As Georgia's economy continues to scrape along, the question employers and employees are beginning to ask more frequently is, "Where else can I cut back?"

There are lots of signals being sent that indicate how individuals are prioritizing their finances while waiting for the financial landscape to thaw. But what are many of us unwilling to sacrifice?

A recent survey puts home Internet access and cell phone service at the top of a list of consumer "untouchables" that would not be slashed from a household budget. Four out of five consumers rank Internet as indispensable and two out of three consumers placed cell phone service off limits from being cut. From there, the list of perceived "must-haves" gets more subjective.

This, of course, leads straight to the question The Clean Air Campaign would ask: Where does commuting rank among the expenses you're willing to keep paying at the level you currently pay? If you're driving alone to and from work each day -- like 84% of metro Atlanta commuters do -- do you regard the commute costs that come with driving alone as an "untouchable" line item in your household budget?

The positive effect of this sour economy is that, when the smoke does clear, we will have an opportunity -- as consumers, capitalists and perhaps commuters -- to improve upon the choices of the past.



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