Friday, October 3, 2008

Recession Or Depression?

We've all been on a roller-coaster ride for the last two weeks. Boarding the ride was a complete surprise to me. I expect it was for you, too. One minute I'm strolling casually through life and the next minute I hear the country is in the most serious financial crisis since THE GREAT DEPRESSION.

Along with most other residents of the USA, I became (overnight) consumed with whether or not my family was going to have the financial means to continue life as we know it.

For now, anyway, the crisis has been averted. The government seems to think we can go on with our lives without serious interruption, but the recent scare has taught me a couple of things and reminded me that it doesn't take extravagance to live a life of joy and gratitude.

When I was growing up, my family lived happily and frugally, buying whatever we needed with cash. My grandparents had known the heartache of losing their farm in The Great Depression, lived through it, and NEVER went into debt again. They paid cash for everything and saved the major portion of each weekly paycheck. By the time I graduated from high school, they had purchased three homes and furnishings--all with cash!

Thrifty living was common back in the 1940's, 50's, and 60's, but somewhere along the way Americans became the most affluent people on the planet. We adopted wasteful and glutinous lifestyles, spending with reckless abandon and thought it would last forever. The past two weeks proves that life can change in a heartbeat and our best laid plans can be thrown into confusion and disarray.

In the future I'm going to make sure I buy only those items I truly need and save as much money as possible. I'm going to try to get back to the basics and values of an earlier time.

I would like to hear from you, too. Has the crisis given you a new perspective on how you'll live in the future?

14 comments:

Wade, Janalyn, & Wookie said...

I completely understand living simply is a very important part of our life and this financial crisis has really made me look at how prepared we are if something should happen.

Barbara J. Kirby Davis said...

Janalyn- I'm so glad to hear you feel like I do!

Kam said...

Great post! And thanks for your comment today! It's rare that I vent on my blog...it just got to me today. May we all be found faithful!

Barbara J. Kirby Davis said...

Kam- Venting is ok. And thanks for coming by.

Angie Ledbetter said...

I was reared in a super-frugal family, so it's always been a way of life for me. We've got a good life with some wiggle room, but I never want to be out on a limb I couldn't crawl back in from. I think having to be prepared for hurricane season all the time, plus putting in years in Scouting also helps us be prepared and ready for whatever comes. The news of the current market "crisis" has really had no effect on me.

Barbara J. Kirby Davis said...

Angie- I often think of the people who live in hurricane country and how resilient they must be. That's a lesson for all of us.

Terri Tiffany said...

Last year,my husband lost his well-paying job because he was in the construction industry.I didn't work. He had never been unemployed before in his life and soon eight months went by before he found something. Thankfully, we had always been frugal but until you lose what you think is your security--it puts new meaning on everything. We never want to find ourselves worried again. I buy what I need now not what I want.

Joanne said...

I was raised frugally and have always been so myself, so the crisis did not affect me. However, one comment regarding your perspective question. I don't believe affluence is spending money we don't have. It seems like we've become a society not actually owning things, but going into deep debt taking out loans to have things we cannot afford. I think there's a difference between affluence and image and am curious if others feel this way as well.

Linda said...

This discontentment with what one has, and willingness to go into debt to obtain more and more is somewhat of a reflection on the spiritual state of many. God tells us to be content and thankful with what we have.

I am conservative and frugal, and thankful for that especially in these uncertain times!

Barbara J. Kirby Davis said...

Terri- I'm afraid that many are going to find themselves without jobs now in this economy. Some will find themselves in chaos and others will just learn to live within their means. Lessons learned.

Barbara J. Kirby Davis said...

Joanne- Debt has become the drug of choice for many in our society. For years I've watched families in my community buy $45,000.00 boats, $300,000.00 homes, $35,000.00 cars and trucks, and wondered how they could afford it. (The answer is that many of them couldn't.) I'm not talking about a few people--it was very common. My husband and I choose to keep our older home with a low mortage payment and drive our older Honda. Am I glad we did!!!!!!

Barbara J. Kirby Davis said...

Linda- You are soooo right! It does reflect our mental and spiritual state of mind. Over-spending is more about greed, coveting, envy, and vanity than it is about one's reasonable daily needs. God has warned us about those negative impulses--not because He wants to make us unhappy, but because He knows that in the end they will keep us from having real joy and hinder us from becoming our best self.

Small Footprints said...

I personally believe that people who have embraced the "old timey" ways of living .. being thrifty and knowing the distinction between what one needs and wants ... are the people who will financially survive whatever is to come in our country.

Small Footprints
http://reducefootprints.blogspot.com/

Barbara said...

Footprints- You're right.

My husband and I have kept some of the older ways from our childhood and I'm glad we have. At least, we know how to do a few useful things.
Thanks for the comment.