What Are You Cutting Back On?

I recently came across an article over on CNNMoney about where some Americans are cutting back in their spending. I found the results very interesting.

1. 50% of Americans plan to buy an HD or flat-panel TV in the next year

I don’t know about you, but purchasing a TV is one of the last things on my mind right now. In the article it also mentioned that only 11% of Americans believed that it was a good time to buy things they want or need. Are you telling me that a high-definition TV does not fall into the category of a want?

2. Cable and sattelite TV are way down on the list of cutbacks

For me personally, this was one of the first things to go. To be perfectly honest with you, it feels great not to have all of those channels. I am reading some great books and it even gave me the time to start this blog. I guess it kind of goes to show how addicted us Americans are to our TVs.

3. 59% of Americans plan to take a trip of 100 miles or more in the next 6 months

I was stunned when I saw this one. With gas in my area hovering around $4 a gallon (close to $5 on the west coast), taking a trip is one of the last things on my mind. I would be happy just sitting around a pool reading a book.

There were also some things that did not surprise me that much. A lot of individuals are cutting back on dining out, clothes, and out-of-the-home entertainment. I personally have been starting to purchase produce from local farmers in order to cut down on costs. I am supporting the local econmony, plus getting some great nutrition from the food. Trent over at The Simple Dollar, recently had a great article on Tens Ways to Find Bargains on Fresh Food. I am really starting to love fresh food and the tips that Trent gives are very helpful.

What are you cutting back on and are you getting real savings?

What would be the last thing that you would cut from your budget (other than food, shelter, clothing)?

12 thoughts on “What Are You Cutting Back On?

  1. traviswright

    with college football just around the corner, i will not be cutting back out cable TV…however, I have really wanted an HDTV, but have not bought it even though we could afford it right now. I also don’t want my cable bill to go up each month. We aren’t cutting back on cable, but we are at a good middle of the road place.

    I wish I could find a way to cut back on gas, but in our current situation, there really is no other way to cut back on gas.

    Look forward to reading your blog and have subscribed.

  2. Kimberly

    I’ve definitely been buying a lot less clothing over the last few months. I haven’t really felt any financial pressure lately, but fear of the unknown has made me cut back quite a bit.

    The last unnecessary thing I would cut from my budget would be high-quality food. I pay a premium for organic yogurt, free-range eggs and lots of produce, but I don’t think that my health is worth sacrificing.

  3. Manda

    I for one have also been cutting back on spending money on clothes, makeup, shoes, etc. I would not say that this is necessarily because of the economy, but more so, because of my soon to be moving costs and student loans I will need to start paying back. I have though, also stopped driving to sooo many places. I used to not think twice about driving places just for the heck of it. Mostly because I was bored and needed to get up and go, but with supply and demand helping to drive gas prices up, I figure staying put and enjoying more time at home doing things out doors & spending time with family is better than spending $4.09 a gallon just to fill up every week. Now, obviously most of us have jobs that drag us out onto the road day to day, and we cannot help that amount of travel, but I would say if you can help it, driving less def. saves some bucks each month.

  4. Andrew

    The article isn’t too clear if the trip of 100 or more miles is only by car or if it includes air travel as well. I’m going up to Seattle in August (I’m in Los Angeles) to visit some of the wife’s family and it would have cost $330 in gas plus several nights in a hotel. I got cheap seats on Southwest for $400 total and we get to spend more time hanging out instead of driving.

    If cheaper airline tickets stay available, people who might have normally driven for a trip might fly instead.

    And welcome to the PF blogosphere, I’m throwing a subscription into Google Reader.

  5. Sarah

    I am trying to cut back on gas usage and money spent on eating out. Both can be decreased greatly–if you are willing to think through your everyday actions.

    The last thing I would cut back on is my high-speed internet! 🙂

  6. Adam

    @Kimberly – I agree with you on the organic food. You may pay a little more now, but you can save yourself a lot in medical costs later in life. That seems like a fair trade off!

  7. E.C.

    I must admit, I’ll probably be taking a few car trips of more than 100 miles over the course of the next several months. I just graduated and took a job in a town about 300 miles from all of my family and most of my college friends. Seeing my parents and brother semi-regularly isn’t negotiable for me right now.

    On the other hand, I’ll be in a region with a very low cost of living, living with a roommate in a house that’s close enough to walk to work at least some of the time, and spending little on entertainment since I’ll be working all the time and staying in a small town with no movie theater, few good restaurants, etc. I’ll probably get a Netflix subscription to compensate for the lack of entertainment options, but I think I’ll still come out ahead.

  8. Dan

    I have decided to cut back by selling my SUV and using the proceeds to purchase a motorcycle. 50 mpg in the city with a 3.8 gallon tank. After running the numbers, I found that the amount of money I will be saving on gas will actually make the payments on the bike with money to spare.

  9. Philip

    Really 100 miles even by car is not that much of a trip. Heck from Lubbock to Amarillo would break that mark. Also, 6 months is a long time, that included Christmas travel. Would you drive 100 miles to Amarillo to see family for Christmas?

    In a 6 month time period I will probably take 4-5 trips over 100 miles, some driving some flying.

    Budget it and save for it and do what you want, just know what the true prices all are.

  10. Morgan

    We’ve cut back on our driving and eating out. It’s amazing how much money one can save simply by skipping a trip to the local restaurant. If you still want to splurge you can even spend extra money to make a fancy home cooked meal. It will still be a lot cheaper than a restaurant.

  11. Mrs. Accountability

    Yeah, I drive 100 miles a day just to go to work or church. So glad the price of gas has dropped, but it seems to be rising again. Bummer, it was like I got a raise of $300 a month.

  12. JMK

    We have reached a weird balance of frugal vs splurge that seems to work for us. We want to retire early and unless we win the lottery, that means making choices about where to cut back in order to maximize savings and accelerate paying off the mortgage. The problem is we’d still like to have a life in the meantime. Because we have cut the basics so much, we can cover the basics with 55% of our take home income. Most of the time I skim off the excess every week and redirect it to our retirement savings or excess mortgage payments.

    In many ways our efforts to reduce costs means we just opt not to do some of the things others consider the basics. Forget cutting back to basic cable, we haven’t had cable for 15yrs. We get 6 channels direcly off the air and that enough to keep us glued to the TV more than is healthy. We brown bag our lunches 99% of the time. We buy used vehicles with cash and drive them into the ground. We top up the kids wardrobe only when they grow or wear something out. Our sources are: hand-me-downs, consignment, Salvation Army, new on sale. Every 2yrs my husband does one shopping trip to replace any worn out items (shirts, dresspants, ties and dress shoes). I decided a year ago that after reviewing my clothing that I probably could get by with replacing only undergarments for several years. Like most women, I had a fully stocked wardrobe and just needed to force myself to wear everything I had. I’d bet most of us could go a very long time without “needing” a single item if we’re being truthful. Same goes for most of the stuff in our homes. Unless some critical appliance breaks, then we really aren’t planning to make any purchases for a very long time. We replaced our dishwasher in January 2008 when the old one rusted through and started leaking. That was the last house hold item we purchased. We have 2 TVs, neither is plasma/LCD/HD but both are working fine and won’t be replaced until they fail. Before you roll your eyes and say we’re living a horrible ultra frugal existance, remember the “weird balance” I referred to…

    Last summer we took a family trip for a month to Europe (Italy, Greece & Germany). We live in a lovely home. Our son attended private school for many years. I think it’s critical for all of us to figure out what is important and what is not. Forget what the Jones’s are buying, and refuse to be sucked in by slick advertising for the lastest must have fashion or gadget. We want to retire early and still travel extensively in the meantime. In order to manage it we simply don’t accept that we “need” satelite TV, car payments, fancy electronics, etc etc. At times I take a lot of good natured teasing from my friends for our ultra frugal ways, but when we took of on our last trip these same people said “I wish we could afford that”. Hmmmm.

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