Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Is the economy affecting me?

It seems like the recent fallout with Lehman Brothers and AIG (along with a 500-point dorp in the stock market this week) suddenly has individual personal finance bloggers getting scared. People who are already pretty frugal or at least actively manage their money are starting to be nervous.

Am I nervous? Have the events of this year (the price of gas, the stock market, the grocery shrink ray) affected my life?

Not really. I'm still keeping to a budget. I'm still sticking money into short term savings as well as retirement accounts (although those accounts are losing money each month). I'm not cutting down on purchases or cancelling plans due to finances.

It could appear that I'm reacting to the news. My friend and I were planning to go on a cruise this summer with our tax rebate, and we cancelled that--but it was because she had just moved and realized she needed to be a little more responsible with her money, and I was glad to support that. I would totally have gone if she'd wanted to; it's probably a great time to find deals because everyone else is cancelling their plans.

Peanut and I are making an active effort to do more grocery shopping instead of eating in restaurants. But that decision didn't evolve out of a discussion about the economy, it was more about what we were doing with our time and money. Without saying in so many words, our values place homecooked meals (including the time spent preparing them together) above eating in restaurants, but we weren't living our values. Now we are--and we're eating better, having fun cooking and packing lunches together, having more time to play computer games together, and also saving money, as a bonus.

The biggest areas of concern I have are for the future: the true cost of food is going to continue going up, so I will have to change my budget, and my landlord may decide to raise my rent in the face of rising energy costs--which might mean I'd have to move. I love my place, and moving is very expensive, but that's six months off and I can't worry about it now.

So I'm not really afraid of what's going on in the economy. I belive it's a correction that's overdue, and I believe that things will work themselves out. My job is stable and if the worst should happen, I have an emergency fund in cash and am willing to work in fast food or wherever I can find a job to bring in some income. My student loans will not be due for a while yet, and that's the only debt I have. My retirement accounts are not going to be touched for another 30 or 40 years, so they'll have time to recover from recent losses. All in all, the biggest change I've seen is that people are no longer looking askance at me for using coupons or paying cash or saving up for purchases like I've done all along.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting!