I have had SO MANY friends in financial distress try to justify their cell phones, cable TV, rec equipment, or whatever as a NEED.
Is it really a need?
Let me rephrase that:
Will you physically DIE without that?
Will your health be compromised?
Will you lose your job?
Then no, you don't actually NEED that. As convenient as it is.....you might consider saving money by getting rid of the second (and third, and fourth) cell phones, and cable TV, and (for some people) internet.
Will you die if you don't eat out right now and wait an hour to eat at home? Not likely. Will your health be compromised? Probably not. Will you lose your job? No.
This is a little oversimplified. I might add in also that it is important to consider God's commandments in the mix. Will you die without paying your tithing? Not physically, but failing to pay tithing is not a sacrifice I recommend. It is also important to consider the health of the family. For example, while I won't die without a dishwasher, my own personal disabilities (fibromyalgia) make hand-washing dishes extremely difficult--and when I don't have a working dishwasher, I end up not cooking regularly to avoid having to suffer the pain of washing dishes. So that is really close to a need for me to maintain the health of my family. Not absolutely necessary, but close.
So it's not entirely cut-and-dried. But when you find yourself in a position that you have to cut back, start looking around at your expenses....
Do you really NEED that cell phone, or are you just using it to easy anxiety ("I might get in a car crash on a remote road and die before someone misses me"--yes, I've heard that) or for convenience?
Do you really NEED 4 cell phones in the family?
Do you really NEED cable TV? Or can you get your news and entertainment from DVDs and online?
Do you really NEED the internet? Or can you do everything you do online at work or not at all (do you really NEED to play World of Warcraft? Seriously?) We actually DO need the internet--without it, Tim's job would be gone. So there you have it.
Do you really NEED new shoes? Depends on the condition of the old ones....
So every single time you are gearing up to spend some money, stop and ask, "Do we NEED this? Will we literally die without it? Will we lose our health or jobs?" You'll be surprised how much money you can save.
And then use on the things you really want.