Oprah asks 'What can you do without?'

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Earlier this week Oprah Winfrey devoted a show to the question "What can you live without?" Two families agreed to carry out an experiment for the show, living for a week without shopping, spending, or wasting anything. Her question resonated with me. What could I live without?

  • A car? Since I work from home and only occasionally travel more than a couple of miles from home on errands, I could probably do without a car in a pinch, which would save us roughly $100 a month. We live on a bus line, and if I really need to drive somewhere, there is an Enterprise car rental outlet nearby. The difficulty would be in giving up that spontaneity habit that has been established over a lifetime.
  • A morning newspaper? At $55 every three months, I'm no long sure that I really need the morning paper. And since our city rag recently announced another deep cut in newsroom staffing, I'm not even sure it will be able to provide what I really expect from it, extensive local and statewide coverage. It's available online for free, too.
  • Curbside recycling? While $10 a month isn't a very steep toll, there are recycling bins in the parking lot of the grocery store where we shop. I could haul the papers, plastic and glass stuff there easily enough.
  • Restaurant dining? We've trimmed this back considerably already, but I know we're turning a blind eye to the drive-by hamburgers and fountain drinks that cost us $25-50 a month. I could live without this.
  • Books? Here's my Achilles heel; I love to own books that I enjoy, often making notes in the margins. I've dialed my purchases back, but still find myself clicking on the Amazon one-step purchase button regularly. I can live on library books, but it will take discipline.

What can YOU do without? How much would you save? Please add your input to the comments below.

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