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catherine
5-9-11, 12:35pm
I feel like our "needs" have risen exponentially over the past century, and I wonder if we really NEED certain things like:


Health Insurance: OK that's a biggie, but keep in mind that there was no such thing before the Industrial Age, when employers started offering it as a "perk" Now, everyone HAS to have it--and the taxpayers have to support it--which is fine, but are we entitled to everything? And can't we invest more in prevention than treatment? When no one is taking money out of their pockets to pay for this stuff, the cost will inflate ad infinitum
A million in the bank before you retire: Another myth, I think. Why? Why is the paradigm save a million and live off the interest and then leave the principal to your heirs? Can't there be another paradigm, like just keep busy and earn your keep as you go?
Climate control: I went without air conditioning for 4 years while our central unit was broken, and guess what--I didn't melt. And I saved a heap in my electrical bill
Bottled and canned beverages: it's a staple on the grocery list, but what's wrong with H2O?
Cable TV: The obvious Not-Real-Need


Any others?

ApatheticNoMore
5-9-11, 1:29pm
I feel like our "needs" have risen exponentially over the past century, and I wonder if we really NEED certain things like:

[LIST]
Health Insurance: OK that's a biggie, but keep in mind that there was no such thing before the Industrial Age, when employers started offering it as a "perk" Now, everyone HAS to have it--and the taxpayers have to support it--which is fine, but are we entitled to everything? And can't we invest more in prevention than treatment? When no one is taking money out of their pockets to pay for this stuff, the cost will inflate ad infinitum


yea, but it's kind of a systematic thing. The system is broken. But for an individual to go without health insurance when they could get it is just self-destructive (and illegal now too?). Although I've been doing it, gasp don't want to pay Corba, so expensive especially when I have exactly ZERO EXISTING health problems, but I guess I will .... I know I should bite the bullet and send the check.





Climate control: I went without air conditioning for 4 years while our central unit was broken, and guess what--I didn't melt. And I saved a heap in my electrical bill


yea but there may be systematic problems here too. Newer buildings were built on the assumption of air conditioning, so they weren't built with any eye toward keeping temperatures down. BTW, I have found apartments to almost universally get hotter than houses. Although I've had two apartments that stayed fairly cool and two that were little greenhouses (always hotter than the outside air). So a lot here depends upon the dwelling.

Unnecessary things:

- having a cell phone and a landline ... until again it becomes systematic and the employer expects you to always be available on cell or something (ideally they'd always pay for the cell then too but sometimes things aren't ideal).

- Some vacation destinations are obviously exotic and not needed when you could just travel more locally (but they might be great experiences if you can afford them).

- getting a newer car is unnecessary (drive the old one until it really doesn't make sense to fix it anymore - and I've driven them past this point - but that's not really worth it either, trust me)

Sad Eyed Lady
5-9-11, 1:59pm
Of the five things you have listed, I have climate control. Yes to canned or bottled beverages on occasion, but that's about it. Of course I am sure I have many other things that I think I need but when it actually comes down to it I could probably live without.

reader99
5-9-11, 2:45pm
Nobody wants to hear this, but: shampoo. google no 'poo and see how baking soda does just as well. I;ve been washing my hair with baking soda and rinsing with diluted apple cider vinegar for a couple of years now. It's just as good as commercial products and in some ways better; my hair is much less tangly now.
I also use baking soda as deodorant and toothpaste. The cost is a fraction of commercial products and the package is biodegradable.

reader99
5-9-11, 3:03pm
To some extent, purchasing books. Most of my ordinary light reading is satisfied by library books. But I know people who buy books the library has. I usually only buy books my library system doesn't offer. I don't want to spend the money and I also don't want to have to store them in my tiny condo.

I just had a conversation with someone who considers buying trash bags and paper products an integral part of her normal life. I use grocery bags for trash, dishrags instead of paper towels, and cloth napkins instead of paper. The function is still needed, I just use a far, far lower-cost alternative to meet the same need.

Zoebird
5-9-11, 3:55pm
*Health Insurance: we don't have it. We live in a country, though, where accident cover is, well, covered. Anything emergent is covered, and pregnancy/birth is covered. we do pay it in our taxes, obviously.

*A million in the bank before you retire: most people on the planet live without ever getting a million dollars. but, there are other factors, too, like co-housing. There can be a point where it isn't wise for an elder to live independently, which means we have to have different ways of relating as family, and thinking about housing, etc.

Of course, I also just like the idea of making money -- and I don't plan on retiring anyway.

*Climate control: here in NZ, most houses are uninsulated and have no central heat/air. some homes have heat pumps, gas fire places, and most have either A. no heat source, or B. wood burning stoves. These are usually in one room of the house, and other rooms go unheated. It's just different here.

In any case, our apartment is small enough that our heat pump takes care of the whole place (same with our new place which is a gas fireplace). The weather here is wet and chilly (but not icy), so it's not absolutely necessary, but it does help to have a heat source at least for a bit in the mornings and evenings (in the coldest months, we might use two hours AM and two hours PM). We just bundle up with extra layers of clothing and have blankets around the house and also layer up the bed. :) The whole family sleeps together, so it's warm and cozy. :D we also wear hats at night. it's old school.

*Bottled and canned beverages: we drink water, tea, and coffee -- no canned or bottled beverages here. I do -- on occasion -- make all natural sodas, so we do have those (usually in summer).

*Cable TV Haven't had this for 12 years. absolutely no need.

Zoebird
5-9-11, 4:05pm
Paper Products: we converted away from paper towels, napkins, etc about 9 years ago. My next endeavor, though I haven't taken the plunge yet, is family cloth (instead of toilet paper). I have friends who do this and it works fine; I'm just not sure I'm ready for that. I did fine with DS (cloth wipes, etc), but I'm not sure I can do that for myself. Might end up doing a combined (some cloth, some tp), and of course, you usually have TP for guests!). So, perhaps I'll make the leap in the next month when we move and I have some t-shirts that are too raggedy to use for anything else.

Trash Bags: since we use re-useable grocery bags, we actually don't have a lot of plastic or paper grocery bags. So, we do buy these. We put out about one 13 gal bag of trash per week. Most of this is compost-able. I wish that our city had composting as part of their recycling! We are looking at a worm farm and/or bokashi bin (likely both), just to off set that aspect of the trash. I think that could take us down to a bag-of-trash per month.

Books: I tend to purchase only those books that I will re-read. Used to purchase just about everything, then sell what I didn't like/want anymore. Now, I library first, and if *i love* the book, I'll buy it. We do have a magazine subscription, though. It's probably not necessary, but we like it.

Baby Stuff: this is actually a pet peeve of mine. I really believe in minimalism for baby (which I wrote about before), and i am *disgusted* by my sister's lifestyle in this regard. I recognize that this is *my* problem. But seriously, who needs *that much stuff* for babies? for *one* baby? Stuff, stuff, and more stuff. wow. just, unnerving. I think people would be so much happier with less in this regard, but I could be wrong.

Office supplies We are a nearly paper-less office. We use about one ream of recycled paper per quarter. Not bad, really. The office used to go through a ream per week (prior practitioners were wasteful). I keep all of my client notes online (our booking system allows this), so I don't even have paper files for them. I have one paper on file for each -- their signatory on the waiver. Most of the other practitioners use computerized or paper notes, but their paper notes are using their own paper, not ours. So that's good. We also use fewer pens, and I recycle our printer ink cartridges (we hardly use any anymore anyway), and of course, we don't really need rubber bands, staples, etc -- though we do have them -- just not many. It's nice to have far fewer office supplies. We only have pens at home. 3 pens, in fact.

catherine
5-9-11, 5:02pm
Zoebird, you're making me want to move to New Zealand!

Reyes
5-9-11, 6:00pm
Personal computer

Cell phone

Internet access at home (unless working from home)

janharker
5-9-11, 6:32pm
But, if we didn't have internet access at home, how would we talk about what we don't need?

Reyes
5-9-11, 7:12pm
Library:-)

Zoebird
5-9-11, 7:36pm
I love it here in NZ, truly. It's the best. :D It's totally different, and I like it. Far less consumerist society, really. Lots of focus on the outdoors and human relationships.

Uhm, internet access at home is important for us because we work from home as well as in our offices (own business). And we have a cell phone that is connected to our business, but no landline.

We are talking to our neighbors (who also use the internet at home) on both sides of our new place to see if we want to bulk-purchase a broadband bubble. That is, one of us would be on the account (or rather, a small coop name), and then we could buy our (metered) internet in bulk. It's metered here in NZ. We currently use $110 per month of metered broadband. But, it feels "unlimited" based on our usage. Every jump up another X gigs or whatever the terms are is just $10. To get the max, "unlimited" plan, it's about $200. If three or four of us "went in" together, we would be able to use the internet as much as we want between our three/four places and pay only $50 per month. So, I'm looking into it. :)

Our personal computer is also our business computer. IN fact, both of our computers are our business cmoputers. We also do personal work on them, but both are used for business. :)

But, before when I did not work from home, and I didn't have a computer (for about 3 months due to a nasty virus and a long-term fix-it process), it was great. I would go to the library about once a day//every-other day (i taught yoga; it was a good place to hang out in harsh weather in between classes) -- and i would read magazines, read books, and have about 1.5 hrs of computer time (the max allotted per day at the library). Quite nice, really. :D

Rosemary
5-9-11, 8:26pm
Isn't examining needs vs wants one of the first steps in becoming more mindful of how we spend money and time? The answers will be different for everyone.

I have a young child and would not go without health insurance for our family; we use our home internet service for work and it allows DH to spend more time at home than he would otherwise be able to (which reduces commuting days); but long ago we got rid of most disposables (aside from TP), we use climate control sparingly, never purchase prepared beverages, and have never had any sort of subscription tv service.

bae
5-9-11, 8:54pm
All you really *need* is good company, good food, good health, and shelter from the elements.

I've spent many a happy month living in obscure places with no "services" or stores, with only what I could carry or forage.

In contrast, the past couple of weeks with a mangled ankle, in the lap of luxury, has been pure heck.

Zoebird
5-9-11, 10:09pm
seriously, I just bought kitchen table, chairs, a washer and dryer, and a fridge. I feel ridiculously decadent.

I will also be buying shelves for the kitchen (floating -- no upper cabinets) and two book cases (one for DS's books and toys, one for DH and I to use for our books and supplies). One of my clients is willing to make them for me in exchange for yoga classes (as well as paint the place) -- which is great because we'll just pay for supplies.

On the one hand, we could do ok without these things, truly. But, on the other hand, it is really nice to have a table to have dinner and it's really nice to have a place for your things to go when you are finished using them for the day.

I also have a pretty fancy bed and tall-boy dresser. I'm living high on the hog! :D

And, heck, I can sell them all again at some point if I need to. :)

creaker
5-10-11, 6:42am
Look at what most of people in the rest of the world (don't) have - and many go on to lead happy and satisfied lives, regardless.

redfox
5-10-11, 7:58am
Health Insurance: OK that's a biggie, but keep in mind that there was no such thing before the Industrial Age, when employers started offering it as a "perk" Now, everyone HAS to have it--and the taxpayers have to support it--which is fine, but are we entitled to everything? And can't we invest more in prevention than treatment? When no one is taking money out of their pockets to pay for this stuff, the cost will inflate ad infinitum
A million in the bank before you retire: Another myth, I think. Why? Why is the paradigm save a million and live off the interest and then leave the principal to your heirs? Can't there be another paradigm, like just keep busy and earn your keep as you go?

Yeah, people before the industrial age also died in childbirth, of measles, flu, mumps, etc., and depended upon folk remedies, many of which work for the common cold but are pretty ineffective for serious illnesses or disabilities. And, health care is not a entitlement - it's a basic human need. Human societies organized around the logic of sharing the work to meet basic human needs; food, shelter, protection, child care, health care.

Regarding working until you die (which is how I read "keep busy and earn your keep as you go"), that would be nice; except for the infirmities that prevent one from working... I hope to keep working for some time, and will probably need knee replacement to do so. Requiring both insurance and savings.

The biggest cost savings I've found is not having children. I discovered that when I married someone with kids, and all my expenses skyrocketed. We just got the water bill, and our household usage is exactly half what is was a year ago. The only lifestyle difference? The last teen moved out. So, add "no kids" to the list!

jp1
5-10-11, 8:40am
While it's true that we don't need health insurance, it's also true that without modern healthcare and the insurance that makes it affordable we also wouldn't have an average lifespan in the 70s. One hundred years ago the averages for the US were 50.9 for men and 54.4 for women. Basically we're spending the money to obtain an extra 25 years of life. http://www.demog.berkeley.edu/~andrew/1918/figure2.html

Mrs-M
5-10-11, 9:05am
Love this thread! (Love everyone's lists)! I second Zoebird's baby needs entry. It's truly one area where I shake my head too. Disposable diapers, disposable wipes, disposable bottle liners, disposable training pants, bumper pads, wipe warmers, bottle warmers, baby dish warmers, egads!

Zoebird
5-10-11, 3:37pm
I might also toss in there the idea of a separate home office.

There's a reason this comes to mind. :D

DH wants his own office, but in the past -- when we had a 2 br place and a 3 br place, I set up offices for him and he always ended up at the dining room table. I set the offices up according to feng sui principles, according to his design desires, and so on and so forth. He always ended up on the dining table. He preferred to work there. He would create massive piles of mess on my dining table, and then the office would go entirely unused. I eventually turned the office into a guest room (we had fairly frequent guests of friends and family) and the smaller room into an in-home yoga studio (where I would see private clients). At least those rooms got use then!

So, moving into our new place, I was thinking about setting up the smaller room as a closet-cum-office for DH, but then realized that he would end up at the kitchen table. Why? Because the kitchen opens to the front window which overlooks the sea (rather than the smaller room which overlooks the neighbor's house/wall, because he loves to be in the kitchen where he can easily grab tea, coffee, or a snack, because he loves to be in the same room as everyone else while "working" -- eg, i'm usually in the lounge reading/working, DS playing in the lounge, etc. And, for the last year, we've lived without an office/desk, and just shelves for our office stuff (as well as DS's stuff and books and so on), and now that we have a table coming. . . well, I think it will work out nicely AND it means less stuff! :D

SRP
5-11-11, 9:51am
Isn't examining needs vs wants one of the first steps in becoming more mindful of how we spend money and time? The answers will be different for everyone.


I think Rosemary's comment above is an important one. More mindfulness from everyone could make such a huge impact on how we function as a society. I think that a lot of the time, we really don't "think." We just do what we're told and assume that we need certain things because "everybody else does."

Gardenarian
5-11-11, 3:56pm
Schools - honestly, the longer I homeschool, the more I think public schools are one of the biggest wasters of time, money, and energy. I understand that not everyone is able to homeschool, but we need to seriously rethink our educational system.

Here is a link to a great article on (not) schooling: http://www.spinninglobe.net/againstschool.htm


note: that apparent typo "biggest biggest" is caused by some glitch in the system. Anyone know how to fix it?

heydude
5-11-11, 7:40pm
Regarding climate control, you certainly do not need this. Honestly, if you sit at home with just a window open, your body will actually adjust to being able to deal on-its-own. I tend to drink a lot of water and since I take the bus to work and stand out in the heat outside as well, it actually helps me deal with the weather outside by being so hot at home as well. If I was freezing in the AC, the outside heat would be a shock to my system.

Further, I also stand outside at the bus stop in the very cold winters. This is actually very easy because my body adjusts and I wear layers.

When it rains, well, I always carry an umbrella so that I am always prepared.

Therefore, guess what, I could care less about what the weather is. People talk about the weater constantly and I could care less what the weather does! By being able to deal with anything so easily, it doesn't bother me at all what it is. It is really all the same.

Mrs-M
5-11-11, 7:40pm
Whitening toothpaste. Nobody needs it. It doesn't have any whitening properties. Sheer gimmick.

Zoebird
5-11-11, 10:42pm
I wish that more schools were similar to waldorf and montessori -- where they are more child lead and child focused, as well as being whole-being focused. :)

I had planned on unschooling my son, but his social needs are far higher than we can manage, and school is his best option for this. He is about 10,000 times more social than his father and I. LOL I do one morning social a week with him, and I'm recovering for 3 days. So, homeschooling him -- and getting him to the activities he needs each day -- would be *way* too much for us. And, we both work (and love it), so we would just be worn ragged.

folkypoet
5-12-11, 7:33am
We don’t have health insurance, but not by choice. I believe access to health care is a need. Period. (Not insurance, per se, but the care, itself.) And I believe everyone, regardless of anything, should be able to help themselves heal. I would *love* to have to pay more in taxes for this. (Of course, I do have some problems with Western medicine, in general, but that’s a whole ‘nother post. I still think health care should be a right.)

Convenience foods.

Two cars. In many circumstances, one.

New clothes. People get rid of clothes left and right. There are lots of used goodies out there. Really, any non-consumable item new. There’s so much out there, already.

Paper products - especially diapers and pads/tampons. In fact, I think a lot of the problems women have with menstrual symptoms could simply disappear if we’d stop using these things. And, I figure, if they’re putting awful stuff (and they are) in women’s paper products, imagine what’s in baby (or adult) diapers. Eek. But also paper towels, paper napkins, and even toilet paper (though I haven’t conquered this particular “desire” yet – still treating TP as a need).

Shampoo, cleaning products, toothpaste, antiperspirant, etc. Anything that can be replaced with baking soda and vinegar (with fantastic results, I might add). I’ve been no-pooing for over five years, and I *love* it!

I agree with Zoebird (as usual). Baby stuff. In this culture, we stick our babies in separate rooms, in separate little cagey beds, with remote baby monitors, rather than bring them to bed with us. We carry them around in 15-pound baby carriers rather than hold them. We push them in strollers and corral them in playpens and swings and “exasaucers” rather than letting them explore. We feed them fake “milk” in bottles rather than nurse them. We feed them mashed bananas from jars rather than mashing up the banana ourselves. We plop them in front of a television rather than interacting with them. It’s odd. ****I recognize, of course, that any of these might be a necessity in a particular situation or for a particular baby. I’m just speaking of the culture in general.****

School. Unschooling is tops. It really is.

Meat. And milk. And eggs. :o)

A million treats for the pets. We’re making our animals obese right along with us.

Most of the cleaning products out there – especially the anti-bacterial, disinfectant-type ones. They’d love to have us *think* they’re all necessary. I’m pretty sure, however, that I’ve been living without them all my life just fine, thank you.

Cable tv. Or any tv, for that matter.

Same goes for video games.

I tend to think of the Internet as a need, but I know that’s probably not the case. The little one uses it in *so* many ways. He doesn’t have to, I guess, and in some ways, it detracts from real life. In other ways, though, it adds to it. Hmm….

Gym memberships and special workout clothes and equipment.

Electric lights during the day.

Perfectly green lawns. Come on, people. We’re in Texas (well *I* am). In a drought. Do we really need strangely lush lawns?

Well, I’m in Texas, and air conditioning is really a necessity – especially the way houses/apartments are built now (I think someone already mentioned that, but I can’t find it). They’re not built for airflow. However, heat is not generally a necessity here. I don’t even think I turned on the heater this past winter.

The newest thing. My 13-year-old is quite good at waiting, but my dh just has to have the latest thing (or thinks he does). Ugh.

I’m sure there’s tons more, but this is turning into a novel! :o)

benhyr
5-12-11, 8:11am
A million in the bank before you retire: Another myth, I think. Why? Why is the paradigm save a million and live off the interest and then leave the principal to your heirs? Can't there be another paradigm, like just keep busy and earn your keep as you go?



This is probably an artifact of our culture (at least here in the US I've noticed it). Parents don't necessarily want to live with their kids and kids don't want 'em to move in either. And, while many of our medical advances that improve longevity have been around improving infant/child mortality, we are living longer now too. Long life coupled with disappearing defined benefit plans (pensions) and you're going to want some way to cover living expenses.

All of the financial studies I've seen support between 4% and 4.5% as a safe withdrawal rate on your portfolio... assuming the next hundred years won't be statistically different from the last hundred (two world wars, a great depression, and a bunch of bull and bear markets in between). That gives you $40k-$45k a year to live on from that $1mm portfolio. Running portfolio longevity numbers, depending on what kind of market you hit, how long you live, etc, that gives you a 95% chance of having enough money to make it until you die. The interesting thing is that, at the end, some runs will show your portfolio completely exhausted (none left for the heirs) and some runs will show your portfolio up to $5mm. A pretty simple tool for running some assumptions is available for free over at firecalc.com

Of course, there's no way I need $40k a year to live on so there's no way I need $1mm to retire... so, your point is valid, but I thought I'd share a little more info :)

Oh, back to the list. Looking at recent inventions that we don't really need but I THINK I need, top of my list would be toilet paper. 2 ply please. ;)

catherine
5-12-11, 8:31am
Cool! Some interesting ideas here:

Schooling: We don't need it to survive, certainly, but I think education in general is necessary for a vibrant culture. But, as a mother who happily rubber-stamped her son's drop-out from school at age 16, I agree that school can HURT some people. I think we've been brainwashed to believe that if we don't become a cog in the wheel of the existing educational system, there's something wrong with us, which is NOT the case.

Baby stuff: The whole idea of "we're waiting until we can afford kids" is kind of crazy in a way because all you need to be able to afford is food, clothing and shelter. But people expand those lists and put off families for decades. When I got pregnant the first time, my MIL's first comment was, "I thought you were going to buy a house first." Believe me, my son is happy and healthy despite living a few of his young years in an apartment. Go figure.

Shampoo etc./Gym memberships etc.: These things remind me of how stupid we can be. We use shampoo which strips our hair of its natural oils, then have to use conditioner to put the oils back in. We drive a car to the gym, when we wouldn't need the gym if we didn't drive the car as much. Someday someone is going to examine our culture and just shake their heads.

Insurance: I know that's a controversial one, and I'm not suggesting we don't have a system of health care in place, but, honestly, we need to start from scratch and rebuild. There is no earthly reason why the health care system has to be as expensive as it is, from a product/service/insurance standpoint. A lot of the perceived "needs" for prescriptions is smoke and mirrors in my opinion (and I'm in the business so I see first hand where the "Ask your doctor if xxx is right for you" starts.) I've also seen my husband's doctor order him all kinds of tests, "just for the fun of it," because the insurance covers it. And there are so many lifestyle-related conditions that need to be attacked at the root cause, not as a band-aid fix after we've already managed to mess up our lungs, metabolic system, etc.


Anyway, food for thought.

Mrs-M
5-12-11, 8:56am
I LOVE this thread! So much food for thought.

treehugger
5-12-11, 10:04am
We don’t have health insurance, but not by choice. I believe access to health care is a need. Period. (Not insurance, per se, but the care, itself.) And I believe everyone, regardless of anything, should be able to help themselves heal. I would *love* to have to pay more in taxes for this. (Of course, I do have some problems with Western medicine, in general, but that’s a whole ‘nother post. I still think health care should be a right.)

I agree with all of this. It's nice to sit and theorize about how health insurance is a want not a need. But my husband would definitely be dead of kidney failure at age 38 and I would be a bankrupt, homeless widow without our (admittedly flawed) health insurance system. Sure feels like a need to me.

Kara

mira
5-14-11, 10:55am
These are the sort of things I think about every day. I'm glad you started this thread, Catherine!

Bronxboy
5-14-11, 11:57am
I feel like our "needs" have risen exponentially over the past century, and I wonder if we really NEED certain things like:


Health Insurance: OK that's a biggie, but keep in mind that there was no such thing before the Industrial Age, when employers started offering it as a "perk" Now, everyone HAS to have it--and the taxpayers have to support it--which is fine, but are we entitled to everything? And can't we invest more in prevention than treatment? When no one is taking money out of their pockets to pay for this stuff, the cost will inflate ad infinitum
A million in the bank before you retire: Another myth, I think. Why? Why is the paradigm save a million and live off the interest and then leave the principal to your heirs? Can't there be another paradigm, like just keep busy and earn your keep as you go?



Health care is clearly just another bubble in the U.S., just like enclosed shopping malls, vinyl sided exurban houses, tech stocks, and now gold. We are spending at least twice as much as necessary, and receiving at least 50% more treatment as is beneficial.

As far as paying as you go, the million dollar thing is overstated if one can get past 65 before retiring, and can live in paid-for housing with moderate maintenance and tax costs. But pay as you go requires someone willing to provide the income, either through a job or buying your wares in a business. The reality of age discrimination is that every dollar earned after 60 has to be considered as a bonus.

ApatheticNoMore
5-15-11, 8:49am
Health care is clearly just another bubble in the U.S., just like enclosed shopping malls, vinyl sided exurban houses, tech stocks, and now gold. We are spending at least twice as much as necessary, and receiving at least 50% more treatment as is beneficial.

Things are over-prescribed, but as an individual there really isn't much one can do about it (one can choose to invest or not invest in gold or to buy a house or just rent a place, but to choose not to have healthcare is to risk bankruptcy as health issues are the leading cause of bankruptcy in this country).

You may take very little in the way of prescriptions yourself and not even believe in them and yet you are still going to pay a high rate for health insurance (for all of those who do take dozens of prescriptions I suppose, and aren't yet on medicare). A doctor was arguing that the threshold for which we diagnose disease has just shifted too low, and it's probably true. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, high blood sugar are diagnosed at lower thresholds than they used to be apparently.


The reality of age discrimination is that every dollar earned after 60 has to be considered as a bonus.

After 50 is much more honest. In fact they have workshops here on how to get a job AFTER 45, despite age discrimination!!!! I wish I was making this up, 45 ..... and you are way over the hill to think you can still work!!

So I suppose the only realistic idea for most people (whose initial incomes aren't even that high) would be to save enough to support yourself entirely on your savings for 12 years (from 50 to 62) and then throw yourself entirely on the mercy of the social security system after that :).

Zoebird
5-15-11, 8:00pm
Health care is a leading cause of bankruptcy in the US in part because of what insurance doesn't cover. For example, a friend of mine had excellent health care coverage for her family. They were self employed, and invested in a good plan. Their daughter was diagnosed with cancer, and their insurance covered about 1/3 of the care. They then were able to take out specialized insurance, which covered the other 1/3 of care. What remained was 1/3 that they got covered through government programs, their own savings, and donations from friends and family. Thankfully, the child lives and is doing very well.

The reality of this situation on them was immense. THey had 3 other children, who had hte normal health concerns, btu all of the insurance coverage was covering their one child. Everything else was out-of-pocket. They sold their house and moved in with family (luckily, my friend's mother had a larger home with a smaller "guest house" -- and so "grandma and grandpa" moved into the guest house and gave the house over to the family). It was paid for, so it was economical for them. Her husband continued to run his own business, and luckily the grandparents could care for the other two children while mom was with the sick child at the children's hospital for most of the year.

As it was, their *barely* avoided bankruptcy. Everyone was working as hard as possible to make life work for them -- I even gave free yoga lessons to the whole family both in their home and in the hospital -- just to make sure that their emotional needs were getting met amidst all the strain that this level of illness brings.

Most of the people who are bankrupt due to medical bills are in these sorts of situations -- either not covered or undercovered, or simply in dire straights health wise. And it's *tragic.*

In socialized health care systems, there are major issues, but one benefit is that people aren't going bankrupt due to lack of health care. This is partly why I moved to a nation with socialized health care. I know we'll be taken care of -- in the event of an emergency or major health concern. And of course, we do everything we can to prevent such things.

catherine
5-16-11, 5:22am
A doctor was arguing that the threshold for which we diagnose disease has just shifted too low, and it's probably true. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, high blood sugar are diagnosed at lower thresholds than they used to be apparently.


Guidelines are very often driven by pharmaceutical companies. For instance, it was a major pharma company coming out with a new class of antihypertensive who set the blood pressure guidelines at normal=140/90 and got the medical community to adopt that. Now the numbers are even lower. All of these "syndromes"? Labels made up by the pharmaceutical companies, ready with a solution to the "problem" that they made up.

flowerseverywhere
5-16-11, 6:46am
A lot less of us would need far less health care if the emphasis was on eating right, stress management and exercise. When I got to be in my late forties, my annual blood tests showed my cholesterol rising and my BP was too. Instead of counseling me on my diet and changes I could make they wrote prescriptions. I saw another doctor at a later date in the practice who did just that, but by that time I had pretty much figured it out and was able to go off medications. So if you watch what you eat, and can get three or four days of intense cardio and do strength training or yoga and some balance exercises you can be good to go without meds in most cases.
many of my friends are on hormone replacement and anti-depressants. they are also overprescribed in my opinion.

I will say I was very thankful for my health insurance when DH fell on the ice and had emergency surgery and a few weeks later was diagnosed with cancer. Luckily, he is extremely healthy now and is very strict about his diet and exercise but I can't imagine what would have happened if we had to pay for all his care out of pocket. I don't think I would be in my paid for house right now.

I am guilty of living in a larger house than I need (although when the kids were home it was just right), having way too many clothes and other stuff. And we barely shop except in the grocery store, but somehow stuff accumulates. If we could only get our families to listen and not give us gifts we would be better off. I tell them to donate to their church, animal shelter, vet association but they can't help themselves.

I grow way more vegetables than we can eat and store but people love to see me coming in the summer and fall with baskets of food.

Spartana
5-16-11, 8:15pm
But, if we didn't have internet access at home, how would we talk about what we don't need?

I'm at the lovely ginormous library located in an even loverlier city park overlooking a duck pond full of canadian geese, some kind of giant white geese, and everyother bird imaginable (OK no swans but a big osprey nest with babies about to fly and hawks and even parrots). Typing away at you via the free wi-fi. Went for a run in the park, had dinner in the library cafe, and returned some books and DVDs I borrowed over the weekend. So basicly I do without alot of those things at home and use other resources like the library. And if the library wasn't available I'd be happy to dump the computer and go internet-less. I've done it for long periods of time before and really enjoyed it (after the horrible withdrawls stopped that is :-)!).

As far as what I need, well it's not much. I live where it's temperate so don't need A/C or even heat. I don't have cable so no TV (have a TV but no reception, and DVD player but could do without them). I don't have a CD player or any kind of music player or cds because I'm pretty much deaf and can't hear much even with my hearing aids so music just sounds aweful (can use the closed captioning when watching movies). Really don't need a cell phone as I use it only for emergencies but do need my landline (cheaper and with a special set up for the hard of hearing). Need running water and a flush toilet. A few hundred bucks a mnonth (around $500 - $700) to cover all my basic expenses (no millions needed here). A small house for me and the critters. Don't need a car as I can ride my bike or rent when I need a vehicle. Don't need any entertainment as I have a ton of free or inexpensive hobbies I do. just need some basic clothes - shorts, tee shirts and running and hiking shoes. Umm... I think that's it. Oh yeah, and health care of course. Can get free thru the VA but would buy a policy if I didn't have that even though I'm very healthy and fit. Good health and fitness isn't going to do me a lick of good in a car accident. Afew years ago I injured my knee playing volleyball and had to have several surguries, months in rehab and what would have been an unbelievably high medical bill that would have been in the hundreds of thousands or more. But because i had good health insurance thru my work at the time I only had a small co-pay. I was also able to have a sports medicine specialest along with the regular surgeon and there fore was not only able to walk again, but able to play sports again (although not at the same level as before). So don't discount the need for health insurance becauser you eat your fruits and veggies and do yoga, something as simple as a fall in the tub can cause you to need VERY costly medical care.

flowerseverywhere
5-17-11, 5:52am
So don't discount the need for health insurance becauser you eat your fruits and veggies and do yoga, something as simple as a fall in the tub can cause you to need VERY costly medical care.

that is what I was trying to say as well, I hope it didn't come across as something else. I do think though that we all would have lower premiums if our lifestyle was different and we'd feel better as a society all over the world.

ApatheticNoMore
5-17-11, 1:06pm
On the other hand internet is dirt cheap. It is currently costing me under $16 a month for DSL. Now that may adjust upward some after a year so it's more like $22 a month. But that is still less than my landline phone with NO long distance absolute minimum base plan costs (it is over $30 a month with all the taxes, talk about a rip off).

Bronxboy
5-18-11, 7:22pm
Things are over-prescribed, but as an individual there really isn't much one can do about it (one can choose to invest or not invest in gold or to buy a house or just rent a place, but to choose not to have healthcare is to risk bankruptcy as health issues are the leading cause of bankruptcy in this country).

The answer for somebody who is a health care skeptic is probably to take a high-deductible insurance plan. My wife's experience with chronic illness pushes me further in that direction every day. Every specialist pokes and prods on their little part, and nobody looks at the big picture.


After 50 is much more honest. In fact they have workshops here on how to get a job AFTER 45, despite age discrimination!!!! I wish I was making this up, 45 ..... and you are way over the hill to think you can still work!! .
I was going to suggest a lower age, but had the easiest job search of my career at just shy of 50.

Spartana
5-18-11, 8:05pm
On the other hand internet is dirt cheap. It is currently costing me under $16 a month for DSL. Now that may adjust upward some after a year so it's more like $22 a month. But that is still less than my landline phone with NO long distance absolute minimum base plan costs (it is over $30 a month with all the taxes, talk about a rip off).

I agree - interenet would be cheaper for me than a landline too BUT (BIG BUT!) I get addicted to the I.N. and have a hard time pulling myself away. So I choose not to have it at home and am much better at regulating myself and have to actually go out to get online. So I end up doing other stuffwith just a short time online and I'm not spending all day in front of a box. Except for the last couple of days because I'm at my sister's... it's raining... I'm sick... my knee hurts...I'm tired... there's ice cream here..gas prices are high... Bin Laden may rise from the dead and I'm scared to go outside...um... what other excuses are there for staying in and sitting on my butt all day :devil:?!

Jemima
5-19-11, 12:56pm
I consider high-speed internet essential, not quite a need, but very important to me. I dislike shopping and order everything possible online, thus saving lots of gas and time. It also comes in handy when the mail carrier fails to leave what I call 'The Weekly Wad', the roll of sales flyers which includes supermarkets and pharmacies, since I can look up the sales sheets online. And there are friends who are scattered all over the country. There is no library to which I can walk and the one where I have a card is half an hour drive away.

So much depends on one's lifestyle. I plan to retire soon and it seems as if I come across something every day that I'll no longer need to do or buy. Over the weekend, I caught myself putting plastic sandwich bags on my grocery list when it hit me that I'll be using far fewer of them in two months and the current box of 100 will likely last beyond my retirement date. (My first thought was that I'd need them for muffins, but I realized I wouldn't be making muffins much either when I'm not packing lunches.) Today it was mascara, which I only wear when going out in public, and since most of my interests are home based, like gardening, reading, and sewing, I'll likely only wear it once or twice a week.

I'm looking forward to letting my gray hair come in and never having to buy hair dye or do my roots again. A number of times I've wondered if I really need to put money aside for a replacement washer and dryer, since I plan to live in jeans and T-shirts, which can be washed by hand fairly easily. There are several laundromats in the area for things like my comforter, which would be a bear to wash by hand. (Please don't bring up clotheslines. I have tendonitis and reaching up hurts. I also have an electric can-opener for that reason, another "essential".) I'll probably buy far fewer books since I'll have time to use the county library's bookmobile.

Just thinking about being free of my HSSJ in two months is the best entertainment I've come across in years!

mm1970
1-27-12, 8:47pm
Big houses! I am amazed at the number of people who scoff at the size of my house (or the house next door, for sale), both at about 1000-1100sf. They go on and on about how somewhere else you can get a bigger house.

These are the same people who called me "spoiled" when I said I prefer not to drive 10 miles one way on the weekend to visit friends, because I drive that to work every day.

Um, no, I think YOU are spoiled by cheap gas and cheap cars.

heydude
1-27-12, 11:21pm
regarding heating and cooling.

your body changes. if you stay in a warm house in the summer, guess what? your body changes.

if you stay in a cold house in the winter, guess what? your body changes?

i take the bus year round, stand out in the cold in the winter and the heat in the summer. as a response to this, my body changes, i never get as cold anymore like everyone else cause i'm used to standing in it and i never get really hot either like everyone else since i stand in it so much.

loosechickens
1-28-12, 12:10pm
I totally agree, heydude.......we have always made a special point of exposing our bodies to a wide variety of temperatures, and the result is that we are comfortable when it's cold and comfortable when it's hot.....the body just adjusts.

I see all these people all the time who are practically "too cold" at 71 degrees, and "too hot" at 74.....unless they have that constant 73 degrees they are used to, they are uncomfortable. I think that central heating and airconditioning has really robbed our bodies of the ability to develop adaptability to both cold and heat. I never want to lose that ability myself.

We seldom have heat OR air conditioning in our motorhome, since we are pretty comfortable from about 55 - 95 indoors, and we're seldom where temps aren't within that range. We haven't experienced really cold weather for about 18 years now, well below freezing, etc., so I'm sure we have lost the ability that I used to have, living in northern PA, of going around all winter wearing not much more than a heavy wool LL Bean shirt/jacket. I'm sure I would feel the cold badly these days.

catherine
2-2-12, 10:35am
regarding heating and cooling.

your body changes. if you stay in a warm house in the summer, guess what? your body changes.

if you stay in a cold house in the winter, guess what? your body changes?

i take the bus year round, stand out in the cold in the winter and the heat in the summer. as a response to this, my body changes, i never get as cold anymore like everyone else cause i'm used to standing in it and i never get really hot either like everyone else since i stand in it so much.

That's true! My son was a teaching golf pro, and he worked in VT for a few months and then would go to Florida. Boy, he was SO crabby when he got south of Jacksonville because he could not stand the mugginess after being in VT. Conversely, my son who lives in Burlington VT comes home to NJ for winter holidays and will often hang out outside with his T-shirt on. 46 degrees in the NE is a heat wave compared to typical temperatures in Burlington!

I noticed also when our central air just went dead and I refused to get a new one, I really didn't mind the summers that much after a while. We did put a small AC unit in my home office and DH and I would seek refuge on the futon on nights that were really bad, I liked having that connection to nature. You could open doors and windows and hear birds and feel breezes--all of which was a nice trade-off vs being hermetically sealed in a 70 degree comfort zone.

puglogic
2-2-12, 8:28pm
I agree with this too. Whenever we turn up our thermostat beyond 65 degrees in the winter (for example, when a relative is visiting) I feel like I'm going to overheat. Others come to our house and bundle up in sweaters and fuzzy slippers and ask how we stand it. I love the cross-ventilation of having windows open in the summer nights...and the night sounds. Being sealed in an air-conditioned space wouldn't be good for me.

ApatheticNoMore
2-5-12, 10:22am
These are the same people who called me "spoiled" when I said I prefer not to drive 10 miles one way on the weekend to visit friends, because I drive that to work every day.

Um, no, I think YOU are spoiled by cheap gas and cheap cars.

Or just lonely :\

Zemma
2-7-12, 4:51pm
I agree with someone else who said - lights on in the daytime. There is a variation of light levels throughout any house and I don't mind this. People ask how I can put up with 'the gloom', but to me it's just natural light that changes throughout the day. Our house is actually very light, with big windows etc. But it does vary as the sun moves around. It's the unnatural light of a light bulb I don't like and during the day and it only gives a bit extra light anyway.

And unless I 'need' light (for cooking or reading etc) I am very happy to have natural light into the early evening too - I find it peaceful. Actually, I don't put lights on at night to go to the toilet or out to the sheds either, but that's because I like the feeling of the natural light (there's always some) and navigating in the dark - I know that's probably a step too far for a lot of people though!

Mrs-M
2-22-12, 2:54pm
Originally posted by Zemma.
I don't put lights on at night to go to the toiletI'm the same. :) I even used to tackle diaper changes in the dark, working by way of what little light streamed through the window of the nursery, which at times, was just like threading a needle. Baby's tiny little feet would get lost inside rubber pants, so I'd have to go fishing for them by sticking my fingers inside the elastic leg holes to find them. Once I had a hold of a set of little toes, I'd drag those toes (foot and all) out through the holes! LOL! And I never once stuck any of my kids with a pin!

catherine
2-22-12, 3:26pm
And unless I 'need' light (for cooking or reading etc) I am very happy to have natural light into the early evening too - I find it peaceful.

I agree with you and Mrs-M. Nothing nicer and more peaceful than waking up in the night and being in the dark, except for the streetlight or moonlight swaths in the room.

Mrs-M
2-22-12, 3:39pm
You took the words right out of my mouth, Catherine. :) Bright light (in the middle of the night) disrupts and plays absolute havoc with my sleep senses. One particularly interesting light related issue I came across with my kids (when they were babies), is when they woke during the night. If I got up and went in quickly and addressed whatever issue was ailing them, they were usually quick to settle, but if they awoke fretting and I went in and turned on the light, that would get them crying every time, and quite often, it would take them a good while to settle down after.