I have been distressed lately with the rising cost of. . . well. . . of everything. Every time I get gasoline or go to the store, the prices have climbed. We are spending in excess of $450 a month in gas. And we really don't go anywhere! My husband drives a truck to work daily which is a 75 mile round trip commute and I have about 10 miles round trip a day. Once in awhile we will go to Columbia (30 miles away) for a meal or a little shopping. This past year our homeowners insurance went up, as did our propane costs and income tax (I am not sure what happened there!). All in all, it is enough to make one really worry about the state of their finances. Don't get me wrong, we are blessed to both have good jobs with generous benefits. I can't imagine how the unemployed or underemployed people are surviving. My heart goes out to them.
So, what I am doing about these increases? I decided to take a close look at what we are spending every month. That is really not difficult since I do so much banking on line and the information is at my fingertips.
After a careful study of the budget I have made some changes. Today I terminated my gym membership. I really haven't used it much this year, and we have beautiful walking trails in our town. Then I terminated an online subscription that I wasn't using. Netflix may be the next thing to go, because we just don't access it much. These changes may equal a fill up once during the month (my car, NOT the truck). I know it isn't much, but I think if we make some changes slowly and spend wisely, we won't feel the pinch of the rising prices so severely. And we have decided to proceed with a landscaping project (begun last weekend). We are going to do it ourselves and save $1000 or more. It is hard work, and it may not be as aestheticly pleasing, but at least we will be able to say that we did it ourselves. I know that not everyone has room in their budget to make these kind of adjustments. Many people I know are just barely making it. My son and daughter-in-law shut off their cable tv last month. They have small children, so it is a dual benefit of saving money and avoiding the TV as a babysitter trap. Our daughter and son in law are also making adjustments. They just sold a camper and are planning on camping with their tent instead. It is obvious to me that we have gotten used to a lifestyle that we may no longer be able to afford. Are you making any changes in your lifestyle to survive the "economic downturn"?