Are Today’s Luxuries Tomorrow’s Necessities?
Last Thursday a massive winter storm streaked across the Midwest dumping record amounts of snow in many places, including where I live. Schools were closed, and roads were virtually impassable. My son was home from school, my wife and I stayed home from work, and at 6:00am the power went out.
For the next two and a half hours, we found out just how dependent upon electricity and technology we have become.
My wife figured she’d make her morning cup of coffee, but was unable too. She even joked about plugging her single cup Keurig coffee maker into the AC adapter we have for our van’s cigarette lighter in order to make a cup.
Our son jumped on our laptop hoping to play some online games with his friends, only to discover that just because the computer is running (it was on battery power) doesn’t mean he has internet access. Without power, the cable modem and wireless router can’t function. Which also affected me as I was planning to work from home, but with no power my battery charge would eventually drain, and without internet access I couldn’t connect to my employers private network anyway.
Within five minutes of the power going out, all three of us were on our smart phones posting to Facebook how much it sucked that we were without power.
We found that almost everything we tried to do required electricity and technology:
- Cooking Breakfast
- Making Coffee
- Watching TV
- Surfing the Internet
- Taking a hot shower
It’s common to hear experts give the advice to cut unnecessary things out of our lives to save money. I started to think about what is a necessity, and what is not. Years ago people cooked without an electric stove, kept their home warm without a gas powered furnace, and bathed themselves without a hot water heater. Yet I would bet that many of us would consider our stoves, furnaces and hot water heaters to be necessities of life. They have become so ingrained in our lifestyles that they are now viewed as necessities.
So my question to you is, are the luxury gadgets of today, tomorrow’s necessities? Which one of today’s technological niceties do you think we will be unable to live without years down the road?
Brought to you courtesy of Brock
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Brock is a software engineer by day and personal finance blogger at night. He is a fitness junkie and enjoys grilling and smoking meat. Married with two children, Brock strives to improve his skills as a husband and father, and is always on the lookout to stretch his family’s budget as far as he can.
Jenny @ Frugal Guru Guide says
We’re on a well, so when our power goes out, we get no water at all, hot or cold! I wish we had gas here–we’re on oil and electric.
Grayson @ Debt Roundup says
I hate when the power goes out. We are on all electric, so we don’t have anything that can be used. My parents have gas, so they could still cook food. I bet we will all be dependent on cell phones soon enough. You might classify us as dependent now.
Christian L. says
The smart phone seems to have become a necessity, despite the fact that it’s an unreal luxury. (I actually don’t own a smart phone because they’re expensive and I dislike them.)
So many of my friends use their smart phones for answers to everything: silly questions, directions, news and more. It infuriates me. We’ve become a society that feels like it deserves to know things immediately. We also do things just because we can, but that doesn’t meaning whatever we’re doing is a good idea.
I’m really channeling Louis C.K. here…
-Christian L. @ Smart Military Money
@Jenny – ooh that sucks! Do you lose power often? This is the first time we’ve lost power for more than just a few minutes for as long as we’ve lived in this house – which as been about 10 years. Hopefully it’ll be another 10 years before it happens again!
@Grayson – my idea was to fire up the grill…..but then again, it was NASTY outside and I didn’t feel like standing outside even for that! 🙂
@Christian – Smart phones was my first thought too. It was the only thing that kept us connected to the online world when the power went out. I just got one a few months ago, and I have to say, they are extremely convenient..and they are doing more and more for us all the time!
They sure are! As humans rely more and more on technology, certain things in life will be seen as necessities. Just the other day the power went out, and I literally could not live for 3 hours without electricity. But 100 years ago, everyone got along fine without it!
@Troy – that’s exactly how we felt when the power went out during the snow storm! Great to connect with you Troy, thanks for sharing your thoughts!