August 04, 2010

Lessons from the Economy

In the past week there have been a lot of news reports and newspaper articles suggesting that the economy is rebounding slowly or we are in danger of swinging into a double dip recession. I am not an economist, although I do find the cause and effect situation very interesting. I read everything I can about the current economy, not because I am a pessimist but for the reason that knowledge is power. We could be in for a few more lean years and knowing that helps in making decisions and financial goals.

This is why I keep doing what I am doing - making my own laundry soap, hanging clothes on the line, unplugging electrical items when not in use, finding any way I can to save some money - it is not only for our present living circumstances, but for our future.  Some of the money saving things I do, many of my friends would never even consider.   Then again I never want to work full time again and I never want to be caught unprepared if the economy should tank again.  I'm not saying that we should live in fear, instead we should make financial decisions so that we are prepared for anything that life throws at us.

I live in Iowa and I read the Des Moines Register.  Per that newspaper, nationally the recession began in December 2007 and it hit Iowa in October 2008.  An economist is predicting that Iowa won't return to its pre-recession employment until the end of 2011.   That is probably the best case scenario.  What does this tell me?  More and more people will need help from my local food pantry and I need to step up to the plate and save money so that I can in turn give more.  It also tells me that I need to continue on the path to frugality and learn more ways to save money along with being more diligent and intentional about saving money.  This isn't temporary.  When the economy rebounds, and history shows that it will, I will continue to be frugal.  It only makes sense.  After all living below your means brings peace of mind. 

In the Des Moines Register there is a column that I read called "Your Two Cents Worth" in which readers briefly make a comment about anything.  Here is what was in the paper today "I still need a job.  I will work more than one if it will pay my bills.  I've given up so much already, that some extra time away from my kids to work a second job couldn't possibly hurt much more.  I used to be a health care worker."  and this one:  "Where do you go for support when the only problem you have is that you cannot get a job? I have never been this depressed before." 

The next jobs report comes out on Friday and people are already wondering what that report will say.  Now we are also learning that the recession has inflicted more damage on the economy than previously thought.

Why am I posting this and even bringing all of this bad news up?  Because there is something I can do about this.

My DH has a job and we have adjusted our lifestyle to live on his income.  We have had bumps along the way but for the most part we are making it.  However, I never want to go through another financial meltdown or "Great Recession" unprepared.  That is why I find any way I can to save some money that I can in turn put in the bank.  I am sure that a lot of people feel the same way.  It goes back to people that lived through the Great Depression. Those individuals became frugal throughout their life and I would say that by living below their means and stretching their resources, they were probably happier because they were prepared for leaner economic times. 

Again another comment from the "Your Two Cents Worth" article in today's paper - "Most of us who grew up during the Depression clean our plates, turn off the lights and squeeze the last bit of toothpaste out of the tube.  Squeezing that last bit of toothpaste out probably is not worth the trouble, but old habits die hard."

We have goals for our future - retirement, siding and new windows for the house, a new roof, putting our son through college and lastly (but not necessarily the least important), a nice big fat savings account for the future.  I also have a goal to continue to support our local food pantry and to continue to give money to our church.

Some people would rather not read anything in the newspaper and forget about the economic meltdown.  I am reminded daily from reading the newspaper that I am blessed that my DH has a job and it affirms my continued path to live a frugal lifestyle. 


Maureen said...

I absolutel agree with all your comments. Although the Australian Government told us that we never went into an actual recession, we have to still be affected by what went on in other parts of the World. I believe that we could live reasonably well on 1 wage, but with very little to put towards my retirement I will continue to work while I can.

But i am learning to live on a budget and make savings in as many areas as is possible, so lights do get switched off, food does not get wasted and I don,t even own a clothes dryer.

Martha said...

Fortunately my DH does have a retirement account and when I lost my job, my retirement account was protected. If this was not the case, I would have looked for another job to build up our retirement. My DH contributes a considerable sum to our retirement each month. It is an automatic withdrawal from our account. I don't even think about it. It is a sacrifice to make that contribution each month, but it is a necessity.

I am always surprised by people who are not worried about saving for retirement. Perhaps it is because they are so much younger than us.

Continue on the path that you are on to cut back and stash money away for retirement. You will be thankful in the years to come.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy reading your blog! It is very interesting, and i learn something new every day, i also make homemade meals, buy generic kind of plan my meals, food does not get wasted,save and do not own new vehicles. Thanks,and again your blog rocks.Oh by the way we also buy from the dollar menu only once a week, or every other.

Martha said...


I try very hard to have my blog reflect me and what I am thinking and doing every day. It's a nice outlet and when I am trying something new, it is wonderful to get the feedback.

I view this blog as a sisterhood of women learning frugal ways from each other.

Thanks again for your comment.

tammyyarbrough said...

Bravo. The one thing in your blog that made me sad- almost sick, actually, was this statement from someone in your local paper, "I still need a job. I will work more than one if it will pay my bills. I've given up so much already, that some extra time away from my kids to work a second job couldn't possibly hurt much more." What a very sad country we have become when some feel this way.

PS BTW, I am very proud at the progress you have made over the last year. I'm happy that you stuck it out. :)
You look very content in your picture. Way to go, Martha!