If you haven't noticed, we're in a bad recession. The median family has lost some 25-30% of its net worth over the past two years and unemployment is heading to 10%. The thought of cutting back on unnecessaries and saving the difference doesn't seem quite so quaint anymore.
There is no better way to save extra money than to stop spending on things that don't matter to you. Thanks to an idea I first saw in The Reductionist and then in No More Spending, I'd like to share with you CK's own list of things we've given up over the years that we do not miss.
What's on your list?
Carbonated soda: One of the worst forms of second-order foods.
Branded boxed cereals
Expensive cuts of meat: steaks, veal, etc.
Prepared foods/ready-made meals
Juices and fruit drinks, excluding orange juice
Most restaurant meals
Candy and sweet snacks: excluding dark chocolate, see below.
Spreads: margarine, mayonnaise, relish, hummus--these are all second-order foods that we either make ourselves or simply no longer buy.
Branded salad dressings
Fruits and veggies out of season: they cost more and taste worse.
Premium alcohol: uh, excluding Laura's weakness for single-malt Scotch.
Books: with the exception of the occasional cookbook, we haven't bought any books in over a year.
Driving late-model cars: Most people experience severe cognitive dissonance when they find out that during most of my Wall Street career I drove a 2000 Chevy Prizm back and forth to my commuter lot. Guess what? I'm still driving it.
On the Short List of Items to Nix:
Cable TV: We're turning increasingly bearish on paying $75 a month to Cablevision for something that seems to waste so much of our time.
Things I'll Never Give Up:
Premium dark chocolate: giving up good chocolate is utterly inconceivable. I'd rather not live.
Travel: See Couchsurfing or Hospitality Club for ideas on how to save enormous amounts of money on travel.
Readers, what are your thoughts?
A Recession-Proof Guide to Saving Money on Food
Spending to Save: Frugality and Expensive Food
Three Easy, Delicious and Inexpensive Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes
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