I’ve already written about my telephone land line and 11 other nonessentials that I’ve given up, in order to save money and live within my means.
None of them was as hard to give up as cigarettes, which I quit a long, long time ago. Of those nonessentials, I’ve relapsed on only two, which come as a package: cable TV and internet service. I presently have cable and internet access thanks to a housemate, and it seems only fair for me to pay my share.
A few other nonessentials, I must admit, I have refused to give up so far, although I’ve cut way back on some of them. Here are four nonessentials that are particularly hard to quit:
- Dry cleaning, I’ve always washed my own underwear and stuff, but for most of my adult life I’ve made regular use of the dry cleaning industry. Dress pants and suit coats, blazers and sweaters, even ties, I have routinely taken to the dry cleaner. This is expensive. Hence the expression, “Taken to the cleaners.” If the label says “dry clean” or “professional cleaning only,” I still must obey. But my simplified life doesn’t require me to wear fancy duds every day, so I’ve been able to cut way back on the dry cleaning.
- Having dress shirts professionally laundered, starched and pressed. This I used to consider an “essential.” It was my one concession to dressing appropriately for work. A wrinkled shirt simply does not project a professional image, in my opinion. No more! In the spring of 2009, I went cold turkey on pro shirt laundering. I taught myself to iron, and even tried spray starch, with varying degrees of success. For the future, I intend to buy dress pants and dress shirts that are drip-dry, and preferably require no ironing.
- Haircuts. I refuse to give up haircuts completely. However, I get haircuts much less frequently, and go to an old-fashioned “barber,” not a more expensive “stylist.” I let the barbers cut my hair as short as they want; it makes it that much longer before I have to come back and pay for another haircut. Also, I’ve taught myself to trim the hair around my ears with a razor.
- Coca-Cola. Not a necessity! I know this, intellectually. But as a practical matter, I’m as hooked on caffein now as I used to be on nicotine. I have failed miserably to give up Coke, or even cut down on my consumption. To me, Coca-Cola seems like an essential. The combination of all that caffein and sugar gives me a real kick. I know it’s not good for me, but I need it to get through the day. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. I’m sure other people have the same problem with coffee.
I surely have overlooked other expendable nonessentials. Please let me have your nominations in the comments section. Thanks.