Tuesday, May 3, 2011
I don't think we realize how bad things are in this economy. Many of us have decent homes to live in and cars to drive. We even have furniture, computers, telephones, electric appliances and cable television. While we suffer without much money, we are able to enjoy some home comforts.
But things are getting worse. The cost of food and gas is skyrocketing. Yesterday, I drove to the grocery store and had only $32 to get through the week. I had to decide which meat to buy. I needed 4 meat items for 4 suppers. Then I needed eggs and bread. I still have some food at home, but needed to supplement what was already there. I had to buy a small can of coffee, rather than the large one I normally buy. When I got home, I reminded my husband that we must ration the rest of the sugar and all the coffee. It had to be enough to get us through until the next payday.
I quickly made a simple supper - hot dogs and beans. I did not have macaroni and cheese to go with it, like we normally would. I ended up making a small batch of chocolate chip cookies so they would feel like they had a treat. I also announced to the family that "there is popcorn you guys can make later, in the air popper. There is butter to go with it." Then I made a batch of iced tea.
And that was our night... Tomorrow, I thought... God would provide for us again tomorrow.
Granted, we have enough money to pay all our bills. Yet that leaves us short for food and gas. It leaves us without any extra money for little bits of happiness - like buying an ice cream, or nice cold soda on a warm day. These treats help cheer the soul. . . Now we must find another way to find that cheer.
Times are going to keep getting bad. In light of this, I wanted to share with you a few ways I have learned to "go without."
1. I love Mary Kay, Avon and other name brand skin care products. But I don't use anything more than a steaming hot facecloth, and a little moisturizer to care for my skin. (No toner, No skin cleanser. . nothing.) I have been doing this for many years.
2. I buy make-up from the dollar store. I use it for months and months until it is gone. (I don't care that the experts say to replace it every 3 months.)
3. I wear torn and ripped up nylons almost everyday. But you can't really see the rips because they are too high up. When I have a little extra money, as long as the children are happy and don't need anything, I buy a new pair.
4. My skirts, tops, dresses and sweaters (I never wear pants - they are too casual for me) - are purchased at nice stores in the mall - on clearance in February and March each year. I pay anywhere from $3 to $7 for each item. There are no thrift stores near me. We are in a very rural area.
5. I don't eat much. Most of my grocery shopping is for foods the children and my husband like to eat. If money is very tight, I will eat oatmeal, toast, hot tea, water and cereal for the day and be just fine. When there is money, I enjoy chocolates and cookies. (This might explain why the mothers during the Great Depression were very slim.) If I am really lucky, I get to enjoy a Freschetta pizza - my favorite!
6. I drive very carefully. If you go at a steady speed and avoid lurching, speeding up or suddenly slowing down, you can conserve gasoline and make it last much longer.
Jobs are scarce. Many are out of work. Life is harder in America for a generation that is used to consuming and enjoying pleasant treats. We are in a time where we must learn to be creative and survive on less.
What ways are you surviving in hard financial times?
We need this all year round - Mothers with Christmas Courage.
The Christmas I had no money and cried in the supermarket - To Encourage the Downcast Housewife.
A Little Motivation - Housekeeping Despite Lack of Motivation.
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