October 11, 2013

I'm Happily Back!! (And reinforcing being financially prepared)

Well, I still don't understand everything on my new computer because I haven't had time to play around with it.  I am more of a"learn as I go" kind of person. 

I am glad to be back to blogging.  At one point I considered ending this blog as I was feeling that over the past 4 years I had probably covered everything that needed to be said about living frugally.  But -- I missed blogging and the reality is that a lot has happened over 4 years and there is still a lot to be said.  It was good to take a break, even if it was largely due to needing a new laptop.

When I started this journey 4 years ago, our economy was reeling from the Great Recession.  Then things started getting a little better in some areas, and not so great in other areas.  Now with the government shut down it has shown me once again that you have to rely on yourself (and God too) when it comes to being prepared for hard times.  What if there weren't unemployment checks, W.I.C., Food Assistance, Rent Assistance, etc.  What if life was like back before the Depression in the 1930's when there weren't very many relief programs.  Families counted on each other and worked together to help each other out, but many times that wasn't even enough.

I think a lot of people in the past year or so started to forget what it was like in 2007, 2008 and 2009 when the economy really tanked and unemployment was a lot higher.  People cut back and I'm sure that many thought that they would never go back to being spendthrifts and in debt and no savings.  Time does lessen the difficulty of some of those times.   Isn't that true?  If it wasn't, there would be a lot of moms giving birth to only one child.

The Great Recession changed how many people felt about their finances.  For some people it was a temporary annoyance and for others it was a life changing experience.  No longer would they live with no savings and a tremendous amount of consumer debt.

I have been listening to the news programs regarding the government shut down and I am not going to discuss politics - let's leave it out of the discussion for this blog.  Instead it just backs up what I already know which is that you should rely on yourself when it comes to your finances.  Plan on getting no help at all when things get rough, and save, save, save during the good times so that you can weather those hard times.  

This is easier said than done.  I am guilty of becoming soft and spending when I shouldn't be spending.  Then I get back on track and ask myself what got me off track in the first place?  Many times it is impulsive small purchases that can add up over time.  

Now I make a list in an app on my phone.  Whether it is food, thread, shoes or whatever, it goes on a list.  Many times I look at the list, perhaps it is rather long, and I decide that I really don't need a lot of that stuff after all.  And, if I really need it, it is still on that ongoing list waiting for a sale.

Being prepared financially also means that you may need to learn some new skills or resurrect some old skills that you haven't used in a while.  I am sewing a lot more these days than I have in 20 years.  It took me awhile to get the knack of it again.  For Christmas each of my immediate family members will be receiving a homemade gift that I have sewn.  I have purchased fabric on sale since the beginning of the year with Christmas gifts in mind.  

Learning to mend is a skill that we need to resurrect also.  Throwing clothing out because it has a broken zipper, missing button, small tear or pulled seams is money going down the drain.  Learning to make repairs saves money.  Baking bread and cooking from scratch or just learning to cook simple meals to keep you from going out to eat all the time is a great skill.

Bottom line, when it comes to being prepared for hard times you need to rely on yourself over the long haul to make sure you are prepared.  It just makes sense that hard times will happen and you need to be prepared. I should add that leaning on God in making financial decisions is an excellent idea also.  

Over the past year we have seen a lot of disasters occur in the U.S.  From Hurricane Sandy, to wildfires, to floods and mudslides and droughts, we have had many different disasters.  People have been displaced from their homes and have lost their homes altogether.  Preparing for hard times also means being prepared for disasters.  This is one area that I am not prepared and over the next few weeks I will be doing some research on how to have my own emergency management protocol for my home and family.  

You can't put your head in the sand and think that hard times happen to other people and will never happen to you.  Many people over the course of the years have lost their jobs, when they thought they had job security.  When a disaster happens and people are being interviewed by the news media, they are in shock at the loss of their home.  None of them think it will happen to them.  When the power goes out for several days, many people are not prepared and wish they would have been.  And then lastly, many people don't want to be prepared for the death of a spouse as if talking about it, will bring on death sooner. 

Yes, we will be discussing these things over the next couple of weeks along with the topics of grandmothering, cosmetics, healthy nails on a budget and menopause.  


Frugalista Mama said...

Great post. Just did some mending this afternoon :) Looking forward to the upcoming posts!

Rhonda said...

Glad you are back! These are difficult and uncertain times we live in.

a8383 said...

I am with you! Angela

Lee Ann said...

I'm so glad you are back. I've been blessed by reading your blog. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you are back, I've missed your posts! I've been hearing lately that a lot of people have already "forgotten" about the recession and are slipping back into spendthrift ways and not saving as much. I may be one of them because I know I could be saving our money much better. We haven't incurred any debt but that doesn't mean we are spending (or saving) our money the best we can. I am working on ALWAYS being frugal. It is very challenging but one thing I try to do when I am tempted to spend money is to acknowledge the fact that until we have enough money to last the rest of our lives (including retirement, long-term care, possible future medical issues, inheritance for my daughter, etc...) we need to keep spending down to a minimum NOW. Sounds like you are on the right track.

Marianne C said...

I missed reading your blog while you were gone. I agree that little impulse purchases can add up over time and take a bite out of our good intentions.

With four kids, one in college and one in day care, I am really trying to strengthen my frugal muscles!

I appreciate your tips and the conversational style of your blog. Keep up the good work! :)

Theresa said...

Hi Martha,

I found your blog just as you stopped posting and went through the archives. I am so happy you have decided to continue! I look forward to keeping up to date in your path to frugality! I especially love your food/recipe/stockpiling articles and would love to hear more how you have changed things with the rise in food costs. Thanks again for being here! Theresa