I was asked to expand on my opinion from the poll I posted last week, so here you go...
First of all, there were only 6 people who voted, so it's not like it's a big scientific experiment or anything, but I do think that it showed that most people tend toward not cutting much out of their budgets to save money. I'm no expert on this stuff, but I do think that it's possible this tendency tends to keep people from getting to their ultimate financial goals. Which gives me my next poll idea! ;) I'll post that soon.
Anyway, I think that if you asked people if they'd rather have a. more stuff, more dinners out, bigger vacations or b. financial security like an emergency fund, a good nest egg to retire with, etc.; they would chose the second option. Maybe not initially, but I don't think any of us don't want some financial security for our families. So, if that's true (which I don't know for sure, but would assume so), then it'll require more sacrificing them people are willing to make upfront. Which is sad and maybe why the results of the pole were what they were. It's hard to take things out of our lives that we are used to having, but in order to reach a bigger goal, then sacrificing is a requirement.
So, where do I stand? It's a little complicated of an answer, but the short version is B (everything that is not essential has to go). Which I did vote for! ;) BUT, if you know me and have been in my home, then you know we have 'extras' and we don't have only the 'essentials'. I do think that 'essentials' is a matter of opinion and hard to define. If I were to define it, it would be things that cost extra that aren't really improving our quality of life, which for everyone will be a little different. So an 'extra' for some may be a vacation, but for us that is worth the extra expense and improves our quality of life. In order to make that possible, we budget for it and make the best of the money we can set aside for those things. We also see having regular date nights as an essential, so we budget for that and make it fit our lifestyle. Something that isn't worth the money for us right now are things like phones with data plans and cable. They aren't BAD things (we may have them some day, but right now it'd cost us about $120-140/mo to add them) they just won't improve our quality of life enough to be worth the extra expense each month, we'd rather save that money for our vacations, as an example. We drive paid for cars, because again, we'd rather have money for other things each month then to have a car payment on a newer car. Remember, these are just OUR preferences and aren't anything I would look down on other people for having. For some, those things count as 'essentials', whereas something we'd chose to keep wouldn't be for them.
Back to the bottom line. I think that if people really looked at their expenses honestly and re-evaluated what is really a quality of life expense and what is just a waste of money (essentially define their 'essentials') and made those things a priority in their budget, then they'd save money by eliminated the extras they really could live without. What I'm saying, is that people don't want to live without things they enjoy, but a lot of times we mindlessly add things to our lives that we think we should/need to have, when we really don't. The end result of taking some of those items out will get us closer to our goals sooner, and in the long run our choices will make us happier with our financial situation.
How about you? What do you think of the results of the poll or what I've said? Feel free to disagree and/or add your thoughts to this discussion.