I was fortunate to be raised in a family that taught me an important principle about life and that is this: Life is what YOU make of it.
I know it may sound trite, but I have found this to be a true and correct principle. You may be thinking, "I thought I was going to read about the upside of this down economy. What does LIFE have to do with it?" The answer is: EVERYTHING!
Is is true that the economy could stand a little boost? Yes!
Is it true that it's all doom and gloom out there? Only if you choose to make it true by buying into all the media hype out there. Afterall--they want to sell papers, magazines and commercial spots...don't they? How better to do that than with fear and manipulation? I'm not saying ALL media outlets have taken this road, but it is the general tone of the majority of media outlets today.
What I'm trying to get across is that this economy is so much more than stockmarket portfolios, corporate downsizing or the mortgage crisis. What it really boils down to for me and my family is that our society lives in excess! The concept of living within your means is foriegn to far too many and that is part of the reason that many have reacted with fear to the recent economic downturn.
Life IS what you make it and that is all that is happening. It's time to pay the piper, so to speak. And we ALL have ended up paying in the end. So where's the upside you ask???
It's up to us to CHOOSE how we react now and how we go forward from here. Here's what we've done in our family to ride out the storm.
1. Save for a rainy day! When I got my first job and checking account when I turned 15, my Dad also insisted I open up a savings account. He said, "ALWAYS pay yourself FIRST!" That principle taught me to prepare for life's little emegencies and has been a valuable habit--literally! I've been through "hard times"--Hurricane Katrina. We lost our community, our home, our posessions and started again from scratch. Thankfully, we encurred no new debt--because we saved for a rainy day.
Living paycheck to paycheck? No extra? Been there, done that! Look at your living expenses and see what you can temporarily sacrifice for a long term gain. For us, it was cable TV and eating out several times a week. In one short year we saved over $5,000 JUST cutting out those two non-necessities.
Still no wiggle room? Get creative and find ways to generate a secondary source of income! Again, necessity is the mother of invention. Been there, done that too! Tap into your talents and resources--you'll be amazed at what you find.