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Is A Big Screen TV Really A Necessity?

One of the biggest challenges for cash-strapped consumers in the 21st century is separating our needs from our wants. Over the past decade the delineation between those categories has too often been blurred. American households are now saddled with tremendous amounts of debt due to our inability to implement financial discipline and deny ourselves some purchases.

As we begin to recover from this last recession, many individuals are making financial resolutions to insure they don’t get buried in debt once again. One of the first steps to establishing control over your finances is determining what your needs are versus what you would like to be able to afford.

Most of our needs are fairly basic – food, clothing shelter, etc. However, AdAge.com recently published an article titled “The New Necessities: Food, Clothing, And A Giant TV” that points to a new addition to the necessities category – big screen TV’s.

Consumers are rationalizing big screen TV’s as a necessity since they believe they will actually save money in the long-run by not going out to the movie theaters as often. This is further rationalized by the fact that the average American spends five hours each day watching television.

Consumers are willing to be quite creative in cutting expenses, but budget cuts don’t seem to effect their spending on consumer electronics. The AdAge article cites:

“We are seeing something really big and I don’t think people realize it yet,” said Nancy Bhagat, VP-consumer marketing at Intel. “I think we would have seen a larger slowdown in purchases if this had happened before 2009, but because the user of these devices has become part of people’s lifestyles, it’s becoming a must-have.”

Have we really reach the point where having a giant, big-screen TV is considered a necessity? If consumer behavior is any indication…I’m afraid that day is soon at hand (if it isn’t already here).

Filed in: Budgeting, Debt & Credit, Family Finance, Stewardship

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