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Simple Living Plus Frugal Living Equals Survival and So Much More
I’m a child of the 50’s and 60’s, and as such I’ve seen quite a few changes over the years. Some good, some bad, and many at the very least interesting.
I was thinking back the other day to those days of my youth, and in particular the early years of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. For you young whippersnappers who have no idea what I’m talking about, I can tell you without hesitation that there were some scary moments back then. The possibility of an atomic war was real, and people took it as real, and prepared as best they could for it.
Now seriously, most preparations were meaningless, but we didn’t know that at the time. I clearly remember bulldozers in the backyards of neighbors’ homes as they had bomb shelters dug in anticipation for the ultimate war. After the shelters were constructed the residents would fill the shelters with first aid supplies and canned foods, and of course bedding and extra clothes.
I thought about that the other day when I was reading online about the recent game-playing going on in Washington D. C., and the haggling and posturing over the fiscal cliff. The first thing I thought of was that we need to start preparing for the worst because it is coming straight at us, hell bent for leather.
Unlike the bomb shelters of the 50’s, however, my idea of preparation just might do some good. It goes something like this: Living Simple plus Frugal Living equals Economic Survival!
Thoughts on frugal living
What the Heck Does Living Simple Have to Do with the Economy?
Well who exactly do you think got us into this mess in the first place? If you answered “us” to that question then you win the prize. Our insistence on buying everything we could get our hands on, whether we could afford it or not, has led to this crippling debt that is choking the life out of us.
Wake up America! The sooner we return to some good old-fashioned values and common sense principles, the better off we will be.
In a faraway world in a faraway time, it was once a source of pride to buy American and help the local economy. In a faraway world in a faraway time, it was once common practice to buy only what you could afford; credit debt was not the norm but rather that which was avoided. In fact, and this may seem hard to believe, there were no credit cards. People paid cash for their purchases, thereby insuring that there would be no interest payments in the future.
In a faraway world in a faraway time, people bought what they needed first rather than what they wanted.
Oh, you parents are going to love this one. In a time not so long ago, parents taught their children fiscal responsibility. I was taught how to budget, and I was expected to have a job when I was in high school. Now we have ex-corporate executives applying for the fast food jobs that high school students would apply for if they weren’t so busy doing nothing, and we have teenagers who think they are too good to work at McDonald’s. Something is drastically wrong with this picture.
This nonsense has to stop because we are all paying for the mistakes made by this country’s citizens, and probably what is most disturbing is that nobody wants to take responsibility for it. Instead we play the Blame Game. Damn those Republicans! Damn those Democrats! Damn the rich! Damn the poor!
The Blame Game starts and stops at our doorstep! If one hundred million Americans stopped using credit and downscaled their lives to meet their needs, our economic woes would lessen considerably.
And I’ll tell you something else, and this reaches across Party lines: If we all cared more for each other (another of those old-fashioned principles) we could climb out of this hole as a nation.
If our nation’s leaders really want to fix the economy then they need to create jobs. This is Economics 101 my friend. Create jobs, put people back to work, and then the people need to make smart economic decisions.
Playing the Frugal Game
Whether you are unemployed, employed, living on a strict budget or living high on the hog, the time has come for frivolous spending to end.
You may have a good-paying job and think you are untouchable, but you are sadly mistaken.
You may be living paycheck to paycheck and think that it can’t be any worse, but you are sadly mistaken.
Let me be as clear as I possibly can be on this next point: we are the ones responsible for this economic mess. We need to return to the theory of “needs” over “wants.” Changing decade-old spending habits will not be easy but it must be done. Until the government pulls their head out of their you know what, it is up to us to be responsible in our spending.
Learn how to do without! Learn how to do with secondhand, and learn how to cut corners and make a dollar stretch. In my perfect world I would love to see a community garden in every neighborhood. In my perfect world I would love to see WalMart go out of business, and I would love to see local businesses succeed. In my perfect world, Goodwill would be the biggest business in town, and kids would have lemonade stands on street corners.
I hear the screaming from here. It’s unrealistic they say, and I say as long as people think like that then it is unrealistic.
Twenty years ago I made $100,000 per year, a mountain of debt, and had nothing in savings. This year I’ll make $20,000 and I have savings and no credit. Which way do you think I prefer to live? Which way do you think is the healthy and responsible way to live?
Sit with me and let's chat
What Is the Bottom Line?
If you think the economy is going to improve then I have some swamp land beachfront I want you to look at. If you think for a second that your government is looking after your best interests then you really need to let me smoke some of that herb you are tokin’.
Wake up and smell the foreclosure notices!
Congress and the President can take their economic indicators and shove them where the sun doesn’t shine. I trust none of them! I’m quite certain some of the politicians are decent folk, but the decent ones don’t stand a chance when billions of dollars are spent by special interest groups to get favorable legislation. Any sound you hear out of Washington D.C. is just so much rhetoric to keep the masses at bay, so that leaves me with one choice and one choice only: take care of my side of the street and protect myself and my family from the fallout caused by that rhetoric.
And when I’m done cleaning up my side of the street, I’ll work on your side as well, because we are all in this together. We need to quit isolating and become a community again, or we simply will not survive. Reach out to your neighbors and lend them a helping hand. Reach out to your family and strengthen those bonds.
This message is for the 80% of U.S. citizens who do not control the wealth in this country:
If we don’t do those things then we deserve what is going to happen to us.
This government is our government. If you are not satisfied with it then demand change.
This economy is our economy. If you are not satisfied with it then be the instrument of change.
If we allow the status quo to continue, we have no one else to blame but ourselves.
Living Simple plus Frugal Living equals economic freedom!
Change begins at home!
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)