching to prepaid phones, as the majority of calls I make is through Skype anyway.

  24. FatLynn says:

    It would be really hard to go without clothing for an entire year. The bottom line is that clothing wears out and needs to be replaced. I guess if I spent all of 2008 stocking up, I could skip purchases in 2009, but clothing is limited-use, regardless of changes in fashion.

    This is especially true for those who work a professional job and are expected to look pristine.

  25. apotheosis says:

    Hey here’s another idea, let’s leave it up to the citizens to determine what school their education dollar goes to. That way if they think their local public schools suck, they aren’t forced at gunpoint to keep plugging their money back into a failing system. If the public schools have to compete with a viable alternative, they’ll either improve or fail!

    Oh man, I’m so running with that idea. It’ll revolutionize everything!

  26. tkozikow says:

    These numbers are useless! Additional lines on a cellphone family plan are about $10/month…$17 if you add unlimited texting and tax. I would need to defer to my daughters on the manicure/pedicure, but I think that these are more like $15-25 and it is something that they do for special occasions. Seriously, do people really pay $50-110 for this? Pet grooming SEEMS easy…watch the Flowbee commercials…but this is not a skill that I am about to pick up.

  27. Skiffer says:

    Here’s a little known trick for cable TV:

    I pay for cable internet, but not cable TV.

    But the TV signal is still somewhat “active.”

    With an HDTV and an ATSC tuner, I can’t get analog channels – but some digital signals still come through. I get free HD network channels, Discovery/TLC/etc, CNN / CNBC, some of the Comcast / Fox sports channels, all the Music Choice channels, and even some of my neighbors’ on-demand selections every once in a while :)

    Still, I hardly ever turn on the cable TV – only network channels every so often. Most of my video comes from online from, Joost, and the network websites.

  28. Okay, I’m letting my inner grump out to play:

    “Since you’re already paying for public school, why not use it?”

    Because I do not want my children to get shot. Well, I don’t have children. But that’d be the reason. And moving out to a suburb would increase gas costs and property tax costs more than enough to offset the private school cost, More and more of my friends who DO have kids are making that calculation.

    “Do you really need the inflatable moon-walk, magician, clown, and pony-rides every year?”

    These people actually need to get shot.

    “3. Manicure/Pedicure
    We don’t have much experience”

    Dude, you gotta get on that! Pedicures rule! (Manicures I’m eh on.)

    @FatLynn: “The bottom line is that clothing wears out and needs to be replaced. … This is especially true for those who work a professional job and are expected to look pristine.”

    If you buy high-quality items and take good care of them, they’ll last for years and years. I don’t think either of us (we’re both lawyers) has bought a suit in two years or so, though my husband has cycled out some old shirts and bought new ones. (Partly because I’ve learned to tailor them.) There’s more initial investment in buying high-quality items, but classic styles don’t change much and you’ll save money over the long run. It’s not hard to learn to properly care for clothes and accessories, and it’s time well spent. (Or time well hired from your tailor and cobbler.)

    I’ve seen people run through shoes because THEY DON’T KNOW HOW TO CLEAN AND CARE FOR LEATHER, not because there was anything wrong with the shoes but that they were dirty!

    I have a relatively spendy Coach purse I’ve had since high school (before Coach went to teh suck), which takes 5 minutes of my time once a year or so and still looks like new. (And this was the good thing about Coach before they decided to suck — their purses are made out of baseball-glove-type leather, so they a) look and feel nicer with age and b) are incredibly sturdy.)

  29. johnfrombrooklyn says:

    If the public schools fail, then where do the kids whose parents can’t afford private school go?

  30. AD8BC says:

    1. Daily Latte
    Starbucks is an occasional treat. Definitely not a necessity.

    2. Cable TV
    I have Cable, I enjoy Cable,

    5. Bottled Water
    You know why I drink bottled water? I spend lots of time in hotel rooms and I hate their tap water. I’m not afraid of it, I just hate it. I like my water consistant-tasting. I don’t care what’s in it.

    6. Second Car
    Two people, two jobs, different schedules, no carpooling. Get over it.

    7. Cell Phone
    Company pays for mine. I pay for my wifes. Definitely not a major expense.

    8. Lawn Service
    Mow your own damn lawn. It ain’t hard. So you get dirty — you don’t need to be afraid of the dirt that washes off.

    9. Clothes
    Wal-Mart has been my clothing designer for years, after I fired Target.

    10. Private School
    Save your money, get out of debt, and live in a good neighborhood with good schools.

    11. Childhood Parties
    Bake a few cakes, buy a bunch of candy and soda and hang streamers in the back yard.

    12. Pet Grooming
    Don’t buy those silly little dogs that need to be professionally groomed. Buy a dog with straight fur that you can brush once a week.


    Save your money, get out of debt, and buy whatever “non-necessities” that you want. I followed the Dave Ramsey plan before I ever even heard of him. Now, money ain’t an issue, and it doesn’t have to be for anybody else here, either.

  31. @tkozikow: “I would need to defer to my daughters on the manicure/pedicure, but I think that these are more like $15-25 and it is something that they do for special occasions. Seriously, do people really pay $50-110 for this?”

    It depends on where you live. I found it an untenable expense in Chicago; in Peoria it’s a inexpensive little luxury. I pay $30-$35 here for the “spa pedi.” Paid about $25 in North Carolina; frequently saw it at $60-$80 in Chicago. You also have to decide if you’re going to go to the Vietnamese-owned nail salon in the strip mall or to the stand-alone full-service spa. Big price differential!

  32. @AD8BC: “Save your money, get out of debt, and live in a good neighborhood with good schools.”

    Moving out to the suburbs for good schools costs more, where I am, than living in a good urban neighborhood with BAD schools and sending the kids to private school. Also that would require living in a pretty soul-sucking McMansiony sidewalk-free cul-de-sac neighborhood with some kind of hideous HOA.

    My neighborhood is actually anchored by a private Catholic elementary school; probably half the people here live here so their kids can walk to the school. Most of the other pockets of “good” neighborhoods in this area are also anchored by private schools.

  33. Skiffer says:

    @Skiffer: Wow – just realized by doing this I’ve recouped the purchase price of a 56-in HDTV in about 18 months.

    And don’t give me that – “What’s the point of having an HDTV without full HD cable” – that’s what a $150 Blu-ray drive for my PC and netflix are for.

  34. kthxbai says:

    Yeah, i lived with cable all my life, then i moved to the city and gave it up. Recently, my roommate got cable again but I dont pay for it. w00t. Cable is useless.

    Also, the coffee thing is probably true…. but i have an hour long train ride and by the time i need the coffee, the coffee is cold… pointless.

  35. samson says:

    If there was any way possible I would love to sent my kids to the best private school in sweden or norway or some other country the Britsh make fun of.

  36. Parting says:

    You don’t need new clothes if you live in nudist apartment complex :)

    As for pedicures and botox … Where those guys are located, Hollywood? I don’t know any ”average” person who uses botox. And pedicures are mainly for summer…

  37. samson says:

    Were you really expecting sage advice to come in a twelve bullet points?

    1. There is no God
    2. You only have this life
    3. Only knowledge is portable.
    4. Gold is not a hedge agianst inflation usless your economy runs off the AK
    5. A badly managed govt can ruin all your paper money with inflation
    6. A badly managed compnay can ruin your life.
    7. A badly manged life is your fault.
    8. Take persoanlly responsibility for everything and pursue your own best interests.
    9. Personal discipline counts and works for saints and the wicked.
    10. I cant spell

  38. Gokuhouse says:

    Most folks that choose to send their children to private school are either well enough off or have thought that decision out and chosen to make that financial sacrifice in order to give their kid the best possible schooling.

    Most of the rest of the list makes me laugh though, seriously, bottled water, botox, latte…C’mon how many normal people believe a manicure is a necessity?

  39. stupidjerk says:

    @Skiffer: I dropped cable 6 months after buying a 46″ hdtv and haven’t missed it one bit…thanks to bittorent and the local library’s dvd catalog

  40. azzy says:

    I can’t say any of these apply to me – except Cell Phone, I pay a bit too much for my iPhone. Oh, and remember people clowns are totally necessary for a children’s party. burn that into your brain.

    (full disclosure: I clown)

  41. satoru says:

    @strangeffect: Perhaps those coming from the sister site Jezebel might consider that line item to be an ‘essential’ :D

  42. satoru says:

    I think a few things on this list are endemic in the “Beat the Jones'” mentality in suburban America. Specifically:

    3. Manicure/Pedicure
    4. Botox
    11. Childhood Parties

    If you live in certain areas, there seems to be a sense of a need to out do your neighbors. I’ve driven by some children’s parties that look like the Macy’s Day Parade. Heck I watched on the news that some retarded family spent 2 years planning their daughter’s 15 year old party, when it got crashed by some hooligans and people got stabbed. I think some people need to be pro-actively awarded a Darwin Award for the sake of humanity.

  43. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Is it me or have the reply buttons stopped working?

  44. ltlbbynthn says:

    the only thing I have on that list is a cell phone and dog grooming. We didn’t have cable for years, but now we have the basic basic service and it’s still $60 a month. I love my comedy central, tho. Downloading stuff is just not the same, believe me I did it for a long time.

  45. satoru says:

    Personally I make my own tea in the morning. Even buying the fairly expensive brands I save money compared to buying it at a store. I also stock some loose leaf at work so I don’t need to hit the vending machine.

  46. satoru says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: Nope they work fine! Perhaps a shift+F5 refresh is in order, or maybe just open a new browser?

  47. IphtashuFitz says:

    I don’t agree with the school one. That depends a great deal on the quality of the schools in your area. The public schools where I grew up in CT sucked. My brother, two years older than me, skated by for three years without really learning anything. Some neighbors of ours who spoke French fluently (the father was French) would laugh hysterically at the pathetic attempts of the high school French teacher to actually speak the language. There were similar stories about science & math teachers, etc. My brother ended up going to a private school in Maine his senior year just so he could get into college. Because of what we saw when he went to public high school I ended up going to private schools for all of high school and I know it was a much better education that I would have gotten at the public schools.

  48. pileofcrapola says:

    #5 needs some adjustment.

    “If you feel ok about drinking filtered tap water you can save $25-$40 a month, the average monthly delivery fee based on online averages.”

    Anyone who drinks their municiple water without filtering it first deserves to be either banned from government healthcare and services for life or shot (whichever is easier to enforce). They are just begging to develop some sort of expensive, long-term care issue.

  49. Kali Mama says:

    Ha, botox. I don’t even get my hair cut.

  50. Cupajo says:

    @pgh9fan: I’m on board with everything you said except the kid’s party thing. 15 years from now, do you think your kid will remember the price tag of his 8th birthday party? No. He won’t. You can throw a fantastic party for anyone under the age of 12 for about a hundred bucks.

  51. Toof_75_75 says:

    HAHA Thankfully, my cable company suffers from the same laziness.

  52. Shutaro says:

    9. You have no idea how much money I saved by becoming a nudist.

  53. dry-roasted-peanuts says:

    How can you possibly have this list without putting eating out on it? Talk about a money pit.

  54. theysaidwhat says:

    @Stanium: @

  55. dmuth says:

    When I moved out on my own I opted not to get cable. Since I never had it, it was much easier then having it and dropping it later. At “$660-$780” per year and living here for 7 years, that’s $4,620 to $5,460 that I’ve been able to save and invest in my Roth IRA instead.

  56. theysaidwhat says:

    and why was consumerist/gawkermedia refusing to allow sign-ins at around 8 this morning?

  57. Erwos says:

    @apotheosis: Give Aishel some credit – the folks here wouldn’t know what Tanach was anyways.

    I’m a proponent of vouchers, but more because I’m a libertarian than because I’m an observant Jew who’s looking forward to huge day school tuition bills. Sending your kids to day school / yeshiva wasn’t always a necessity when there were decent chedarim / after school programs, but all of the chedarim left these days are just feel-good excuses for non-Orthodox parents, and are definitely worthless in terms of real Jewish education by themselves. I would know, I went to one!

    But, back to topic: it’s important to distinguish between luxuries and time-saving. Lawn service for $20 every other week is indeed far more expensive than just mowing it myself – until you count in fuel, maintenance, and time costs. If I’m making $35 an hour, spending an hour and a half mowing my lawn is a bad use of my time if it could get done by someone else for $20. Then again, if I’m making $35 an hour, I’m probably not the target of this article.

  58. freepistol says:

    daily latte, mani pedi, botox,lawn service, pet grooming. what, is this list for people who live on whistera lane.

    lets try , eating out, soda, and those 100$+ handbags i keep hearing about.

    i simply cannot believe how much soda people buy.

  59. DaisyGatsby says:

    1. Daily Latte
    No more Starbucks for me – bagel shop near my house makes a killer iced coffee for $2. In the cooler months? Large hot coffee for $1.75.

    2. Cable TV
    I don’t go out to movies, I love my cable and I have it tied in with my internet service.

    5. Bottled Water
    I don’t buy it and I only drink it at work. Otherwise, NYC tap is fine with me.

    6. Second Car
    NYC – no car to begin with. $86 for an unlimited 30-day Metrocard (all buses, subways).

    7. Cell Phone
    One phone (a Blackberry). My big indulgence is my unlimited data so I can check email as much as I want. Don’t need the iPhone – think my BB is snazzy and quick enough for what I need it to do.

    8. Lawn Service
    No lawn.

    9. Clothes
    Old Navy. Almost every dress in my wardrobe is from them and I always get compliments on them. A few Target pieces here and there.

    10. Private School
    No kids.

    11. Childhood Parties
    No kids.

    12. Pet Grooming
    No pets. May get a cat.

  60. DaisyGatsby says:

    Oh and Botox? Nope, never gonna happen.

    Mani / pedis? Once a month mani professionally done to get the shape shaped up and spiff the cuticles up. Otherwise I’m a DIY girl. Nothing like a self-administered foot scrubbing at the end of the day…

  61. MercuryPDX says:

    I’m sure you’ll get friction for the “Public over Private school” suggestion (#10). YMMV depending on the area you live in.

    #12 can include nail trimming too. If, like me, you’re leery about wielding nail clippers, get a dremmel tool and grind them. There’s an excellent tutorial with photos here:

    My dog was getting his nails clipped twice a month @ $12 a pop. That’s an extra $288 a year I can spend on treats or stick in his “Emergency Vet fund”.

  62. battra92 says:

    Wait, weren’t we just told how Starbucks is hurting?

    Seriously, isn’t this just the same common sense over and over?

    Where it says children’s parties add all parties in general. Just open a can or two of Pringles ($0.90 at Big Lots) and you have an instant party!

    Weddings are the biggest waste not listed.

    I say, we will have no more marriages: those that are married already, all but one, shall live; the rest shall keep as they are. To a nunnery, go.

  63. failurate says:

    @Erwos: You only get paid for the hours you are working. If you have the option of working 24 hours a day for a given rate, good for you, but most of us hourly folk are limited to our 40 hour weeks (we’ll not count the occasional overtime). The hours outside that 40 hours are not worth $35 per hour, unless you have been offered that to sell them (picked up a second job that pays that).

  64. brandyk says:

    OMG diy pet grooming is SO not worth it. Bath, toothbrushing, nail clipping, trimming dog into right shape, making sure her beard and eyebrows don’t get in the way, and finishing off with PLUCKING HER EARS. Have you ever had to pluck a schnauzer’s ears? If so, you’d gladly pay someone a very large lump sum in order to not have to ever do it again. Not to mention that your half-assed clipping/trimming job could cause injury to your pet. That’d be worth saving a few bucks on when you have to rush them to the vet at hundreds a pop.

    So worth every penny of 40 bucks that it’s not even funny. Try this instead – see if your area has a local pet grooming school. It’s often half price. Ask other dog owners you see around where they get it done. Don’t ask people with labs. Ask people with pets that need haircuts. There’s plenty of independent out of their house groomers that don’t have the storefront overhead.

    No, I’m not a dog groomer. I have a schnauzer and faithfully get her groomed by professionals, even though it’s a ‘big waste of money.’

  65. Burgandy says:

    #1 I get a meduim on payday, I’m not giving that up.
    #2 & 7 – we have an employee bundle through my husband that covers 2 cells, 1 land line, satalite and dsl, our bill is probably comperable to the standard bill for 1 cell (don’t hate)
    #3 Amazingly enough I know how to do my own nails, thanks.
    #4 I already pass for 10yrs younger most days, its called moisturizer and sunscreen.
    #5 grr, don’t make me go all treehugger….
    #6 If I could drop my daughter off at daycare on a bike w/o spending $400 on the extra seat I’d already be doing it.
    #8 Reel mower – I get some sun, a little workout, and I can mow whenever I feel like it because it make very little noise, neightbors have no clue any mowing is going on (till they start sneezing )
    #9 I haven’t grown since I was in Jr High (yeah I’m short) and I wear solid colors 90% of the time, this is not an issue. If I absolutly *have* to have something, I’ll crochet or knit it.
    #10 No public school for 2 yr olds around here…
    #11 Its called the park. They have grills, swings, slides, benches – and I don’t have to clean the house.
    #12 Neither Great Danes nor rescue kitties need grooming.

  66. superlayne says:

    I wouldn’t make my worst enemy forgo the amazing education I’m getting at my current boarding school for the disgusting lump of feces that my local school district tries to pass as an effective, satisfying, and over all GOOD education.

  67. packetsniffer says:

    Private Schooling? My gosh this is a stupid list. Sure, I’ll just toss my child’s education, future, and general welfare to the wind by sending them to the local failing government school in the name of saving money.

    On Bottled Water, what in the world is “the average monthly delivery fee based on online averages”? Bottled water is a rip off, I agree. But what does that sentence mean?

    On Mowing Your Lawn, common sense would tell you the people who pay for lawn service aren’t too likely to own lawn equipment. Buying a lawn mower, leaf blower, and trimmer isn’t free.

  68. ironchef says:

    if you have a cellphone, you might consider ditching the land line.

  69. chelotoyou says:

    I think they missed #13: whiskey.
    And I refuse to forgo it.

  70. ringo00 says:

    @pgh9fan: Kids are simple creatures. They do not need a $250 birthday party to be happy. When they were little, my nieces would go nucking futs over an empty cardboard box. For their birthday parties, my sister spent about $50 on cake and ice cream and a a good time was had by all. I will never understand you parents that go all out on a birthday party for a 2-year old. He won’t even freaking remember it. He’s probably terrified by the clown, too.

  71. Bryan Price says:

    Out of the list I only have 2, cable and kids with cell phones.

    I’m already at the basic level now, and it’s my ISP. So that’s about as cheap as I’m gonna get it.

    Technically we could drop my wife’s phone, as she now has a new Blackberry leash from work, but then she looses texting (don’t ask, I don’t know), and everybody and everything has to learn her new phone number, as the personal phone is just forwarded to the leash.

    The kids are now just 18, and they still depend on them. Each of them (twins) costs about $20/month with taxes and fees, with the only downside being that we had to go with the family plan for texting (the daughter was running up the bill more than it cost for the family plan).

  72. aka Cat says:

    I’ve tried to give up cable TV. Didn’t work; roof antennas are discouraged and I barely get one TV channel without cable. Once the HDTV switch happens, I’ll get 0 channels without the cable.

    I already spend <$300/yr on clothes.

    I could go back to a landline — but it’s hard to use that to call for help when the car dies on the interstate.

    Cable TV is still arguable, but I don’t think there are any quotes around the rest of my necessities.

  73. Trai_Dep says:

    Brita/Pur filters and tap water (far better tested and safe than bottled) trumps bottles. Plus greener.

    Private schools are great for choice or religious parents. But the only reason some are better is they get to reject kids, get better funding and academic-focused parents self-select for them. If you’re involved in your local school, and it receives needed funding, they’re a wash.
    Privatizing, vouchers, etc., won’t impact these two crucial differences, so they’re just a vehicle to hose other people’s children. Who, after all, are fellow citizens that we’ll have to coexist with when they grow up.
    Cliche, but: you think school is expensive, try ignorance.

    Childhood parties? Throw a bunch of empty boxes in the back yard and give each kid half a beer. Film the results and post on YouTube. Fond memories that last a lifetime!

    If Botox is out, are penile pumps still Kosher? I’m wondering for a “friend”.

    @godai: If the Tanakh is a bible, then so isn’t the Koran?

  74. Trai_Dep says:

    Oh. Cable. Ha ha ha. Hee hee hee. Get over-the-air and you’ll revel in unthrottled, stunning hi-def signal. For free. Use savings to rent more DVDs.

  75. Baristaman says:

    Wow pet grooming at home? To do a halfway decent job the initial investment is going to be over 200 bucks. Clippers, shears, brushes, combs, etc, it really adds up. I’m a groomer. Buying all those grooming tools and supplies will certainly NOT save money. Unless you have a high maintenance dog, grooming will never exceed $80 every other month.

  76. BlackFlag55 says:


    People pay for the things listed here? Holy crap, no wonder people are broke.

    Except that bit about a second car. Sweet babbling buddha, the entire economic engine of America is based on easy mobility and expanding cities. Even if you wanted to, you can’t change the real estate, government and financial engine that drives development further and further out without committing to rapid public transport as part of the deal. Eat up productive farm land, cover it with houses and then … you’re on your own to get back and forth. NEVER has there been such an asinine bassackwards plan. A second vehicle is absolutely necessary for most folks.

    Other than that … this list makes me laugh. Jeez, EVERYTHING I own, except the good suits, are from second hand stores … where, I swear … the selection is better and the merchandise is generally $3.99. Even my camo.

  77. MagicJewball says:

    I’m observant Jewish too. In the year your close loved one dies, you can’t buy new clothes. And sometimes there’s no warning so it’s not like you can stock up. After my Mom died, I found that that was surprisingly easy. And in the years after that I found I bought a lot less clothes in general.

  78. evenkevin says:

    @brandyk: “OMG diy pet grooming is SO not worth it. Bath, toothbrushing, nail clipping, trimming dog into right shape, making sure her beard and eyebrows don’t get in the way, and finishing off with PLUCKING HER EARS.”

    Time does not equal money here on the consumerist. If most of the users on here had their way, we’d all be farmers. Anything else and you’re just throwing money down the drain.

  79. kityglitr says:

    This is a hilarious post, if only because I’ve been living without these “necessities” for the last 5 years! I get free coffee at my hotel job, I’m a bit of a tomboy(tomwoman?) so manicures are something I do at home and botox is a joke! We don’t care so much about keeping up w/ the Joneses, just what we really feel is important. I’ll pay to buy sparkling bottled water, it’s healthier than soda! I’ll pay to have 2 family cellphones, but no land line. Now if I could only get my fiance to get rid of that 1968 Landcruiser he loves so much…

  80. VikingP77 says:

    Sorry but my dog gets the minimal grooming per year 3-4X at $25 is worth it to not cut his nails myself *shudders* I HATE that task. As far as clothes…buy from thrift stores occasionally…..come on how many pairs of jeans do you need people?! Don’t buy Starbucks…complete rip off! And no children’s parties because I’m not adding more pitter patter of lil feet to this world! Pretty basic list though obviously.

  81. Omir The Storyteller says:

    1. Daily Latte
    I don’t do coffee.

    2. Cable TV
    We got a cable TV/Internet/Phone bundle that saves beaucoup bucks over getting the three separately. The drawback of course is that we have to deal with Comcast. Well they haven’t hosed me recently at least.

    3. Manicure/Pedicure
    Don’t do those.

    4. Botox
    Don’t do those either.

    5. Bottled Water

    6. Second Car
    I don’t even have a first car.

    7. Cell Phone
    Subsidized through work.

    8. Lawn Service
    The neighbor kid does this for me. Pretty cheap considering.

    9. Clothes
    Once a year? Once a year would speed up my clothing acquisition schedule.

    10. Private School
    You’ve got to be kidding me. There’s a private school a quarter mile from my house. I can barely afford to walk past it, let along send a kid.

    11. Childhood Parties
    My brother-in-law is a clown.

    12. Pet Grooming
    Got no pets

    So can I please have the next set of 12? Maybe some of them will benefit me more.

  82. Omir The Storyteller says:

    @evenkevin: Time does not equal money here on the consumerist. If most of the users on here had their way, we’d all be farmers. Anything else and you’re just throwing money down the drain.

    I got dibs on anything that doesn’t involve raising chickens or hogs. Hey, maybe I can get a cow. Then we can have milk and we can save on having the neighbor kid do the yard work.

  83. watduck says:

    Who the hell (assuming “regular” people like you and me) gets BOTOX on a regular basis???

  84. Truthie says:

    Anyone who thinks Botox is a NECESSITY probably has enough money they aren’t worried about scrimping. Either that or they are so vain nothing will stop them from immobilizing their face.

  85. Invalid_User_Name says:

    I tried to groom my dog once and cut his ear. That was the worst yelp I’ve ever heard and I still feel guilty years later. (He was OK, I’m still not.)

  86. cerbie says:

    1: Never has been daily, and is now down to like monthly. *shrug* I’m getting back into roasting, anyway.

    2-4: n/a

    5: $25? Our tap is nasty. I have a counter-top filtered cooler at home, and drink bottled spring water at work, and keep some in the car…and it’s like $10 a month. If it were $25 or more I’d invest in a more coolers.

    6. I want a second car, but for redundancy purposes, and my ideal car has a KBB value of under $3k…

    7. Sadly, yes. If it were not expected for me to have one, I wouldn’t. I want to be alone when I’m alone.

    8. I hope to never have a normal lawn…that is all.

    9. Is that to say that it is regular to get rid of clothes that soon?

    While relegated to hot day/car work duty, I’ve still got clothes from eight years ago that I wear, and am insanely disappointed at the recent drop in quality of Eddie Bauer (sp) pants. My new ones will not be lasting five years, like my last two pair, I can say with plenty of confidence.

    10. While I don’t plan to have kids…no chance in Hell, here. My greatest regret about public school is not dropping out sooner. The money my parents’ managed to get to put me through private schooling while they could afford it was worth it; and if I were to have kids, I would find a good school, and do the same.

    11. I had some fun ones, but that’s right. More of them were for my mom’s insecurities than my desires or needs.

    12. Eh, depends on how much time you have. Like people, dogs will get used to the sate of recently having been groomed, and be unhappy if they go too long without a little wash and hair cut. While I’m mostly a cat person, that’s one of those things that comes with taking care of longer-haired animals.

    @WakefulD: 1. Starbucks a treat? You need to get better coffee :).

  87. mzs says:

    My wife, kids, and I save money via everything on that list except we have two cars. We have considered getting rid of one, but she would want to keep the minivan and that thing is so unreliable. Just yesterday again it took me all afternoon to get it running again. Our cars are paid off, so except for the immediate cash infusion of selling one it does not save much really and in the winter there are lots of times we need two cars. Might be a good idea to buy a $500 beater 1/4 of the year?

  88. egosub2 says:

    On what planet are these things necessities? How long is the waiting list to get there?

  89. Comms says:

    The cable TV one is easy. Most of the shows I watch are either on Hulu or YahooTV. And it’s free.

  90. eliblack says:

    These are all a little silly…and private school? Seriously? If you can afford to send your kids to private school and still put them through college, for the love of god, do it.

    That’s like saying you could save money by not buying your kids school supplies and putting them to work at night.

  91. witeowl says:

    Alternative solution to #5: Invest in a water bottle stand and dispenser (or, if you have the space, a counter-top dispenser) and a few 3-gallon bottles. Refill at your local grocery store at 33¢ per gallon. Yes, it’s filtered local water, but I’m OK with that. Bottom line: No extra gasoline output, green reuse of very little plastic, no filthy dusty tap water, and clean water for less than a penny a cup.

  92. seanSF says:

    People think of these things as necessities?? The only ones I have on that list are CableTV and cell phone, and the TV I could do without in a pinch.

  93. dragonfire1481 says:

    Who in the blazing blue hell thinks BOTOX is a necessity?!

  94. IrisMR says:

    If you ask me that list is pretty much bs.

  95. trujunglist says:

    The only one that I would think people need is a phone, and mine is thankfully discounted by %15 or so because of my employment. Also, a new t-shirt every once in a while isn’t a bad thing.
    I don’t see what’s wrong with giving your kid a party at a park or something. A cheap and fun party can be thrown together with like $25, it just takes some creativity. Buy a few cans of whipped cream, let the adults suck out the happy gas if so inclined, and then give it to the kids and let em go nuts on each other. Whipped cream fights are actually really fun. Balloons and other party supplies can be bought/stolen from a dollar store. These are kids, for gods sake. It’s not like it takes them bottle service at an expensive club to let loose. Give ’em an old cardboard box and watch them have fun for hours. I don’t have kids, it’s just common sense. Kids are creative, so let them be. Don’t limit their brains to TV and crap they think they have to have because of it. Also, it’s not a contest between you and other parents. Trust me, your 5 year old boy will be much, MUCH happier (maybe not in the short term, but kids are forgiving and forgetful) with you if you deny him big and expensive parties, save the money you would’ve spent in a savings account, and then buy him a kick ass sports car with it when he turns 16. Just make sure you explain it to him when you buy the car and he’ll be on his knees thanking you.
    I also have a big problem with private schools. There’s no doubt that private schools are often many times better than public education, but if you send them to the wrong place, the therapy bills are going to add a substantial amount of distress to them in the future. Sometimes being normal isn’t a bad thing. You can always supplement their education by, you know, taking an active role in whatever they’re learning. No need to send them to a small, socially inept private school so that they can be slightly better educated than a public school kid. Just a thought.

  96. battra92 says:

    @eliblack: private school? Seriously? If you can afford to send your kids to private school and still put them through college, for the love of god, do it.

    I agree. The US public screwl system has some major issues.

  97. Sian says:

    1: don’t drink the stuff
    2: legacy satellite plan. $50/month.
    3: long&gnarly
    4: WTF?
    5: Undersink filter
    6: not worth it when I drive only 100 miles/week @23mpg
    7: PAYG plan covers my useage at $5/month
    8: condo. no lawn.
    9: I spend way less on clothes than I probably should. about $400/year.
    10-11: no kids and no desire for them. Wife is fixed.
    12: pet grooming? srsly?

    How would I pay off my card balance every month if this list wasn’t useless? Srsly people there’s cutting back and then there’s cutting back. According to this list I’m already living like a damn monk.

  98. WakefulD says:

    @cerbie: I suppose I should provide full disclosure – a friend of mine works at Sbux and gets me free bags of coffee every other week or so, so my “treat” is one of those insanely fattening mochafrappawhat-have-yous. It’s like eating ‘leventy billion candy bars all at one sweet, sweet time!!

  99. BytheSea says:

    Yeah, these are my major expenses. Can this crack team find a solution for gas, health insurance, and tampons?

  100. garbagehead says:

    my ex used to get manicures, and i was like “That’s wicked expensive girl. You’re a fool.” truth say

  101. modenastradale says:

    I have to say that I’m not really convinced of the value (or necessity) of an “amazing” private school education, at least in the K-12 levels.

    I grew up in a dirt poor area and attended a series of truly terrible public schools. That didn’t stop me from developing critical thinking skills, learning to speak a foreign language, and acquiring the ability to learn any subject I was interested in.

    Later on, I did the Ivy League thing. Many of my friends and classmates there had been put in the best schools from birth, no doubt because their parents believed in the transformative power of expensive schools. You know what? I wasn’t impressed at all. The same kids whose parents had spent $40,000 a year on high school tuition at Exeter said dumb things and struggled with basic concepts in class.

    I think the truly important factor is a child’s motivation to learn. Part of it is inborn; part of it is a result of good parenting. Regardless, I don’t think any parent should feel bad for skipping high-priced primary and secondary education.

    (My one exception would be where the public schools are truly war-torn. In those cases, I would send my child to a private school for safety reasons.)

  102. @Trai_Dep: “If the Tanakh is a bible, then so isn’t the Koran?”

    No. The Tanakh consists of the same books Christians call the “Old Testament”; it is quite commonly called the Hebrew Bible in English. Both have been referred to by the word since antiquity. Both are a COLLECTION of several books, which is what the word Bible means — “books” — from the Latin biblia, from the Greek biblion, from the place name Byblos.

    The Koran does not share text with the Hebrew or Christian Bibles and is, moreover, a single book.

  103. Jabberkaty says:

    Really, sticking needles in your face is a necessity now. Okay, okay, some people NEED it, but I thought that was just my mean voice talking.

  104. AlphaTeam says:

    Sure if we cut back on all this we’d save about $20k a year, but seriously, we don’t party, we need international programming for the old folks, our cell phone is already discounted, we don’t really drink coffee daily, no pets, no beauty salons (except haircuts); it’s not we can just move for lower taxes and stuff. This list is bloody useless; yes we can all be homeless and save a ton of cash per day.

  105. Jesse in Japan says:

    I save money on bottled water by using a funnel to refill water battles (which is also better for the environment, and I get the convenience of having water in a bottle).

    As for coffee, you can buy a liter of pre-brewed, black iced coffee for about 170 yen. It doesn’t taste great, but I don’t drink coffee to savor the flavor, if you know what I mean.

    If you have an internet connection, I see no reason why you would ever need cable television.

  106. furseekr says:

    Hmmm. 0 for 12. Vodka and cigarettes on the other hand…….

  107. vesuvian says:

    Re cable TV: get a digital-to-analog converter and a set of rabbit ears and see what you’re missing on cable today. Each one of the stations in your area probably has two or three sub channels. My PBS station in Los Angeles has four – the main one which carries high-def, then one for kids, one in Spanish, and one for the “Desert Cities” (Palm Springs area). It triples your choices. Great for metro areas.

  108. Rusted says:

    1. Daily Latte…….nope, brew my own mud.

    2. Cable TV…..what TV?

    3. Manicure/Pedicure….clip my own claws.

    4. Botox……get my own food poisoning too, why is this even here?

    5. Bottled Water…..I buy it, then refill it and refill it.

    6. Second Car…at one time I had three. Now one.

    7. Cell Phone….I like to lose the land line instead.

    8. Lawn Service….Don’t own any grass.

    9. Clothes…….Holes are just SO cool.

    10. Private School…..No kids…no need for that.

    11. Childhood Parties….see above

    12. Pet Grooming… does it all herself.

  109. mferrari says:

    @unpolloloco: In my area, the public schools are actually far better than the private ones, since they have more students, there are newer, larger schools, extra-curricular activities, classes beyond the core subjects, and great test scores. Though, in large cities and other places like that, private school is the way to go. But, here in the suburbs, public schools can usually do a good job (obviously depends on your area)

  110. wildness says:

    Never was addicted to coffee (especially not at $4 a cup!!!), so number one is not an option…

    Already reduced the channel count, so number two is done…

    I can cut my own toe nails, so can’t do number three…

    Botox? Never was stupid enough to put a toxic substance in my face, so number four will bring no relief…

    Never been a user of bottled water as the bottle was made from oil AND it used to be more expensive than gasoline, so number five is wash as well…

    What would a single person need with two cars?? Number six is out…

    If I had kids, they wouldn’t get a cell phone until they went to college and paid for it with the money they earn with a side job. I dropped the land line myself and went with only a cell phone and saved more money than Geico, so number seven is basically checked off…

    I cut my parents lawn as a kid (and I got room and board for the trouble) and I have no kids to do if for me, so I so it myself; so number eight bites the dust…

    I stick with a winning style for years and only buy clothing each year that replaces what is wearing out, so number nine has long since been accounted for…

    If I had kids and could afford it, then I WOULD send them to private school – it made me smarter (until my parents sent me to public school to save money and I waited three years for the kids and curriculum to catch up). Number ten is not an option…

    My parents never threw me any big, expensive parties; they were smarter and spent the money on private school (until they got dumb and stopped). But, since I don’t have kids to continue to pollute the world once I am gone, then number eleven is pointless as well…

    Don’t currently have a pet and wouldn’t take it to a groomer if I did – I would let the brush and scrub found on a hike do the job for me. Darn… number twelve is a looser idea also.

    So, if the price of gas is still earting me alive, what do I do now???

  111. BlazerUnit says:

    @pgh9fan: The suggestion wasn’t crap; your indignation to it, however (when it obviously doesn’t apply to your situation) is full of it.