As the economic news continues to worsen, I'm thanking my lucky stars I started living more frugally almost a year ago (!!!), and am used to the 'loss' of certain luxuries. What have I given up, over the past ten months?
- Cable TV (with all the 'extra' time I have I read more, see my friends more, and write this blog)
- My gym membership
- A warm(er) house in the winter
- A cool(er) house in the summer
- My overly expensive Verizon wireless plan (I'm now a pay-as-I-go wireless customer, and it's working out brilliantly, thank you very much!)
- My car (I'm now a public transportation junkie)
- Buying books left and right (have I mentioned that the local library has FREE books and movies, AND has heating and air conditioning for those extra cold/hot days?)
What's interesting (and yes, disturbing) to me is reading about families who are just beginning to cut out their own luxuries, whatever they are. CNN has a section on its website called 'iReport', and this week quite a few American families detailed how their lives have changed since the economy started heading south. After reading some of these stories, I, for one, feel incredibly lucky to have not one, but TWO jobs, considering there are highly-educated and experienced folks out there who cannot even find one job.
Even in the midst of paying off debt and trying to live more frugally, I think this new economic downturn can result in positive changes, both politically and personally. The fear and anxiety that Americans are feeling just serves to emphasize to me that living below my means is the way to go: in healthy economic conditions I can save for the future while enjoying my life; in horrific conditions like we're witnessing now, my frugal ways will help me stay afloat until the economy improves, as it always does!