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.