Thursday, October 9, 2008

Penny for your thoughts?

This kind of financial ooky-spooky stuff is really starting to freak me out. I am beginning (somewhat selfishly) to wonder what this "economic crisis, " "regression," "depression" -or whatever it is -is going to mean for us: Will the Husband have a job in a year? Will we EVER be able to afford a house of our own?

I'm not the only one (obviously) who has this on my brain; at Ask Moxie yesterday and then again today, they are discussing the economy, with today's post focusing on "Practical Ways to Tighten Our Belts". (You should check it out- the comments are great!) So that has me thinking.

Here are the things we are currently doing to "tighten our belts":

- Groceries:
We have switched some grocery items from name brand to store brand, and are opting for some things frozen rather than fresh (i.e., blueberries which we eat a TON of) so there's savings and less waste if we don't get around to eating everything. We switched from the jugs of orange juice to the frozen concentrate (cheaper AND better for the environment). We are also being more careful when we plan meals for the week, looking for ways to stretch a meat
purchase, for example. We are also using generic diapers during the day (they DO NOT work for overnight, though.)

- Eating Out:
We have definitely cut back on our eating out lately. We cook at home more and if we do go out we generally limit ourselves to once a week at a 'cheap' place (i.e., take n' bake pizza). I also bring my lunch to work every day and the Husband goes home for lunch.

I have switched from grocery store brands of cleaning products and detergents to an online store that offers concentrated, environmentally safe and affordable stuff. This has made a big difference in what I spend (especially on laundry and dish detergent) and our home is safer
and healthier without all the nasty chemicals (i.e., bleach, nitrates, etc.).

We've only just turned on our furnace in the last week, but plan on keeping it at 62 overnight and during the day and 65 when we are home in the evenings.

We are buying used or borrowing whenever possible. We are works in progress with this, but I am using the library more, and shopping second hand- we got little O's entire fall/winter
wardrobe at the consignment store!

Looking at this, it is interesting that many of the choices we are making to save money are also 'green.' That's motivating in and of itself.

So what else can we do? There are some 'luxuries' that I am loathe to part with: cable TV and Internet, buying music (mp3 downloads), organic milk, little O's book club, our newspaper subscription...

How about you guys? What are you doing now to save money?

1 comment:

Sweva said...

Good suggestions, Ms. Birdy!

Let me focus on a common sense approach to stocks for a second...and bear in mind that I'm a fiscal conservative (probably the only conservative side I have!)

First of all, I'd say if you have any money in the stock market - mutual funds, etc. - throw it into a money market account, which is a safe harbor.

Let me explain why.

There are lots of people out there who are financial advisors who will say to "ride it out." Remember that such folks typically get a cut from your being in the market...they're not going to take a hit if you lose money; that's not how it works...but they benefit from your if you're not in the market, they don't stand to make anything. Get it? A friend of mine who's a day trader explained this to me.

That being said, confidence is VERY LOW right now, and will more than likely continue to be low. I believe that some of this is influenced by our political climate. Assuming Obama wins the election, I believe the market will gradually start to make a turn upward...but not before it bottoms out. Everything points to it still going down.

So if you've lost money so far, get out and stop the bleeding...put it in a safe harbor such as a money market account and wait out this storm. Then, once the market bottoms out and its obvious that confidence is back (which will, interestingly enough, probably coincide with Obama taking office - that's my prediction) THEN get back into things. At the very least, you won't have to worry about losing money anymore...and we could all use a little less stress right now.

So that's my advice, and that's what I'd do.