What would you give up?

I confess to reading and participating in those unscientific polls on the CNN website.  Recently the question was something like “What would you be willing to give up to save money in the current recession?”  The choices were cable, cell phone, car, dining out, and nothing.  Pick one.  Clearly the nothing option is for those folks who’ve never actually been without funds.  Things have a way of being given up for you when there isn’t any money.  I thought about it hard and clicked my choice.  The last thing I would give up was the overwhelming first pick (70%) of the unscientific clicks around the world:  Dining out.  My choice to eliminate was the last to go for everyone else—a car.  The game is rigged a bit for me and Sarah since, by choice, we have neither cable nor cell phone, so we’d have to get them before we could live without them.  Our car, a ’96 Civic with indeterminate 100K+ mileage (busted odometer), still runs fine for our limited demands upon it.  When it goes to scrap, we likely won’t replace it.  Dining out, however, is entertainment, exploration, and (when we do it) fairly cheap.  They didn’t ask about Netflix or my high-speed internet connection.  As for giving up my laptop, you better smile when you say that, mister.

7 thoughts on “What would you give up?

  1. I could definitely live without nothing.

    I think I decided this more than 6 years ago when I went off cable cold turkey. What a great choice!

  2. I had free cable for a while. I tried to watch it as much as possible—it was free, but it might, ahem, go away at any time. I started keeping track of how much cable programming I watched to see if it might be worth paying for, and the rate per hour was staggering to me. I haven’t been cable tempted since.

  3. I’d be happy for an excuse to give up my cell phone. I too would give up dining out last. Internet would be one of my last bastions too, although I guess it’s easy enough to get what you need at work or free wifi spots.

    You say that you won’t replace your car, but I’ll believe that when I see it. Unless we get a car share system here like Flexcar. Going from multiple cars to one isn’t so bad, but going from one car to zero is a big deal.

  4. Well, I couldn’t give up the car, unless we moved to someplace where it was close enough to walk to more things than where we are. I could give up cable TV if it didn’t mean giving up high-speed internet access. I suppose I could give up a cell phone, but since I just got an iPhone that is totally sweet, I don’t think I’m going to do that either.

    So while I agree with you about the importance and fun of dining out, I can understand why that’s the one that makes the list. But I think I’d rather spend a little less/be a bit more careful on the stuff I get at the grocery store.

  5. Giving up a car is a big deal, but at 61, I’m looking for any opportunity to make life interesting. We don’t have Flexcar, but we have neighbors who would let us use theirs for dog-walking favors, a few gallons of gas, a meal. Now that Bow-Tie Cinemas is here, who needs a car?
    As for saving money at the grocery store, Steve, I’ve pretty well scraped the bottom of that barrel already. What’s cheaper than dried beans? Since alcohol apparently screws up my triglycerides, I can’t even waste money on box wine anymore!

  6. Well, we gave up cable a long time ago. Eating out is nice but is expensive and not all that healthy… Giving up the ghost, err car, would be difficult because it allows us to escape the city every once and a while.. Cell is all that we have so no cell no phone… We are not givin up the net without a fight… Not easy to decide but I fear we will all be giving up a lot at some point in the not distant future…

  7. We’re already at the point where a trip of any distance means renting a car, and they’re extremely cheap. A few rentals a year is cheaper than owning a vehicle.

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