Not long after the national — now global — financial upheaval dominated the news, I conducted an informal interview of friends and neighbors.While chatting with someone at the soccer field or church, I would sometimes inquire, “Have you made any changes as a result of this whole big economic scare?”They all answered, “No.”I was surprised, because in these days of unsteady markets and financial bailouts, it seems like media sources assume we’re all trying to be thrifty.At the beginning of October, Time magazine published an article entitled, “Real Patriots Don’t Spend,” by Nancy Gibbs.Not long after, Kirsten Powers wrote in the New York Post about “Debt Dishonesty.”Beth Teitell wrote “They’re Desperately Seeking a Beauty Fix” in The Boston Globe.These articles take me back to the early ’90s and Amy Dacyczyn, the Frugal Zealot. Remember The Tightwad Gazette? I found both an interesting old article she wrote years ago and a more recent interview. In the blog-world, there have always been coupon resources and CVS tutorials.Now things are getting more extreme:There was the Compact, where people resolve to buy (almost) nothing new for a year (people make their own personal exceptions such as toilet paper and underwear).Owlhaven hosted 30 Days of Nothing: Spend Less, Save More in September. I saw the same concept here at “30 Days of Nothing” (a blogspot blog by Tonia) about a month ago.And then I saw an article in Reader’s Digest about a family that spent nothing for one month.All of these Internet stories were reassuring after my local, off-line survey left us feeling kind of alone. The Belgian Wonder and I wondered if we were the only ones who are trying to live even more simply.Nobody I asked has made any changes or tightened their belts.Have you?Let me ask you the same thing:What changes, if any, have you made as a result of this global financial upheaval?If you’ve written about it, stick a link here at Mr. Linky or tell us about it in the comments.
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Today on the front page of the New York Times there is featured a family who find they can’t go out to eat, go bowling, or go to the movies any more.
I find it hard to remain calm with “news” like this. Families who have made the commitment to have only one income and to live for family, not consumer goods, have lived this way forever.
Who bowls? Who goes to movies? We certainly don’t!
But we do have fun! 🙂
We started eating hot dogs! Actually I bought hot dogs for an apres football gathering and it brought back memories of when I was growing up in the 80’s and we ate alot of hot dogs and KD. I am following another blogger’s recommendation to use the food in the pantry/ freezer first. I will supplement with fresh fruit and veggies. We are heading into the the Nativity Fast – so we don’t eat red meat, dairy, eggs, until Christmas – we can fish on the weekend. So, that will help. I am the mother of two 13 year olds so they need to eat. I am pretty darn thrifty at the best of times, but I am even more hyperconscious of where the money goes. What is really necessary and what isn’t? Drives my husband crazy.
We have definitely made some changes and actually they started much earlier than this big crisis. We have been on one income for six years and so we always need to be careful but I must admit…we were not always. Now, I am more diligent about coupons, I buy store brands…do I really need a name brand syrup when the store brand is a couple dollars cheaper…last spring, I started to have at least one day if not more where I did not spend a single dime…I didn’t drive or buy anything. We view Starbucks as a treat not a regular occurence. We have talked with our teens about money matters more…not to scare them but so they will have more understanding of this time in our lives. Our monthly splurge is that we do have Netflix…no late fees and costs less than one movie out for our family of five and we make much better popcorn than the theaters. We play games and try to consider what is important and what is a luxury. I really hope that once this crisis lessens its grip which might take quite a while that we will not rush back to our old habits.
I love the Dollar stores…I learned this from RachelAnne at Home Sanctuary to buy all my cleaning supplies there and now I try to take a trip every so often to buy items that are a true savings.
We make all our fun at home- board games, etc, and my husband, as of yesterday, is carpooling to work! GREAT as we spend $450 a month on gas, just for him to get to work and back!
I just posted a answer to your question. You are NOT alone! And I think it’s a great idea to share what changes we’ve made… we can all learn from each other. Thanks!
with 5 children you have to learn to be frugal about food items, but a job change over a year ago blessed us more than we could ever imagine…now with cutbacks occuring left and right, we are driving our old vehicles with no payments instead of looking at getting a newer model….we are blessed that we have been able to keep our oldest daughter out of college debt by sending her to an instate college that is one of the cheapest I am aware of that also happened to have the degree she wanted…social work…the Lord has provided through thick and thin, and we are just trying to be wise in how we spend and when we spend…and keeping Christmas more practical…some homemade gifts and shopping all the great sales that are going on right now…
Thanks for leaving a comment on my post!
You are so amusing with your “anonymouse”! I love hearing from you!
To answer your question about how we can make do, I say, we can’t always! Sometimes you do have to buy something or pay someone to do work. That’s just prudence. Shelves, for instance, are amazingly important to the proper running of a household (I wish I had realized this many years ago!).
These days, though, I see people rushing to make things “perfect” — spending so much, buying the latest “look” — getting rid of one color of dishes because they have been collecting another color.
Your post here made me think of several stories of “hardship” I’ve heard recently on the radio and in the newspaper that simply reflect a reality check, not actual hardship — or else perhaps the unfortunate result of bad choices. “I used to have a closet full of designer clothes and now I can’t buy anything.” (Note to self: stop listening to NPR.)
These people are whining, it sounds like to me, not tackling a problem with a can-do attitude.
It sounds like your family tries to live simply without the fanfare of a “never buy another thing” declaration, or other silliness. And that seems like the right attitude, in my humble opinion!