Thursday, March 19, 2009

My Least Favourite Cereal? Credit Crunch!

Current Mood: I think I'm getting sick. Fevery and such

Current Song: Riding a Cloud by Ryan Scott

So word on the street is that we're in some kind of a recession. Kidding. Of course we are. That's all anyone talks about these days. The flailing economy has done nobody any good. Times are tough.

I think in some ways we made our bed, and now we need to lay in it. According to a lot economists and people who track this type of thing, we forgot our roots and starting wanting more and more. Most of the world appears to be catching on to this consumerist trend, and all good sense of living within your means seems to go out of the window. I think that this a good time for people to re-evaluate their stuff. Money doesn't bring happiness. There are more important things out there. Or so I hear.

I was inspired to write this post when I was perusing through The Big Picture's Scenes from the Recession. There are some good snapshots of the real effects of this recession. Have a look.

But don't panic. We recover from these things (unless this time we're going to crash into extinction. In which case, it was nice to know you). If anyone has read Daniel Yergin's "The Prize", you'll see that ups and downs in commodity markets, crashes and peaks are all normal. It's happened since the beginning of time. It's in the very least hopeful. In the meanwhile, there is some consensus to start living within your means. I'm no expert at riding these things out, but I know how to live within my means, So here are my top 5 ways to ride out the recession.

1. Learn to Cook - A lot of people eat out more than once or twice a week. For what two people would pay for a meal at a decent restaurant (we're not talking Hart House here), you could probably feed about 4 or 5. Get your kids involved. Try some new recipes. This way, you'll save some money, and on top of that, you'll actually know what's going into your food. Cool eh?

2. Give - Give stuff away. It's a tough time for everyone. If you can, give some clothes to a local charity, donate some food to your local food banks (they're in for a rough year). In the very least, donate your time to a worthy cause.

3. Spend Less than you make - Horridly large credit card charges are not cool. If you don't make $6,000 a month, stop acting like you do. Nobody really cares that your jacket is expensive. You're the only one. Keep your self in check, accessorize rather than buy all new outfits, rent movies, go to the library instead of the bookstore. Basically, cheap out.

4. Pool resources - If you're like me, birthday season is right around the corner. Pool up with a good friend or family member and buy 1 gift. Pitch in for some tickets to a show. Take someone out to dinner as a birthday present (better yet, cook for them at home!). My family has decided to do only one present. I've expressly stated it for my birthday. I shall be disappointed if that's not the case.

5. Be a Cheap Thrill - No I don't mean it like that. There is plenty you can do in your city with family and friends. Saturday nights don't necessarily need to be spent at a club with a bazillion dollars on drinks. Go for a picnic. Window-shop with a girlfriend. Hit a local trail or a mountain. Go on a photography expedition around the city. Bring back games night.

There's lots of ways to be creative. Remember that this is a good time to be supporting each other. Until we are back in good standing financially. And until the credit crunch ends. Keep your eyes on the prize people.

Okay, so that's the end of didactic. I shall write again soon! ciao for niao!