18 October 2009

What budget item goes first: lunch or cable?

As seen in the Battleford's Regional Optimist

I sat down to watch my two hours worth of TV. The digital TV recorder is a quite something, cause I am able to record my shows and fast forward through the commercials! Anyhow, I was watching Global News on August 17, and they were talking about the recession, and some of the effects it has been having on our daily life. In particular scaling back on expenses. What was being scaled back wasn’t wonderful news; meals and medicine were receiving the axe.
Fourteen per cent, of those in the nation wide survey, stated that they stopped buying, or delayed buying prescription drugs. Two percent more opted out of a meal. An overwhelming third of the survey spent less on groceries. This is scary.
Global News interviewed a lady who was struggling to make ends meet, and was one of those people who skipped meals to save money. One of the screen shots showed this woman’s balance book of ways to save money, such as not eating, and what she had to pay for. Her list of bills to pay was: groceries, phone, cell phone, cable, internet, water, and hydro. I was appalled. This woman was not eating so that she could have money to pay for cable. She may have been spending less on groceries so that she could pay for the cell phone. There needs to be some rearranging of priorities here.
I believe that everyone should make a list of their current bills. List them in order of what can go in times of hardship. For example, if the bank account is getting small, cut the cable. You can easily go to the public library and rent movies for free or for a small fee. Speaking of the library, it has the internet too. Usually for free, sometimes, again, for a small fee, but a lot less than what someone is paying monthly for the same amount of use. The library is a wonderful asset. Use it. It can help minimize bills.
There are too many things, little objects, that we think are necessities. Blackberry, iPod, internet, Xbox, and others we feel we can’t live without. But we feel we can live without food, or medicine that will help us live. You can’t chew on your cell phones battery when you are hungry and have no food. That won’t satisfy you at all. You need food. You need water. You need a place to live. A cell phone is a want. Cable is a want.
There are only six things everyone needs to live: air, water, food, sleep, clothing and shelter. Those should be our priorities for our selves and for our families. Those should come first before anything else. Without them, you really can’t have anything else that we value and want so much.
I admit. Even I need to remember to put my priorities in order. Looks like I will be going back to bunny ears and to the library.