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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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  • Lindaman22 By Lindaman22
    07.05.09  

    My husband was layed off last month and I think the upside for us has been that I have been now afforded the opportunity to focus on my career. My husband is spending more quality time with the kids and is fixing things around the house (which he's never done before). Still, if anyone out there knows of a great executive Sales opportunity in the NY area, I'm all ears!!!!

  • Feedmepickles By Feedmepickles
    07.08.09  

    My husband and I have learned to appreciate simple time spent together at home, cooking together, and we eat out a lot less often. We eat more healthily and frugally, and use the saved money for more lasting experiences and necessities.

  • Josie101 By Josie101
    07.08.09  

    We do stay at home much more but i enjoy that more anyway.I'm more of a homebody so i spend most of the money on theings we enjoy doing at home & cut almost all spending on the going out entertainment budget.I cook nearly every evening which is fine with me because i enjoy cooking.I've always been frugal so i haven't felt the recession as bad as some other people have because i've always been used to not overspending.I've always had a motto - if i don't need then i don't buy but if i do need then i buy on sale & with coupons if possible.LOL ;)

  • mbnkwesi By mbnkwesi
    07.08.09  

    I am a single mom who works two jobs. My part time job is working in an up-scale grocery store, with a full-service meat counter. I also do a lot of my shopping there because I am able to get small quantities of food, so I don't buy something that I may not use, and I also get 20% off of my entire purchase. Even though a lot of things are more expensive there, you know that the quality, especially meat and produce are there so I'm able to feed better food to my child.

  • kimprickett By kimprickett
    07.10.09  

    I lost my job last summer--and I really hate the fact that we struggle in paying our bills--just to keep a head of the game-But, we have learned some real valuable lessons along the way--We have learned to cut down on all the frills and find newer less expensive ways to make the time pass--We too love to spend time at the dinner table talking and playing games--And today--we are going for the free meal at a local restaurant--we simple have to dress up as cows!! You got it cows--go figure that my children would be so excited to dress up as a cow for a free meal!! We have simplified our life as much as we possible can--With all the wonderful memories we are making--I guess I can't really complain.

  • radar525 By radar525
    07.10.09  

    My husband and I have started to spend more time at home cooking, which means we eat healthier. We have also gone through our boxes and bookshelves and attic. We found unfinished products, books we hadn't read, etc. which means more stuff to do without spending any more money. I am out of work on disability due to a back injury, so living on one income has been an eye opener. It's amazing how you don't think about spending eight dollars on a fast food meal when you realize you could have made the same thing at home for at least two people with leftovers for the same price. I have also signed up for several coupon sites on the web. I checked first to see if our local stores accepted, and then went wild. The saving alone are worth much more than the cost of printer ink. Many companies also offer coupons for freebies on their sites that can only be redeemed by printing off - not by mail.

  • cindyo102 By cindyo102
    07.16.09  

    My daughter and I have always loved yard sales. It's just a way of finding unexpected treasures and spending time together without breaking the bank. While we have been doing this for years, we find that more and more people have found the same pleasure we have enjoyed. You just never know what you may find!!!!!!! It just comes back to seeing the simple things in life! Good luck to all of you who are struggling.....just keep looking up!

  • IDJmomofthree By IDJmomofthree
    07.24.09  

    Everyone has made great points..looking at the good in bad or tough times can not only bring the family together but really makes/forces you to count your blessings

  • Britnev By Britnev
    07.25.09  

    We are lucky that there are just the two of us (no kids). Even before my husband lost his job (again) we were starting to cut back and watch our pennies. We make a game of who found the best deal. We look for the buy-one-get-one deals only if it is something we use and try to make use of coupons on the items as well. Our freezer is stocked with healthy frozen foods from these deals. We buy in season veggies from the farmers market. This has cut back on our meals out. On weekends we enjoy time together and treat ourselves our to lunch. We also stopped the movie channels we never watch and make use of the Blockbuster online deals. We shall survive this...

  • cleanliving By cleanliving
    07.27.09  

    It seems to have bought Americans back to a simpler life, and to better understanding that we are truly blessed in this country.

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