Monday, 27 September 2010
I read a recent poll that says the recession has ended...I smell bullshit. If it is true, where are the results? I suppose they'll take a while to emerge.
I've been feeling stressed because my family is going through a hard time financially. I've felt like Old Mother Hubbard at times and my cupboard has been empty, save for some Ziploc bags. We always make it by somehow. I've learned how to make healthy Hamburger Helper dinners and cheap breakfasts and lunches.
When the latest issue of Time magazine arrived in my mailbox, I found an article that helped me know that my family is not alone. A community of stay at home moms who live in a pricey, exclusive and gated neighborhood discussed their new way of life: coupon clipping, money-saving and worrying about finances. The recession has hit every one, even those who previously made a lot of money. They have been reduced to living more frugal and creative lives.
I wouldn't consider it a reduction in the sense that they have been deprived. It's actually brought their families together and they overall feel more content. There are a lot more play dates at friend's houses and a lot less expensive children's programs, such as dance class or karate. The coveted mother is not the one who owns the most expensive clothes or electronics, it's the one who reduced her grocery bill to $300.00/month for a family of five. That is impressive.
I pray that things get better in America but at the same time, this has been a positive experience for so many. The focus is on family and making it work, instead of shipping the kids off so mommy and daddy can have fun spending money by themselves.
It's reminding many families of what's important and what their priorities are. It feels like this recession has slowed down America's consumer driven, materialistic focus. It could also deal a blow to the lazy mind set of the throw-away generation if it continues to go south.
My husband struggles with the thrifty way of life but has realized that every bit counts. Opening a can of soda and not drinking it is a "no no" now, as is putting barely worn clothing in the hamper to be washed. I save all sorts of left-overs and always end up using them. We do our best to use as little electricity as possible. I've started to think that the answer to our ozone problem is also the answer to our recession problem: Save, save, save and conserve, conserve, conserve. The less we use, the less waste there will be.
I am not at all excited about our country's financial status but it is nice to see that "The Family" has taken priority again. It's nice to see that kids aren't getting everything they want. It's really nice to have sales people understand when I say, "I can't afford that. We don't have the money", and back off because they know I'm not bluffing them. It's also nice that others don't view giving or accepting hand-me downs to be below them. It feels like everyone gets it now. Saving money is a good thing.
What struggles have the recession caused you or your family? Are there any money-saving habits that have helped you?