Occasionally I take a minute out of my day and ponder why I, like so many Americans, have no money. Everyone knows the usual suspects: high gas prices, loan payments, credit cards etc. But it occurred to me, as it may have to you, that we have increasingly more "necessities" now than in the past.
For most of us, a cell phone is no longer a luxury item. I don't know a single person under 30 without one and I'd have to strain to think of a person under 50 without one. Simply put, it has become a necessity. Soon this will be the case for a smart phone (iphone, blackberry, etc.) and the incurring data plan that comes with it. Email has become a necessity, so has a home Internet connection.
The bare bones, no frills consumer is getting squeezed out of the things he once enjoyed. I don't have cable television and as a result I'm unable to watch what I would consider the basic staples of American sports, events that were, for as long as I can remember, enjoyed by millions of Americans for free. I can't watch Monday Night Football anymore. I couldn't watch 22 of the 28 playoff games played this baseball season. Same goes for the NBA playoffs and any football game played on a Thursday night.
Many things you once enjoyed for free you now have to pay for, whether it's listening to your favorite radio program or watching your favorite sports team play. If you want to be a functioning member of society, you need a cell phone, a computer and a monthly subscription to operate both. I don't have a land line, cable TV, or a data plan for my phone. I have the cheapest cellphone plan of anyone I know and the best deal on cable Internet going today and I still pay upwards of 75 dollars a month for services that I literally can not be without.