Which Nonessential Expense Would You Like To Furlough?

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Jefferson Memorial during the Government Shutdown

What would you like to place behind that yellow tape?

The government shutdown has now hit double-digit days. Undeniably, the people most affected are the furloughed folk, unable to collect their wages. However, people missing shutdown services suffer too—just ask this kid.

So, we turned to our editorial team for our most thought-provoking burning question yet: Which expense of yours would you like to furlough, i.e., not have to pay for a little while?


Of course, the double-edged nature of the furlough makes this question tricky. It may sound great to avoid paying rent, but it’d be less fun to have to move home because you no longer had a place to live. It’s a tough balancing act—no wonder the government can’t compromise!

Check out what our team came up with.

Shane McNichol

I’d love to furlough paying for gas. As a free agent in the job market, I think I could handle the consequences. No car for a couple weeks? No problem. Well, not for me. My friends and family members might have to pick up the slack, but we all need to make sacrifices in difficult times.

Bridget Casey

My expenses are so tight that it’s hard to think of anything I would furlough. It’d be lovely not to pay for some items, but to go without them entirely? Yikes!

Since my utilities are included with my rent, I’d furlough using my dishwasher, keeping lights on, and keeping the heat up if it meant I paid less for my apartment. Outside of the really cold months (December and January in my city see temperatures as low as -40°F and only 8–10 hours of sunlight during the day!), I have enough natural light and can just put on a sweater if it gets chilly. So going furlough on utilities for a few months would be awesome.

Sean Engelking

From my perspective, I would say that I have furloughed my privacy by opting to have roommates. Doing so has allowed me to stay current on my student loans (or, in other words, survive).

Brigit Bauma

I would furlough my credit card bills, so I’d have to pay for everything with cash. That’s a good thing, because I wouldn’t spend a lot since I don’t carry crazy amounts of money in my wallet. But then again, I wouldn’t be able to buy anything online, which would stink. However, I don’t need to buy things online. I save money and it gives me an excuse to get out of the house and make a day of shopping.

Susie Boretti

I would get rid of my credit card payment too. Going back to the “old days” of using cash takes away the convenience of just being able to swipe the plastic, but on the plus side, it might make me think twice about my purchases and actually help me save money!

Aaron Weber

I’d definitely be healthier and wealthier if I traded in the car for walking everywhere, although I don’t love the idea of carrying all that cat litter

Sarah Barker

I’d like to furlough my smartphone—even for just a few days or hours per day. When I got my first Blackberry, my kids called it a “Crackberry,” enlightening me that I was about to become one of the addicted. And now that I’ve progressed to the more sophisticated iPhone, I find myself compulsively checking text, phone, email, and social all the time.

Really, furlough it. My brain actually dreamed of my iPhone screen pages the other night … is all this immediate communication so necessary? (I do remember the good old days as a college student when my mom couldn’t track me down as I gallivanted across Europe. She actually called the State Department to try to find me…)

Jonathan Sparling

I would like the furlough my cable bill. It’s outrageously expensive and, let’s be honest, cable isn’t all that good. In fact, I am a serial cable canceller. I typically give in and reinstate my cable service strictly to watch sporting events live. Is it really worth it? Probably not. Perhaps I should do a cost/benefit analysis or breakdown, based on the number of games I watch, how much cable is costing me per sporting event … yikes.

Sasha Laferte

I guess I could furlough my clothing expenses, but I reallyyy don’t want to. I’d put my cable/Internet bill on furlough instead. I hate hate hate that pesky little bill at the end of every month. Especially because I always forget that I’m not at my parents’ house, and when I get Wolverine on demand three times in 1 month, I’m the one that has to pay for all three charges. Netflix, here I come.

Ryan Lane

I have a land line at home because, well, … (trails off). I never call anybody from it, and the only people who call it are looking to collect a debt from a “Felipe J. Quintero” (perhaps for an unpaid phone bill? I’m not sure). So, yeah, I could probably go a little while without it.

Carmen Guzmán

If I had the choice to furlough a payment, I’d probably pick the Metro expenses. $112 for a monthly pass is outrageous. Does someone have a bike I can borrow?

All right, readers, now it’s your turn. Let us know which “nonessential” expenses you could live without in the comments.

(Photo: John Sonderman)

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  1. James Taliaferro October 11, 2013 / 11:34 am

    I would like to furlough my private student loan payments.

    • Ryan Lane October 11, 2013 / 12:38 pm

      I bet you’re not alone, James. I actually thought that might be a popular response from our team; after all, when you’re thinking of “tangible” items to lose, things like a “car” sting a lot more than an “education.” (Aaron even wrote a post kind of about that idea not too long ago: http://blog.saltmoney.org/if-i-default-can-they-repossess-my-education/.) I guess the hope would be that you, me, and others put the education those loans paid for to good use. If we furloughed the loans, we’d lose that education, meaning many of us could end up like the actual furloughed employees: out of work.

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