Friday, March 27, 2009

More on personal economies

So, income is certainly going down a good bit - estimates from financial advisors range from 20 percent to 50 percent. Twenty percent, we can handle; fifty percent scares me. But, fear is good. This makes me more aware of how life used to be for me. Even at 50 percent of current income, we will live without fear of losing necessities.

And, our advisors estimate that the economy will begin to turn upward again at least by this time next year. I'm not so sure. Maybe for us that will be true, but for the general public that live on labor intensive income (i.e. working for a living), they are looking at some lean years for perhaps a decade. And, if the war in Afghanistan doesn't get better soon, the whole plan could be skewed for all of us.

I'm glad we made up a line-item budget so that we can see where we might cut expenses. I'm sure that my yarn budget is getting used up by the trip to Stitches South in April. And, we're not taking any big trips - like a cruise. Cutting the electricity bill. Not buying gifts. Kayaking instead of jet skiing. Yeah, those are the kind of cuts we'll be making.

Fortunately (so far anyway), my goddaughter's income is not being cut - social security disability, SSI, that kind of stuff - and she will still be able to buy food. You can bet that one gift I won't be giving up is the food help that I give her.

In comparison, my budget cuts are absurd. The local soup kitchen clientele has doubled. Their shelves are almost bare of food - but they have lots of clothes from the people like me. Some elderly people will die this summer, because they don't have air conditioning and they are afraid of violence if they open their windows.

Poor me. I'm just turning off lights and appliances that I don't use much. Poor me. I'm not taking a cruise. Poor me.

Mind you, I'm not in that top category of getting a million dollar bonus. I wonder what Oprah is giving up...or Donald Trump...or Dick Cheney? Even the middle class worker (who may be laid off and losing a home) would wonder at the extent of luxury that I enjoy, never mind those higher on the income scale.

Am I going to be like the young man who wanted to be saved and asked Jesus what he might do to attain the kingdom of heaven? The answer was to give all you have to the poor and follow me. My answer is "No way." I like what luxuries I'll keep. But, I will be more mindful of those with less. While gifts to my peers may be cut, gifts to help others with less will not. How are you cutting back or giving up or giving away?

1 comment:

PseudoPiskie said...

So far I'm not cutting back on any of my charities. I'm buying only food and gas plus catfood and whatever emergency comes up. No more books. sniff.