Friday, April 12, 2013

desperate times desperate measures

Things are pretty bad around here.  Shops are closing.  More and more people I know are having meatless meals (surely a sign of hard financial times).  Second hand shops are popping up everywhere.  Lots of people are walking or biking places. Seems every other person is being made redundant at the moment. Or looking for a new job that pays a bit better.  The day of the ''main breadwinner'' is over as increasing numbers of families need to have two incomes.  You could say its doom and gloom.  Economy crashing.  Heading into winter.  Surviving the summer drought.  Worrying about interest rates.  Stressing how to pay the bills.

I'm not immune.  My young man was made redundant and is looking for work.  My own job is ...tenuous.  Heaven forbid that the car breaks down, or I break a tooth!  My power bill seems to be creeping up, petrol is definitely costing more, and as the kids grow so do their expenses.  I'll admit it, I'm worried.

And I'm a bit grumpy.  See, every one's an expert.  Those who are comfortably employed simply cannot appreciate this situation (I know, I was that person and I didn't).  It's quite different to look in on the troubles of someone else, and oh so easy to offer advice.  Just do this. Just do that. If only.  But still. At least.

Today I applied for two jobs.  I could do both of them well, but both would mean major lifestyle changes for my whole family.  Needs must.   I spent ages rewriting my CV to be tailored to each job, and a relevant cover letter (because that's what the experts say to do).  I also sold, via Trade Me, a few more things I don't ''really'' need.  That will bring in a couple of hundred dollars - a false economy I know, but needs must.

I've started carefully planning - and subsequently reducing the number of - outings I have. I haven't had a proper holiday in over 2 years, but actually more like 7.  If I can work from home (and hence save money on petrol and the ever tempting bought coffee) I do.  To conserve water I'm only using the washing machine a couple of times a week with super full loads.  Every light in the house is off unless it HAS to be on.  Same with appliances.  I'm resisting putting on the winter heating, and instead have put extra blankets on the bed.  I'm grocery shopping every 10 days instead of once a week and taking every bit of produce that's offered to me.   It really is that tough.

And I know I am one of the lucky ones - I have a house, a job, a car.  We eat well. We live well.  I fear for others not so well off. Eventually we will all run out of things to sell.  There's cars that need replacing, teeth that need fixing.

What are you doing in these tough times? Are they tough for you? What advice have you been given? What advice are you giving out?