Yesterday I saw a story at U.S. News & World Report entitled “10 Things We Can’t Live Without.” After a little story about the riches-to-rags-to-maybe-some-riches story of a young woman, it lists those titular ten things.
- Portable Computers
- High-speed Internet Access
- Music Downloads
It’s not totally clear how or if these are the “top 10 things,” but they only partially reflect my values. I agree with #s 1 and 2, big-time, and #8 (meow!), for sure. Booze, of the drink-at-home variety, is probably also up there. We used to live a super-cool, bar-and-restaurant-filled neighborhood, but our new place is in something of a social wasteland (our proximity to BeckySharper is the exception), so we have definitely taken to happy hours at home.
But I don’t have or want a smartphone, only see movies on the big screen 4 or 5 times a year (although…Netflix?), don’t have a coffee habit, haven’t (and wouldn’t) splash out for school, and can count on one hand the number of songs I’ve downloaded, and they were all free. We have cable–for the first time ever in my adult life–but I think we’ll be ditching it at the end of the year, or after the next season of Mad Men, anyway.
I am incredibly frugal. It’s a function of my upbringing at my thrifty mother’s knee, combined with living on scholar- and fellow-ships and non-profit salaries since I turned 18. (Dude. That’s nearly half my life.) This summer, I am unemployed (well, if by “employed” we mean “doing work for someone else who pays you,” anyway), and so I’m having to stretch things even further.
So, what’s going to make the cut, as I tighten my belt another notch? Four of mine are listed above, and so here are my remaining six*, in no particular order:
*Groceries. I don’t/can’t go out much, but I loooooooove to eat. Not organic (can’t afford that), but healthy and tasty vegetarian stuff.
*Cheap theatre tickets (Meaning < $25/show. Yes, that’s “cheap” here.)
*Groceries. I’m listing it twice because it really is my single-biggest expenditure, after rent.
*Books. I’ve had to dial this way back, but I can’t imagine not buying a new (used) book now and then. I love and use the public library system; that’s part of the reason why I don’t download music, but owning books is different. It just is.
*Chewing gum. Stupid, maybe, but a delightful, affordable pleasure for me. And a smart one, so I don’t eat mindlessly while trying to write.
So, for today’s FFT, give us your “ten things.” They can be in order or not, explained or not, justifiable or not.
* I reserve the right to change my list as your things drift in and remind me of all the other cool/useful/necessary stuff I forgot.