Ask the Readers: Is There Anything in Your Budget You Could Live Without?

By Ashley Jacobs on 7 August 2012 (Updated 14 August 2012) 155 comments

Editor's Note: Congratulations to Rebecca B.A.R., Happy Love, and Amy for winning this week's contest!

Almost everyone knows the difference between needs and wants. Needs are things you absolutely must have in order to get by while wants are more luxury items you might not need. Everyone knows one of the best ways to save money is to reduce spending money on wants. But when it comes down to it, what wants would you really be able to let go of if you needed to make cutbacks?

Is there anything in your budget you could live without? Cable? Coffee? Dining out? Facials? Pedicures? Or...?

Tell us if there is anything in your budget you could live without and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards

We're doing three giveaways — one for random comments, one for random Facebook "Likes", and another one for random tweets.

Mandatory Entry: 

  • Post your answer in the comments below 

For extra entries (1 per action):

  • Go to our Facebook page, "Like" us, and leave a comment on this article telling us you did, or
  • Tweet your answer. You have to be a follower of our @wisebread account. Include both "@wisebread" and "#WBAsk" in your tweet so we'll see it and count it. Leave a link to your tweet (click the timestamp for the individual URL) in a separate comment.

If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Monday, August 13th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after August 13th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.
  • You can enter all three drawings — once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.
  • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.
  • You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.

Good Luck!

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Guest's picture
Alex H

Hmm...I've actually worked pretty hard to lean up my budget since moving to Boston. The city's expensive and I haven't earned my first pay raise yet. There are still a few things I indulge in, though - I always tend to buy organic fruits and veggies, despite the relative expense. Does that count? =)

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Alex H

Also a fan on facebook!
Fingers crossed.

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Tyler

I could deal with eating out less. That would be the first thing I cut. Most of my expenses included the following things: food (not eating out), gas, rent, and utilities. I have a very small entertainment budget, but I am living fairly bare bones to pay off student loans.

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Beth

There are a lot of things in my budget I could live without - but hubby's not willing to give them up...The biggest would be be satellite I think.

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Joan Groe

I could very well manage with fewer clothes and shoes. I am buying only things that I need and that work with what I have. Also trying to wear them for several seasons so have to avoid the trendy fashions.

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Maura

I had a hard time getting my husband on board but we finally compromised. Instead of getting rid of cable TV altogether, we would go to basic. We did it and are now loving the extra money in our pocket and not missing all those channels we never watched to begin with. Now I'm working on my next project to save money. To be continued.

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Dish. My wife reminds me on a regular basis how much I pay to get the NFL channel. She's right. I know they rip off the cable companies and thereby the user, and I know it is a gross misuse of their monopoly position, and an equally gross travesty of the law that separates content programming and delivery. But, at least for the time being, they got me. I'm thankful I can afford it. I know I CAN quit anytime... :)

To make up for it, I can go without clothes. I have more than my wife, and to just wear up what I have will probably take the rest of my life. I may look like a dork at times doing that. Wait, I look like one anyway, so I'm good! :)

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Patty

Junk food. We don't spend a lot on snacks, but if I were to pare down unhealthy items from my grocery cart it would be a win-win. Good for health and pocketbook. It would be the first thing to address if money became tighter.

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rm

I can't live without the internet. My work requires it and I also use it a lot for entertainment and information. I could live without cable if need be.

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guest

I already save a huge amount of money by not buying drinks out. By that I mean on the few rare occasions that I eat out I always order water with lemon which is far more healthy also! By using my blender at home I have blended up some amazing alcoholic beverages at a fraction of the price and once again, more healthy because I know and am responsible for what is in it.
My favorite drink this summer is... buy ripe bananas on sale, peel, slice them length wise in half and freeze on a cookie sheet. I then turn the frozen bananas into the most amazing wannabe ice cream drink by blending the frozen bananas with a little milk, coconut rum and chocolate syrup if you like.YUM! You would swear this is a expensive, high calorie ice cream drink...but it is not!
I also have a homemade recipe for Irish Cream Liqueor, fruit infused voldka, etc. so I may enjoy a cocktail all at a fraction of the cost of store bought and pennies on the dollar compared to ordering the same drink out at a resturant plus paying a tip on top of the overpriced drink.

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Cathie

We have decided to axe the cable. It's just not worth all that money. We are still going to watch shows and movies, but it won't cost us a crazy amount of money to do so.

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Cathie

I already "like" you on FB.

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Zac

I could cut my entertainment budget almost entirely there are tons of free/cheap things to do that I love especially in the city, where I can see movies (at the library or the mall once a week), volunteer with friends, go site seeing, or just wander around all for free!

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K Franklin

Yes. Cable. Its been a couple of months and we thought it would kill us. Then we saw our cable bill minus $100 and I think we'll be ok.

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Molly

Netflix. I do so enjoy my trashy shows, but they are clearly not vital.

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YH

For me, it's dining out. I do it more often than I like and it's showing an effect on my budget.

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Monica Platz

I follow on twitter

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Monica Platz

I follow you on facebook!

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Monica Platz

I could learn to live without my manicures. They are super though, but not necessary!

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Nancy

We have done a serious scrub of our budget and eliminated or reduced many expenses, ranging from moving to a new location (eliminating mortgage and reducing property tax), to eliminating beauty salon expenses, to line-drying clothes. Nevertheless, we have kept many luxuries. These things are on our Plan Z for cutting under dire circumstances. Some remaining unnecessary-but-lifestyle expenses include: cable TV and Netflix (because we go out much less); a modest supply of wine, gin, and bourbon for the occasional home cocktail and hospitality (purchased at a warehouse store for lowest price); and a lawn-mowing service (though we pay less in our new home). The first item we will cut on Plan Z is our second car. It's a great convenience due to where we live and our work and family demands but we could do with out it if we had to.

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Trish

Going to the grocery store more than twice a month.

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tracey jakobsen

I could live without my soda, it is an addiction and bad for me. I have been without cable and only have basic cell service.

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tracey jakobsen

I liked you on facebook :)

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Tina S

Let's see....if we're really being honest, I have quite a list. Cable TV, internet, cell phones, half price drinks at Sonic, sugar free drink mix, boxed cereal, tortilla chips, ice cream, buying books, impulse clothing buys, scrapbook supplies, art supplies, and the list could go on from there. However, my quality of life would be greatly diminished without most of these things. Let's face it....who wants to live without ice cream?

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Monica

Our budget can do without internet-- we have gone on sprees where we go without before to help us out money wise. We can also squeeze down our food budget a bit too.

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Monica

I like wisebread on facebook :)

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Gueststeph

i could live without going out to eat ( though i'd be sad!)

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Gueststeph

i like you on facebook!

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Guest

We already have a barebones budget, with me as a SAHM, our 3rd child on the way and living a debt-free life. However, I could do without my husband buying new board games. He's bought about 20 this year out of his blow money yet hasn't gotten rid of the ones he doesn't play with *sigh*.

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Guest

I could live w/out satellite tv and a cheaper cell phone plan.

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Kate

New clothes are one expense that I could definitely cut. I recently lost a lot of weight and have been slowly replacing my wardrobe, but I could/should find ways to do it more frugally!

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I don't feel like I need to cutback on my wants, because they're limited, but if I did it would be Netflix, eating out, going to bars, traveling and switching from owning a car to using public transportation. I track all my income and expenses (http://mreverydaydollar.com/tracking-finances/) so I know where my money goes.

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Guest

I could cut more at the grocery store, eating out and our land line.

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Guest

I like on facebook

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Nicholas

My day to day life is pretty basic and there really isn't anything that I can live without. However, the cable tv bill is getting very close to being cut, only reason I have it still is for sports.

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Nicholas

I have wisebread liked on facebook.

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Amy

I'm pretty good when it comes to cutting "premium" TV, entertainment, mani/pedi's, and alcohol when dining out. However, I do eat out a lot (even when there's food at home) and I also have a nasty shopping addiction (trying really hard to work on it!). Even though I watch my finances on Mint, somehow, I'm still not saving as much as I would like... :/

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NJJ

Yes, I could live without cable, but in my defense LOL, the library is too far across town along with all the video rental places and kiosks. And with my work schedule the way it is its so hard to make it to the library or video stores before they close

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NJJ

WB FB Fan C.j. Jennings

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Emily

I could live well (probably even better) without my daily soda.

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Emily

Also, I follow you on facebook now.

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booze! could live without it of course, but it sure makes summer fun!

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Denise L

Personally I could do without my cell phone...somedays I wish we could go back to landlines only, LOL!

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Happy Love

I could live without the satellite dish, but my husband loves his racing and golf coverage.

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Carmen

I feel I could live without satellite tv (going to online shows, movies, etc). But I can't convince my husband to go that route yet. He's softening a little bit, so I'm hoping we can drop it soon.

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We could definitely live without our monthly movie rental budget but at only $18 and our way of living without cable it's worth it to us ;)

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Matt

I could live without Netflix if I absolutely had to.

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Becky

Premium cable. Such an unnecessary indulgence. I would probably save $100 per month easy.

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Susan M.

I could live without getting my hair professionally colored for $100+ and just spend $5.99 and do it myself. Am trying to do just this very thing this month. Waaahhh!!!

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Susan M.

And I like you on Facebook.

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Gym memberships are a big waste of money, especially for cardiovascular workouts. There are just so many easy, effective, and more fun alternatives. And then, of course, most people sign up for their gym memberships and then they rarely or never go to the gym.

Try some of these alternatives instead. http://extrememoneysaving.com/2012/08/07/how-to-be-physically-fit-withou...

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Natalie

Diapers! Unfortunately my son isn't ready for that yet. I think eating out (but not all of it - date nights are important to my husband and me!) and clothes. I don't go shopping for clothing often, but it is still a part of the budget that could be cut out to save money.

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Melinda J

I could DEFINITELY do without cable! My wonderful husband likes it for the races and he really requests SO little.....i think it's a small thing to keep a happy husband in the house!!!

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KelR1

The only remaining extravagance in my budget is cable. Other than that, I've cut it down to the bare bones.

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KelR1

Following you on FB.

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Natalie

I've given up manicures and pedicures. It makes me more conscious of my hands since I'm the one having to maintain them!

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Elena

I could live without dining out. We eat out once a week.

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Elena

I already like you on Facebook as Elena Istomina

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gina

Sadly there is probably a lot of things I could live without but choose not to at this point. Eating/drinking out, pedicures (although infrequently), shopping, cable, and I could go on but I'll leave it at that :)

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gina

Also a fan on FB!

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Shari Scott

I could do without cable.

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Anne M

I liked for entry on facebook page...

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Anne M

I dont eat out alot, but could defintely save money if we stopped. Even grabbing something quick costs an arm and a leg these days...

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Yes, there's lots in our budget we can live without! We save monthly for some yearly entertainment expenses - season tickets to the Broadway shows at our local theater and season tickets to the men's basketball games at our university. We also save $300 every month for travel (about 7.5% of our net income), which is obviously optional.

Also I'm a FB fan.

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Lynda Pratscher

Just today we dropped more than $50/month from our family cell phone plan. First we studied how many voice minutes we actually used, and found that we did not use most of those minutes. Then my 17yo showed me that I could use my old smartphone to access my apps with wifi. Both my 17yo son and I decided that using free wifi gives us what we need without an expensive data plan. I took this information to the retention specialist at our current carrier and asked how much we can save. Suddenly some unpublished promotional became available to us. My older son in college has his new Galaxy III with a data plan, and my other son and I are happy with our feature-rich voice & text phone. I'm the most happy with saving more than $600/year with our current carrier...without any contracts!

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Lynda Pratscher

Also, I 'like' you on Facebook.

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Darrelll

I could do without Netflix in my budget, even though the kids would not like it.

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Therese

I could live without cable and watch tv shows on my laptop.

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Rebecca B. A. R.

We could live without eating out at McDonald's the two times a week we go. Other then that there isn't much else that we could cut in our budget. Maybe our netflix streaming if we absolutely had to, but that is the only money we spend on entertainment.

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Amanda Sakovitz

I could live without dunkin donuts iced coffee daily. I love it but I would save more if I made my own coffee

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Amanda Sakovitz

i like you on fb as amanda sakovitz

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Aita

There is not a lot of fat in my budget. Don't we all say that? But if a crisis came, I could give up most vacation trips. Airports are so dreadful anyway :-)

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Kim

Satellite radio. I'm so over it. Can't convince my husband to dump it on all of the cars yet, though.

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Christie

I could live without the saving ahead for an emergency fund, but I'd rather not. :) Otherwise, we're trying to be wise about how we spend every penny.

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Christie

Commented and liked on Facebook too!

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DeeDee

Buying certain groceries, like ice cream....but it is summer and I should use up everything in my pantry.

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GailC

I gave up my cable; make my own homemade food cravings, make my own household cleaners and personal items such as toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo etc.

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Joan Varner

I could cut some of the junk food purchases out of the food budget. I pretty much have the cable, the cell phone and the internet down to basic only. Frankly, I don't want to give up the cable or the internet. But if push came to shove, those two would go.

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Joan Varner

I like Wise Bread on Facebook.

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I can live without manicures and pedicures, but it's so nice to get it once in a good while! One simply needs to be pampered sometimes!

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Liked you on FB!

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Martin

Stop buying lunch at the work cafeteria and start bringing my own lunch instead. It would most likely be healthier as well.

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Coffy

I can live without Facebook and Twitter! More time reading Wisebread and figuring out how to budget more for my Coffee Addiction that I can not give up.

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Martin

Also liked on Facebook. Keep up the good work.

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Guest

I need to get a storage unit we are storing stuff in cleaned out. Time to part with the extra things.LisaWilson2011@hotmail.com

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Diane

Definitely! I could live without cable (but not internet because we work from home); eating out could be cut back, as well as clothes purchases. I'm sure there are other more minor things, but those would be the major ones.

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Diane

I like Wisebread on facebook!

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Heather

Well, I scraped by in grad school making about half of what I'm making now (and lived on even less while unemployed), so I know I could do it again if I had to. The most flexible parts of my budget are food and entertainment. I could spend less going out with friends and on dates, and I could stop buying the better quality produce, beer, and ice cream at the grocery store. Those are things that I really enjoy and value, though, so I would be sad to give them up. One area I'm really working on is buying lunch less often at the cafeteria next door. The food is quite affordable, convenient, and healthy, but it would probably still be cheaper to make lunch at home more often. I do get a lot of vegetables from my own garden and at cheap farm stands, so at least I'm saving some money there. I could probably also save some money on car insurance if I dug into the policy or called them. I'm commuting by bike now, so maybe I need less coverage.

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Michele

In the last year I've given up pedicures, all magazine subscriptions except 'O' and getting my hair dyed professionally. I also let my hair grow longer so I can go longer in between haircuts. Oh, and Netflix dvd's by mail. Don't even miss 'em!

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Jessica

Fun. You have to add that in. From treating yourself to a manicure or a movie it's got to be there it can't all be denial. For me it's a movie once a month or so, I grab a great deal on groupon when I can and then off to the movies I go.

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Linda V

Definitely eating out! I've placed a huge budget on my eating (because I love to eat!), but I've started to focus more on cooking at home and playing with new food creations. It's delicious, healthier, and such a great stress reliever!

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Guest

I have given up cable and Netflix to save money on entertainment. I would also be willing to give up manicures and pedicures.