Sunday, November 02, 2008

We have entered the "No-Spend Zone"

I have to admit I've been pretty preoccupied with what has been going on in the world recently. I'm also very excited because I am one of the lucky 65,000 that have a ticket to the Obama rally this Tuesday. I am going to witness history firsthand (I hope).

I listen to NPR on my way to work in the morning and hear all the speculation about the future of the economy. I read The Huffington Post every day. And I pray. And I am not a religious person, but I still pray. What else can we do?

Well, there is one thing, although to express it here makes me feel like a heretic because it goes against what our economy is generally based on. But I'll just say it. Stop spending money. Better yet, stop spending money that one doesn't have.

Actually, I wouldn't dream of telling anyone else what to do. That would make me like Suze Orman and she kind of annoys me with her dogma. When I see her on TV saying people shouldn't spend any money, I want to respond "Suze, people can't stop living! They have to celebrate their child's birthdays. They have to have some fun. They can't just work and pay debts. They may as well be in a debtor's prison then, even if it is one of their own making." Honestly, I don't think she has a clue of what life is like for most people. She's out of touch. Some of her ideas are good, but she is too extreme for me.

Here at the 2-flat, we are evaluating our plans. We have debt and we have savings. We have been planning a few projects for this winter like adding some kitchen cabinets. We need a new sofa. Things like that. Because of what has been going on in the world, we have decided to wait on any big expenditures.

Rather, we will work on projects where we already have the materials and I am going to get some pillows recovered to spruce up our living room rather than buy a new sofa. There are things we can do that will not cost much and those things will move to the top of the list.

We have cut way back on eating out and are buy things on sale at the grocery store whenever possible. We have entered what I am calling, "the no-spend zone." It's a mind set and I think it will be good for us. We will pay off our debts and save money. This feels like the right thing to do at this time.

We are fortunate in that my job is pretty secure. I work for a high-end company and sales are still up- i.e. the rich are still rich. Steve has his own marketing and communications business and steady customers, but advertising is vulnerable in a bad economy and so we have reason to be cautious.

I just wanted to post about this because it is really a part of what is going on right now and years from now, I want to remember this. And I would also like to hear from other people as to what they are doing and how this whole mess is affecting them. My heart goes out to anyone who has lost their job. I know people in this situation.

With all this going on, I am still hopeful. Studs Turkel just died and I think of him and his book "Hope Dies Last: Keeping the Faith in Difficult Times". I think now is the time to check that book out of the library.


Jennifer said...

I have to say that we are doing the same sorts of things. We're only really working on projects that are free or we already have.

John said...

We're cutting way back on everything: house projects, driving, eating out, food in general, etc. Things have eased up since gas has dropped from $4 a gallon to $2, but I don't think it will stay this low forever. We've had to postpone a lot of house projects indefinately: no new driveway and carport (required in our "subdivision."), no massive re-painting of the house's exterior, no finishing out the closets, etc. Setting aside enough money for renting a drum sander and buying a new front door is about all that we might be able to manage for the foreseeable future. I'm not too worried about making it, but I'm hoping that we won't have to wait too long for things to get better because this sucks.

bk8 said...

I agree and I like your title 'no spend zone'. I think we Americans are not too familiar with real sacrifice, or we are just too darned spoiled. As for us, we are in the midst of massive college costs (for the kids not us) and we have cut back on eating out, vacations, planning car trips (to save on gas) and REALLY shopping sales, re-thinking what is NECESSARY vs WANTED. Also after I had to clean out my mom's stuff, I swore then that I would simplify my 'stuff' so as to spare my kids that sad chore. Think of the Amish (we have personal knowledge) that don't even have closets, only wall hooks. Now that is simplicity!!

Jen said...

We too have been on a no spending kick. I have placed my self on a cash only diet. Paying cash for everything really makes you think before you buy. We have not done anything to the house that we did not already have materials for. My work was very slow over the summer, but has picked up .

Admin said...

Thank You! This was a great post.

Joanne said...

I was sad to hear about Studs Terkel. He was a neighbor of ours in Uptown. Although I never met him, I'd frequently walk past his home.

We're tightening our belts 'round here, too. My mom is retired, and Ted and I are both freelancers--we feel the vagaries of the economy rather acutely. Even our steady clients are dropping off. Projects are now prioritized on a must-do and a wish-we-can basis. But even the must-do projects are being addressed with temporary, keep-it-going-for-a-few-more-years kind of solutions.

As you know, we have a 2-flat, too. Whereas before we looked at the rental income as a luxury, and an added bonus, we're now thankful for it as a hedge against uncertain times.

Hope you made it the Obama rally. We watched it on TV, and I was in tears. (We're Huff Post and NPR addicts 'round here as well.)

goddessof4 said...

I am trying the no spending as well!!!! We have been cooking at home more (very hard for me but I am getting better.xmas will be on a budget !!! I am picking up a victorian couch from Craig's list but am saving thousands of dollars since it is a true antique and am getting it for a great price!!!! Good luck!!!! Sara

Julieta said...

That's so cool that you were at the historic rally! I'm very proud of our city and all that it has to offer. We are now in the limelight with our senator Barack Obama as our president elect. We have also entered the no spend far, we've been diligent on eating at home but weekends are hard since we end up doing things with friends. We were going to get 10 new windows for our 2 flat this month but decided to wait until next spring. Instead I headed over to Clark Hardware to get some materials to winterize my drafty windows. I work in retail and we are hurting, I hope that our sales are decent otherwise I have a feeling that we will reduce staff in 09.

Jocelyn said...

Hi everyone and thanks for your comments. I'm sorry it took me a bit to post them. Somehow my settings got changed and these comments didn't go to my email and built up in blogger where I found them today!

I was starting to think I was the only one thinking this way. :o)