We all like to live well. You know what I mean: a comfortable home, a car that runs well, staying healthy, enough good food to eat, with a little fun on the side. But in these recessionary times it’s getting harder to achieve what we call living well.

Years ago, after my husband graduated with his advanced degree we had no money to move and no money to hardly live. I had spent the first four years of our marriage while he was in grad school living on a budget so tight that our parents said there was absolutely no way we could make it work. You see I was earning my PHT (putting hubby through) degree. I was our sole support for his tuition and all of our living expenses.

My Father always said “it is harder to go down the ladder than it is to go up”. And of course, He was talking about the financial ladder. I spent the first four years of our marriage very much aware that I was heading down the ladder. We had no help from any one. It wasn’t easy, but we made it. When John graduated we had absolutely no debt. We had very little money either. But I’m proud to say that we did it all on our own. Many of his classmates and their spouses were in debt. But that was their choice.

Looking back, it probably was good that we started out financially at the “poverty level”. I was on a budget for the first time in my life and a very small one at that. As our circumstances have changed the budget has gotten bigger but we have always stayed on a budget. We continue to even now. Those skills that I developed out of severe necessity are paying off big time in this recession. I live in a very depressed state where the recovery will take a very long time, if it ever does come back. My husband and I are in “survival mode” till we see some definite signs of improvement.

In my line of work I meet many people from all walks of life. It amazes me how much people spend, like there is no tomorrow. They believe they can spend whatever they earn on living and all the toys they want.Then they ask me what “toys” I have and are shocked that I don’t have any! They are counting on company pensions and social security for their retirement but are finding out that those are not going to provide them with retirement security. And what’s even worse, they have been forced to take a buy out or loose their pension way before a normal (age 65-66) retirement age. They are not financially ready for the loss of their weekly paycheck. So now we see the “toys” lined up in their yard with “For Sale” signs plastered on the front. Good deals if you have the money. Problem is, there are no jobs. Unemployment rates are skyrocketing.

When I talk to people, they have no idea what they can do to cut their expenses and their stress. Many have lived high on the ladder and feel they deserve to stay there…that being high on the ladder is an absolute must and their right. They need to realize that times have changed in America and the sooner they learn to live well on less the happier they will be.

I want to use THRIVING IN HARD TIMES to share with you how my family have stretched our dollars over the years. It may take a change of attitude, but it does work. Try making budgeting fun at your house. Set goals and see how well you can do. I’ll share with you all my secrets and will invite you to share yours. Together we will all get through this one way or another. LIVING WELL ON LESS can become the new game to play in town and in so doing, you too can learn that THRIVING IN HARD TIMES pays many dividends.

Thriving In Hard Times

advice and suggestions on how to live well for less; survival tips during the recession