Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I'm Thankful

As I sit tapping out this post on my phone, Thanksgiving safely over and anticipating the arrival of Christmas, I am thankful for the roof over my head and food on my table and my family's general well being.  Like the majority of families all over the globe, we've had to do some belt tightening in our budget due to the rising costs of just about everything. Yet, even with that, we are very well off compared to some.

On the news the other day was a story of how Walmart, the largest retailer in the US, has had to change the way they run and staff thier stores in the current economy.  Because government payments to families on public assistance are deposited into the recipient's bank account after midnight on the first of each month, the store managers have been getting swamped with a large number of shoppers coming to shop at the 24 hour stores right at midnight as soon as they confirmed the deposit of the funds.  The news story showed a young, well dressed, otherwise ordinary looking couple, shopping cart at the ready, calling the automated phone number of thier bank verifying the deposit.  The look of relief on thier faces when the money was finally there was very sad and disturbing.

The sad truth is that most people are only a paycheck away from economic distress.  In the current state of economic and political uncertainty, it is important as ever to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.  When my husband and I started our food storage to stockpile non-perishable food items about two years ago, we did so in secret from friends and family for fear that they would think we were weird and a little bit looney.  Now, I regularly hear radio hosts and even financial advisers giving advice about stockpiling and buying multiples of items when you come across a good sale.  Times have certainly changed in a very short time!  Just the other day, I heard a radio host tell his audience that this Christmas, the best gift you can give yourself and your family is the gift of food storage!  And he is a very mainstream national figure!

I'm thankful that I'm ahead of the curve and that my pantry and freezer is full of items purchased at rock bottom prices. I'm going to challenge myself to feed my family without grocery shopping except to purchase produce for the next few weeks. Nothing should be taken for granted in these tough times.  Being prepared is the best thing we can do for ourselves.

Monday, November 28, 2011

When Life Throws You a Curve Ball...

The tough get going. . . Hello again! It's been 3 months since my last post. Many thanks for keeping me on your blog list! As I mentioned in my last post, I have not been in the mood to post due to things beyond my control. You live your life trying to do the right thing, and BAM! Things get absolutely screwed up. What I can control however, are the things I do for myself that I enjoy. I missed reading all the lovely blogs out there, and reading your comments here. So I'm going to give this another go.

What I can tell you is that the last several months, frugality totally went out the window.  My husband decided that he wanted to join the country club to play golf.  He rarely spends money on himself, so I did not argue.  For the last 18 years, we have been focused on raising our sons, sending them to private schools, taking them to music lessons and sports leagues, with rarely a time out for ourselves. He said, "we are doing this for US, something nice that we deserve." What can I say to that?

So I went along.  We have been members for about 4 months now, and he decided that the membership is not what it was cracked out to be. He could not get tee time when he wanted, and then some of the courses were constantly closed due to tournaments. We were not getting our money's worth. He just told me the other day that he wanted to cancel the membership. A very expensive lesson, but better than continuing to waste money and getting no return on the investment. This was not the source of my stress, however, and it was actually quite fun while it lasted. But membership in a country club and acting all hoity toity is not me, so no great loss here.

Anyway, going to try to get back on topic and tighten the belt on our finances.  I feel renewed in my quest for frugal living. My husband has a good job, but he is nearing the end of his career. We need to pay off the last few bills we have so we have no worries in retirement. Our child rearing days are almost over (thank God!), and now it is time to focus on us. Our sons are rarely home, so we are finding that we are spending more time by ourselves. Here's to our "almost here" new future!

I have spent the last few days decorating the house for Christmas.  Most of the decorations were purchased years ago when our boys were smaller. These days, I've only been purchasing "new" decorations at thrift stores as I find them during the year. As I was unwrapping my latest find from this past summer, I made a serendipitous find. The Teddy bear sitting to Santa's left dressed as a jester was a perfect match to the Santa! I did not notice this until I set him down alongside. What a chance find! And he was only $3.00! (Not so the Santa, but he was purchased during my pre-frugal days!)

I'm looking forward to a great year! Thanks for visiting with me again!