10 Conveniences You Can Probably Do Without

by Kevin M on August 14, 2012

in Personal Finance

Conveniences are nice to have, but they’re not always necessary. And when you’re looking to save money, they’re a good place to start. There are so many services, so many gadgets, so many policies we buy mostly because others do, or because they make us feel better. But that doesn’t mean we need them.

Take a close looks at some of these conveniences you might have in your life, and see if you can’t save some money by either reducing them or getting rid of them completely.

Cable TV With 200 Channels

Cable TV is a real scandal when you think about it; you pay for 24/7 access to 200 channels even if you only watch 20 of them for no more than an hour or two a day! Not only is much of the programming totally useless to you, but you also have DVDs and your internet to keep you entertained.

See if you can get a deal with your cable provider to get a reduced package of channels at a lower price. If not, think seriously about eliminating cable altogether.

Wasting Money

Cell Phone Internet Access

Cell phone internet access is a trend that’s sweeping the western world now, but unless you need it for business purposes, it’s mostly a toy that you’re paying for. Besides, since you already have the internet on your home computer, and on your laptop, isn’t adding it to your cell phone a bit of overkill?

Never waste money paying for overkill!

The Latest, Hottest Game or Gadget

Part of the problem with games and gadgets is that they aren’t cheap. If you need to have the latest you may be flirting with gadget addiction, and that’s an expensive hobby. Gadgets run the gamut, but from what I’ve seen with video and computer games, they’re only entertaining until you “beat” the game, then you’re looking for a new challenge, a.k.a., a new game. Where does that end?

Prescription Drug Coverage

A lot of people feel that prescription drug coverage is an absolute necessity, and it can be—if you’re on ongoing drug therapies. But if you aren’t and you only need an occasional antibiotic for temporary illness, a prescription drug plan is mostly a waste of money. It will cost you far more to keep it than you’ll get back in benefits.

Prescription coverage is usually a rider to a health insurance policy, so you can cancel it without disturbing the rest of the policy.

Fitness Club Memberships

There are two issues here, one is the person who signs up for a fitness club membership, then rarely or never uses it. The other is the fact that there’s not much you do in a gym that you can’t do outside or in your own home. Try checking out some Youtube videos under “fitness” and you’ll see what I mean.

A gym membership is good if you’re really committed to fitness and can easily afford it, but if you’re looking to reduce expenses, this one should be near the top of the list.

Learn how to properly cancel a gym membership.

The Latest, Greatest Computer

People often want a premium computer than can handle every imaginable application, and they pay a premium price to get it too. This is fine if you need this type of computer for business purposes, but it can be a colossal waste of money if you only want it “just in case”.

Never pay $1,000 for what a $400 computer can do. Added bonus: replacement parts on lower priced computers are also cheaper, so you save twice.

And here’s something else…if you insist on having the best computer, you’ll probably replace it as soon as an even better one comes out—no matter how much you paid for the old one.

A New Car Every 3-5 Years

Unless you put an unusual number of miles on your car each year, replacing it every few years makes no financial sense. The argument is usually given that a new car allows you to save money on repairs, but rest assured that the yearly total of monthly payments will more than offset repair costs on a car that’s over five years old.

Just add up the total cost of making payments on ten new cars purchased over a 40 year period and you’ll see what I mean.

A Bigger House

I haven’t met a person who doesn’t think their house is too small. But if you’ve been living in it for several years, it isn’t too small at all—it’s just the desire for something bigger nagging at your soul.

To put my assumption into perspective, the average American home is bigger than it’s ever been, and bigger than anywhere else in the world. As small as you think your home is, always remember that most of the world, and most of the people throughout history have lived in something much smaller.

And to calm the desire for a larger home, just think about all the extra money you’ll have as a result of not trading up. Like a lower house payment, lower utility payments and lower insurance . I don’t know about you, but extra money always makes me feel good!

Multiple Credit Cards

Some people collect credit cards the way others collect baseball cards, but how many do you really need? Most people can get by nicely with one, and maybe a second if you need to segregate business costs. The problem with multiple credit cards is that they bring multiple annual fees. That’s wasted money on cards you don’t use. And if you do use them—that can be an even bigger problem!

Extended Warranties

Extended warranties are usually a bad deal and the proof is that companies offer them at all! Think about it, why would someone sell you a warranty to “protect you” and lose money doing it? They aren’t losing money, and if they aren’t it’s because it’s costing you more than you’re getting for it. Many warranties contain so many loopholes that they’re close to worthless anyway.

Can you think of other conveniences we probably don’t need?

photo credit: Freedigitalphotos.net

© 2012 – 2013, Kevin M. All rights reserved.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Harry @ PF Pro

Great list! I think I’ll be ready to cut the cable soon, I’m looking into getting an HD receiver and I can stream shows to my TV through my computer. I don’t pay much for gym but if I did I’d try to do a lot more natural/outdoor type workouts(stairs, hiking, etc) Did you know that cards like AMEX offer a 1 year warranty beyond the regular manufacturer’s warranty as long as you buy it with your amex?


2 Kevin@OutOfYourRut

Hi Harry–“Cut the cable”–that’s clever!


3 Gen Y Finance Journey

That’s a great point about the extended warranties. I often find myself thinking that when a company offers me a “deal.” I have actually been known to ask a salesperson, “what’s in it for you?” or “what’s the catch?”


4 Kevin@OutOfYourRut

You can bet there’s something in it for them, if they’re weren’t they wouldn’t bother offering it. Also, a lot of employees, especially those in sales are compensated extra for warranty programs. That should tell us something!


5 Lance @ Money Life and More

A cell phone is honestly a convenience most people don’t NEED. They make life a heck of a lot easier though if you have to be in touch with people often. People survived without them for thousands of years and were just fine.


6 Kevin @ SpringCoin

What about for emergency situations? Time = Money, Cell Phone = Saves Time


7 Lance @ Money Life and More

Well it is a convenience and yes there are times it would be useful but if you’re trying to cut back this is an option most don’t consider. You have to weigh the pros and cons.


8 Kevin@OutOfYourRut

Actually, I never recommended getting rid of cell phones, just internet access because most people don’t really need it (though they may want it). I think a cell phone is too basic an item to have now.


9 Kevin @ SpringCoin

I can definitely see where Lance is coming from. But it really depends on the person. Sometimes your job requires you to be constantly checking work emails or making calls, and in this case, it’s obvious that it would be a bad idea to get rid of your phone.

On the other hand, if you rarely use your cell phone and you’re paying $50/month for it, maybe it’s something you should consider.


10 Kevin @ SpringCoin

Great point on the extended warranty, I think out of all the times I purchased it, it only came in handy once. But you’re right, most of the time it’s worthless and it’s a huge pain in the butt to file a claim!


11 Kevin@OutOfYourRut

The biggest issue I have with warranties are the gotcha provisions that make it so difficult or confusing to use them. To pay good money for something that will only apply under certain very limited circumstances is a double whammy in my thinking.


12 TB @ BlueCollarWorkman

I went thorugh this list hoping to find something my wife and me could cut, and guess what? We already have cut almost all of these! So that’s good news for us, we must be doing AOK. :-) THe internet on my phone is important for me because of my job. I go to new job sites all the time and the GPS really helps.


13 Kevin@OutOfYourRut

Hi TB–Then you’re proof that the list is accurate!


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