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What Can You Live Without?

The Jerk
Picture courtesy of Universal Pictures

I just read that 36% of Americans claim to be living paycheck to paycheck every single month according to a new poll done by PR Newswire. And no matter how tight things become for us financially, there are certain things that most Americans are not willing to live without.

I guess we all have a little Navin R Johnson in us. If you have ever seen the movie “The Jerk” you definitely remember who Navin R Johnson is.

The movie The Jerk, starring Steve Martin, was a comedy about an idiotic man played by Martin who became a multimillionaire inventor.

When I read the results of the poll, it immediately reminded me of the scene in the movie where Navin has just hit rock bottom after losing his fortune to a group of people who just won a class action lawsuit against his patented “Opti-Grab” eye glasses handle he invented. You know the handle that caused everyone to go crossed-eyed.

Anyway, Navin is walking around in his bathrobe destitute saying “I don’t need any of this. I don’t need this stuff, I don’t need anything! Except this ashtray and that’s the only thing I need. I don’t need this or this.  Just this ashtray… and this paddle game.  The ashtray and the paddle game and that’s all I need… I need this remote control.  The ashtray, the paddle game, and the remote control, and that’s all I need… I need these matches.  The ashtray, and these matches, and the remote control, and the paddle game… and this lamp.”  You get the idea.

There are certain creature comforts that we as Americans refuse to live without no matter how tight money gets.

Leading the way these days as you would expect is the Internet. Yes, a nice super fast Internet connection is high atop the list of things that people said they’d never give up regardless of their financial situation.

Here’s the rest of the list in order:

  • Their car


  • Their pets


  • Their Smartphone (I would have thought that one would have been much higher)


  • Cable TV


  • Traveling


  • Going out to eat.

When times do get tough, we should probably reconsider the “going out to eat” part. I read a story recently on how the average American goes out to lunch twice a week and spends an average of $10.00 each time. If you do the math, that works out to just about $1,000 a year!

Sounds like a good place to start to me. After all, you didn’t expect me to say give up something like Direct TV did you? I mean its football season, a guy has gotta have the NFL package for crying out loud!

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