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A Gen X’ers guide to living a la carte


August 11, 2015


August 17, 2023

Woman working on laptop

We often talk about how technology is impacting lives in incredible ways. From self-driving cars to viral videos of people with cochlear implants hearing the voices of loved ones for the first time, there’s no shortage of “wow” moments occurring regularly thanks to technology.

Some shifts are much more subtle. Still impactful, but slipping into our lives in such a quiet manner that it’s not until we look back on how we “used to” that we even realize how much things have changed.

Here are five ways in which technology has changed the way I live and consume, shifting toward an “a la carte” lifestyle.


I remember getting my first CD player in 5th grade, and immediately my weekly allowance starting going into savings to purchase CDs. My first CD was Whitney Houston, “I’m your baby tonight”. I also remember the bitter disappointment of using the allowance money, earned from hours on a riding lawn mower each week, to buy a CD only to find I really only liked the one song from it that was currently on the radio. I haven’t made that mistake since Amazon and Google started selling individual songs.


How awesome is it that I can save $.03 per unit if I buy laundry detergent in quantities large enough to keep a frat house smelling fresh for their entire college career? Actually, I’m pretty sure any savings realized will be quickly negated by the fact that I need a bigger house to store all this stuff. Instead of the club model, I’m super excited about sites like Amazon that give you the same savings at normal quantities. Even better yet, new sites like Jet that offer club savings for everything you buy. Count me in!

The gym

Ok, I know this one might be controversial here, given that the employees of this company take fitness as seriously as, well, breathing. I enjoy the rush of feel-good endorphins as much as the next gal, but I’m also easily bored. A gym membership is basically a license for me to make excuses to skip it, when I’ve grown bored of the classes or equipment. Instead, I look for gyms and studios that offer punch cards, or drop in classes at reasonable rates. Somehow not feeling like I have to go because I’m paying for it allows me to view my time at the gym as an event, or a treat I give myself, turning it into an event for this busy mom!

Cell Phone Data

After cable, cell phones were the most costly monthly “subscription” for us, and it always really frustrated me. That’s why I was a huge fan of Republic Wireless and moved my number to a Republic Wireless phone long before I became an employee of Bandwidth. With the recent announcements of Republic Refund, I’m getting the ultimate a la carte plan for cell data!


I was an early cord-cutter and haven’t subscribed to cable in over 6 years. I’ve used Netflix and Amazon Prime to get my fix but have always had a little emptiness for certain channels. That’s why I’m very intrigued by Sling TV and other entrants to the a la carte TV market. My husband can get his fix of sports and I can enjoy guilty pleasures like HGTV without the high price tag associated with cable TV subscriptions. Let’s be real, I’m never going to miss 53 channels of classical music and multiple flavors of MTV.

I’d love to hear your stories! What “bulk” lifestyle have you given up in favor of an a la carte approach?