‘I’m thinking of leaving my husband,’ complained the broker’s wife. ‘All he ever does is stand at the end of the bed and tell me how good things are going to be.’
Were you one of the lucky ones who bought stocks last Friday? If so, maybe you can tell the rest of us what being solvent again is actually like.
We can take comfort, however. Several of my favorite bloggy friends have been pointing out the benefits to be had in an economic downturn.
• Working Girl recently got ten meals out of a four-pound chicken.
Holy Poultry, Batman!
She also mentioned an article in the NY Times outlining the many health benefits of a recession: people tend to eat less fast food and more home-cooked meals, get more exercise, spend more time with their families, and have far less heart disease.
• The Career Encourager pointed out an article in Newsweek about the opportunities the U.S. now has to correct some bad economic habits . She also recommends Your Money or Your Life, a book that she says
steers clear of the “frugality” mindset (which unfortunately comes across as cheap and stingy all too often) and instead presented a philosophy of “enoughness” as a saner practice for individuals, communities and nations. It’s a recipe for living a sound, peaceful life based on a strong foundation.
• Finally, it’s Korrektiv to the rescue, proving definitively that the best investment advice of all is to drink heavily and recycle.
My delightfully irreverent friend at Punk Rock HR , however, takes issue with Jeffrey Strain’s article, Ten (more) Reasons You’re Not Rich. To paraphrase:
It’s because we have no money, stupid!
While I agree with Laurie’s punky assessment that lower- and middle- class paychecks are demonstrably losing their buying power, I also must agree with Strain. While many of us are indeed losing financial ground, most of us are also failing to maximize what we’ve got.
We’ve all read about the minimum -wage -janitor -who -dies -leaving -millions -of -dollars -under -his -mattress. It can be done.
It’s just that, for the most part, no one wants to do it.
I’m still amazed to think what my husband and I lived on in an expensive big city while he was in grad school. We had mice everywhere, and cockroaches everywhere we didn’t have mice. There was no floor in our bathroom, and no wall in part of our kitchen. We couldn’t afford fresh vegetables, or a television, or furniture, or even subway fare (we’d walk for miles, instead.) But we had “enough.” We also had some terrific friends with whom to share our homemade “Moosewood Cookbook” food, including one who lent us a shockingly-pink couch. My husband finally built us a bed, too.
Mostly on account of the cockroaches.
I will treasure those years forever.
Had I known, then, what we’d be living on in 2008, while *still* struggling to pay all our bills, I’d have been appalled.
Why then aren’t the Almostgotits ”rich?” Because we eat out now. We still only have one car, but we often drive it instead of taking a bus or walking, now. We buy airplane tickets so we can visit our parents sometimes. We eat salads. And desserts! We now use a credit card. We no longer buy all our clothes at thrift stores. We buy wine, and good coffee. We even own our own couch — two of them, in fact.
We are definitely fatter, too.
And are we substantially better off for all the money we spend now? Not really. We’ve simply upgraded our definition of “enough” so that it now requires five or six times as much money as it once did to pay for it.
Almostgotit says: drink heavily, and recycle. But do it with good friends around you, and you might end up even richer than you were before.
What says you?
Humor for the Newly-Bankrupt:
More stock market jokes
Craig Ferguson and Tim Meadows on the Economy Meltdown
Free Government Publication: 66 ways to save money (this one is NOT a joke)