[Catherine Goerz ] has some great ideas for surviving with class amid this terrible recession. But I do agree that we have [awakened] in the middle of an overindulgence dream [How to Live Happily on 75 Percent Less, usnews.com]. The dream of having everything we wanted, when we wanted, simply by paying with credit...I believe this phenomenon is over. The dream is replaced with the nightmare of overspending, self-entitlement, and lack of forethought resulting in a major lifestyle hangover. Living simply and close to one's true core values is the answer. These stores and corporations are also going to go through changes. Change is hard to do, especially when you would rather have everything like it was, but what was can never be again! The banks, credit card companies, and this new elite will soon see what their fortune was based on—our overindulgences. It's time to tighten up our belts, tighten up our wallets, and lose a few pounds. Literally!
Comment by Robert of NC
I commend anyone who is willing to make a negative life experience into a positive one. It is important to remember that some areas of the country are much more expensive to live in than others, when looking at what people pay for rent. While I have always lived simply, and used to resent those who ran up credit and then filed bankruptcy, I have learned to let that go and to realize that I am still more fortunate than someone who lost all those things they really couldn't afford. If you never trade way up, you won't have to trade way down. No matter how little you have, there is always someone making do on even less.
Comment by Diane of CA
Times are hard. People who are resilient, open-minded, and creative will find ways to survive. Those who perceive themselves as victims will not. I had a really hard time when I lost my job. For a while, we had no income and mortgage payments on two houses. Yikes! I sank into a deep depression. Now my wife is working, we sold one of the houses, and I have found some work, at least for a while. We have a car or two to sell, still. One of the things that has really helped me is working out. It helps me fight off stress. It helps me stay in shape. It increases my energy. There are so many benefits to working out that I wish I had started a long time ago. Comment by Michael of MO
My family along with so many others has been struggling because of the economy. We have made many changes in our lifestyle and pray for the day when we are not under constant economic stress. We do, however, realize there are many families in a much worse position. This struggle has made us realize what we have is plenty and how much extra "stuff" we had. We have learned what is really important in life and that is not material extras, traveling, eating out, etc. The really important things in life are God, family, health, and happiness. And we know we have all of the above. I think Americans are learning an important life lesson and this is a lesson I hope will stay with us as the economy improves. This is something we need to teach our children. Live in comfort but not in excess. And remember God will always provide! Just ask!
Comment by Kelley of TX
I drive a 10-year-old car, which is well-maintained and hopefully will last years more. I garden, can food, take my own water/coffee with me, earn extra money on eBay, clip coupons, shop sales, and sometimes just plain do without. The reckless spending that has been prevalent since the go-go 1980s has almost ruined our country. We have fewer manufacturing jobs, while we consume more goods. The balance sheet on that will never have ink in our favor. Being more self-sufficient should be a priority of anyone who doesn't want to be beholden to a creditor until the day they die.
Comment by Jennifer of PA
Some nice ideas here, but I also have some tips on food costs. Buy only things that are on sale, or two for the price of one sales are even better. Also since there is a fridge at work, I buy things to make sandwiches and add carrots and yogurt or cookies and take enough for the whole week and just make a sandwich each day. It saves the time of packing it each morning and saves lots of money by not buying lunch out or buying microwave meals, which are nice but more costly. Also, using synthetic oil in your car is better for your engine and saves money in two ways—better gas mileage and fewer oil changes. I have over 200,000 miles on my SUV and the engine is still running strong. One other idea may be to lower the temperature on your hot water heater and on your thermostat in the winter or increase the temperature on the AC in the summer. It can save $30 to $50 per month.
Comment by Paul Johnson of FL