So I was listening to an economic analyst today who said we would all have to give up things soon, adjust the American standard of living, change our ways. Malls are losing business, department stores are going bankrupt, and people are not only not spending their money, they are SAVING it! Then tonight I watched a news clip about how the auto industry will phase out its huge gas-guzzling SUVs (thank God and finally!) and focus on their baseline economy cars - the cars of the people. So I got to thinking about what I could easily give up in the future...and what will prove more challenging.
I think I could easily:
1. Stick with my phone, car, and clothes for another couple of years. (Heck, if I lost some weight, I already have a whole 'nother wardrobe in the next size down!)
2. Stay in the condo and postpone the dream of moving into a house for a few more years.
3. Cut down on the lunches and dinners out - I've already cut way back in the last six months.
4. Buy frozen pizzas for those nights I don't want to cook, instead of ordering a pizza.
5. Be more diligent about watching and returning the Netflix we already have; order less On Demand and pick up less Blockbuster movies. It's the darn $4.99's that add up.
6. Give up weekend romantic getaways, if they could be replaced by something else romantic and special.
7. Get creative about get-togethers with friends. Spend less money on food and entertainment, and put more energy into finding creative, free things to do. Like go to the museum when we get the free passes from the library, and not otherwise.
8. Buy things for the baby (when there is one) at Good Will and Craigslist, or use items that are borrowed. I don't mind used as long as it's safe and clean.
It would be harder to:
1. Give up cable altogether. Or high-speed Internet for that matter. Pleeeease don't make me give up high-speed Internet!
2. Postpone getting another dog because of rising vet costs.
3. Take a job I hate or have to drive an hour each way to work. I have spent several years trying to get closer to home, with good reasons, and going further out now would be miserable.
4. Say "no" to traveling and vacations. Plane tickets have become such a bear, but with most of my family far away, I really hate the thought of not seeing them. Life is too short.
5. Not buy presents for people - Christmas, birthday, and my endless love of greeting cards and stationary. Argh.
6. Sacrifice visits to friends - most of which require an hour's drive or more.
7. Give up health care that I need for my back. Like chiropractic. I have already given up physical therapy and massage and am suffering greatly for it.
8. Eliminate hair cuts. Though I have given up color for now. Not a fan of the self-coloring.
Things that would be sad to give up but of course I could:
1. Brand names, like Tide. Oh, sweet-addictive-overpriced Tide.
2. Vacations. Other than family trips, we barely take any as it is.
3. My car - if needed, I could always downgrade. But driving a new car is a blessed delight after many years of beaters and always wondering if the car was going to break down.
What kinds of changes could you make? Whether they are goals geared toward money-saving or time refocusing, I think you'll find this exercise helps to begin clarifying what is most important to you. Let me know if you do a similar post, so I can read your ideas. The more we get creative and share tips, the more we will get used to the idea of changing our standard of living. And if you have any great ideas for Reduce-Reuse-Recycle, I'd love to hear those too! Let's start a wave.
And let's make sure we keep spending energy on Love. That is free, and blessedly priceless, no matter what the economy brings. In Love, let us always be rich!