Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spontaneous Thought Explosion - Making ends meet

How are we going to get ourselves out of this mess? I've been watching the news, reading the news, listening to the news, but I'm sure I don't even know half of the story regarding the economy. It's just so horrific to think that intelligent Americans in high ranking positions have made such appallingly greedy and plainly stupid decisions. AIG for instance. What about the automotive industry? And of course there are all of the banks! I'm neither an advocate or an opponent of President Obama, but I don't feel confident about his stimulus and bailout packages. On the other hand, I wouldn't want to be in his shoes.
Where does a trillion dollars come from anyway? I can't wrap my mind around that number, A Trillion!

Anyway, here's how my family is dealing with the recession. First of all, we're a one income family and it's a very modest income at that. My husband and I have both had bouts of credit overload before we were married. We vowed to never abuse our credit again. Right now, besides our relatively small mortgage ,we only have 2 other open lines of credit. We never use our credit unless absolutely necessary and only when we can pay it off. We have learned to be patient and save for things we would like to have. Often that means we just don't spend!

I wish I could say that I'm a savvy coupon shopper, but I'm not. I use them when it's convenient, but my main goal recently has been to cut back on waste. I hate to throw food out. If necessary I will put a list on the refrigerator door reminding my family what needs to be eaten. If I don't regulate that, then food ends up going bad before it is eaten. It can be tricky feeding a family of 6. We go through 3 or 4 gallons of milk in a week! Grocery lists are crucial and I'm getting a little better at meal planning.

I always try to consolidate my errands to save gas. I shop at thrift stores and on craigslist. I've sold boxes of baby clothes on ebay. I've trained my kids in these lessons also. We do buy a lot of our clothes new too, but almost strictly from the sale racks at places like JC Penney, Sears and Target. I love showing off my $10 shoes or a $50 outfit complete with accessories. It's a thrill. Many of my youngest son's clothes come from a great little boutique...above my living room. Yep, my attic. He doesn't mind the hand me downs one bit...yet.

One of our biggest frugalities has been not taking any vacations. We haven't taken a real vacation in over 4 years. Summers have come and gone and we've stayed homebound. This is actually a big downer! I recommend that everyone go on a get-away at least once or twice a year. There are so many ways to do that on a budget. Time and scheduling have been our enemies. There is good news on the horizon for our family though. We will be going on an epic vacation this July. My father-in-law is taking the entire extended family to ...drum roll...Maui! (I'll give more details later) Although travel arrangements are being covered, there will be many expenses that we will have to cover ourselves. And I'm happy to say that not one cent will be placed on a credit card. If it were, we wouldn't be going.

As it is, my family, at this moment, is not feeling the recession's pinch. My husband has a good job. We have cell phones, cable tv, internet access and other comforts, but my fears are mounting. Job loss, a serious illness or natural disaster can take everything away in a blink of an eye. Is God telling us something in this recession? Is this a reminder? I think maybe it is. A reminder to start living within our means! God blesses honest work. God commands our tithes. God blesses generosity. And God also blesses our wise spending.

Now that you've read my post and written your own, place my link (or use the button from the sidebar) into your post annoucing your Spontaneous Thought Explosion, sign Mister Linky with a direct link to your relevant post and then leave a little chirp. Please follow these directions carefully to avoid being removed from Mister Linky.


scrappysue said...

some good thoughts there! thanks for stopping by

Anonymous said...

I'm so gonna do this next week! Once my life is back to normal because adoption classes will be over with.
I hear ya on the recession and not taking vacations. On top of that we're saving for adoption...yeah...fun.

Felicia said...

I've had no luck locating the cell phone story, but I did see the video and it is fabulous! I love the idea that the church has to put the cell phones on the alter! So many messages there!

Joan said...

First, love the photo from the earlier post. Priceless.

Second, I posted something today that just happens to go with what you are saying. I didn't plan it that way, it just happened! We are so together on this issue.

We live on one income and only have our mortgage for debt. We paid cash for our last car purchase. We don't take vacations but do day trips to see things locally. Living near D.C. there is always something to do. Many things are FREE! Free museums, free concerts, etc.

Living within our means is a concept people need to learn. People need to demand that of our Congress, TOO!

Blessings. Love you!

wife.mom.nurse said...

Yeah, I love Maui! You will have a great time!!!

I will look forward to hearing about your R&R in paradise!

By the way, I absolutely love the pix you posted lately!

Beth E. said...

Sounds like you do a lot of the same things we do to save money. One other thing we do is save our change. We have two jars...one for pennies, the other for all other change. Every day we drop our change in the appropriate jars. When the jar is full, it's our "fun money." We've used it as spending money for vacations, a special weekend, etc. It's amazing how much money it turns out to be!

Melanie said...

Great post. It is so fun when you come across someone talking about the same things you have been thinking recently. I too wonder if this isn't a wake up call for all of us to start living in our means. While we also don't have any credit card debt we definately live paycheck to paycheck and I am thinking alot about how we prioritize our spending. We also skip vacations for other things and I have been thinking it is time to raise them as a priority.

Good stuff. Thanks.

Fly Girl said...

No thought explosion at the moment... just trying to visit several of my favorite blogs after my very busy month of March!

It is a scary time, and it's beyond my comprehension how we can bail out these companies while taxpayers are losing jobs. Think what the American taxpayers could have done with some of that bailout money!


Sit A Spell said...

I have enjoyed my first visit here tonight. You truly don't want my mind to explode! lol I feel very strongly about what is happening in America right now. However, I do believe that God is in control and on His throne! I rest in that alone.

Anonymous said...

I see so many parallels between what you're doing and what we're doing. We're still digging out from credit card mistakes but 2 1/2 years ago, we stopped using credit cold turkey. It's been a long road that we'll still be traveling for quite some time but I am so at peace with this way of life now.