If you suddenly find yourself forced with more overhead than money coming in, how well are you at adapting to budgeting and reducing your spending? Do you ignore the bills and keep whipping out the plastic knowing you have the winning lottery ticket? Or have a good feeling about making a pile at BINGO tonight? Have you lost your job, about ready to lose your home, and can not avoid the financial spiral downward? It is not the end of the world. Get out a yellow legal pad, take a deep breath and start by outlining what is essential to pay. Figure out what you have for savings and weekly income and work hard to account for your current spending habits. If you make a game out it, and buckle down with the entire family to get thru the adjustment by choice, the entire family benefits from the experience. Living within your means can be done.
I see an older Maine lady that owns a small home that may only make $15,000 a year live very comfortable. Her home is paid for but one just like it could be bought for under $40,000 in Houlton Maine. She gets a Maine property tax discount because she takes the homestead exemption and her husband was a WW II veteran. She is proud and thrifty. She turns the heat down a half hour before she goes to bed, has friendly neighbors looking out for her. Sam across the street snowblows her driveway and won't take a cent for the good deed. Martha on the other side brought in some extra lasagna she made earlier in the day. The owner of this home has a big garden and cans her preserves. She even supplements her heating with a cord of wood in the kitchen end heater with small pieces she can handle. The place is toasty warm during the dead of winter. She saves coupons from the mailers and watches for specials at the local grocery store. Her home is filled with plants like Christmas cactus, African violets and she is a knitter, making mittens and christmas stockings for all the grandchildren. She goes to church each sunday and some wednesday nights or listens in on the local WHOU radio station on stormy days. She can drive her older 1986 Olds Cutlass that is in immaculate shape and garaged. The car is service regularly, used less in the winter and church friends and neighbors include her in trips to the storer or call and see if they is anything she needs. She never had car payments and bought the car for cash when her husband was alive.
The entire community looks after the eldery in Houlton Maine. She has two daughters, one on the west coast and another in southern Maine and they feel special that their mom, a widow lives in Northern Maine. There is little crime, and this lady is grateful for everything she has! The sunsets off her porch are tremendous and she takes pride in watching over her garden and the lawn she mows herself. Annie Oakley? No...just a woman who was raised on a farm, taught not to waste anything...turn that water off when you are done, close that door quickly as you run out to the car for something left behind, turn off those lights in rooms you are not in. Put some of that left over lasagna you did not eat in a little tupperware container to reheat with a little of this, a little of that leftovers to get one more meal together that is like a mini buffet. Hokey? Too frugal and used to just buying new everything and not taught to take care of what you have? This woman remembers the depression. She would tell you "We were all poor, but did not know it". We had good food with local Maine potatoes most meals. We were warm burning wood, we had a sense of family and community and could entertain ourselves. We felt grateful for all we had. Others were out there that were so worse off than us we would say. Does this sound like a lifestyle, an attitude of appreciation and respect for resources and others that describes the way you lead your life? Too Walton Mountain like for you? Small town, cautious spending with less money to waste but more value added living. Low cost real estate in a safe down home area is what Maine is all about. This lady and her neighbors and other Northern Mainers have always had the philosphy of "cost cautious spending" to prepare for what ever was around the corner. Pessimistic..no...realistic and grateful for how fortunate life has been so far and giving credit to God, a higher power that she believe is protecting, guiding and lighting the way. You could learn alot from this lady and hopefully you have a grandmother or mother raised the same way that taught you the same skills to carefully shop for whatever you do buy. And ask yourself, do I really need this item?