Beacon, shovel, probe are must haves. You don't have them, you don't get to ride the backcountry. It's that simple. You want to buy a 2013 Audi but only have enough money for a scooter, than you are not going to buy an Audi. End of story.
Going out without that gear doesn't mean you're going to die, but neither does poking a beehive with a stick mean you are going to get stung...