Surviving a Recession
“Mommy…are we poor?”
One of my kids asked me that recently. So I blurted out a flip: “Yup. We sure are!” Fortunately, Big Dan was within earshot, and sensed there was more to this question than a casual inquiry. After a brief chuckle, he explained that I was kidding. He continued “We have a home, more than enough food to eat, and we have each other.” Then he concluded with, “No, sweetheart, we’re not poor. We’re rich.” (Sure wish I had said that…) The fact that we even had this conversation proves that anxiety about the economy has gotten to the point where six-year-olds are starting to be concerned.
This led me to wonder how the recession is affecting our working moms. I’d really like to hear from you. In fact, we’ll randomly select one of the comments about this subject to receive a $50 Visa gift card!*
I’m sure a lot of you are scared - so am I. It’s distressing when even the experts are reluctant to venture a guess as to how this will end. However, there is someone who knows what’s coming. Better still, you have rock-solid assurance that you’ll be taken care of:
“Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” –Jesus of Nazareth recorded in the book of Matthew Chapter 6 verses 26-34.
So rest assured, God is not going to abandon you.
By God’s grace, you will get through this.
Worrying, stressing and panicking won’t improve your current situation. Obsessing over what they say on the nightly news will only erode your peace and joy. Jesus said: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." –Recorded in the book of John Chapter 16 verse 33.
Why don’t you just take him at his word this time?
If you’re concerned about your future, then this is the time to pray -and pray hard.
Be grateful for what you already have.
Count your blessings.
Get your spending under control.
Do not incur new debt.
Write out a plan or budget to pay your bills.
A “How to Get out of Debt Class” was recently offered at our church. I'm wondering if I ought to share the fundamentals of it for the January Newsletter. It may be good timing in light of the temptation to overspend during the holidays. All five of my children have ideas about things they want this Christmas, and all totaled, they could easily put us back several thousand dollars.
While I don’t want to disappoint them by failing to deliver gifts they’re hoping for and dreaming of, I also don’t want to jeopardize our financial stability. (Especially not for toys and trinkets that they’ll be bored with by New Years.) So is it possible (or even realistic) to somehow give good gifts while preparing to survive a recession? Yes, it is. But the key is to stretch every dollar.
According to Pastor Richard Pfeil, in an economic downturn one of the best things you can do is "skinny up." Reduce spending. Focus on the essentials. Work together with your family on this. Don’t buy what you don’t need right now. Don’t borrow. And don't pay someone else by outsourcing things you could do yourself. Consider trading skills and bartering if you can.
While I realize that this is not a macroeconomic solution for the world’s economy…it sure sounds like a family-specific solution to make it through the hard times of a recession or impending depression.
So we’ll be giving homemade (organic) Christmas cookies this year. These will be for friends, relatives and business associates. I do make an effort to package them beautifully (and if I must say so myself) they’re delicious. Moreover, it’s something we can afford. However it will cost me time, some effort and planning. But in just one day, I can shop for the ingredients, bake them, package them, and mail them out. I’ll have gifts for everybody but my immediate family for less than fifty dollars.
We will also be planting our first vegetable garden this spring. (Pray for us, I’m no farmer.)
So would you let me know how you are doing? Would you let me know if you’ve already made adjustments (or plan to) so you can survive the recession or impending depression? Remember, we will randomly select one of the comments to receive a $50 Visa gift card.* Your comments and experiences will help WorkingMom.com to monitor the situation accurately, to respond appropriately and to develop new tools to better meet your needs.
Working Moms in Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand have told me that they’d like printable online grocery coupons too. So for 2009, we are actively looking to establish partnerships with the leading coupon distributors in your countries. Please let us know the names of the companies that put the traditional, paper coupons in your area’s leading newspapers. Then we can take it from there.
And just because I’ve always rather enjoyed going against the grain, WorkingMom is going to do something totally different from most of the other companies sending you emails this time of year. As you may have gathered, I’m basically telling you NOT to spend if you don’t have to. Plus I’m going to make it easier for you to save.
If you are already feeling the pinch from the recession, you might want to consider Angel Food Ministries if you live in the US. They provide name brand, restaurant quality food at approximately half the price it costs in the grocery store. This is a unique outreach that is already available in 35 states. There are no fees to join, no income restrictions, no applications or anything. We ordered two boxes of food last month. We saved a bundle, and this month we’re ordering again. (For those of you who don’t know, I’m expecting our sixth child in May…this’ll make us a family of 8 - please pray for us!) So as you can imagine I’m pretty motivated to be frugal. If you’re just as eager to save where you can, take a look at the Angel Food Ministries website for more details.
Another hot tip to surviving the recession is to start using online printable grocery coupons every time you go to the grocery store. You can really save a lot when there’s an in-store sale + your shopper’s card discount + double coupons. And get in the habit of shopping with a grocery list, it’ll help you stay focused amidst the temptations and distractions in the store. A list will remind you what you really came for.
Lastly, if you are having serious trouble paying your bills and keeping things afloat, we recommend you contact Crown Financial Ministries and make use of the resources and counseling available on their website. And don’t be too proud to talk with the pastor at your local church. Aside from the spiritual and emotional help, there may also be tangible help available to those who need it.
*Void where prohibited.
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