Challenging Times For All Of Us – Ideas To Get You Through It

by admin on February 22, 2009

These are challenging times for all of us, no matter what your economic status. Those who unfortunately took a “loss” in the recent stock market crash, are finding they, too, have to re-examine their spending habits and re-evaluate luxuries and necessities, even cutting back when they never before had the need.

Then there are those of us who’ve been living on limited incomes that are no longer sufficient to cover the daily/monthly costs of living.  Many have lost their source of employment and finding a scarcity of jobs for which they are qualified.

The end result is all of us are looking for ways to cut costs in every area of our lives, but people are using their imagination and creativity in solving these problems.  With rising fuel costs, many have turned to bicycles with baskets, or motor scooters, if in a  local neighborhood near a reasonably priced grocery store.  Car-pooling is again increasing and sharing transportation for grocery shopping, doctor or dental appointments, (when these appts. coincide time-wise); and of course sharing rides to places of employment or to a train or bus stop if living in the suburbs outside a city.

Consignment and Re-Sale Shops are doing more business.  Real bargains can be found, even on new or barely worn clothing.  Many towns and cities have Ministerial Alliance Associations who run used clothing stores and food banks.  Items are very inexpensive in the clothing store with prices as low as 10 cents up to a dollar for a coat.  This type Food Bank doesn’t charge and there aren’t any qualifications other than signing your name and address.

Some towns offer a food package for $25.00 to $30.00 once a month.  They list the next month’s food items in the paper so you know if you’re interested.  They include a variety of 4-5 meats, vegetables, fruits and usually a dessert item.  You just call a phone number and tell them your order since for a larger family, more than one package might be needed.

The department stores have had to lower their prices and if shopping carefully, many quality items of clothing can be found at 60-80% reduction.  Charge card customers often receive extra percentage off discount coupons in the mail which when applied to sale or clearance items makes quite a savings in cost.

Restaurants frequently send out “two for one” coupons and you can also browse the Internet for coupons for savings at Brand Name stores, Restaurants, Services, Airline fares, etc.  Free shipping is also offered On-Line from your favorite stores as well as coupons for discounts.  On-Line shopping also avoids hassling with crowds and conserves your car’s fuel.

There are many discount grocery stores where you save by bagging your own.  I was in Wal Mart one day and saw a salesclerk lowering prices on some canned goods.  She told me they try to stay competitive with the local discount store and I’ve found they do have the same prices on many items, which was a fact of which I was unaware.  Comparative shopping is the key to getting the best bargains. Though if only needing milk or bread (or both), it isn’t worth the expense to use the gas to go to the discount store in another town, when my local grocery store is only a few cents higher.

An advantage the past year occurred at the local pharmacy when they reduced many of their generic prescriptions to $4.00 for a month’s supply or $10.00 for 90 days.  This has really saved us a lot in medication costs.  You do need to have your physician write the prescription for a 90 days supply instead of only 30 days.

Another way of saving on food costs is sharing with friends and neighbors.  My friend was given half a ham, which was too much for her and her husband, so she baked it and gave us half of that, then I had baked a cake and sent part of it to them.  Another neighbor had 10 lbs potatoes which were on sale, but too much for just her.  She gave me 5 lbs and I paid her half the sale price as we only needed the smaller portion also.  Actually, it’s rather interesting, sharing like this, as I never know what will come next!  Last summer we were given home grown tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers, squash and other veggies, all of which saved on our food budget.

Perhaps with the hard economic times we all are going through, it’ll start bringing back the neighborhood friendliness that used to be so common in our society.  Somehow or other we’ve drifted away from that in many areas, but a lot of it is due to the necessity for both the husband and wife to work.  Since computers appeared on the scene, more people are now working out of their own homes.  This, too, is saving on gasoline, cost of clothing for the workplace, expense of eating lunch or commuting costs, and for young parents, it saves on babysitting expenses.

So, there are ways to save money if we just put on our “thinking caps” about the things we can probably do without and save that extra expense!

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