Every where you look there is talk of economic down turn. The news today is that there are predictions that there will be about 200,000 jobs lost in the next 12 months. I am wondering how you will weather the storm. will you be okay ? Do you live paycheck to paycheck ? Do you have an emergency fund? If you lost your job, do you know how long you could survive without an income ?
How can you start or add to your emergency fund ? I think the very first area to look at whenever you need to find some funds fast is your grocery bill. A few changes to meals and cooking habits or switching brands can result in huge savings. It is a question of what you are willing to forgo in order to have financial peace. I am a big believer in small things that make the difference. Everyone dismisses the smaller purchases as "just $2" here and there, but these purchases add up to hundreds of dollars every year. Even a saving of $25 per week can equal $1300 per year. The trick is to physically put the money somewhere. A bank account with no fees and high interest is good, or you can always stick it in a sock in your undies drawer!
There has been much talk comparing the 'recession' of today to the Great Depression. I have always believed that the true state of the current economic times is concealed somewhat by the availability of credit cards. If we all worked in cash the true problem would be much harder to mask, because people would literally have no money to pay for things.
I constantly think of my Grandmother telling me that they rode out the Depression quite well. She says that because they had their own fruit and vegies and had their own meat they were somewhat insulated by true hard times.
I think if there was a true Depression this time around it would have a tremendous impact on our families. My reason for this is that there is an incredible lack of skills now. I am 36 years old and my friends and I comment that we are the first generation who's mothers burnt their bras and went to work ( and yes I realise how much I am generalising here). As a result we did not learn many of the skills that have been handed down from generation to generation for hundreds of years. Now, even baking batch of cookies is beyond the ability or interest of most mums my age. I do agree that there is a growing group of frugal, green blogging mums, but generally speaking no-one cooks! There are very few people that I know that sew, except those brilliant quilt makers that learnt this fantastic hobby. I would bravely suggest that most mums don't even sew a button back on !
We could insulate ourselves somewhat by becoming more self sufficient and think in a cooperative manner e.g. I will trade you my spinach for a few of your eggs. Actually having someone 'working the home' often results in more savings than if both parents work and spend the majority of the second wage on child care and convenience products!
If one parent in the family decides to stay home and look after young children and run the house it can be a huge money saver, but you must have skills. Cooking and gardening would have to be the two most important ones.
If you can't cook - google it !!! That's the extent of my advice. You can find detailed sites that show you photo by photo how to do basic things. You can borrow books from the library or tune in to a cooking show. There is nothing stopping you.
When it comes to gardening my best advice is to just try it. Once again google it or borrow a book and take one small step at a time. A good place to start is with sprouts on the window sill. Then venture into some herbs in pots. Even a small balcony can grow some tomatoes, lettuce and carrots in pots!
Many of the answers to today's problems lie in the old fashioned ways. Think like it's 1940 and you will reap huge rewards in health, finances and of course the joy factor !