These are the Luxuries We Won’t Give Up (And How to Save Money on Them)

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You’ve got the necessities: food, water and shelter.

Now answer: What luxuries can you not live without?

We’re all Penny Hoarders here, but we certainly indulge.

Thermosoft International Corporation, a floor-heating service (ironic?), polled 1,000 Americans to find out what they can’t live without.

Necessity vs. luxury: You decide, but the study says we aren’t willing to give them up, so we found some Penny Hoarder tips on how to save on each.

1. The Internet

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You could argue the internet is an essential, but this poll deems it a luxury. The average cost for internet is $600 a year, or $50 per month.

Penny Hoarder tip: Try relying on your smartphone. A few years ago, a Pew Research Center report found that one in five Americans use their smartphone to access the internet. Inspired, one writer tried it.

This will depend on your situation — and your cell phone provider — but think about it. You probably use the internet all day at work, so go ahead and download TV shows and movies to your device there, then take a breather from it.

If you can’t live without the internet at home, simply try asking for a discount. Or, a free app called Trim will actually negotiate your internet bill down for you.

2. Smartphones

Cropped shot of a group of friends using their phones together outdoors
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We’re not surprised here.

The average poll respondent spends $1,060 on a smartphone a year. And, of course, millennials prefer this luxury, though everyone seems pretty glued to their screens these days.

Penny Hoarder tip: If you’re splurging on a new phone this year, consider selling your old one afterward on a site like Decluttr, which gives you some of the highest prices back. (We compared a bunch of reselling sites.)

Cell phone service can be just as expensive, too. We recently wrote about a low-cost provider called Twigby. Plans start at $9 a month. This guy, for example, pays $24 a month — and he has a smartphone.

3. Pets

cat holding dollar bill
Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

Yikes. Pets are expensive but so worth it.

The average cost of pets (dogs and cats), according to respondents, is $1,170 a year.

Penny Hoarder tip: Some of the largest pet expenses are vet bills. It shouldn’t be a shock if owners rack up at least one $2,000 to $4,000 bill for an emergency in their pet’s lifetime.

That’s where pet insurance proves handy. For a monthly fee, you can avoid sinking into debt over an emergency bill, which is nice.

We compared a few pet insurance companies and found that two of our favorites were PetsBest and PetPlan. Both offer free estimates so you can see how much it’ll cost to insure Fido.

4. Clothes Dryer

Close Up Of Man Choosing Cycle Program On Washing Machine
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Also related:

  • No. 8 Dishwasher
  • No. 10 Microwave

Missing out on appliances is a reality for many — and a pain in the butt. And saving on these proves difficult.

Penny Hoarder tip: Shop around for used appliances. Last year, Penny Hoarder Kimberly Marney was able to buy three top-of-the-line appliances for $700.

She shared her tips on how you can get the best prices for these non negotiables, too.

5. A Nice Mattress

Bedroom in Warm Colors with Creative Atmosphere
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Sleep is important, right? So it’s no surprise this next one made the list…

  • No. 9 A Large Mattress

You spend half your day sleeping, so we understand. Plus, there’s no feeling more satisfying than sleeping diagonally across the bed. However, mattresses are pricy.

Penny Hoarder tip: You’ll find the best deals on President’s Day, according to our “Best Time to Buy” guide.

You can also consider shopping around in stores, but then purchasing online so you can reap even more deals.

Consider purchasing from an Earny-affiliated retailer like Amazon, Macy’s, Overstock, Sears or Walmart. Earny is an automated personal assistant that’ll score you cash back when an item’s price drops.

For example, if you purchase a mattress from Amazon (my co-worker recommended this one), and the price drops from $289 to $249, you’ll get $40 back. (Except Earny takes 25% commission.)

All you have to do is connect your email address.

6. Domestic Travel

Susan Shain explores Tampa International Airport in Tampa, Fla.
Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

The average price tag on domestic travel for these respondents was $581. That’s for one vacation per year. If you want to take more? Well, that’s a big expense.

Penny Hoarder tip: There are several easy ways to save money on travel.

Here are a few of our favorites:

  • If you love survey sites and traveling, try eMiles. You’ll get rewarded in points good for hotels and flights on major airlines like American, United and Southwest. The site claims to save consumers $20 to $30 in an hour’s time. (Psstt… Sign up here and get bonus points.)
  • If you prefer earning cash back, book your flights and/or hotel stays through Ibotta, a cash-back app. Right now, you can get 4% back on or reservations or $5 back through CheapOair, among other deals.
  • If you prefer to go about your business, use a cash-back credit card! (That’s how I pay for all my flights.) These reward credit cards offer sign-up bonuses — and come with no annual fees.

7. Beauty Products and Skincare

woman choosing makeup at store
Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

Consumers who answered this survey reported they spend almost as much on beauty and skincare as they do on travel at $480 a year.

It’s not hard to rack up your bill if you want decent products.

Penny Hoarder tip: Shop somewhere like Sephora or Ulta where you can apply a ton of money-saving hacks to your next purchase.

Here are nine money-saving strategies for Sephora shoppers.

Then check out these eight ways to save at Ulta.

Other luxuries that folks don’t want to give up include eating out, buying organic produce and subscribing to Amazon Prime.

Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. Luxuries she couldn’t give up include her cat, gym membership and manicures.