I work very hard and am attending college to obtain my degree in the Human Service field. Writing makes me feel alive and gives me the opportunity to touch those whom I would not be able to otherwise. Last but not least, I have been blessed with two amazing daughters who love me completely and support my dreams. Feel free to contact me with questions, concerns or feedback.
So folks, everyone is wondering how we got into the most recent mess regarding the economy. With employees losing their jobs left and right, everyone is finally feeling the pinch of less income.
Imagine having a job which pays over $100,000 a year, being downsized, only to hear that the most you can receive with unemployment is $355 per week? I can just see some people heading to the Doctor's office because of chest pains. Although each and every one of us could be the “next one” to become laid off, few people are truly preparing for such news.
I recall my days in corporate. I had an associate who had been married for many years. She point blank stated that whatever money her husband made was their family money. She went on with her tale to also state that whatever money she made was hers to keep. With that said, she went shopping every day. Manicures, pedicures, new shoes the latest greatest, best of the best. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy shopping, but as I look around my surroundings, I wonder. How much is enough? I mean, so, this associate of mine has how many pairs of shoes, but does that make her better, or more important than myself? Absolutely not! What it meant is that she was in much more debt than I could ever imagine.
I am sure many of us women can relate to this particular story. We work with those who have unlimited credit, name brand purses and 100 pairs of shoes. Guys, how about you? I wonder if you feel the same pressure to fit in? We don't hear much from men regarding shopping. From what I recall, most men state they dislike shopping. I don't blame them. Store after store, stuff after stuff. Nothing much changes besides colors, styles and sizes.
Getting back to the economy. We the people, during the last 20 years, have been manipulated into believing that we need the latest greatest, best of the best. I think it's time we realize that with every new product, they leave out a little sumthin', sumthin', so that next year they can bring out a “new and improved” edition. Think about cell phones 10 years ago. It was your basic edition. Make and receive calls. It was “good enough”. Now, take a look on Ebay. You will find an Iphone being sold for up to $2000.00. Why? I mean, you know for a fact that next year they will have a faster version with even more options. Take a look at the cell phone in your possession. Do you truly use all of the options, or did you purchase it because it was “better than his” or because “it looked really cool”? When is enough truly going to be enough?
We also have been manipulated to believe that we “need” to get credit cards. If you walk into any major store in the mall, you are told that you can save an additional percentage if you use your store credit card. They even have special shopper days for card holders. Yet, let's take a step back and think about it. Why not the next time you feel you need something, leave the card at home and take cash? Then, walk into the store and pick up the item. I bet you one out of ten times if you know that you have to part with the cash in your pocket, it will cause you to think twice. When you know you have to pay for something with your hard earned money, it will cause you to really dig deep. Chances are, you will realize that you already have the item at home, probably 10 of that same item, and can do without this one time.
Don't get me wrong. I believe good credit is important. Everyone should have one major credit card. But, let's get real. There is absolutely no reason to use a credit card except for emergencies, hotel rooms or rental cars. A new outfit is not an emergency. A new pair of shoes is not an emergency. A Coach purse is not an emergency. Your credit card should be paid off every month, in full. How in the world is this possible, you may ask? I have one answer for you. Savings account. If you want something, save for it. Then, if you have to charge it on a credit card, remove the money from your savings account and pay off the charge in full.
The sooner we begin to change our way of thinking, the sooner we can begin to save the state of our economy. Whom do you believe is not going out of business anytime soon? The credit card companies! When you hear of everyone else collapsing, they are the ones standing tall. We have allowed them to get rich off of our spending habits. We have become so materialized that we have overlooked the fact they are charging some of us up to 29% interest or more to have more “stuff”. Yep, the “stuff” you paid $100.00 for, on credit, will cost you closer to $500-$600.00. Do you really want to pay that kind of money for something which will not be worth anything in a year or two?
Have you ever been to a thrift store? I have! It's one of my favorite places to visit if I need something quick. When there is a special occasion such as a wedding, reunion, etc, it's the first place I head to. You know the items you charged, the ones you are still paying off? Chances are, you donated half of those items to the thrift store because they are now out of style. More than 75% of the items I find at the thrift store still have tags on them. What you paid $70 for at the store, I get for $2.49. Isn't that a slap in the face? I can get at least 20 items and still come out ahead of you.
Now, let's move onto saving. How do yo do it? STOP SHOPPING! Yes, you heard me. Take whatever you normally spend shopping and throw it into a savings account. Take a look in your closets and list the amount of items you already have. If you have more than 10 of each item, you have enough. Call me crazy, but as long as it's clean, you have enough. Mix and match. It's not always important to match to a tee. It's ok to wear red with pink. Go bold. Take a chance. Hold a “trade your clothes” day every month for a year with your friends. Save for something which really matters.
Better yet, donate 10% of whatever you save to someone who recently lost their job, a homeless shelter or breast cancer research. Instead of buying something which will collect dust, do something worthwhile. The shoes, purse or perfume you buy will never love you back. Next year, they will be out of style anyway. What will give you a return is the way you feel when you make a difference. The way someone smiles at you when you have changed their life. Food banks are becoming desolate and empty. Think about a child who may go to sleep hungry. Take that 10% and purchase some extra items at the food store. Then, go donate. Take a look at the faces of those who receive your donation. PRICELESS!
If anyone has any other ideas about how to save our economy, please feel free to comment.