September 26, 2009

After the Cash Runs Out: Part 1

Let me present a scenario to my readers :
You've lost your job and cannot find another.
If you had a savings, you have already used it up. Your numerous job searches have exhausted you and proven unfruitful. You figure that you have 2 more weeks to draw on unemployment and that is it.
Rent, bills and putting food on the table never stops. There is medicine to buy, kids to clothe, and a gas tank on empty. How do you choose which bill to cover and which to let go? Some bills are non-negotiable. Your options are to turn your back on the life you have known and move in with family members which NONE of us want to do OR load everything up (the bare necessities) and set off for-----God knows where. What a predicament.
Unfortunately, this is the very scenario thousands of Americans are facing today. I can't believe I'm addressing this but I feel compelled to. With this in mind, is it any wonder why thousands of tent cities are cropping up all over our nation today? The nationwide health-care debate should be placed on the back burner until we address the serious job loss in this nation. It is so serious in fact that many are struggling like never before because of cut hours at work not to mention those recently handed pink slips. I admit that I have led a somewhat sheltered life. Yes, I am a hard worker, but for the past 10 years or more I have not found myself struggling with the above scenario.
Sure, I have had times when my children were small when I REALLY had to skimp by and be contented with the little we had in the fridge. Sometimes pickings were REALLY slim for us. Making ends meet is really tough even WITH a full time job when you have children. Let's all agree that when it comes to losing our jobs we have the idea that WE won't have to know what it's like - it's always the next door neighbor it happens to until the unimaginable becomes our reality. Now if you own property that is the best position to be in. Even if it's undeveloped, you own it and nobody can kick you off it as long as you pay your property taxes. I suggest if you have spare cash you buy a small piece of land. If possible, go rural, this is the absolute best investment you will ever make. Even if it's a small lot-- whatever. If you have land in your possession you have a place you can go and not have to worry about getting booted off of it. No home on it? Live in a lean-to or tent for now. Sure you must have shelter, but before that you must have ground under your feet that you own- thus my rant on buying a cheap piece of land.

Now if you are not in this position, then it is a given that you must live with family members who are willing to take you in OR live in your car on the side of the road or parking lot OR find a homeless shelter. Shelters are now overflowing. Churches should have their doors open to the new homeless who have lost their jobs and are in need of a helping hand. I have a feeling that many jobs that have been lost will NOT be coming back. Who has any money anymore? The middle class in this country is under attack. I can see in the near future that our malls are going to be a very lonely place. What am I talking about in the near future--- many already are a lonely place. How pray tell are people going to be spending when they are out of work? They simply won't be spending anymore. More businesses are closing every day. This may be the time that many of you are hunkering down and saying to yourself, "That's it, my family and no more". Understandable until you put yourself in anothers shoes. This is not the time to be drawing back and taking care of only ourselves. Jesus would have us STILL help those who are in need. He would have us take pity on those who are down on their luck and in need of a help up and not a hand out.

September 24, 2009

Job Loss and Lifestyles

It's been many months since I last posted on my blog. I have been at a loss for words about the situation with our economy and the way it is hurting so many precious people out there.

A bit of perspective about job loss:
When we lose our job we might draw unemployment benefits but they do run out and then stark reality sets in. There are NOT a lot of jobs out there and anyone who says there is has not been beating the pavement looking for one lately. The most important thing we can do while looking for a new job is to make DRASTIC changes in our lifestyles. Do without and live within your means in other words. Cut the cable, drop your cell phone if at all possible, eat differently, take this time getting in shape as much as possible because what else is there to do when you are out of work? Take this time you now have on your hands to get yourself "spiritually" fit as well. Make peace with God and yourself and anyone else you need to. Take a walk, think on how much better you have things than the next person because I can promise you that no matter how bad you feel, there is ALWAYS someone else you can look to who has things worse than you. I'm sure you have taken an inventory of all the bills you have to pay and how to adjust and juggle them accordingly. Get odd jobs. Go visit your neighbors and ask if they have anything you can help them get done. In doing this you are NOT asking for a handout. You are merely helping that person out and yourself as well. Remember that if you don't ask, you will never know. It is surprising how losing our jobs will humble us. Remember this, most of our lives are spent earning the almighty dollar, often times we rarely take time to REALLY live because our career consumes so much of our time. But along with a pink slip comes the time you need to get down to basics and reflect on the people and things which are truly most important to you. No matter what job you turn up with, chances are you are going to have to reorder your life and cut back to the bare necessities but this is the good part of losing your job. We don't have to have a cell phone, it is only a form of communication but by no means the only one. Get a land line, after all, we were able to do well with that in the past. Sell that other vehicle. You can only drive one car at a time.

Stop eating out and make simple and less costly meals at home. Buy fresh vegetables instead of those tasty boxed foods we all think we cannot do without.
My friends, I'm not suggesting things that I do not put into practice myself. All these things I have mentioned I have been doing for the past few years. In the months to come, I plan on passing along some tips that I hope will allow you to stretch your dollar further as well.

April 17, 2009

Our Trashed Economy: The Chickens Come Home To Roost

Years ago I warned of a significant economic downturn to hit this country with the end result being a devaluation of our currency. Folks, the dollar is going to end up getting trashed.
Call me a doomer if you will but I am by no means the only one. Many have sent out the call for one and all to get their financial affairs
in order and to prepare for the worst. The U.S economy is currently in a downward spiral.
The view from this christian country girl is the following:
We have consumed until we've spent ourselves ragged and into a corner in regards to the credit situation. Our Government has spent billions on an unjust war with Iraq and now the chickens have come home to roost. The mortgage mess is one in which we have yet to see the final outcome. Folks, this is not by any stretch of the imagination over. We've only just begun to see the tragic effects on our country because of it. Credit cards have only gotten us into one big mess. Easy
credit is never the way. Spending on things without using cash will bring us many miseries and this is what many of us have only recently found out. Our governments way out of this nightmare is to throw money at the problem by bailing out major corporations who have only proved that they cannot be trusted. These failing companies are good at throwing parties and dishing out fat bonuses to their CEO's, but fail miserably at taking care of
the meat and potatoes which truly help them the most - their workers. For their employees, they offer pay cuts, lay-offs and early retirements!
Lay-offs are at record highs now and if you want to see something which will knock your socks off and may wake you up to the sorry state of our economy, visit here folks, it is an interactive map which shows the literal vanishing of jobs in our
country since 2006. The projected stimulus package is a joke and is not going to help the common man. Here is a website which discusses our leaders considering cuts to such needed programs such as Head start and food-stamps. I know that many countries are dealing with their own financial mess, it's not just us. But I am a firm believer that as far as finances go, as we go, so goes the rest of the world. What is the New York Stock Exchange? It is the main artery to which the other countries are joined in respect to world finances. It's been the economic capital of the world for some time now. Where are we getting the money for the bail-outs? Where does the TARP (troubled asset recovery program) money come from? My friends the only answer is that we are printing money so fast that our presses
will soon explode. What do I think will happen next?
Our dollar will be DEVALUED. I know it has been coming, I warned of it in my article:
"Economic Collision Just Ahead: The Titanic has nothing on America". Here is another incredible website which lists the layoffs and closings in our nation
every single day: Layoff Daily.
I visit this site and regularly and I have been increasingly disturbed at the enormous number of people who are losing their jobs. My heart goes out to every single one. Why are we not seeing more families homeless? Well, that is coming my
friends. No doubt you have heard of the tent cities springing up all over our nation. What will we do in order to help people who have been affected by job loss and other financial hardships
and how hard will it be to help them when we ourselves may end up the ones who are in need of help?

What is my advice for those who are worried they will lose their income and end up on the streets? If you don't have a job, look for one immediately and once you get one, stay put! If you have recently been laid off, see if you can draw unemployment, although if you are able to do this it won't last forever. So here is what we all must do no matter if we have a job or not, Get back to the basics... In other words, look and see where you can makes cuts. Cancel your cable, cell phone, Internet service, and other bills you have which are NOT necessities.
Also, think of ways to make your dollar go further than it's ever gone before. Stop buying things which are not necessary and if you have only a few feet of earth, plant a small garden. Buy products when they are on sale, take a look at what you are spending and decide that now you will have to do things differently. Don't buy that new car, instead take the cash and lay it down on an older model, who cares if you have a fancy car if you can't afford to eat and have peace of mind? I read only yesterday that states are considering cutting funding for certain medicare services such as home health, etc. This is absolutely astonishing! Counties are
laying off policemen, firefighters and EMT workers! Nurses and schoolteachers are not immune. Once this starts who in this world knows where we will end up. I made up my mind that me and mine would get back to the basics and in fact I am getting pretty good at it. When
I get paid I fill up my tank, get groceries, pay the bills for the week and rat-hole the rest of the money! Always before we may have went out to eat once a week or called in a pizza for delivery- my friends, those days are OVER. Although we can afford to do this, we will not because you never know when that $20.00 we would have spent for pizza could have come in handy on some necessity down the road.
I save my change and cash it in every 3 months at one of those coin counting machines. I plant a garden in the spring and I can, freeze and dehydrate every spare bit of fruit and veggies I can get my hands on. These are the things we must do in order to make a
positive lifestyle change in this horrid economic downturn. More on the sorry state of our economy in upcoming articles.