It’s unsurprising that many of us are feeling the pinch and looking to save money wherever we can. So, what’s the first thing to go? It looks like it won’t be your broadband connection, TV subscription or mobile…
While over 40% of people in our first Quarterly Consumer Report told us they’ll be cutting back on buying food and groceries over the next few months, it might (or might not) surprise you that broadband, TV subscriptions and mobile phone bills are some of the least likely areas to suffer.
Only 26% would cut their spending on broadband, 34% on their TV subscription, and just 37% on their mobile phone. As for the most likely things people will cut down on, that’ll be big ticket household items, entertainment or socialising, clothing, holidays and home improvements.
So what’s so important about these ‘new essentials’ – broadband, TV and mobile – that they rate above food in our list of priorities?
Broadband and mobiles are the ‘new essentials’
It’s hard to imagine my life without broadband, particularly as the resident broadband expert here at Which?! But even my parents, who I wouldn’t class as heavy users, felt lost when they recently lost their connection for 24 hours. They use email and internet banking on a daily basis, but they also just missed that ‘hard to put your finger on it’ feeling of being connected.
I feel the same about my mobile too. In fact, I’d be a bit embarrassed if someone revealed how much of the day I spend online or on my phone! Both are essential to me, and there’s no getting away from the integration they each have in our everyday lives, which is perhaps why we’d rather cut down on fancy food.
In some ways broadband and mobiles actually save us money. OK, perhaps not enough to cover their monthly fees, but with online discounts on things like energy tariffs, the ability to easily search for deals and online billing, these ‘new essentials’ can pay us back.
Personally, I wouldn’t have a big problem with dropping my TV subscription. In a downturn it’s not difficult to assume that more of us may be spending more time at home and need something to entertain us when we’re there. Still, TV subscriptions can be expensive, and with so many free catch-up services available online (another handy feature of that essential broadband) maybe cancelling it could be an easy way to save.
Would you struggle to let go of your broadband connection, mobile phone or TV subscription?