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Hard Times Ahead ~ Your Plans/Thoughts?

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Old 10-05-2008, 06:27 PM   #1
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Question Hard Times Ahead ~ Your Plans/Thoughts?

With the current situation in our economy ~ Housing ~ Jobs ~ Food ~ Fuel ~ Banking ~ Etc ..........

Many of us are already in or will be facing hard times ahead....maybe more than many of us could imagine.

Talking with several people at church today I found out some of my friends, about to retire, now find themselves unable to because of current situations.

I was wondering what some of your thoughts and ideas are to survive....


ANGIE and I have already started cutting back on going out for dinner and trying to save a little more each week.... we are the lucky ones right now...both still have jobs....kids are grown.

We are starting to make simple changes....I stay away from amazon I really don't need all those CD's I didn't buy years ago after all! And I probably will never watch the first 3 seasons of Everybody Loves Raymond or Lost that I have....among others

I have promised ANGIE that I will continue to wear all my old T and Sweat shirts....much to her chagrin....in order to do my part

As long as I live I will TESTIFY HIS LOVE!
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Old 10-05-2008, 06:36 PM   #2
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I talked to my parents today and they were told that they might not get paid, for who knows how long. You'd think working for the state would guarantee them a paycheck but I guess not.

Times are going to get rough but what I say is:
1) Keep your savings in check. If you do lose your job or if for some reason your employer can't pay you, then you will have it.

2) Cut out some of the unnecessary items. For us, we thought cable was unnecessary and we started renting Netflix. Of course, we've been so busy that we haven't been using our Netflix lately. I may look for a slightly cheaper plan.

3) Learn how to cut costs that won't really affect you. An example I could use is I used to rely heavily on canned beans. Bulk beans are so much cheaper so I cook them in the crockpot. It doesn't take any time yet it is cheaper.

4) Second guess purchases. There are some things I wouldn't think twice about buying but I think sometimes you need to say "Do I really need this now? Can I wait a month?"

5) Don't forget your charities. I know a lot of people will be having a really rough time for the next few years. Charities will be one of them. If you aren't struggling, then please keep your favorite charities in mind.
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Old 10-05-2008, 07:08 PM   #3
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I think the most important thing right now to do is VOTE.
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Old 10-05-2008, 07:33 PM   #4
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I agree that voting is crucial right now, but I won't elaborate bc I know we can't venture into that kind of discussion too much.

As for a crappy economy, this is a really bad time for it for me! I chose to take a year's leave of absence from teaching to stay home with my new baby, so we're living on only my husband's salary (he's also a teacher, so it's not much) and we have tons of debt. Eek!

Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. -- St. Francis of Assisi
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Old 10-05-2008, 07:49 PM   #5
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We've been taking measures to bulk up our savings. Instead of striving to have just 3 months of living expenses in our immediate savings, we're going for 6-9 in our immediate savings while also trying to beef up our long term savings as well.

Thankfully, DH got a large raise (almost 200% - which brings us over the poverty level - graduate student stipends are next to nothing ) so, the economy won't be as hard on us as it was in previous months. We still plan to live on one income.

Thankfully, we're debt free. It's been a really tough few years, but we've managed and every extra dime that we had during better times to pay down debt when we incurred it.

These times have prompted me to enlarge my garden - growing organic produce is much cheaper than buying organic produce.

We don't waste - all leftovers get either eaten or frozen for later use. We only buy what produce we will use within the next 2-3 days. Also, even though we're making more money....we don't live like it. We still keep our going out to dinner to once or twice a month and any unnecessary purchases are discussed and budgeted for.

We've rearranged our schedules to make errands on one day a week. We also conserve energy costs by doing laundry at night to save the a/c from working so hard to keep the house cool. We're moving into a much more energy efficient place - instead of paying $200 to cool/heat a 1100 s.f. home, we're going to be paying around $70 to cool/heat a 1550 s.f. home - that might seem like a lot, but southern Louisiana is HOT.

We carpool as much as possible.

100 lbs. down plus a carrot for every 5 more

Last edited by zeffryn : 10-05-2008 at 07:54 PM.
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Old 10-05-2008, 08:08 PM   #6
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dh and i love by a budget...and i do mean live by it. We have figured out bills, including vet bills, budgets for medical expenses, and food etc. We check it every week to ensure we are staying on plan. If our food budget is going over, we learn that week we need to be tighter on food purchases.

Since leaving college, i have never carried a balance on my credit card..and continue to do so. My credit card company probably hates me since they give cash back reward for paying off the card every month...got to love it (:

I have decided that certain things aren't worth it. Do i really need that shirt, is it worth the price etc.

we have downgraded our cable to the least possible. We use to pay $100/month for lots of cable...yes i miss food network and bravo...but its saving us almost $60 a month.

We are cutting back every way we can...but i think the biggest things is our budget. I highly recommend everyone do it. Its tough at first..but you really start learing where all your spending is going.

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Old 10-05-2008, 08:11 PM   #7
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We've started budgeting.. This stuff is hitting us hard--boyfriend is in the casino business (no money, no gambling!), and I'm teaching dance. We were quite low for bills this month (I won't go into how low... but low enough that it's the 5th and we haven't paid anything yet... :S)

We're trying to save enough money to start budgeting things, but as it is, there's no money to save. We've stopped eating out, almost exclusively, unless we can pay with cash. I don't even know the last time we bought new clothes... Let alone anything else.

I think the scariest moment was about 2 days ago, when I realized we didn't have enough money to buy kitty litter... We're scooping, and stretching it for as long as we can... but.. guh. Our poor kitten deserves better. Thank god we don't have kids yet...

It's silly, because on our (6 year) anniversary on Monday, we didn't really have any money to "do" anything-- so we took a walk on the beach. As we were making our way back to our car, there was a gentleman that needed some change to get a drink from a vending machine-- So I gave him the 35 cents in my purse. Evan (the boyfriend) and I were thinking how interesting it is that 35 cents is SO important these days, even if it's just to get a drink

I dunno--moral of that story is that I'm still trying to help where I can, even though we, really, have nothing to give.

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Old 10-05-2008, 08:24 PM   #8
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We've started operating on a cash-only basis. We set out our cash for the week (including groceries) and when it's gone, it's gone. We definitely think a little harder about our purchases!

Also, we've 86'ed eating out... boy does that add up after a while.

I'm looking for a job.. freelancing is too scary in the current economy.

We downgraded our cable. Don't even miss it.

2011- putting on the baby weight
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Old 10-05-2008, 08:31 PM   #9
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So far we have felt no effects, except that the retirement accounts have shrunk in value.

We already live frugally--have no debt except for a little travel expense, paid off the mortgage, have no car payments. We have kept up on our savings.

I've been working on contract (freelancing) for many years, so I'm used to the ups and downs. It's not for the faint of heart. My biggest fear is that work will dry up, but as I said, so far things are holding steady. Next year might be another story.

Mostly it's status quo for us.

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Old 10-05-2008, 08:43 PM   #10
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We also use an envelope system for our budgets - Once the money that goes into each envelope is gone, it's gone. No digging into other envelopes.

100 lbs. down plus a carrot for every 5 more
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Old 10-05-2008, 08:45 PM   #11
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Well.. I consider myself and my husband one of the lucky ones.

I got a job this August as a teacher's aide in education at my old elementary school. :-) I don't bring home very much money but it's my insurance policy in case things slow down at my husband's job much more. And I go to night/online school to finish up my bachelor degree in teaching instead now. My hubby is a mechanic and works off of commission and it has been slow at his job for the past couple of months. So in some ways I sacrificed getting my degree sooner but am getting great job experience to put on my resume and more financial security.

I'll make a list of what we've done to help ourselves

1. I got a job that brings home 1k a month-got lucky to get this job or God was watching out for me whatever your beliefs are

2. Hubby asked and got a $1 raise thank goodness and we are waiting to see if his job will follow thru on their promise to give him the other two $1 dollar raises they discussed that is supposed to come at the end of the month and again in Feb.

3. Stopped going out to eat to help our budget and our waistlines- I now think fast food is disgusting and even some sit down restaurants now

4. aggressively paying off debt and a student loan with what I bring home

5. Kept my perfectly decent running 12 year old car despite pressure from family and friends for me to get a new one to "reward" myself for getting my new job

6. Have not really "upgraded" our lifestyle in any way despite us being a two income family now

7. We are now finally trying to save as well and have a 1 year's worth of living expenses eventually in a savings account then save as close as we can get to 20 percent down for a house

8. Shopping smarter at the grocery store-getting store brands instead and clip coupons and even go to the dollar store or Big Lots for canned goods and off brand Coke and household cleaners when we run out of those things

9. I bring my lunch to work with me everyday and hubby comes home for lunch most days from work to also let the dog out to go do his business

10. Stopped driving around so much doing nothing in general on weekends especially

11. We stay away from stores/mall-before we were in the habit of going to the mall when we were bored on a Sunday for example and we would always end up spending at least $5 dollars just on drinks from the food court while we walked around looking and sometimes up to $100 dollars before we realized it

That's what we've done so far and I don't really see any other way to reduce our budget without driving ourselves crazy being stressed out with keeping to such a strict budget since we do not have car payments, no house phone since we both have cell phones instead, have basic cable since my internet is tied in with my cable bill for school. So we are hunkering down and riding it out.

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Old 10-05-2008, 09:48 PM   #12
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I'm in my 50's & I'm definitely thinking about working longer, much longer, before I even think about retirement. We already don't go out much, rent videos instead of going to the movies and I take my lunch to work. I have combined errands with more efficiency and stopped shopping so much on my days off. We don't have much credit card debt, but I'm working on paying off what debt I have. I'm fortunate to not worry about my job (I'm a nurse) as the economy has not affected it at all, in fact I work a fair amount of extra shifts frequently, but I do worry about my spouse's job. Fortunately things are good for him at the present.

I shop more at Walmart for groceries now as their prices are usually cheaper than anyone else in town. I don't plan to spend as much at Christmas and we'll probably keep the thermostat a little lower this winter. We have one son still in college, the older two are finished, but none of my kids have married yet, so I worry about affording weddings in the future. We met last week with our financial advisor and he advised us to have at least 6 months worth of income in a savings account. That's something I may try to do. My husband's 401k has really taken a hit. We used to get a pretty sizable gift of cash from my in-laws every year but that has come to a halt. I do think we're pretty blessed compared to a lot of people.

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Old 10-05-2008, 10:09 PM   #13
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One of the reasons I started this thread is that I too am doing OK, although to be honest it wouldn't take a whole lot to disrupt that, what has bothered me recently is the amount of men out there on our job sites looking for work. Now this has happened in the past but it has been quite some time since we have had this many. I probably have turned away 15-20 men this week looking for work on my project.

I was able to put 3 men on. Two have lost their homes, one had lost his car, all 3 were out of unemployment money. Although the wage they are receiving is pretty good for construction in our area...union...$35 an hour....I can only use them 2-3 weeks for the drywall taping. Every day they tell me "May Jesus bless you Mr. Gary"

I have also had 4 of my son's friend's looking for work....these young men have military experience or jobs they have had since high school....they are 27 yrs. old.

Our church has asked us to up our donations to our food pantry because the cupboards are bare....in the past years they were always (mostly) full. More and more people are coming by for help.

We are car pooling more....and my gas is paid for....to help out. We are rooming together when in the past we had our own rooms when working out of town. Glad to have a job.

Found a store called WINCO in Sacramento area the last few months....want one here!

You all have such great ideas!

Oh and weegreenlassie....something tells me you have more to give than you think....it isn't all about $$$....
As long as I live I will TESTIFY HIS LOVE!
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Old 10-05-2008, 10:20 PM   #14
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Fortunatly the economic down turn is not effecting me and in some cases is helping me because prices are dropping. I have started looking for a town house as an investment because I am currently renting. I have no debt, I have a stable job where I am saving between $1,500 and $2,000 a month after expenses. I've always tried saving money and don't buy unneeded things. I only go out for dinner once or maybe twice a week because I enjoy cooking and restaurants are evil for weight maintenance.
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Old 10-05-2008, 11:04 PM   #15
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We've stopped eating out and I'm watching the grocery budget closely. We don't go anywhere unless we have to. I'm very worried about heating my house this winter. I don't know how I'm going to afford it and to also put gas in my car. I'm making more money this year and yet have more financial worries. It doesn't make sense, but I'm lucky, I have a really good job and I can work from home 2 days a week to cut down on gas and childcare. The people that I am worried about are the senior citizens on fixed incomes that have no way of affording their medications when other expenses rise.
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