I recently read two interesting articles. One was about items Americans are increasingly finding themselves able to live without, and the other was a list of things that, despite the recession, Americans aren’t able to get by without. I decided it would be fun to look at the list and see what I really can and can’t live without that are on these lists.

Monthly Payments – We live without these, with the exception of our mortgage, and always have. Monthly payments are soo overrated. I’m glad other people are realizing that too.

Window Shopping – I still like to window shop, but I agree that it is hard to window shop and not actually buy something (like sitting in a coffee shop without buying coffee). I’ve found though that I can do a little window shopping and not purchase anything, as long as it’s done in moderation.

Bells and Whistles – We have the most basic cell phones EVER, basic cable, and a 4 year old laptop. I think we’re living without bells and whistles, and frankly, I don’t think we’re missing out on anything.

Clutter – We have a lot of stuff, but I’m trying to get rid of a lot of it and pare down on what we have that we don’t actually use. I mean, what is the point in hanging onto something that hasn’t been used, or even looked at in over a year?

Cable TV – We have basic cable, and use Netflix to watch movies and some TV shows. And while I do miss HGTV, TLC, Discovery, and come fall, even ESPN, now that I’m home from work, I’m glad I don’t have cable, because I would spend all my time watching TV. Not good.

Home Phone – We’re just cell phone folks.

Privacy – I don’t think I’m ready to give this one up and invite someone to move in with us. Nor do I really think its cool for adult children to move in with their parents just to save money. In an emergency situation, sure, but not just to have a little extra in the bank.

Prepared Foods – I like to cook my own food, from scratch, but I’m not ready to swear off prepared foods entirely. Sometimes, they’re a really nice thing to have in the freezer for a quick, go to meal when I’m too tired to cook.

Tupperware Parties – I’ve only even been to a Pampered Chef party, but I liked it! I bought three little gadgets that really do make my cooking life easier. I don’t want to go to too many, but the one I’ve been to really did help make my life more streamlined!

Packaged Cigarettes – Don’t smoke. Never have, never will.

Lattes – I mostly avoid these (Hubby doesn’t like coffee), but a little splurge now and then I’m totally okay with.

Guilt – I’m all about doing what’s best for you and your family, and if that’s not having the latest gadget, the largest house, or nicest car, I’m okay with it.

Extra Calories – Sorry, I’m all about the extra calories now.

Newspapers and Magazines – We don’t subscribe to any newspaper, but I do get Better Homes and Gardens and Parenting: Early Years. I renewed my BHG subscription for two years a year ago, and I’ll re-evaluate this one when it’s time to renew again, but the Parenting I think I’ll definetly keep around for a while.

Healthcare – I’m sorry, I can’t handle purposefully reducing my healthcare.

New Gifts – Sorry, I’m bringing a used gift to someone to welcome a new baby, birthday or Christmas. I just can’t do it.

New Cars – Hubby and I both drive relatively new cars (an 06 and an 07), but we don’t have any car payments for them and we’re not about to get a new car if we can’t pay for it outright.

Comfort – I like my AC low and my heat high. I HATE being cold or hot in my own house, I just hate it.

A Daily Commute – I’ve cut my commute by cutting work, and Hubby saves on his commute by using free parking and walking the extra distance to his downtown office and occasionally biking to work.

Fancy Dates – We’re not fancy daters; our last date was to the local baseball team’s $1 night.

Debt – I’m convinced no one wants or needs debt. I feel really fortunate that Hubby and I don’t have any, excluding our mortgage.

So most of these things are fairly easy for Hubby and I to live without, but there are a few that I’m still holding out on.

However, there are things on the “Have to Have” list, that we’re more than able to do without.

Portable Computers – Gotta have my laptop! I love that I can take it anywhere in the house, and with me on trips, or to a local coffee shop when I need free wi-fi!

High Speed Internet – Um, hello? I’m using free wi-fi because my internet at home is too slow. Definitely a must for me.

Smart Phones – Totally not necessary. Nice to have, but not necessary, especially with a laptop.

Education – Yes, yes and yes! Maybe not private school, but college is worth the saving for.

Movies – We go to the movies maybe two or three times a year. The rest of the time, we add movies to our Netflix que and wait for them to come out on DVD.

TV – We did cut back on our cable, but we still have it, so I guess we feel we need it. We could probably do without it if we had to, but I like it too much to voluntarily get rid of it at this point.

Music Downloads – We don’t download music. Not from iTunes, not from Napster (do people still use Napster?), and the last CD I bought was purchased over a year ago. Who needs downloads when you have the radio? (I used to download music, and might if Hubby wasn’t around, but together we don’t download or purchase any music.)

Pets – No! We can’t live without Glacier! If something were to happen to her though, we may not get another pet though.

Booze – I can tell you we can definitely live without this – I have for over 9 months! Every once in a while though, I do think a beer is nice.

Coffee – Used to brew and home or at work, and will probably continue to do so once the baby comes, with an occasional “treat” tossed it.

What about you and your family? Are there things on the Have to Have list you can do without? Things on the Do Without List you have to have? Spill it!

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