We had a fabulous weekend with our daughter. We actually emptied out a good portion of the garage, holding a yard sale on Saturday. Ms. Underdog and I spent some quality time talking about some deep issues for teenages, things that are hard for a mother to discuss, but I think necessary. I'm very touched that she feels she can discuss some of these hard issues with me, and trusts me enough to answer honestly, but I'll save that discussion for another day.
But back to the yard sale...The goal was to actually get rid of stuff, rather than make a ton of money, but I was hoping to make a few bucks. Sadly, I'm not the only person in the country hurting for money right now. I sold stuff cheap -- clothes for a quarter, books for a dime. It was an interesting wake-up call to see so many people just like me doing their school clothes shopping at my yard sale.
About a month ago, it became apparent we had to tighten our fidicuary belts, one way or another. I scrubbed our budget and cut, yet again, a chunk of our "discrentionary" spending. Everything from canned vegetables to gasoline has underwent a huge price increase. I suppose thats to be expected, considering fuel is needed to transport goods, and even people to perform services. Our money is just not stretching as far as it used to, which has become a major theme playing in my nightly dream-works theatre.
I keep hearing news tags indicating we're not yet in a recession. Fact is, you don't truly know if your in a recession until it's already hit -- I believe the definition is three consecutive quarters of no growth. We're pretty close right now. The first two quarters of 2008 had no growth, and the third was less than one percent (I think). Everyone around me is in the same position as me, struggling to make ends meet, pay the bills and feed the kids.
I guess theres a lesson in today's market -- financial responsibility at levels. My kids are struggling to understand what it really means to cut back. Its a pretty foreign concept the them. They're used to the good life -- finding what they want and negotiating fair payment terms with dear old mom. Mr. Particular and Ms. Underdog have not went without much in their short lives, and it's becoming apparent to both my husband and I that we're not doing them any favors in that area. I've recently brought back the soup and sandwich night thaqt may mom used to have each week. It seems to be a great way to make my grocery budget stretch. I'm also insisting we have left over night. I heat up the weeks left overs and everyone gets to choose what they want to eat -- the fridge gets cleaned out and my grocery budget continues to stretch.
On that note, we're getting ready for vacation, going to a friends place in Idaho on a very nice lake. We're very fortunate to have nice and generous friends who invite us to their lake place. We'll be sure to leave it in better condition than we found it, and follow up with a nice gift card. We're all looking forward to four days with just the four of us, the sun, water, good books and family games. The kids want to learn to play poker...we'll have to play for pennies these days, since mom and dad are broke and have to buy gas to get us home!
If you have any good cost savings suggestions out there, I'd love to hear from you!