Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Time To Rethink Our Approach to Life

Things are pretty tough out there. When the economic crisis first hit and the subsequent months that followed, my family was not hit too hard. We have been lucky because we’ve pretty much lived a modest lifestyle for years, some of it due out of necessity but much because my husband and I just didn’t buy into the commercial aspect of consumerism.

We have not had credit cards for over ten years and much to the dismay of those we share this with have not needed them.

Our utility bills are small; we have a high electric bill in the summer months here in Las Vegas but other than that we don’t use heat in the winter, we have a well so don’t pay for water and have no natural gas on our property. I can’t tell you how NICE it is not to have a mailbox full of bills spilling out.

We have a few debts that take a chunk of our monthly income but before the downturn we were able to put a bit away and still live comfortably.

That said, we are now feeling the pinch and while there is no need yet to panic we are starting to examine our situation and consider where else we can adjust, be it cut out or bring in more. Trouble is, there isn’t much wiggle-room; we’ve pretty much cut everything to bare bones and frankly there aren’t any jobs that are taking on new hires. I teach college and before summer had enough classes to teach to bring in an adequate income. The summer was lean but I expected fall to pick up. Not so; enrollment is down so I’ll be lucky to come away with two classes, which isn’t enough to matter. I have a couple of contract prospects but nothing has been finalized.

Where’s the money going to come from? Our biggest expense is our house payment, as it is for most people. After contacting our mortgage company we discovered that according to them our financial situation is not dire enough to warrant a reduction, even a temporary one in our payments. I am not one to get cynical and point the blame but really, would they rather we become one of the many desperate people instead of giving us a leg up? Their unwillingness to help, other than to say, “Perhaps one of you can get a second job? How about asking the church to help?” is offensive.

My belief in living on land and becoming virtually self-sustaining is even rubbing off on my husband and he’s figuring out just how we can manage it and live as debt-free as possible in the coming years. All those books on my shelf that I’ve collected over the years: Putting Food By (Janet Greene, et al) and Producing Your Own Power (Carol Hupping Stoner, among others, are going to come in handy is my guess. 

It's been my secret wish to live like this all along.  I long for the days when we lived on farms, produced all our needs required: food, soap, labor that I find myself somewhat grateful for this opportunity to put my dream life into practice. 

I'll let you know how we are coming along.  In the meantime, best wishes to all of you in keeping your heads above water during this uncertain time.


Vegas Linda Lou said...

I'm with you--the simple life is so much better! I, too, can't understand why mortgage and credit card companies do absolutely nothing to help those who are trying hard to meet their obligations, while special arrangements are made for those who blow them off completely. So not fair.

Fingers crossed that a good, money-making opportunity comes your way, and soon. Pray for a source of income, not a job!

Donna B said...

Hi Lisa, I hear ya, sista! We took out a reverse mortgage, got rid of my husband's fancy car and leased him a Toyota until I can talk him into going down to one car. We hope he can retire the end of the year. We are paring down too. As soon as the weather cools off, I am having one heck of a yard sale! You go girl, you pioneer woman you! I agree with Linda...pray for the source of income...hugs....

Anonymous said...

You are not alone, Lisa. The whole country is going through this downturn in our economy. I had my hours cut just like everyone else, but can't complain since I didn't lose my job....yet.

After reading your blog and seeing the kind of woman you are, you and your family will make it. You are of the same mindset of the early settlers of this country and the intelligence and fortitude to do what needs to be done.

Best of luck to all of you.