"A record number of Americans receiving food stamps. Gas prices at an all-time high, and staples such as milk, eggs and bread costing a prettier penny every week. The average number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits reached its highest level in two years last week, while just this week, construction spending fell for the fifth straight month and manufacturing activity shrank to its lowest level in five years. Real estate values are even plummeting in the Hamptons, and hedge funds started off 2008 with their worst quarter ever."
There is no skirting the fact that indeed finances have gotten progressively tighter for everyone in America over the past year and that has not extended just to individuals but to organizations. I know of one mega church that stopped their building program for a while because of the recession and another that let go of several paid staff positions that they filled instead with lay-leaders. The sacrifices these churches made to keep their head financially above water have been hard, change is difficult for some and so they have lost some folks. Let me go on record saying I think that's totally lame. If the people were reallly "with" those churches, they wouldn't abandon them in a difficult time just to satisfy their cravings and would pitch in to do what they could to help. Many people today are filled with what I call church consumer lust. (Low investment/High Expectation) But that's another blog post.
Yesterday I went to the grocery store and despite that I'm on a 50 day fast I've been cooking for my kids as much as possible so they don't have to survive on cereal and frozen pizzas. I'm not as disciplined as Larry with food and I have my "issues" as most of you know. But my call to be a mother comes before my food issues anyday. So I have tried hard to make the kids things they love for dinner and such despite the fact that sometimes I feel like I will have a meltdown in the kitchen while I'm smelling chicken and chocolate cakes baking. I was going to make them my famous chicken casserole yesterday until I saw the price of boneless chicken. Yikes! It was ridiculous! I changed the menu and just made them baked chicken quarters with "shake and bake" instead.
Dear. Jesus. Help. Us.
I've said it before - I'm not gaga over any of the three possible presidential candidates. What a lame election. But I sure do hope whoever gets the presidency will call on God and use some wisdom to pull America out of this financial mess.
I do realize things here in the USA on our very worst day are a utopia compared to third world countries. We have so much to be grateful for. We don't realize what we have, until we go somewhere and experience those who live without daily. However, there is no denying our economy is an absolute ridiculous mess by American standards. Anyone who says we are not in recession has their head in the sand.
As for our family, we've changed some of our grocery shopping habits (much more bargain shopping, cutting coupons, cooking less expensive foods), making sure all our lights get turned off when we leave a room, turning the air back, and any other ways we can think of to save. Of course this is Larry and I determining to make the changes and then having several "family meetings" reminding the kids of "the plan." I realize it's just good wisdom to make sure a light is off when you leave the room - we should be doing it all the time - but honestly I didn't used to get too worked up over it, and had so much else on my plate to worry about besides a light that may have been on when I left the house. Know what I mean?
What about your family? Have you made any small or big changes as a result of the current economy?