Unless you live under a rock, certainly you heard about Bear Stearns yesterday. It's big news. It's frightening news. The economy is at the fore-front of a lot of people's minds, as well it should be. Lots of people living large, high on the hog, and now it's time to pay up. Scary stuff.
How this affect the average consumer? Everything we use will cost more. Gas. Groceries. Consumables. Every thing in our daily life. Just in the past 2 weeks, I've watched grocery prices climb. On ordinary non-essential stuff, like Jonathan's favorite pretzels from Target. (they went up $0.60 per bag). Plus milk has gone up (thankfully we switched to powdered milk months ago). Bread costs more (I make my own bread stuff, except for Texas Toast and hot dog buns). My grocery budget is tight and I know exactly how much I spend....and how much I need.
So I went shopping at Aldi and bought a bunch of my staple stuff: sugar, beans, flour, butter, Jonathan's lemonade (which he would die without), etc.
Greg and I learned our lessons about spending. We don't live extravagantly. We drive nice cars and live in a nice (but older) house. But I buy all of our families clothing at thrift stores. We have the lowest rung of cable (it's our only vice). We don't buy books new, we don't subscribe to any magazines, we utilize our library instead. We don't vacation, except maybe at State or Nat'l Parks (where we pay $0-15 per night for camping). We are doing our best to live within our means. But it's tough. TV bombarbs us with visuals, cranks up the gimme's and you have to turn away from it all. It's hard on the kids because they have friends who have $1000 birthday parties. (It made me feel good when Adam attended one such party and I was worried that he'd want one, too....and he said afterwards he just wants to go bowling with his family....)
Being frugal requires planning. Most people (myself included) don't like to plan. It's neither fun nor glamorous. But neither is debt. So I've spent the last two days, responding in my own personal way to the volatility of the market: I PLANNED. My pantry is stocked. (my mom who was born in the Depression would be proud.....) I'm getting ready to write out my April menu and challenge myself.