As we know, the past year-or two-have been pretty tough for a large number of people.
Pew Research Center finds, though, that we are thinking 2009 will be a better year, not only for the economy (43% think it will be better in a year) but for our own wallets as well (56% feel their bank situation will improve during the next twelve months).
In our family, we’ve had to make some sacrifices. They’ve not been so bad, though. We’ve stopped going out and doing a lot of things if they cost more than a few dollars to do. When gas was at its highest we began packing lunches and heading to the park, or small arts and crafts exhibits that were free to attend. We became library attendees, stopping in to check out books, attend story time or watch a free movie during the middle of the hottest days.
I believe I became a better shopper, and wiser at spending money, than I was previously. I began to do some more comparison shopping. I stopped at local pharmacies for certain items, such as dish detergent and tissues, when they went on sale, because I could get these items cheaper there than I could at the grocery store. Walgreens, for instance, is now selling a bottle of shampoo that, with a coupon, will cost just a dollar. It’s my favorite shampoo and I would easily spend double that at the grocery store. Comparison shopping has worked for me, as has clipping coupons.
We’ve taken to doing things locally rather than out of town. Now that we are in a new town it will be even better, because we haven’t seen a lot of the sights around here. We plan to take advantage of new beaches, new hiking trails, and new neighborhoods that we can explore on our bikes or on foot.
We’ve cut back on frivolous shopping. Yes, I’d like to have some new clothes, but in all honesty right now I spend most of my days with the kids running errands or playing. That Coach bag I really, really (can I say REALLY) want doesn’t make much sense right now; but I do have it in my sights for when things get better and I am working more.
We also moved our family across the country in an attempt to do better financially, and so far it is proving to be a good move. While we miss a lot of things about Southern California, the house that we have here costs less than we paid in rent out there each month and it suits our needs perfectly.
I do believe that for our family next year will be a better year. There are still some things I would like to get better with on a financial level-saving more money at the store, not tossing away dollars here and there purchasing items that don’t get used or eaten. I’d like to plan my menu a little more efficiently so that the things I buy can be used over and over again throughout the week and nothing gets tossed.