Recession-proofing

It’s that time of year — time to buy gifts, time to make winter holiday plans, times to check out the old bank account. For a lot of us, this is a tough time. If you are a 50 plus jobseeker, out of work for awhile, it’s a harsh time of year.

With words like “recession” hanging in the air, people tend to get scared. On one hand, prices are rising (gas, mortgages) and on the other home sales are falling. But depending upon who you listen to, things are about to get dire…or things are really going to stay pretty much the same. There is no way of knowing, until the economic climate settles in. One thing I do know is that there are some strong numbers that will indicate health in certain industries regardless of the economy.

We are an aging population, so everything to do with us (yes, Gen Plussers), will remain a fairly stable and powerful market. For example, we may not always be able to afford healthcare, but healthcare workers will remain in high demand. Teachers are retiring and there are not enough educators to take their place. Retail is having trouble finding Gen Yers to stick around a couple of months at a time. Customer service is in deep trouble…more often via phone, but where retail traffic is high and there are not enough staff on hand, I’m hearing customers complaining more and more.

But to allow for my flight of fancy in recession era thinking, I was chatting with someone the other day about what people really, really need to survive. In this consumer society, we want a lot, but how much do we really need? We need shelter, food, clothing, a means to afford the shelter and food, contact with other human beings. I can’t help with shelter (other than emotional support), and I’m a mean cook, but can’t send a plate of pasta through cyberspace, but there are jobs on Gen Plus for you to peruse, and a way to find some love in the right demographic .

From many of your emails, I know that a lot of people are finding money a bit tight right now. It makes me ask the question: what do I really need?

I took a close look at what I think I need and could certainly live without. I’ve embarassed myself with what I don’t really need and so I thought I could share that with you (and I’m pretty stingy with myself…or so I think…and keep in mind that I’m still on turkey cloud nine, so not thinking that clearly yet…)

To start:

  • landline phone, a cell phone and a blackberry.
  • cable-connected internet (I believe that I can’t live without my cable) a PC and a laptop and DirecTV High Definition (may daughter believes that she cannot live without the Disney channel)
  • spend money on my child and my dog
  • take trips at winter holiday, spring break and in the summer.
  • send my daughter to summer camp
  • have a van — it’s really old and I love it. My dad told me to sell it last year and I didn’t heed his advice. Now it needs about $3K in repairs. I have to buy a new car.
  • shop at Target too often for my own good — never, ever able to leave there without dropping $100
  • eat sushi too often
  • get home paper delivery
  • have magazine subscriptions for Bon Apetit, National Geographic and a few others
  • buy books often instead of taking out books at the library
  • pay a woman to clean my home once a week
  • pay a gardener to mow my lawn once a week
  • get a massage once a month
  • have season subscription to a local theater

Where do I try to save money?

  • dye my own hair and do my own nails
  • buy really nice clothes, but always on sale
  • ditto for shoes/purses
  • drive a really old van (stop laughing)
  • ummm….

So, honestly, how much money am I technically wasting here? Shocking, isn’t it?

If you look at your own expenditures, what are you wasting money on? Might help you to find the extra bit of cash for the gifts you wanted to get. Or the “interview” suit you need to buy at the holiday sales!

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