It's obvious that a lot of people are struggling financially. So many have already lost the financial battle and others are on the brink. It's sad, but is some of it preventable?
Here's why I ask...
There is a Mom that I used to see often at the Elementary School (I homeschool now so I don't see her anymore). Her family struggles financially (food stamps, free lunches at school, chruch food pantry, etc. give some relief). She's constantly complaining about the economy, our elected officials, etc. I've tried to be sympathetic, but I can't. You see... the last day I saw her, she was doing her usual rants.... I listened, not saying a word, not even nodding... it was her same-old, same-old tale of how cruel the world was. As I "listened", I LOOKED at her. She wore a concert T-shirt and a pair of sweat pants, one leg pulled up over her knee... she just a got a new tattoo and it was still tender and red, the pant leg was irritating the tattoo, so she pulled it up and off the artwork. Her acrylic nails were perfectly filled, filed and painted with an intricate design. She carried a disposable Dunkin Donuts cup and had a pack of cigarettes in her pocket.... meanwhile her children's only hope of "food on the table" came from the school, the foodstamps, and the church.
Do I have a problem with concert T-shirts, sweat pants, acrylic nails, coffee-to-go, or a person choosing to smoke... absolutely not. Do I have a problem with chosing these above providing for your familiy... yes! Where's the personal responsibility in the "change" our Nation needs?
Is she the ONLY person behaving this way... no! Here's another case from just the other day...
I was in the nail salon and sitting next to a lady that was also getting a mani/pedi. She was talking loudly on her BlueTooth... so loudly you couldn't ignore her. She was complaining about the fact that the economy was so bad that she had just let her auto insurance expire because she didn't have the money to pay for it! I was dumbfounded! There she sat, designer handbag at her side, BlueTooth on her ear, cell phone on her lap... unable to pay for her insurance. Where was any logical sense of priority?
Many, many people are tightening thier belts as the economy worsens. We're all either making sacrifies, or will be before long. We're rethinking our "disposable cash", re-working our budgets, re-structuring our investments/retirement accounts, making tough choices when it comes to defining wants and needs, etc.
When times are tough, people need to make tough decisions... cut corners, give up a little to get a little in the end. My family is blessed with my hubby's work and our pensions.... but we're not immune to the woes of the economy and we're tightening up in anticipation of a long road ahead!
We've cut out nearly all "eating out" (including the burger drive-through routine on hectic days), mani-pedi's are a "treat" and not a routine, I color my hair at home instead of going to the salon, my garden will be larger than usual this year, I coupon and refund more, I search for more "free" entertainment in my local community, etc.
What are you doing to make ends meet or prepare for the long haul? What can you/will you give up to help your family through these tough economic times?