Cut everywhere, not just what you want to buy

When people don’t have money, they tend to cut out what they want to buy.

  • New couch? We’ll hold off on that.
  • Daily coffees? We’ll stop that too.
  • Upgrade to a new car? Maybe net year.

But where people should really cut, is everywhere in their budget.

Take for instance this story: a couple I know is in dire straits. They just simply can’t find a job. He’s applied everywhere, and there are no takers, even for being a waiter or a delivery guy.

However, when you hear about their budget (snippets, really, nothing specific) they have:

  • 1 landline telephone
  • 1 basic cellphone
  • 1 full-plan Blackberry cellphone
  • Fully-loaded cable TV
  • Fully-loaded internet service
  • 2 cars
  • going to Pizza Hut weekly

And I am sure there are more expenses not listed on here.

What struck me is that they consider everything they have above there to be a necessity.

Where people should cut in their budget is not in what they want to buy or the extra luxuries they are cutting out of their lives — they should cut everywhere that they can.

This is what I’d do to the above:

  • 1 landline telephone
  • 1 basic cellphone
  • 1 full-plan Blackberry cellphone
  • Fully-loaded basic cable TV (if at all)
  • Fully-loaded basic internet service (if at all)
  • 2 1 cars
  • going to Pizza Hut weekly

I see savings of about $250 up there, per month, perhaps more. Switching to cable internet from Megapath can help them save even more. If you can get a cellphone for the same cost as a landline telephone (like us), then just stick with your cellphone, it’s more portable.


I don’t think I am. I’m giving them a telephone at least, and a car. I even threw in cable TV and basic internet.

Anything extra is a luxury. What the hell did we do before blazing fast internet and a gazabillion TV channels?

We still lived, that’s what!

Going without a TV is not a crazy thing to me. If you want to just have the internet without TV, why not? I’d give up my hypothetical TV first over my internet.

If you don’t have money, you can’t spend on things that you think you need. Go back to the basics: Food, Shelter, Heat and Clothing.

Even for groceries — cut out meat (it’s the most expensive food category!) and switch to a vegetarian diet with beans instead.

Beans, when purchased dried and soaked over night, are far, far, FAR less expensive than meat. Just check out the price per ounce or gram at your local grocery store next time — you’ll be surprised (or not!).

Anything else is a luxury when you are on a shoestring budget, literally.

Only when you have extra money, can you upgrade in other areas.

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.