Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Advantages of the Current Economic Crisis

After my last post, I started thinking about the plus side of the current economy. For one thing, it's kind of fun to have everyone in the same boat.

I can only imagine that this is how it must have felt during World War II when everyone made sacrifices for the war effort. My friend even has her own 'victory garden' ... her personal victory over inflated grocery store produce prices.

Here are some other good things that have come out of the current crisis:

#1) Free Groceries - I have 3 great coupons in my purse right now. The first one was mailed directly to me from Ralphs grocery store. I earned $14 in free groceries by using my Ralphs Reward Card when I shopped. They also included valuable coupons for items I buy from there on a regular basis. The other two coupons came in the mail with the Wednesday circulars ... one is for a free $10 gift card if I buy $50 worth of groceries from Stater Bros. The other is for $5 of free groceries if I buy $30 worth at Fresh & Easy. These incentives are really appreciated. Also some groceries have gone up in price but I've noticed that others have dropped.

2) We have been forced to explore alternative forms of transportation. This is possibly the greatest thing that has come out of this crisis, more and more people sharing cars, using buses, buying scooters, etc. And believe me, I am someone who never would have considered using a bus to go somewhere, now everyone I know seems to be carrying around bus route pamphlets!

3) Recycling is something we do religiously now. Good for the environment plus we usually make enough to go out for lunch after turning in our cans and bottles.

4) As people are unable to sell their homes, more and more properties are coming up for rent and thus rent prices are dropping. We ended up with a two bedroom/one bath unit that rivals what I used to pay for rent $10 years ago!

5) I'm enjoying watching the governments efforts to get people back into all these houses that are sitting around empty. It will be interesting to see what incentives they come up with. I don't know if it will ever be worth my while to own a house again some day though. With house prices falling, all the old reasons for buying one have flown out the window! The only way it would make sense now is if it was an income producing investment, not for personal use.

6) How can I put this delicately, hmmmm ... the people who wait on me now at McDonalds actually speak English! Also, we live in a town that relies heavily on tourism and we appreciate our visiting snowbirds more than ever. This makes us more tolerant of their eccentricities.

7) Besides saving on housing and groceries, a lot of companies are trying to figure out ways to make things more affordable for people. We will all benefit from this, no matter what our economic status is.

8) There are more and more enjoyable reality TV shows about how people with large families manage to make ends meet. Besides being entertaining, a lot of the shows have helpful suggestions for trimming costs.

9) Better health - people are gardening, walking places, trying to make better choices when eating so that the food they have truly counts.

10) Camaraderie - I'm not the Big Loser trying to get by during a time of prosperity, everyone is feeling the pinch and trying to save money. Learning to get by on less is also good for everyone. My daughter and I are in a much smaller place than we've ever lived before and it's suiting us just fine. We enjoy being resourceful in creating storage space ... for example, using my 2 drawer file cabinet as a side table in our living room, using a hope chest as our coffee table, etc.