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The Upside of a Bad Economy

The Upside of a Bad Economy

It’s gotten to the point where I hesitate before checking out any news sites in the morning because the endless barrage of bad economic news doesn’t seem to stop. Homeowners continue to lose their homes, job losses aren’t slowing down and gas prices are on their way back up. What I feel like doing is just hiding out from this crisis ? pretending that I am not the main breadwinner who is running a start-up and raising money for it right now ? but I know I can’t. So I have this mantra I keep repeating to myself, something about how we’re still (relatively) young, the economy always goes in cycles (I am still  feeling the bruises from the internet bubble one), and our family and our country will come out fine.

I can’t say that this works 100% but it does help me maintain some sanity and perspective for the longer term. But I feel like I need something for right this minute, some upside, however slim, of living through this economic crisis. So I came up with a few ideas and I’m hoping that you will add yours in the comments. (Consider this our economic downturn therapy session ? and it’s free!)

We’re putting more effort into making our family meals at home a little more special. We cut down on going out to eat when I left my cushy job to start Work It, Mom! but we’re being even more careful now. Sure, I miss the nice meals and no clean-up, but it’s also been fun to find new dishes to make and cooking more with my daughter “helping” me in the kitchen.

"after many failed attempts I have become pretty darn great at making a nice latte at home. "

I’ve learned to make a mean espresso. Truly, I’ve never enjoyed coffee we make at home as much as a latte I get at Starbucks or some other coffee shop. But I decided to put an end to buying coffee on most days and as the result ? and after many failed attempts ? have become pretty darn great at making a nice latte at home.

My closet is less cluttered. I cleaned out my warm weather clothes (nooooo!) a few weeks back and got my spring/summer stuff organized in my closet. I knew that my new clothes budget would be much more limited so I actually followed some fashion advice and focused on my few favorite pieces and outfits I could create around them. You know what? I have less stuff but I am spending less time wondering what to wear.

OK, your turn: Have you found any upsides or silver linings to the tough economic times?

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  • adcock500 By adcock500
    06.18.09  

    Hello, My family has always enjoy a home cooked meal. They like to go out too, but they really like home cooked meals and I'm blessed for that. We have changed some of the spending we do here. We just buy if we need it, not if it's something that we just want. We use to do it that way. Now, we go to more yard sales, and things like that to help us with money.

  • daynalove By daynalove
    06.19.09  

    It has hleped me learn to spend more time with my family and that has made a difference in my life. The economy is actually helping us by allowing us to see what is really and truly important,even if you have to come to a rough patch to find it

  • lskutchall By lskutchall
    06.20.09  

    The one thing that we have done is actually start game night. Since my kids are 6 16 17 18 Most of them had nothing to do with sitting at home. But now my kids hang out at least one or two nights a week it has bonded the older kids to their younger sister also. We also just implemented meal night that is where the kids each get to pick a night of food they want but... they have to help cook it and clean up on their night (it's only night two so ask me in a month if it's working!)

  • julied4 By julied4
    06.21.09  

    Many upsides to my husband being laid off for the past 11 months. We've cut our movies channels to save money and now actually watch the DVD's we already own. We're also cleaning out the house and having a mega yard sale! Now hubby and I make a game out of grocery shopping even cheaper and planning meals ahead for a week too. AND we've planted a big garden this year to save money in the store, and it's been great spending to much time outside, getting some excercise and spending so much time together doing something so productive!

  • bensmom122 By bensmom122
    06.22.09  

    I find that my family is actually having more fun overall! We tend to either stay around the house or we take advantage of abundance of free events going on near us. We had a blast at a farmer's market on Saturday & I am hoping it will be cool enough outside to go to a free movie in the park next week. I also feel closer to people in general. I think tough times really bring people together.

  • lilbit58 By lilbit58
    06.24.09  

    MY entire Famly prefers I cook 6-7 nights a week! we take turns returning "thanks" and we have our most valuable chats and talks at the dinner table!

  • amandita By amandita
    06.25.09  

    I think that the economy has given most people a reality check. At one moment we can have it all and at another we could have nothing. It has brought us back to basics. I know that it has had a devastating effect on some people. My mom lost her home and now lives with me. My family and I love to have small home cooked dinner together. Since the economy has changed we have learned how to live on less. Comparing prices and volume is a must now when we go shopping to find the best deal which helps us save money (along with coupons). We appreciate the small things we have now.

  • larazalady By larazalady
    06.27.09  

    Out here in California, it's been really rough. My hubby has been laid off only for 4 months, but there is not a Construction job anywhere within 500 miles of us.Unemployment barely covers our bills, food, etc. We do stay home more, to save our money, eat at home every night, and not much else. I joined several money-savings blogs, groups, and started to use coupons. I always shop where it is the cheapest cost on food. .99 cents shampoos are the norm now. The Dollar Store is my second home. I have also thinned out our clothing and non-essential items, toys, electronics, etc. Yard sales are on every corner out here, every day.I eBay and Craigslist, out of necessity, not for fun. House values are so far down that every other house here is in foreclosure. Investors are buying them up, and renting them out for outragously high rent fees. Most sit empty. It's sad, but we are surviving. Hope that it gets better soon.For everyone.

  • caryn8 By caryn8
    06.30.09  

    Cancel your cable, listen to music with your kids.

  • annabail By annabail
    06.30.09  

    I think it's ironic that it took a recession to get families to finally learn to live on less and enjoy spending time with each other....shouldn't that be what we were doing all along? My family has always been on a fixed income. We've always had to rely on using coupons at the grocery store, not having cable and we don't have cell phones(which I often think we can use!) We have always taken advantage of thrift stores, mixing old with new in our wardrobe. We eat out sparingly, but have always done things together as a family...recession or not.

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