I had read somewhere that you should put gasoline in your car early in the morning. It has something to do with temperature and gasoline density. I don’t know if that is true, but it stuck in my mind. As our daily calendar was packed, I wanted to get gas first thing in the morning. I guess you could say that I wanted to get the most out of my $3.23/gal. gasoline.
As I pulled up the nozzle to fill my car, the man next to me (in his late 50’s) said “Good Morning. That’s a nice car you have there.” As my car is approaching 9 yrs. old, I took that as a compliment. I did just wash it and it was looking its best. I thanked him and kept pumping gas. Apparently, this man needed to chat (I get that alot. Folks just love telling me things about themselves. I guess I have that kind of: “Sure, tell me about your gastro-intestinal plight. I’m here for you” sort of face.
The man was talking about OPEK and how they have overflowing pockets. He went on and on about how everything costs so much in the U.S. right now. He mentioned that Congress should: “Get off their butts and do something about alternative fuels”. He was really getting worked up about the state of things.
Then, he said: “I’ll tell you where it really hurts me and my family, at the grocery store. We have 5 members in our family. With the way the country is, we are having to eat cheap food like pinto beans, brown rice, and chicken. I know that stuff isn’t good for you, but what can you do when the economy is so bad?”
I just smiled at him and told him I had to go. Honestly, I was laughing on the inside and almost showed it to this man. Didn’t this guy realize that those “cheap foods” are what is HEALTHY for him and his family? Do Americans think that if they can’t afford that Super-Sized Big Mac Meal or 64 oz. Slurpee as often, then the world is coming to an end? That missing going out to dinner 3-4 times a week is a catastrophe?
I learned a long time ago (from living through something like 6 lay-offs in 10 yrs.) that going through hard times can be a blessing in disguise. Having to cut back on spending due to finances can make a person or family reevaluate priorities. For us, we learned that eating ground turkey or chicken instead of beef is cheaper, and much lower in fat. We learned to buy fruits/vegetables in season. We learned that board games, hiking, Geocaching, gardening, and renting from movies Netflix are great ways to entertain and not spend a fortune. Buying books, clothing, and craft items at garage sales or thrift stores saves a TON of money. We learned to repair our appliances or buy used ones from Craig’s List.
When I talk to my father, who lives in California, about how many people have foreclosed on their homes, I wonder. Did those people over-extend themselves? Was it necessary for them to have a home full of new furniture, a brand new car, the newest fashions, the best schools, or eating in the finest restaurants? So many of us feel that we HAVE to have more. It used to be that people didn’t buy something unless they absolutely needed it AND they had the money to buy it. With the world of credit, it is so much easier to slap down a plastic card and worry about making payments later. Sadly, that is how so many of us wind up in front of a judge. We over-extend ourselves into bankruptcy.
As for the man that knew that “cheap food” wasn’t good for his family, think again buddy. Rough times just might help you to eat better, learn that your family is fun to be around, and make you stretch your paycheck just a bit better. You might think that the economy is “in the dumps” right now. That may be so. Why not use this time to pull back a bit and manage your life better? Do you really need that Super-Sized Big Mac meal anyways?
NOTE: I have made a long list of ways that we have saved money over the years. It is under “Ways to Save Money” on the home page. Please feel to read them.