I am not the first person, nor the last, to weigh in on my worries over the economy and the direction it’s heading. I watch the news and read the paper and do my best not to get caught up in the panic.
I think that the economy is going into the toilet. Furthermore, I think it needs to. Our government has been playing one long and drawn out game of hot potato for decades. Without dramatic change, we’re all screwed in the long run … no matter how you look at it. Obviously, the American people as a general rule feel the same way. Let me assure you that the multiple millions of letters, calls, and emails of outrage to Congressional and Senatorial leaders are the ONLY thing that kept that 700 Billion dollar albatross from being passed.
The job market sucks, prices are going up, and there are a hundred other details that we’re all worried about on a daily basis. What can you do? You’re just one person and what you do with your own finances, in your own home, doesn’t impact the world at large. But then, you’re not worried about the world at large. You’re worried about keeping it together for your own family.
Keep your expenses trimmed
- Consolidate errands so you aren’t using extra gas – plan your trips
- Turn off the lights, tv, stereo, fans, whatever … every time you leave the room. Some myths say that if you’re coming right back, don’t turn off the lights because it takes more energy to turn them on than to leave them going. Mythbusters called that BUSTED! No matter how long you’ll be out of the room, it saves energy (AND YOUR MONEY) to turn the lights off.
- As the cooler months arrive, it’s no longer going to turn your house into an oven to cook in your kitchen. Don’t order take-out… don’t go out to eat. You can make far better food at home than you can get in a restaurant… for a much friendlier price tag. Don’t have a lot of time? I recently got Frozen Assets and LOVE IT!
- Take great care of your clothes! Seriously. Seam come out? Button pop off? It takes just a few moments to keep your favorite clothes from becoming just a bunch of material lying in the bottom of the closet. Treat stains immediately so they don’t set.
- Children NEEEEEED something? Try to find it used or for a great deal. Don’t just go right out and buy from the person they came home with the business card for.
- Desperate for a night out? Make your own spot instead. Spread a blanket on the bedroom floor, turn the lights down, put on a mix tape (cd, or itunes playlist), and have dinner by candle light.
- In case I need to say it again… shop intelligently. Use coupons. Work the system. Stock up (WITHIN YOUR BUDGET) on things you use at a great price to cut your expenses in the long run.
- For every dollar you go under budget… send that dollar to savings or to debt… whatever it is that will make your financial situation even more secure. It’s called Snowflaking! Try it.
- Don’t have a budget? Seriously? Get one!
- Make a game of it. Ask your significant other(s) and/or children to all come up with their favorite ideas of things that are fun to do and free (or close to free).
- Have a family board game night instead of heading out for pizza or a movie.
- Invite your friends to join in and exchange hosting duties. Once a week, have a traveling dinner night. Everyone can bring a dish and a different person can host each week. Everyone still gets to leave the house, socialize, and have a great time for very little money.
If you feel deprived, you’re not going to stick with it. If your situation is at all uncertain, make sure you’re working to secure it, one penny at a time.
What things are you doing to ensure that your family will be in decent shape if the worst does happen? What are your thoughts on all this mess? Have any tips you’d like to share with everyone? I’d love to hear them!