Before the global pandemic, I hadn’t even heard the term “essential services.” Let alone understand what services are essential and who determines that anyway.

While these guidelines were the topic of many discussions and debates, some people like myself and my tribe of trusted humans have forgotten all about the shutdown and have moved on to better days.

Better days for me, for sure! At the tail end of the pandemic, I filed for divorce and finally was free to live my life in a peaceful and meaningful way. A once loud, aggressive, and dysfunctional home has become a place of safety, love, and joy.

While I have far less income to work with, I have found ways to replace the negative energy with a positive, loving energy that has created a warm, tranquil atmosphere in our home. And music is a considerable part of our enjoyment time. I have always wanted to have a custom home theater so that I could listen to my music and have the feeling as if I were at a live concert. I’m saving my money to have one installed come spring. But before that, I must first replace some costly essential items, such as:

  1. Water softener
  2. Garbage disposal
  3. HVAC system
  4. Windows

Thankfully, I have enough equity in my home to cover the essentials, so I will keep searching and doing research on reputable home entertainment professionals before pulling the trigger (so to speak). Once ready, I will need a home theater that will complement my space and budget. Not only that, I need a company that will take the guesswork out of designing the home theater system, one with experienced technicians who will walk me through the options, professionally install my equipment, and show me how to use it for hassle-free, on-demand entertainment.

According to The National Council of State Legislators, essential services are defined as:

  • Energy
  • Childcare
  • Water and wastewater
  • Agriculture and food production
  • Critical retail (i.e., grocery stores, hardware stores, mechanics)
  • Critical trades (construction workers, electricians, plumbers, etc.)
  • Transportation
  • Nonprofits, mental health, and social service organizations

In addition to these essential services, the concept of essential services can also vary depending on the context, such as during a pandemic, natural disaster, or other emergencies. During these times, essential services may also include healthcare providers, emergency responders, law enforcement, and government services necessary for public safety and security.

Ensuring access to essential services is crucial for maintaining the basic needs and well-being of individuals and communities. Access to clean water and sanitation services is essential for public health and preventing the spread of diseases. Reliable energy services are necessary for powering homes, hospitals, and essential infrastructure. Childcare services support working parents and allow essential workers to continue their critical roles.

What are examples of non-essential goods?

Some non-essential goods or services would include my home theater, as I do not need a custom sound system for my home to run efficiently, alternatively like a water softener does for a home like mine that’s on a well and septic system.

Non-essential goods are products that are not absolutely necessary. Examples of non-essential items that consumers spend money on are impulse purchases, dining out, jewelry, electronics, etc.

Recently, I reworked my personal budget and found that I spend almost as much on groceries as I do on my mortgage payments. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “…Overall, housing accounted for the largest share (33.3 percent), followed by transportation (16.8 percent), food (12.8 percent), personal insurance and pensions (12.0 percent), and healthcare (8.0 percent).”

So, apparently, I am not out of the ballpark here. I am right where I need to be, although I do have two teenage sons who are “eating me out of house and home”! That’s okay because this too shall pass, and one day, I will miss those hungry boys scavenging for food in my refrigerator. Below is a list, in order of largest to smallest of our household expenses:

  1. Mortgage payment (includes taxes)
  2. Automobile payment
  3. Electrical service
  4. Natural gas service
  5. Automotive insurance
  6. Homeowners insurance
  7. Internet service
  8. Personal loans
  9. Credit cards
  10. Streaming services (Hulu and Apple Music)
  11. Fuel to drive to work and school
  12. Dining out
  13. Dogs/family pet needs
  14. Entertainment

While I am sure a lot of folks’ lists look similar to mine, the amount they devote to each might be different.

What percentage of businesses are small businesses?

Forbes Advisor shares that “Recent data from the U.S. Small Business Administration reveals a remarkable figure: 33.3 million businesses in the United States qualify as small businesses, making up 99.9% of all U.S. businesses”.

Additionally, during challenging times, such as economic downturns or public health crises, small businesses may face financial hardships that threaten their ability to operate. Support for small businesses, whether through financial assistance programs, community initiatives, or increased consumer awareness, can help these companies weather difficult circumstances and continue serving their customers.

Furthermore, technology and digital services have become increasingly essential in today’s interconnected world. Internet services, online communication platforms, and e-commerce sites facilitate remote work, virtual learning, and access to essential information and resources. The digital landscape has evolved rapidly, transforming how individuals access goods and services, connect with others, and navigate daily life.

While traditional essential services like healthcare, food production, and transportation remain critical, it is also essential to recognize the evolving nature of essential services in a rapidly changing world. Adapting to new technologies, supporting local businesses, and fostering community resilience are all vital components of ensuring that essential needs are met, even in the face of unforeseen challenges. By embracing innovation and collaboration, societies can better navigate the complexities of modern life and uphold the principles of safety, sustainability, and inclusivity for all.

What are essential services?

In summary, essential services are those that are fundamental to maintaining the health, safety, and well-being of individuals and communities. Recognizing the importance of these services and ensuring their continuity is essential for responding to emergencies and meeting the basic needs of society.