If I had a nickel for everytime someone looked at my like I have 6 heads for my frugal choices, I could settle the Re
It is very hard to observe how this forum has changed over the last several months. Where we used to send each other to quirky sights, calculators and share frugal tips, now we have people who need to learn how to be resourceful, cook from scratch, or dig out of this debt they are in before it gets worse
Shees...tell me about it. Yesterday, riding back to the office with several other coworkers after visiting a customer, one woman mentioned she needed a new car (current vehicle is over 200K miles and needs a new engine) and she wants an SUV. This is someone whose husband has been cut to a 4 day work week and his company might be going under. She's got $10K in the bank that was earmarked for a new roof, then they hoped it would be for if her husband was laid off, and now a car is needed. One of the guys told her to get a Camry, Civic, or Corolla with about 50K miles on it. She didn't like that idea.
I told her a car is just basic transportation (I drive a Focus). She snapped and said "Everything has to always be so 'plain Jane' with you." I told her that "plain Jane" thing has me $2200 from being TOTALLY debt free (car loan). She actually said she couldn't be plain Jane - she needed "style."
Boy, are my coworker's priorities out of wack!
I agree that the tone of this forum has become much different. There's an air of desperation in many posts. It's quite a difference from a simple living forum I hang out at. Things are pretty calm there. Folks were pretty much all living below their means, trying to pay down debt, living very simply.
My car is paid ahead through June. I'm throwing all money I can into my savings account. If things pick up, I can just write one check and pay the car off. I've got about $1500 in there right now. I've got some dental work that needs to be done - a filling or two have fallen out - but it's not hurting so I'm putting it off as long as possible.
I work in international shipping, for a freight forwarder, doing ocean import. Yes, those ocean containers. In January of this year, we did HALF of what we did in January 2008. Right now, my work load is very small. Some of our customers are barely importing at all. They're usually trying to work off inventory they already have in their warehouses.
My company had lay-offs in early December. 25% of the American workforce for my company went away. I can easily see another round of layoffs, with 1, maybe 2 people in my department, going away. However, January was a great month for the company - they more than exceeded the profit goals (don't ask me how, I think it was exports & air freight), and they've said they wanted to keep the employees they have now. I read yesterday about an office supply company (manufacturer) in the Chicago area is going to a 47% paycut for six weeks for all employees. 47%! It will be going to 30% after six weeks, through at least June. This is not my company with the pay cut, but one I read about online in one of the Chicago papers.
Something is going well with my company since they gave us long-term disability insurance when we never had it before, and have upped the company match on our 401K.
I'm saving everything I can. Pretty frugal, no cable (I'm TV-free), prepaid cell phone. I'm going to see about reducing my landline phone service to basic (and using Skype more - I've only used it a few times) and more lentils, etc.