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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Economy

I mean, really, what else is there to even say?

For many people, things have been tight 
for an impossibly long time.
For some people, things have been getting tighter.
For a lucky few, things are just beginning to feel tight.

No matter what category you are in,
there is no denying that these are scary times.
Very scary times, indeed.

But, in order to conquer the fear and doubt
and possible rising panic,
I think it is prudent, no, necessary
to find the silver lining in the storm.

For our family, this past year has been about cutting back.
Scaling back the mountains of wants,
and "I deserves"
and "but we have always.."
to distill that which is necessary
and then that which we can try to give.
What can we save and then what is left over, 
which can be for wants.

Interestingly, I find myself more and more
seeing this forced perspective as a sort of blessing.
We have opened our eyes to what was frivolous in our lives
and discovered the frivolity doesn't need to have a high price tag.
Our kids have learned to appreciate more
and ask for less.
Living in the area we live in,
in the COUNTY we live in,
these are very important lessons.
Lessons I worry we might have neglected to teach
had the sinking economy not forced our hand.

How has the changing economy affected you and your family?
What lessons or silver linings have you been able to find?


Jen said...
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Jen said...

It hasn't affected me directly but my brother was laid off last week. It's upsetting but they'll be ok - no kids, had 2 incomes so I hope they were saving. I am definitely watching spending and Target is not an everyday stop. I'm also trying to use up freezer/pantry stuff. The Berenstein Bears have the Gimmes is a good read for my kids and puts things in perspective. The nice thing is they're still at the age where things don't have to cost a lot and time spent together is enjoyed. This coming from someone who just went to GWL, but we save and live within our means. My husband has been like that from day used to annoy me but I'm so grateful now.

Nic said...

The economy has definitely put a hurting on our pocket book. And we have always been fairly conservative. I think the combination of gas prices and food going up so much is the biggest culprit. We still have cable and I have a cell phone but they are the only extras we have and seriously, I am thinking about canceling them too. We do not go to the movies unless it is the dollar movie and even then it is once ever 4 months or so. Never go out to dinner. We very rarely go to fast food for lunch. I plan out our menu every 2 weeks and for the most part stick pretty close to it. But even so, our food budget has gone up substantially. And I do use coupons sometimes but often the foods are cheaper if you buy generic so they are not always applicable. I cant say that I really see a silver lining. I feel like we are on a treadmill and I think with what they are doing in Washington, it will only get worse.

Bonnie said...

What a profound post Leeann ! I think you are right ... important lessons that may have been left un-taught and therefore un-learned ! It's a silver lining indeed ...

Sarah R said...

With the economy the way it is, I'm glad I'm still in Texas. Like the way it seems to have been in other recessions in the past, Texas doesn't seem to have been hit as hard as other areas of the country (at least, from what I've seen and heard -- I'm sure there are spots that have been hit). Even though it's a point of disagreement between my mother and me, it's times like these where I'm grateful that I never had kids. I'm glad I only have to worry about my dog and myself -- that cuts WAY down on the free floating anxiety that many of my friends with kids are experiencing right now.

Natalie said...

Oooo, I've been meaning to do a recession post and ask people if/how they're cutting back. For us, it's a necessity because Eamonn's job is very tenuous AND we're having to find a new health insurance company. You can imagine how many people want us--ha! Basically, we're just cutting back and really watching things more closely. I go to the grocery store with a list and I don't deviate from it at all so that we can get our huge grocery bill down. We make homemade pizza instead of ordering out. Movies from the library instead of the video store. Packed lunches, even when we go out somewhere. It makes me feel a little superior when I'm sitting out in the bright sun enjoying a homemade PBJ and hot chocolate in a thermos we carry in a backpack while watching all of the tourists spending $10 for a bowl of chili. As little driving as possible. Only one sports camp this summer--we'll enjoy the spinkler, the library, nature walks, and our own hikes more. Smaller portions, no prepared foods, homemade stuff.

Just making sure the little stuff adds up to big savings!