Times are tough. I don't think there's anyone out there that hasn't felt this economic pinch in some way. I have, my friends have, the company I work for has, everyone has. Seems like penny pinching is in and the days of excess is gone. When I look back I see how much money I wasted on frivolity, it all seems such a waste. My world of living with a big disposable income is gone. We still have money, both The Husband and I are still employed, we can still make our payments every month and we can still have some small luxuries in life. We're luckier than a lot of people, but we are making some adjustments in our lives.
I no longer go "get my hair done." I color at home. I no longer go get pedis. I paint them at home. I cancelled our voicemail service and our long distance service on our home phone. I cancelled the newspaper except for the weekends. I trade magazines with friends, so I didn't have to subscribe to all of them. I cut coupons for things I use. I buy things on sale and I've distinguished between need and want.
One thing that hasn't changed is we still give to charities every single month. There's a lot of people that have far less then we and it feels good to be able to help. Some months it's to a local non-profit and other times it's to a globally minded charity. The Husband and I love looking for new places to give and have found some wonderful organizations which are there to serve any interest you may have. This year for the holidays, we're going to "adopt" a family living at the local homeless shelter and buy holiday gifts for them so they can have something to celebrate during these bleak times.
My Culture Club/Bookclub girls give a few dollars every month into a kitty and we've collected enough money to give back to this. Our hope is to give back to what we have taken.
At work I proposed to have a silent auction at our holiday party instead of doing our normal white elephant gift. We're all bringing in something to auction off and the money raised goes to the charity of your choice. I'm excited knowing there are people in my office who will be participating in raising money for others, some for the first time in their lives.
Like I tell The Little Miss all the time, "It's good to share."