How to Recession Proof your Spending

How to recession proof your wallet.

We have all felt the pinch of the recession, some have lost their jobs others their home and for some both and for some the pinch hurts a lot harder than for others.  It seems that to some extent the purse and wallet felt the pinch the most.  To start off with I will give a quote of someone wise and wonderful

“You best be helpin others ,your neighbors and friends remember that when you help em out and when you got a tough go at things they do their part no belly goes empty, that’s what we did.” (Jessie Caldwell  1908-19994) Paternal Grandmother.

She grew up in a tough time in America when their wasn’t, Social Security, Welfare Programs or food cards like S.N.A.P. There wasn’t any Medicare or Medicaid but they made do. Now we can take a lesson or two from the ones who went before us. We can learn from them what was almost forgotten.

Helping others when we can and not being so prideful to accept help when we need it. We will be considering some of the old crafts of our Grandparents and Great Grandparents, adding to it our current technology. Giving new life to a dying craft. This will be discussed on how to recession proof your wallet and pocketbook.   As well as a few more hints and helpful tidbits of advice to make things easier for all of us.

Section 1. Household expenses, bills, and making what you have more efficient so your resources go farther.

1.1    If your credit is good to excellent try to refinance at a lower rate.

1.2    If you rent there isn’t much you can do to lower your rent.  Unless you are skilled at carpentry or landscaping, but the landlord usually have skilled and licensed people for that already.

You may try to save up a little at a time to put a down payment on a new house while renting. Or if you are set on renting save a year’s rent a bit at a time, and see if the landlord would take a reduced sum for example 10%15% less then you pay, most landlords would practically hug you for such a deal. If the landlord doesn’t go for it put it in a Certificate of deposit, or if you are savvy enough invest it yourself how you see fit.  If you can save a year’s rent you can do about anything.  After all this is America.

1.3    Tackle the small loans first paying the minimum plus whatever you can budget for the large ones.  Then paying all you can on the small ones. This will get them out of the way to focus on the larger law any extra you pay on the loan must go to the balance of what’s owed.

1.4    If you must go to a loan specialist to combine all your loans be sure it is a certified Attorney who specializes in this, he/she should ask for no money up front and should give you a general idea of the cost. If this is not the case find someone else because you don’t need to suffer fools and thieves.

1.5    Put weather proof plastic on your windows inside and out.  Who cares if some think it’s tacky; you’re the one saving a bundle on heating cost.  Let them sneer.  You pay for heating your home not them.

This is actually a great way to go green  ,both environmentally and monetarily, trust me you’ll see a difference in your bill and you save on energy and the plastic is re-usable so no need to throw it away it can be used again and again. The little holes made with the weather stapler are hardly noticeable when taken out and can be filled in with a bit of wood putty and sanded by hand if you feel the need to. Get rid of expenses you don’t need such as premium television stations, and the all season football ticket for cable and satellite, I know it hurts, but it’s time to define needs and wants. Simplify your cell phones, no twittering, texting or whatever new waste of time they come up with next, the kids are getting carpal tunnel and they haven’t even had a real job yet, so you’re doing them a favor.  The phones should be for contacting each other, if that doesn’t work we always made contact with our parents growing up and we didn’t have cell phones. We had no trouble calling friends at home and talking to them on a land lime either. Showers are no longer than 15 minutes long, it may sound mean but in Australia it’s the law. If need be a timer can be installed, or my approach seems more humane just put a water efficiency valve on the showerhead, it works great is very high pressure and you get clean like Silk wood.  But remember the Australian thing its worth thinking about as we may will eventually face water shortages as well. While you’re at it replace all your old light bulbs with the new fluorescent ones they are just as bright but use less energy and burn out 10 times slower than the old ones do. When an appliance goes out look for energy efficient ones, they work just as well and save you money.

We have come to a technological lapse in which it is now cheaper to buy energy efficient items then to buy cheaper ones that use more power.  As the cost of energy supersedes the cost of buying energy efficient items. We now can buy the energy efficient ones and get better savings.  This trend will continue as energy gets more expensive and we are on the front lines whether we want to be or not.

Saving on food-

This part focuses on how we can save on what we consume-The Scandinavians have a saying that loosely translated means- Enough for everyone is as good as a feast.  In this time of recession the saying is almost poetic. 

If we have just enough for everyone to have their fill, it’s like a feast, this means planning meals that serve plenty to all at your table but with little left over.  This may take some time to master but is well worth it. Seeing that Americans waste 25% of what we eat. We should all do our part it is better for everyone, if we cut back just 10%, then I hypothesize that  the price of food would also drop as the supply is 10% more than before.  Of course we are blessed by having a country that produces twice the food we need it may not seem to matter, but do we not pay for the food we consume whether we eat it all or not. So all the same” Enough for everybody is the same as a feast.”

1,5  Use the tried and true method of clipping coupons, try to get a manufacturers coupon, as well as the store coupon, and use both,  stores are good about it others are not, so check before you try.  Also look for double or triple coupons, and you may walk out with a basket of practically free food.

1.6     If you happen to have an overabundance the local food pantry would love anything nonperishable you could provide. It will help someone in your town who may be working poor or laid off or even working a full time and part time job. 

1.7    Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses they already lost their jobs and are living with their parents.  I don’t say that in a mean way, I certainly don’t say that as a way to poke fun, it’s to make you think, what really is important a new flashy car or getting the old car paid off.

1.8    This is America land of opportunity we are the most innovative people in the world, things might be tough now, but you can get your investment back and double the size of your rental properties, you can start that new business and make a living or make a fortune. Right now is the time to play it safe.  Save your money put it in a short term Certificate of Deposit so you know you won’t touch it. Then gradually re-invest in the stock market.

2.  Ways to save on food –This section deals with growing your own food. We already touched on conserving it now let’s consider making it. The price saved from seed to robust plant that provides steady nourishment is unbelievably low, so let those green thumbs save you some green in the wallet or pocketbook.

2.1 At one time everyone had a garden for fresh produce if they had the land to do so. And Grandma did say as I hoed her garden for tilling, as she didn’t trust my big gas powered one. “The more hands to help the bigger the garden.”  So the more in your family who help the larger your garden can be. This makes rational sense as more mouths to feed require a larger garden.  

2.2 Raspberries will grow year after year and will grow the size of a quarter if properly cared for.  Strawberries need a different kind of growing conditions but will grow huge if they get what they need.

2.3 There are purple, yellow and even white carrots, go ahead try all the different varieties of heirloom fruits and veggies you want. Your garden can be a psychedelic freak show (without the drugs of course.)

2.4 By seed and seedlings only from a respected and well known seed vendor and buy a book or two about planting and harvesting it’s not as hard as you might imagine.

2.5 Buy an air sealer to take out all the air and automatically seal meat, cheese, and produce.  These are wonderful machines that let you keep food in the freezer longer and no fear of freezer burn or off taste. You would not be able to tell the difference between a steak that’s been in the vacuum pack and frozen for a year, from a fresh from the butcher shop steak.

2.5 Learn how to can food in Mason jars. The food in the mason jars has all the nutrients of boiling and fresh serving. Also homemade preserves, jams, and jelly can be made and saved for all year around.

2.6 Learn to compost, no meat dairy, and this can be done even in the city. This is the best most nutrient rich and natural thing a plant would ever want it keeps in moisture and steadily feeds the plants.  And a great way to get rid of leaves grass clippings and leftover potato skins and fruit rinds anything that is plant and not animal-based.

2.6 Share what is left over, after canning and freezing with family friends and your church or another may accept produce that is fresh under some circumstances, for the food pantry.  Not all do so call ahead. 

3. The third little bit of info –  Remember  what Grandma said.

Now that the little points have been made its time to get into the gritty part of it all.  Right now we are in a recession due to some idiot savant who came up with the idea that since the previous administration lowered housing regulations, it was time to offer everyone a home whether they could afford it or not.  Simply put, people who had no way of seriously affording a home, at their current economic status, had loans approved that they normally would not have, and it didn’t matter because the bank could always take it back when the breaking point was reached. Banks made sure that they would squeeze every drop from people with loans, with a subprime mortgage of 25%, this all worked for a while.  Then the economy tanked and the 25% subprime loans made a lot of people face eviction, and they went back to renting or living with their parents.  This is not a knock on these people.  They were taken advantage of by the big banks and their hometown banks as well. The loan officers didn’t care, they got their piece of the pie, and so did the bank officials, as did the people selling the homes for the banks and people unloading homes they held onto and once rented out.

For the rest I must quote Joe Hill the populist folk singer of the twenties and thirties, “They’ll be pie in the sky when you die that’s a lie! When you learn how to chop and how to fry, chop some wood it’ll do ya good and you’ll eat in that great by and by that’s no lie.”

Well it seems the men and women in their fancy suits and antique toilets festooning their great towers in the sky have grabbed most of the pie, divided out the rest to those who groveled and stepped on each other for it with grubby greedy hands taking the last bit of crumbs for themselves.  Leaving the rest of us holding an empty plate. 

We are now facing a recession, which depending on what economist you ask is a natural contraction of the economy, that last 4-10 years, it’s supposed to happen, when the economy produces more then it sells then companies that made so many widgets have to lay off workers, and the widgets on the shelf and in the warehouses are supposed to go down in price causing deflation of prices.  Even though this is supposedly natural, it takes the Federal Reserve, and sometimes government intervention to stop this “: natural occurrence.” and help encourage consumer spending which will stimulate economic growth, and end this recession.

At this time the Federal Reserve interest rate is at 0.25% and banks begrudgingly give out loans with that, the ones that do give loans are nowhere near what they should be considering the financial incentives from the Federal Reserve and Government pressure. Still loans are few and far between, making our economic fiasco trudge along slowly curtailing spending, like a great sloth ready to be rammed away by a great and powerful bull that we all like to hear about during stock market hours.

 So for now it may be best to step back, be thankful for what you have.  Look forward to what you will have one day from the sacrifices and changes you made today. Hold the love of your life in your arms, and be happy for the most valuable and priceless thing you have on this world. Your family, your friends, and your community.  These are the things that will make America prosper once again and we will have our recession proof wallets and purses at the ready with that we will have learned to be frugal, but never cheap. 

Works Cited.

Jessie Caldwell-a brilliant woman, stubborn yet so cool .