Oh how times have changed. Never before have I understood that statement more than I do now. The longer I live in this world its seems that I am becoming more and more unshockable.
Like a no holds barred steel cage wrestling match, all rules have been thrown out of the window creating a climate where you could just about expect to see anything on the television when you turn on the news channel. It used to be when you would watch the local news it had an air of predictability aside from the occasional stock dropping a bit low or aged celebrity passing.
Many of the corporate institutions that we felt would always be there are on the verge of disappearing forever as they have suffered the inevitable results of their greed and mismanagement of funds that more often than not were not even theirs in the first place.
The long suffering and hard working people who have sacrificed their youth in return for a few years of rest and joy at retirement must now find themselves competing hard side by side with those one third their age just to keep a roof over their head. Is this the American dream that we were told would be there for us all if we “put in our time” on these thankless jobs?
The dream wasn’t snatched away from us because in actuality it was never there in the first place. We are now realizing how vulnerable we truly are since the rug of financial stability has been snatched out from under our feet by the mismanagement and greed of our funds by the corporate bigwigs “up top” who lived the abundantly lavish lifestyles on the backs of the working poor who never even had a clue!
Time is of the essence and it is time act NOW to salvage what little resources we have left in order to survive in these uncertain and uncharted times. What we now must do is number one refuse to walk forward in fear of the unknown. The unknown is actually a blessing for those who can shed their former sheltered and protected mentality of always working “within” the box.
The box is now gone forever………
Before when you wanted a little more money, you would put in for the overtime that was always there. Before when you wanted to purchase something that was a bit expensive and out of your budget, you didn’t have to “cut back”, you just simply worked more……..
The well never seemed to run dry nor did we have to really think like producers to accrue funds and possessions. We were in actuality losing something very precious in exchange for our sedentary thinking.
We were put in a position where we had no choice but to face challenges, there were no “problems”, just obstacles to overcome. At one point in our existence, we happily thrived on solving problems and thrived on making a way where once there seemed as though there was none.
If we wanted to eat, we had to plant the crops long before the hunger set in. We had to work to cultivate our future meals and make sure it thrived on time working along with nature. We knew the cold winter was on its way as we enjoyed the heat of summer so we stockpiled the wood that would heat our homes. The wood burned long to keep us warm, the fires were also cultivated to cook our food while we tended to mending our clothes until the meal was ready.
I said all of that to say this; we were more self sufficient in times gone by and we were better of for it! We have been ruined by the amenities that have been afforded to us by our relatively affluent lifestyles here in America.
Ever notice how an individual immigrating here from a downtrodden country will arrive to these shores and be ever grateful for the few trinkets that they may have acquired by the menial means of employment endlessly toiled in?
I didn’t say it in a manner to put them down but what I am saying is that we have lost the appreciation for those “little things” that mean so much to others and would once again mean so much to us when life knocks us down a few notches to make us realize that we are not to idolize the material things that we have been blessed to hold for a time.
We have now got to erase all of the twisted perverse rhythms that we have developed toward money, spending, saving as well as the perceptions that we have toward possessing the unnecessary status/image raising toys that will quickly pull us into debt.
It is so simple yet for some can be so hard.
This reminds me of a television program many years ago that I watched that proved how gambling released certain pleasurable euphoric chemicals in the brain making the gambler literally high with a feeling that bordered on being orgasmic!
Is is too much of a stretch of the imagination to think that maybe chronic shopaholics receive that same rush when making a purchase that is oftentimes unnecessary?
Well now such indulgences are a sure way to financial disaster and something that should be avoided at all costs. I’ll share a few of my thoughts on what I feel should be done to stay afloat in the financial playing field, and although I am not a professional, I do base my personal rules on common sense and solid advice from those I consult with who are truly in the know.
Learn to live below your means.
Prepare your food at home and refuse to spend money outside to eat, everything you consume MUST originate from YOUR kitchen! You know that you will get hungry so it is foolish to set yourself up to spend on fast food by going outside without anything to eat to be easily tempted by those empty calories!
Do you wait until after you go to the restroom to think about going to the store to buy some toilet paper?
That would be quite messy! Its the same way with food, you KNOW you will have to eat so be prepared!
Also remember that preparing your food at home empowers you to control what goes into your stomach. It tends to be much more of a healthier menu when you eat from home which keeps you from getting sick as much. Getting sick can be very expensive in this day and age of costly health care.
Stay out of the malls completely!
There is nothing good for you in the shopping malls, no bargains are there unless one of the establishments are going out of business. Everything there is marked up tremendously so that you can pay for their rent and the ambience and atmosphere of the mall with all of those fancy water fountains and very stimulating eye catching gimmicks.
It’s not so much that there are awesome bargains there, it’s the experience and the rush of sensory overload that hooks you to that place.
Make only necessary purchases and deal direct with the company as much as you can! If you are in the mall and see an item that you feel is necessary for your basic survival, investigate where it came from and deal direct with the company for a huge discount.
If you need a new refrigerator, inquire about a “scratch and dent” special, these are items that have been slightly scratched or dented usually in transit but whose injury did not hamper the functionality of the item. Great deals! And you will usually not even see the flaw as it is usually out of sight when put into place at home. I’ve gotten huge discounts over the years using this technique.
Buy out of season, purchase clothes right before a retailer brings in the new line for that upcoming season. For example, buy summer clothes as the fall and winter season approaches, the store owner will be so glad that you did and probably wouldn’t resist giving you a massive discount if you asked him/her.
This also goes for purchasing a car. If you really have to buy a new automobile that I am assuming you are wise enough to anticipate keeping a few years after it is paid for, realize that you are giving yourself in a huge advantage by waiting to the end of the model year when the dealer MUST make room for the next year models on the showroom floor.
Remember, don’t get caught up in the fact that you are getting a 2010 model year vehicle at years end when the 2011’s are just coming out. Getting a vehicle when its model year first comes out may appear to be cool but realize that you will have a much higher mileage count on it than the person who purchased it the next year, which eventually affects your resale price and profit.
And since we are on the subject of vehicles and driving, discipline yourself when it comes to burning gas. I love to drive, but I have to be cognoscente of how much it is costing me as I run my errands around and about. So make a conscious effort to string along your errands strategically so that you burn less gas at every trip out.
If you have ten things to do within that week, try to do them all in one day one after the other doing the furthest one first and working your way back closer. You will burn a heck of a lot less gas in this manner than if you did those same ten errands in ten separate occasions!
Food for thought.
We all know about keeping your thermostat turned down lower in order to save heating your home, but how many of us do it? Using fans in the hot summer is so much cheaper than blasting your air conditioner all day!
Be aware of how long you take in the shower, it should be in and out. This is not the place to practice for an American Idol audition ’cause that water ain’t free!
Make sure to keep a small toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash with you throughout your day in order to keep your teeth clean and breath fresh. Not only will it help you to maintain your dental health better but it will help to keep your friends around a lot longer because your stinky breath won’t run them away from you. Walgreens or Walmart sells the tiny travel sized toothbrush with toothpaste included, this small purchase goes a long way!
Cut back on unnecessary premium cable channels, stick with the basics. If you are really living life and active in living I find that you won’t really have the time to sit in front of the television while life passes you by with so much to get done.. Heck, my life is so active and interesting I think it would make a great television show in itself! Lol!
I could go on and on almost forever on ways that we can increase our frugality and enhance the quality of our lives by cutting out waste.
Frugality is the new excess.
Those who are able squeeze more out of the purchases made with their hard earned dollars will not only live quite well in this impotent economy but will live like ROYALTY while others will wonder how you do it on a limited income. By learning control in your spending habits and becoming more frugal in your purchases will empowering you beyond your wildest dreams as you accept the daunting challenge of living in today’s tricky financial landscape.
Remember, it’s not always be about how much you make but it will always be about what you DON’T spend!