How to Survive in the 2000s during the Greatest Depression Since the Great Depression
This is what Depression looked like in 1932: No shoes - No hope
Let‘s talk about this.
A depression is not great!
The term “Great Depression” is an oxymoron.
In fact, it’s one of the top five oxymorons of all time: right alongside ‘Jumbo Shrimp’, ‘Freezer Burn’, ‘Military Intelligence’ and ‘Microsoft Works’.
Let’s also agree that this current situation is nowhere near as stark as the 1930s when one person in four was out of work, five thousand banks failed, and hundreds of thousands of homeless roamed the land in search of food and work.
Today’s downturn is much like the one in the 1970s where unemployment was high and housing values were down - but the numbers in the 70’s and now, are not even close to the 1929-1933 figures.
Many of the people hurt in today's unsettled times say things like,
“This is horrible. My 401K is down to $78,000. Last year it was worth $185,000.”
“My house is worth way less that it was two years ago.”
“I’ve had to spend a thousand dollars more on heat this winter.”
Although there are many people who have been seriously impacted by this recession, for most of us it is really just an inconvenience. We have the funds to pay the heating bills, and the higher prices for food and gasoline.
If you are one of the unfortunate ones who has lost a job due to a layoff or company closing, here’s how I got through it, when it happened to me back in the 1970’s.
When I got laid off, I used the “Pieces” economic system. It’s not very pleasant, but it works.
Here’s the formula.
If you are unable to find a new job and your unemployment benefits are about to run out, take a part time Job. You will probably get twenty to thirty hours per week. Take a second part time job and work another twenty or thirty hours.
Clean your cellar, garage, or attic and take old, unwanted items to a Flea Market or Swap Meet.
At the end of the month, put all the pieces together and pay your mortgage. Don’t worry if you can’t pay the credit cards. It is far better to be up to date on your mortgage than the plastic.
If you don’t have a Flea Market nearby, consider a yard sale. For two straight months, I made mortgage payments with yard sale proceeds.
Here’s a few ideas for part time jobs:
Newspaper delivery jobs pay fairly well and are usually available everywhere. Check with your local paper. They will have openings for home delivery. The downside of this job is that you have to use your car - but the paper generally pays a good mileage rate.
Ask if they have any routes available that use ‘Company vehicles’.
Where I live, The Cape Cod Times has about a dozen trucks that it sends out every day delivering to businesses. This type of job is called bundle delivery. The driver fills a truck with dozens of thick bundles of papers and drops them at stores and schools. This work pays about $10.00 per hour.
Don’t neglect the fast food franchises. A huge churn rate means that there are always plenty of jobs waiting to be filled. You might be surprised to find that you actually enjoy this fast-paced work.
An unusual part time job that’s actually a lot of fun is demonstrating at your local supermarket, BJ’s, Costco, Sam’s Club and similar places. You’ve probably seen the demo people. They have a table set up and offer you a sample of Cheerios or Yogurt or maybe even a slice of Pizza. You can work two or three days a week doing these sampling jobs and be paid up to $14.00 per hour. Do some checking at your local stores for sources. If you can’t get info from the stores, simply walk up to the demo person and ask the name of their company. Most demonstrators will be very helpful and there usually are openings.
If you are young and having difficulty finding even part time employment, why not pay a visit to your Uncle Sam?
A career in the military benefits you and your country. All of our American soldiers are volunteers and almost every one of them is proud to do his or her part to keep our country safe and free.
See your local recruiter to find out what opportunities are open to you.
A little side benefit to working for your Uncle is that you get to buy yourself a new car and pay cash for it. My son, the Sergeant, bought a brand new jeep when he came back from an Iraq stint. He saved long and hard during his time overseas and when he got back Stateside, he marched into Classic Chrysler in Raynham, Massachusetts, put cash on the table and drove out with a brand new Jeep Wrangler.
No matter how bad everything seems right now, it will get better. We just have to wait it out.
Bad times are not cured by stimulus packages, tightening or loosening credit, granting tax breaks, or waving magic wands.
Bad times are mended by one thing only ---- time itself.
In time, things will be back to normal. In the meantime, try to relax and enjoy whatever blessings you have.