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5 Necessities I HATE Paying For

Ever since I became self-employed, I’ve managed to cut my expenses dramatically. Thanks to living in the middle of nowhere, I can pay all my bills and buy gas and groceries on a little more than $1200 a month. While I (obviously) strive for more than that, it’s nice to know that I can live on very little when I need to, and that I can do so without giving up a ton of conveniences.

Despite the relative ease of making enough money to meet my needs each month, I’m always looking for ways to reduce my spending even more. Especially since that $1200 a month only allows me to make my minimum car payment instead of the accelerated payments I used to make, and I’m not replenishing my anemic emergency fund very quickly.

Every time I look at my budget, there are five areas I’d love to be able to delete from the list entirely. Unfortunately, since they’re necessities, I can’t really do that, but it’s nice to dream!

1. Health Insurance

Why I hate it: I might get sick enough to go to the doctor once a year. My only regular prescription is birth control, which isn’t covered by insurance anyway. I absolutely hate shelling out money every month for something I don’t even use.

How much I’d save without it: $150 a month

Why I pay for it anyway: Let’s face it – my good health may not last forever. Knowing my luck, the second I dropped my coverage, I’d have a stroke or break my arm. Even though I complain about it now, I won’t be complaining if something ever goes wrong and I have health coverage to pay for it.

2. Car Insurance

Why I hate it: In 14 years of driving, I’ve been involved in one accident (knock on wood). I’ve never had a speeding ticket or done anything that would make me a terrible risk behind the wheel. Yet I pay all kinds of  money each month just in case.

How much I’d save without it: $90 a month

Why I pay for it anyway: My only wreck was enough to teach me the value of adequate coverage. Plus it’s the law.

3. Internet Access

Why I hate it: I’ll have to write a whole separate rant about my crappy service with Comcast. Basically, for the past six months, my connection has dropped 40+ times a day for no reason. I’ve called. I’ve replaced my modem and router. They’ve inspected the lines inside and outside. Comcast insists there is nothing wrong, yet I can’t even have a conversation over Skype without getting disconnected.

How much I’d save without it: $60 a month

Why I pay for it anyway: Um, mainly because I make a living doing freelance writing and web design. But also because I can’t imagine life without internet access. I need rehab or something. So I’ll just keep crossing my fingers that another provider shows up to break the Comcast monopoly.

4. Dog Grooming

Why I hate it: Grooming for 4 dogs is kind of expensive. Also, they know when we’re going to the groomer versus a leisurely drive or a trip to the park. I get the joy of four frantic animals crawling all over me in the car, one of whom usually manages to puke on me, and hair everywhere.

How much I’d save without it: $130 every 4 months (so about $30 a month)

Why I pay for it anyway: One time I got the bright idea to groom my dogs myself. That experiment gave me half-shaven dogs running around with bleeding toenails where I clipped too close, a bathroom floor full of water, and scratches all over my face. No thanks. I’ll leave it to the experts.

5. Contact Lenses

Why I hate it: Luckily I buy my contacts online and they aren’t too expensive, but I still get annoyed. It never fails – if I’m on my last pair and waiting for more to arrive, I WILL rip one. Or lose one. Or get an eye infection that leaves the current pair unwearable. I just want to have LASIK and be done with these stupid things forever!

How much I’d save without it: $125 a year

Why I pay for it anyway: I’m legally blind. Even with contacts with a very strong prescription, my vision can only be corrected to 20/40. And I’m not allowed to drive in glasses because they only correct me to about 20/80. Since I can’t afford $3000 or so for LASIK, I’m forced to deal with contacts.

Altogether, I could save over $300 a month if I could find a way to live without health and auto insurance, internet access, dog grooming, and contact lenses. However, since I do benefit from all of those things (whether or not I enjoy admitting it), that’s $300 I’ll continue to spend every month for the foreseeable future. While the costs don’t always seem worth it, the benefits win every time. Doesn’t mean I won’t whine about it, though!

Confession time: What necessity (or necessities) do you hate paying for?

About Andrea Whitmer

Andrea is a freelance web developer and mom trying to maintain a sense of humor in an otherwise chaotic world. She blogs in hopes of helping others avoid the same mistakes she made in the past. Join in the discussion here on So Over This, or connect on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or Google Plus. You can also subscribe to new posts via RSS so you never miss out!


  1. I need new contacts right now. I've been putting it off FOREVER!

  2. I agree on the car insurance… It’s a necessary evil. I am lucky I only need to buy contacts once a year (and get a year’s supply). I also can use glasses as backup. To me, another necessary evil is gasoline. Lord knows I’d rather ride a bike, but in this town, nothing is within walking, biking or running distance. Meh.

    • That's a good one too. Same here – we don't even have sidewalks. I'd have to ride a bike on the curvy highway I live on, and I think I'd rather not.

  3. grrrr internet service! We have to use Time Warner here and it is so horrible, but we don't really have a choice it is either Time Warner or nothing. The connection is sluggish SEVERAL times a day, and in the year of service we've already had to replace the router and modem (twice). . . and the service still sucks. I would pay $100 for excellent internet service, I really would because we use it so much in our house. We pay $68/month for crappy service and every month I wish I weren't addicted to the internet.

  4. I have comcast and can't complain (at the moment). It used to be really bad but they have since "fixed" the problem in my area. I suspect they were worried about AT&T being available and didn't want to lose customers. Everytime my connection would stink I would remind myself of the days of 14.4 modems and think this isn't so bad after all.

    I echo the grooming for the dog. We only pay to do it twice a year and I hate paying for it, but the hassle it saves is totally worth it!

  5. Jesort415 says:

    I hate paying for Poland spring to my house. We can not drink the water from our taps because the pipes are completely rusted out so no amount of running it thru filters, carbon, boiling, etc makes it safe to drink. Not sure when the new LL will replace the pipes but probably soon (since every other week a plumber is there to fix a leak in someone's place) and then I can save $32 a month. It mainly sucks because I came from NY with decent tap water so having to now pay for water bites me a little.

  6. I agree so so much. Health Insurance (in Canada health insurance covers prescriptions, dental, eye care, message and physiotherapy, actual doctor care is covered in taxes) costs me $140/month for my fiancée and I. It's annoying, but I spent two years without it and I'd rather have it.

    Car insurance is another pet peeve, because I'm a good driver and I was screwed last time I had to use it. It's the law though.

    Dog Grooming – get someone to teach you girl! In high school I used to groom dogs to make extra cash, the breeder we bought our dog from was nice enough to teach me, it's not hard it just takes a lot of practice. The dog I'm thinking of getting is long haired and there's no way I'm paying for regular grooming.

    Contact Lenses – Agreed and I wear my glasses most of the time because of it.

    Other things I hate paying for are mostly anything to do with repairing or tuning my car, and gas. I spent four years out of high school with no car, so I'm not desensitized to the expenses involved with owning one. They're a pain!

  7. To a comment above, O.O Wow you're paying HOW much with TWC?? I'm on a "package" bundle- at the moment, with taxes fees, and other assorted rigmarole, our bill is $180 a month for phone, internet and cable tv.
    Since my husband did a bunk, I'll be changing our package to a far more affordable $25 internet connection, about a $30 tv package, and getting MagicJack for phone. I'd switch to cells, but we live in a bit of a valley and get no service here.

    If it were just me I'd drop cable entirely and live on Netflix, or even pay the $5 a month or so for the most basic package they have, which gets you network tv and I think 10 channels, but my kids are threatening mutiny, so I'm going to see how I do with the basic cable which will let them keep their Discovery Channel shows they love.

    My pet peeve (sorry for the pun) is veterinary care. I have a too-soft spot when it comes to pets, so at the moment we share space with four dogs and four cats. Three of each are already altered, but I have one rescue dog who was too thin when we got her- the vet refused to do the spay until she got some more weight on, and one cat who is just now old enough (and will be going in soon for her "repairs".)
    My regular vet who I love was going to charge me $350+ for the dog's spay, including getting the basic vaccinations up to date. O.O
    Fortunately I found a country vet who's doing the same job, plus a Lyme disease vaccine, (Yes, we use anti-flea and tick stuff, but there are a LOT of deer ticks in the area and Lyme disease is common) for $220. It's hard to justify shelling out $100+ every time one of the animals needs a vet visit, even for minor issues or basics like required vaccinations. Just to walk in the door at my regular vet is over $60…. And they wonder why they only see my animals when they're due for shots!

    • We only have internet – no cable no phone line. We use Netflix because we do not like cable tv even the free channels. TIme Warner Internet here is awfully expensive but there is no other service that provides a decent speed for Netflix or even basic web surfing.

  8. I agree more than you know on all of the above! When you go from having a very set income, such as Salary, to one income or self-employed it's hard to adjust.

  9. eemusings says:

    Insurance sucks, but it's saved our asses on a number of occasions.

    For me, it's feminine hygiene products. Hands down.

  10. I think you have named them all. The only other thing I hate is taxes. Here in Texas we don't have state income taxes, but property and school taxes are enough to kill you every year.

  11. I hate paying for insurance too but if I ever need to use it it better pay for itself! We made sure our dog didn't need to be groomed before we got her. We didn't want to have to pay for hair cuts all of the time. I'd rather deal with shedding.

  12. Two things. Dog food: but I love my dogs like people and can't bring myself to buy cheap food for them.
    Hair appointments: I have tried at home, but end up looking like those flaming hot Cheetos, and I have to look professional for work.

  13. Catseye says:

    I hate paying for everything on the list except the dog grooming. I have a cat who loves when I brush him. Thank Goodness!
    I wear contacts also, but what I hate paying for is the expensive, name brand saline. I can't use the cheap, generic saline any more! Arrrrrrrgh!!!

  14. insomniaclabrat says:

    I hate paying for internet service too. We have AT&T, and every evening it cuts out at least 10 times. I'm usually not online all day on the weekends, but when I am, it cuts out many more times…I was thinking about buying a new router and modem, but I'm afraid that it won't fix the problem and it will just be a waste of money. AT&T says the wiring is fine…ugh.

    I also hate paying for the bus when the previous one didn't show up, or when it's really late. I guess that's not a necessity, because I can (and sometimes do) walk, and I could buy a bike (and probably will), but nothing irritates me more after a long day in lab than paying for the privilege to sit at the bus stop for an hour waiting for a bus.

  15. I agre with most on your list, but have to also add renter's insurance. I've never had to use it, but I still pay for it each month….sigh.

  16. Hopefully internet service will eventually come down in price. But for now, it is what it is and we can't do a lot without it, one would think! By the way, service interruptions 40 times a day….that's truly horrible. I can feel that pain.

    Health insurance might be expensive, but anything can happen to us at any time. I remember going to grad school with a guy who, while we were in our 20's, thought it was safe for him to go without insurance because he never got sick. Ever. That's quite an assumption to make, that past history will automatically guide future results! We all need to be insured, the out of pocket costs of some things could wipe people out.

  17. Child support.

    I make $50K and he makes $130K but I still have to pay him child support until I save up the money for a lawyer to revoke the current agreement. I. AM. VERY. BITTER!

  18. serendipitysavings says:

    Okay first things first. Love the new blog look and love how you are at 121% of your income goal. You are kicking ass. Now that I've gotten that off my chest, I want to say I hate paying for health insurance. I have chronic asthma and I know I need it, it just sucks that I now have to pay for it like the rest of America. My old job sucked but I was lucky for having them pay my health insurance plan.

  19. investlike1percent says:

    i hate paying taxes…. partly kidding.

    hate paying for title insurance. its a scam.

  20. Rent! I hate myself for renting 2 bedrooms unit because theoretically my sister and I could live in cheaper a studio or 1 bedroom, like we used to do. But then we enjoy our own rooms so yeah…..

    Have gotten rid of private insurance last year. My income was low and it was an unnecessary luxury, but years ago I was in hospital for months and work insurance covered the expenses (more than AUD100k!). It left me traumatised and signed up for a health insurance that actually I couldn't afford. I hope your luck is as good as mine because I am well and healthy enough since.

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