Tuesday, December 29, 2009
What has helped me a lot is to re-prioritize and set realistic expectations. After all, my income is about 1/3 of what it was. Some areas I have had to re-think are clothing purchases, impulse buying, name brands when buying groceries. It's okay not to wear the "latest styles" for every season. Store brands are good in most cases; and if you are careful to buy store brands for most things, you can splurge on the items that you don't want to compromise on. It's okay if you don't own a house - make your dwelling place your own by adding familiar items and personal touches that make it yours. I live in a neighborhood of "cookie cutter" homes; but mine is unique, and reflects my personal style - even on the outside where I've added planters and bird houses that are pleasing to me. Plan ahead. For instance, Christmas season brought special challenges - buying gifts and losing two weeks' income due to a company shutdown. My family and I agreed to cut way back on gift-giving; and I was able to negotiate with my manager at work to allow me to work a couple of days per week during the shutdown. See? I'm developing new on the job skills! Be creative and always ask yourself before a purchase, "Is this a want or a need?" Needs aren't necessarily staples we need to survive - food, heat, shelter. Sometimes it's something to keep yourself mentally and emotionally sound. Just use discretion. Make it an adventure and look for opportunities to make your life comfortable. I think these are good principles to follow even if you're not suddenly single. A lot of us are facing tough economic times.