What is an “Essential”? Every single person who is reading this will have a different answer. I live about less than 4 miles from a drain basin of 4 rivers, within 45 miles of the Atlantic Ocean, within 40 miles of the mighty Hudson river which splits New Jersey from New York , but I am up on a slight elevated area so I do not get flooded. Down below me thousands of people are coping with yet another flooding of these rivers and the eroding of the beaches. Everything they own in many cases is destroyed by water damage and mold. These poor folks have nothing that they can salvage and their home is not inhabitable. What would you do? What is absolutely essential for you to take out of that home you have lived in to survive with the water level lapping up at your front steps. You have less an 1 hour to decide. What will you take that is an “Essential”?
Let’s assume that this has happened many, many times before and about a dozen other states are having this same trouble and your governor has not declared a “disaster” for federal relief; now what are you going to do? What is essential? You see every day millions of people are making these decisions at any given moment in life. This has been going on for generations. It is not new to the economic crisis of 2008 – 2010 – and beyond.
This idea of essentials is more of an attitude or mental posturing than a list of items or things that you can throw into a leaf bag and sling over your shoulder and walk out of your home. What society deems as an essential is really not on our list. Our “essential” list might be more of a “bondage” list. These perceived “essentials” keep us spending, buying things we do not need nor use, racking up debt, upon debt. These “essentials” do not make us younger, more affluent, happier, wiser, wealthier, healthier, have more fun, get a date, improve our relationships or any other of the millions of images, promises and claims that bombard us every day.
So again, I ask you, what is essential for you and your family?
What matters to you most if you are having to get out of your home with the rising flood waters? Are you going to grab the cable box or the family photo album? Are you going to take your legal papers or the flat screen TV? Are you going to take your laptop and rolodex or the tools in the garage? These are big decisions. What is your list of essentials?
*Stop all subscriptions. There is no subscription that is necessary to your survival. I personally know lots of people who do not have blackberries, or cell phones, or laptop computers and they are happy and doing just fine. Remember here, I’m talking about essentials when you are unemployed. Keep the focus here.
*Stop buying PERIOD. There is nothing that you need more than a job at this moment. Everything else is a luxury than you cannot pay for at this moment.
*Sell what you do not need or that you do not use.
*Use everything that you have inside your home first before you go out and buy another item. I mean use what’s in the freezer, what on the pantry shelves, use up all the detergent for washing clothes before you spend another penny on anything.
*One after school activity per child (If this involves, long drive times and that means a larger gas bill, then it is time to cut that activity or choose one where you can share a car pool or one which is at the school itself)
*Make a family decision about which is the vehicle of choice for entertainment (this assumes that you have a choice) Is it going to be cable, satellite, DSS, netflix, renting a DVD, buying one DVD per month for the family, sharing DVD’s with other families, going to the movies, or what?
*Do you really need a cell phone for every member of the family? NO. weigh the options carefully, without the children involvement. A cell phone is a “status” symbol, not a necessity. If you and your spouse deem it a necessity, then that amount of money has to be taken away from another area of the budget. That can be an easier decision when posed in light of food or gasoline or other essential.
What else could you do?
More essential choices next time.