Did the financial crisis sneak up on you?
Did you see it coming? Did you prepare for it? Yes? No? Sort of?
Perhaps I started out better than some people. Last year my wife and I split our marriage in half. We sold our house, split the equity, split the furniture and paid the bills. I got myself; she got herself, the dog and two cats – and we’re still friends.
I moved away and got a new job that just paid the bills. The decision not to buy real estate was unintentional foresight – kudos for me. Paranoid as I am about the stock market, my money went into a high interest savings account (which is a low interest rate these days). But my money is safe. Even in a bad economy, I won’t loose my original deposit. Like weather forecasts, I hope for the best.
Bottom line: I unknowingly prepared myself for this economic upheaval. Without two paychecks, I realized the need to be smart about my finances. I made sure work, banks, food stores, and doctors were only a few minute’s walk from home. A fifteen-minute stroll to downtown added movie theatres, pubs, restaurants, libraries, and auction houses to my convenience list. Savings on gas and wear and tear on my vehicle was substantial. And now that the recent financial crisis has loomed its ugly head, I’m already halfway to achieving my financial cutbacks. You’ve got to love it – I do.
Yet it’s rather ironic, because even though I live close to all those amenities now, most of them have had to be reduced or cut out.
Cutback on Food Purchases
I take my lunch to work nowadays. No more seven-dollar lunches at noon. And coffee? I’ve invested in a thermos. This provides me with my caffeine hit for the day.
At food stores I now buy for the week instead of trundling off to the store everyday (I have more time for exercising and writing). Things like frozen chicken (my mainstay), bread, milk, eggs, fruits and vegetables, if stored and taken care of properly, will last a good week. I now limit myself to one sweet treat a month.
Lastly, my meal sizes are smaller. I now eat normal, healthy portions. Monthly savings: $100.00.
No more movies and DVD rentals. Any movies I watch have to be free or on the Internet. Pubs and restaurants are minimized to a bare minimum – once every two months. Monthly savings: $100.00.
Cutbacks on New Clothes and New Furniture
I frequent used clothing stores now. Regular visits uncover brand name clothes that look like new and are sometimes less than half-price. Browsing newspaper classifieds, Internet sites selling used, local goods and attending auctions and garage sales is a weekly habit these days. Although items are inexpensive, I make sure I don’t overbuy. Monthly savings: $100.00
I’ve slashed my cable TV program package down to the basics. I have no landline, only a cell phone. I’ve cancelled text messaging and caller ID. I also police my electricity usage by not turning on more lights than necessary. Monthly savings: $60.00
Cutbacks on Holidays
No expensive trips for me. My local area is filled with beautiful places I have still not seen. This financial crisis has allowed me to explore and appreciate my own back yard while saving money at the same time. Monthly savings: $90.00
Cutbacks on Stress
By initiating all these cutbacks, I have reduced my chance of health problems. Financial stress is a killer to a cardiovascular system. I make sure my friends and family know of my concerns and this gives me support. A rigorous exercise program is also on my weekly schedule. I know from experience, it helps lower my stress level. Monthly savings: priceless
Cutback and Survive
Perhaps these cutbacks seem unimportant when compared to a world of high finance, but with a little variation, they are relative to all levels of life styles. For me, they make the difference between surviving and not surviving. Yearly savings: $5400.00.
Sites to help cope with the financial crisis: