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I responded to a very interesting post at Darwin’s Finance last month. Darwin was thinking about which expenses were unnecessary and could easily be cut in an emergency. I quickly listed off what my husband and I talked about, but I’ve changed my mind a little over the last few weeks. Here was my original list but I’ve crossed out the two things that would only be cut if we were in dire need:

  • Gas $40 – No more driving to work.
  • Mortgage Overpayment $160 – We would only pay the $740 due instead of the $900 we’ve been paying.
  • Massage Envy Membership $49 – My husband loves it but agrees it would go first.
  • Vacation Account $250 – That’s how much we put in a month to take a couple of annual vacations.
  • Eating out $100 – We’ve only eat out a couple of times a week now and would cut that out. Last year it was 4-6 times a week, but we started cooking mainly at home in 2010.
  • Entertainment Expenses $50 – We don’t go to the movies or participate in many paid activities, so that’s as much as we could cut. We’d still hang with friends, have potlucks, and board game though.
  • “Fun” Money Allowance $150 – We each get $75 to just spend every month.
  • Biweekly Maid Service $90 – I love Jacquie and would invite her over for dinner, but we would have to cut this cost.
  • Newspaper subscription $6.50 – We pay $19.50 for 13 weeks of the Houston Chronicle…I use the coupons but we don’t need them. I’ll buy more from Angel Food Ministries.
  • Groceries $100 – We could cut back to $300 or less a month if we needed to.

That’s all we could cut and still be happy. That adds up to $995.50 and includes cutting back on our extra mortgage principal payments.

If we were about to starve, I’d stop contributing up to matching in my 401k and stop maxing out our Roth IRA to save $575 a month.

We could probably get rid of cable, internet, and our cell phones for a total of $160 a month…but it would be hard to get a job without the internet and a cell phone and I don’t want to live with my husband if he doesn’t have cable.

I realized we would need the internet and cell phones more than ever since job hunting would be freaking hard without them. I also came to the conclusion that we need cable or Netflix or we’d go nuts.

Finally, I decided we wouldn’t let go of our housekeeper, Jacquie, unless we really were close to losing everything. We are one of her few remaining jobs due to this absolutely wonderful economy…I’d literally be taking food from her mouth. I just couldn’t do that unless we were in real trouble. So Jacquie, if you ever read this, thank you so much!

I loved Darwin’s idea for this post! It helped me prioritize even more than I usually do.

What would/could you cut? What would be really hard to give up?