Thursday, June 25, 2009

Creativity and the Recession Blues

While I am far from alone and should be grateful to have a job, this recession has gotten me down.

In April, my job asked me to take a 10% paycut, ouch. In May, our one functioning car died so we bought a new-to-us vehicle and added a car payment and more insurance, and now Tiny Daughter M's medical bills are staring to come due. The husband's job is very flexible and allows his to work around the girls' schedules, but it doesn't pay much. We decided years ago that I would be the breadwinner and now there is 10% less bread. It is not a rolling-in-money kind of time in the Attractor household.

I am very discouraged and frustrated by being back at broke. The Husband and I spent a lot of years just scraping by and it was only due to the help of fantastic grandparents that our daughters had some of the things we wanted for them, especially the older Daughter E. In the last couple of years I was starting to feel like we had finally made it. We bought the house we always wanted, while far from wealthy, we were no longer dancing on the threshhold of insolvency. We could actually think about taking a family vacation. It felt secure. Well, now we are back at barely being able to cover our bills. I hate having to deny the girls the things they want because of money over and over again. I'm already tired of saying it and they must be sick of hearing it. I know it's not true, but it feels like all the hard work has been for nothing. I try to remember that I now have a reliable vehicle and a house in a nice neighborhood with good schools instead of a crappy little car without a reliable heater and an apartment in the wrong part of town.

I have decided to change my attitude. I am now choosing to look at this financial setback as a chance to be more creative with what we do have (since we are still rich compared to most of the world) rather than focus on all of the things I cannot do or have. I'm sure I will have setbacks and get discouraged again, but if I refame this issue when I am merely frustrated I can usually stave off getting depressed about it. It would be easier to mope and dwell on it, but I don't want to go down that road. Remembering to excercise helps as well and walking is free!

So instead of taking the girls out for pastries and tea on Saturdays, I can bake more. Instead of buying more clothes, I'll be thinking about how to wear what I have differently. I will come up with creative ideas for family birthday gifts, maybe back to the baking idea. We have shelves of board and card games so family game nights can replace going out to the movies, etc. Thank you Netflix! We are already frequent flyers at the library. There will be no annual zoo pass, but we live next to the most beautiful park in this part of Alaska so why aren't we exploring it more? I still don't know how we are going to budget things like hair cuts, and school clothes, and the state fair, but we will just have to do what we can.

Anyone have any ideas to share about frugal creativity or for their own recession survival tips?

1 comment:

  1. Have you ever read "Your Money or Your Life" by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez? I find this book very inspiring. It is a way to look at your relationship to money and the life/values you want. I also like "Living Simply with Children" by Marie Sherlock. This one is particularly helpful in talking to children.