In life, there are needs, and then there are wants. I need to pay my rent, my utilities, and buy food; and while you might debate what constitutes wants vs. needs, I could survive without spending money on my iPhone (and the accompanying data plan), a gym membership, and dinners out.
In life, there are things that just about everyone spends money on, whether we like to or not. These are the types of expenditures many of us forget about or even resent. Here are things I consider to be the worst offenders on this “need to buy” list (whether I currently need them or not).
If you own a car, then at some point you’re going to have to replace your old tires. Even the cheapest tires for a small sedan cost around $50 each – then you have to pay for installation and disposal of your own tires. Buying these low-grade tires – with a lifespan of maybe 20,000 miles – will virtually ensure that you’ll need to buy them again sooner rather than later. Suck it up and get a good pair of tires and you won’t have to worry about them again for awhile.
Car insurance is a must, and you don’t want to get in an accident and suddenly owe thousands of dollars because you didn’t get full coverage, so I don’t suggesting getting just the minimum.
You don’t really need to buy life insurance if you’re single; even if you’re married, it’s not a necessity. But once you start a family, having a life insurance policy moves squarely into the “needs” category. What’s worse than spending hundreds of dollars a year to insure your own life, knowing that in order to cash in on the policy you’d have to die? Talk about a buzz kill…
Admittedly, you don’t have to travel outside the United States. But if you do, you must secure a passport from the U.S. State Department before you go. The fees for this document are rather astounding. First-time applicants who need a passport book and card must pay a $140 application fee and a $25 execution fee, a grand total of $165. Then, you’ll have to pay another $140 in fees to renew your passport every ten years, whether you used it during that time or not, whether you changed your name (like through marriage or divorce) or not, whether you changed your address or not.
4. Expensive Drinks at a Bar
I don’t go out nearly as much as I used to, but that doesn’t mean I’m able to avoid every happy hour or birthday party that takes place at a bar. And while I don’t mind spending $10 for a 6 pack to bring to a friend’s house when we watch a game, the thought of dropping $10-$15 on a single drink at a bar makes me cry a little on the inside.
I’m not going to be the cheap person who holds out (or brings a flask to a bar), so I pony up and sip that beer so it lasts just a little longer so I don’t end up getting too many of them. But looking at the menu will always make me cringe. Maybe the best idea is to order blindly and not look at the final bill?
I drive about 15 miles each way to work. I end up filling up my tank about 3 times a month, that’s another $130-$150 a month that I need to spend. It’s a bad feeling paying $45-$50 and putting something in my car that I know is so temporary. This one definitely feels like wasted money, but it’s absolutely a necessity. Without it, I’d be going on a grueling bike ride for about 4 hours a day. Not a realistic option at all.
Reader, what things do you hate to buy, even if you “need” to?