Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Dance of the Economy


It’s amazing how little one can get by on, but I wonder what the limit is. When I moved here my compromise was that my income would be one third of what it was when I was employed on the East Coast. I still lived well compared to the standards of most of the country.

I won’t go into the boo-hoo story, but our family income suffered a strong blow in May as our income was again reduced by half. Other than a mortgage we have little debt, but we still had to make some life style changes by dropping all subscriptions and we got rid of the dish and opted for very basic cable, which I may drop all together because other than OPB, basic television is really bad. I really miss HBO and the Documentary Channel and the Daily Show.

We can no longer afford chartable contributions, but we donate things we already own and our time to the causes we champion.

We conserve in many other ways as well. Any purchases are contemplated and pondered for a while before anything is bought. Laundry is only done on days that can facilitate line drying. We don’t go out to concerts, plays or movies. We don’t go out to eat. We don’t drive anywhere unless we have to.

This is the closest we have ever been to abject poverty, yet we still live pretty well. We have a home and insurance for the home, farm, automobiles and health. We pay all our bills in full and on time.

It’s almost like an economic game of Limbo. I wonder just how low we can set the bar and still get under it. I’m sure there is still more waste I can eliminate.

8 Comments:

Blogger Donna said...

Cliff is within three years of retirement. I'm constantly going over a list of things we'll be able to do without, once the big day comes.

4:51 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

I've experienced a change in financial circumstances, too. Amazing what you can do without, how you adjust.

6:25 AM  
Blogger Hahn at Home said...

When I find myself in those situations I just stop feeding the children and the coffers fill immediately.

6:34 AM  
Blogger darev2005 said...

Some days I seriously consider building myslef a unabomber shack out in the woods, making my own candles and soap and getting all my books from the public library. Then I go take a hot shower and sit down in front of my computer. I could "do" without many many things, but i wouldn't be happy. If and when I move back to Oregon I'm going to have to do without an awful lot. The cost of living there is much higher than it is here in the lead bible belt. But I would live in that shack if it meant going home again.

6:41 AM  
Blogger Syd said...

We're just now crawling out of similar circumstances. I feel ya, brother.

7:23 AM  
Blogger weese said...

back in 2001 we made a decision - family over career. my big city executive wife was stressed and never home. so we stopped the madness. our income was ... well lets just say 'slashed'.
its sometimes hard for our friends to understand that no...we can't go out to dinner, or take in a show. Every purchase is considered... even new socks. But we managed to stay in our house in ridiculous Fairfield County CT and get our kids through these great public school systems.
There are times when i really really want a new pair of socks, or would LOVE to hire somebody to come fix stuff for us (yup, there are times ...)
BUT we are very, very happy.
(as you two seem to be as well)

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Ginger said...

The more you make, the more you spend...and in the end, all your stuff gets sold at a garage sale. Now is when your sense of humor will be your saving grace :) Just don't scrimp on the TP.

4:29 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Donna, there will be an immediate fuel savings since he won't have to drive to work.

Beth, and there is always hope that the kids will support you one day...fat chance, eh?

Lori, Kids can be real resourceful in mooching off of friends when that situation comes about. It's the poor loners that are always hit the hardest.

Darev, have your sister build you a shack. She's pretty good at that sort of stuff.

Syd, and I'm happy to hear things are getting back to normal for you guys.

Weese, I still buy my batch of Costco socks, stocking up for winter when they will run out of the type I like.

Ginger, The paper in the Sears catalog just hasn't been the same since they went to a full color edition. ; )

5:48 AM  

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