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Feeling the "downturn" - Page 3

post #41 of 86
We have no debt, and no mortgage so we're somewhat insulated from the issues. But it HAS changed the way we look at things -- we're tightening our grocery purchases through bulk purchasing and making more stuff at home and are planning our huge community garden with an eye toward preserving as much of the harvest as we can and stockpiling it. We're deferring large decisions and purchases because we'd prefer to have cash on hand and bulk up our savings even though we've already got a 3 month emergency fund. And I'm sticking with my current job rather than looking for a new one, because an over-capitalized ancient life insurance company is one of the more secure places I could be in a downturn.

Basically, we're doing a alot of financial hatch-battening and storm preparation. I really believe this is going to get much worse before it gets better.
post #42 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by zersha View Post


Are you worried someone will come steal it?
Yes. If a person and their kids are hungry, and had no means to obtaining food on their own, the first place they would go for a hand-out would be that crazy old lady up the road that buys rice 20lbs. at a time. And if they know about your stores, they aren't the only ones and it won't be long until the bread line forms from your own front door.

During the Great Depression, the Hobos had a secret code that they used to tell others where there were people with food that would give hand-outs. I can see that happening again if times get as desperate for those out of work.

A good rule of thumb (that I read recently) for preppers is "SSS"... "Stock, Study, Shut-up".

I wouldn't stock up on processed, boxed stuff, though. For example, I did a price comparison recently on buying boxed Uncle Ben's rice vs. bulk rice. The average cost of 1 cup of bulk rice is 12¢ right now ($12.00 for a 20lb bag). The average cost for 1 cup of processed, boxed rice is $1.09 ($2.25 for the box, making a tad over 2 cups) . I can buy 50lbs. of dried beans for the same cost as a case of canned beans and it makes hundred of times more food. Whole grains and a grain mill also are very frugal. Any WHOLE food is going to be easier to store, store longer, cost a fraction, and feed you much better/longer than any processed food.

I think it's always prudent to keep your head about things, but I do believe it would be a very, very good idea to store up some food. I can't believe I'm actually thinking this way (because I'm an optimist and usually the last person to worry), but the way the dollar is going, food is likely going to be worth more than the paper that bought it by the end of the year.
post #43 of 86
The price increases are very real and climbing fast. I have watched my grocery budget go from $75/week to $125/week in about a year. It took nearly a decade for my budget to go from $50/week to $75/week. Gas has gone up ridiculously and it shows no sign of stopping. It isn't the news telling me this, it is my reciepts, my wallet and my bank account. It is all so crazy. I am getting worried about just how bad it will get.
post #44 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
Whole grains and a grain mill also are very frugal.
Kind of a spin-off, but which grain mill did you buy? We've been reading reviews and trying to decide on a model, but are still pretty undecided. I'd like both an electrical mill and a hand mill (for those times we might be without power).
post #45 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by KariM View Post
Kind of a spin-off, but which grain mill did you buy? We've been reading reviews and trying to decide on a model, but are still pretty undecided. I'd like both an electrical mill and a hand mill (for those times we might be without power).
I didn't buy it, but my father gave me this one.

At the Lehman's website, they have a questionnaire you can take and they will recommend a mill to you, both electric and hand-turned.

You can buy cheap manual corn mills (that won't grind wheat to a fine, commercial flour, but grind corn into meal) off of ebay. They wouldn't hold up to constant use, but for $20, they might give you an idea about whether or not grinding your own grain manually is the way you want to go. HTH!!
post #46 of 86
Thread Starter 
Wow, wow, wow. As the OP I was looking for some support/validation around my niggling feelings of anxiety over the economy. I don't feel so alone after checking back in on this thread, which I know isn't great on one hand, but....I am glad to hear of everyone's ways of coping, etc.
post #47 of 86
Prices are increasing, I notice food prices and gas going up, but I'm not really feeling it. I keep asking DH, "Do we need to redo our budget, are we spending too much on food?" But he says No it's fine. (He balances the checkbook because I'm no good at subtraction I guess.) I remember when it took $8 to fill my tank with gas and now it's $25 but somehow I can still afford it, like it's really no big deal.

Last year I was spending hardly anything on food because I was making everything the cheapest way possible, like a pp mentioned buying dry beans instead of canned, bags of rice instead of little boxes of rice mixes, etc. I cut our grocery bill in half that way. So maybe we just ended up with a bunch of extra money that's helping us right now? I don't know.
post #48 of 86
It cost me $45 to fill my tank yesterday - and that's a VW Passat that we've had for eight years and so far has been great with gas mileage. And then we went to the grocery store, where I carefully budgeted my food for the next two weeks, used $25 in coupons, bought almost nothing that wasn't on sale, and still spent $143.
We knew we would have it hard because we bought a fixer-upper house last year about the time the market started heading downward, and our mortgage is 60% of our total net income. Plus the rates of healthcare are going up - we pay about $600/month for our family of three in order to keep our co-pays reasonable.
We have some food stored away, but not nearly as much as I would like. We are really having a hard time making our bills each month, and I'm honestly terrified.
post #49 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
Yes. If a person and their kids are hungry, and had no means to obtaining food on their own, the first place they would go for a hand-out would be that crazy old lady up the road that buys rice 20lbs. at a time. And if they know about your stores, they aren't the only ones and it won't be long until the bread line forms from your own front door.

During the Great Depression, the Hobos had a secret code that they used to tell others where there were people with food that would give hand-outs. I can see that happening again if times get as desperate for those out of work.

A good rule of thumb (that I read recently) for preppers is "SSS"... "Stock, Study, Shut-up".

I wouldn't stock up on processed, boxed stuff, though. For example, I did a price comparison recently on buying boxed Uncle Ben's rice vs. bulk rice. The average cost of 1 cup of bulk rice is 12¢ right now ($12.00 for a 20lb bag). The average cost for 1 cup of processed, boxed rice is $1.09 ($2.25 for the box, making a tad over 2 cups) . I can buy 50lbs. of dried beans for the same cost as a case of canned beans and it makes hundred of times more food. Whole grains and a grain mill also are very frugal. Any WHOLE food is going to be easier to store, store longer, cost a fraction, and feed you much better/longer than any processed food.

I think it's always prudent to keep your head about things, but I do believe it would be a very, very good idea to store up some food. I can't believe I'm actually thinking this way (because I'm an optimist and usually the last person to worry), but the way the dollar is going, food is likely going to be worth more than the paper that bought it by the end of the year.
Yikes, you are scaring me.

We don't actually have anywhere to store extra's right now, but I think I am going to make building a pantry my next project. Since we live in a mobile home, we don't have a basement, but I have a space here in the entryway that I can build a good sized pantry closet.

I think I'll have time between finishing our br remodel, and before we have to start our outside work when the weather turns nice.

Rice & Beans - here we come.
post #50 of 86
Thread Starter 
[QUOTE=Benji'sMom;10796301]I remember when it took $8 to fill my tank with gas and now it's $25 but somehow I can still afford it, like it's really no big deal.


$25 to fill your car? What kind of car do you drive and how much do you pay for gas? It costs me upward of $40 these days.
post #51 of 86
I started being a SAHM last year when DD was born. We have felt a tightening of the belt and definately an increase in costs, but I am a bargain shopper too, so I have a lot of stockpile and I am working on more things, that way we can survive in tight spaces if we need too.

We also have a woodstove and need to really work on using that more, it cost us $400 to put 150 gallons of oil in this month!!! Plus we have solar for hot water, so that helps too.

I am trying to learn to live in a more self-sufficient manner so as to get off the grid more and thus save more. In addition, we are paying down our debt as much as we can all the time to alleviate that part of it too.

A big thing for us is eating out : We are SO bad about it, so I am REALLY trying to get myself motivated about cooking more and freezing meals so I have quick things to pop into the oven to eat to avoid eating out for convenience(and paying thru the nose for it!)
post #52 of 86
Seeing the PP's storeroom reminds me of how much we have saved over the last year by eliminating things we used to spend $$$$ on such as tp, paper towels, shampoo, toothpaste, household cleaners and laundry detergent, to name a few. If anyone is interested, we now use cloth wipes, microfiber cleaning cloths, just conditioner (none of us are oily ), tooth soap and baking soda/vinegar for laundry and all other cleaning.

We live in the 8th most expensive metro area in the US and we are really feeling the pinch of the economy, particularly in grocery prices and home improvement supplies. I also noticed last year that seeds and seedlings were even higher, but still obviously much cheaper than buying produce.
post #53 of 86
I feel like we've pared down as much as we possibly can and it's not enough! Seriously, I don't even buy my kids new clothes anymore. It's all off ebay (but still nice stuff). I made my 10 day meal plan and it's like 60% rice and beans, which is fine b/c we love rice and beans. I am also thinking this is going to be real bad and I am not one of these types that enjoys doomsaying. Between the economy, the war, possible unthinkable war with Iran, peak oil, etc. it's enough to make you really fear for your children's future. I definitely think about how I can make their lives as easy as possible given that the standard of living will probably be very different when they are adults.

For the time being, though, I am thinking more and more about storing food. I have visions of garbage cans full of rice and beans in my basement, lol. How do you store such things? I turn all of my ebay profits into silver. Dh thought I'd gone mad but now he's starting to get scared too. I have been preparing for this since last fall but I have been hoping for a miracle. If Greenspan is saying worst economy since WW11, and it's just the beginning, how can you not be more than a little freaked out?

I am really wishing we didn't have a house to pay for right now! Dh is from Costa Rica and sometimes I wish we were there, on a farm, growing our own food and no heating or a/c needs and lots of wood to burn if need be. Ok, and sometimes I get carried away.
post #54 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyarn View Post
Amazingly, I am feeling quite optimistic right now. I am an RN, so I have job security, but besides that, I just paid off some major bills that I thought it would take my tax return to pay off...I haven't even filed my taxes yet, so I'm quite happy about this. When I do get my tax return and my stimulus money, I'm going to pay off more bills...we don't NEED anything right now...I'm content with my 27 inch TV, my consignment store furniture, our computers and our vehicles. I've been couponing for a year, and have a nice stockpile built up, and I am in the process of buying a wagon and a bike trailer for Daniel...I won't be driving this summer except to work (across town, night shift) and one trip per week to CVS and Target...I'll do all my deals in one stop. I'm going to get insurance on DH's motorcycle this year (we didn't last year), and that is going to be his transportation to and from work this summer. The Caravan is getting old and is not very good on gas, so we are mostly retiring it for the summer months...it'll be walking, biking, motorcycle, or driving the Focus only if necessary for us. Our rent went up $20 per month starting in May, but is still only $695, I really can't complain. Our entertainment is going to be outdoor concerts in the park, going to the playground, etc. Stuff we can walk to and don't need to pay lots of money, but can still have a fun time as a family.

Sorry to be rambling on and on...I've just been thinking of these things, so am sharing some of the thoughts I've been having that are going to help me remain optimistic thru this whole thing.

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you go girl! i am a cvs/targeter (not a very good one at the moment) as well so i understand! BTW for those of you comparing boxed vs. fresh rice etc....alot of boxed brand stuff is cheaper when you do the right shopping so thats why she has lots of that stuff.

i have been feeling BETTER than i have in a while. i think actually owning our home (we have a mortgage of 100% but we just bought it so its not upside down...yet). we of course get a 3% raise every year so at least we get SOMETHING extra (mostly covers food). i have been able to sock money away and keep it there and also since we bought a home i feel more secure. although i haven't done anything drastic i think its taken us this long (2ish years) to get used to what we do and don't have. essentially we make $42k a year but military makes it seem less so i always was focusing on the TAXABLE amount not the real amount.

i lowered our cell bills by going with sprint sero ($60/mo 500 minutes per phone) which saved about $20/mo (with more minutes and extras) from before. we also got a new home phone (didn't have before) for $5 a month. i am going to get back into targeting for food stores and buy a sewing machine to really spiff up my home (not a great sewer but pillows and square stuff i can do!)

I DON"T watch the news EVER, nor do i read the paper so i don't have all the hype. Just a fun fact...the longest recession was 22 months (not the great depression). I think history will say the recession started mid/late 07 so we should see a turnaround by mid 09 if not before. also when i cvsed ALOT i would get tons of EXPENSIVE need items for free (or they pay me) and i sold it at a garage sale. i sold about $300 worth of ONLY hygenie and household items so if i had more time its a good way to get a bit of income for shopping! and not to mention stocking your own shelfs for free.
post #55 of 86
That is exactly what I am doing...do I need those 60+ tubes of toothpaste? Nope! But CVS PAID me to take every one of them out the door. I won't pay even a penny for toothpaste cuz it's free so often...I mean, look at my pictures! Those 60 tubes of toothpaste represent $60 at my next garage sale...I'm making a profit and they're still getting a great deal. Excedrin is another thing...do I need 20+ boxes? Advil PM, I don't even use it. But they are sellable at $1 per box. I had 4 garage sales (or went in on) last year and made at least $300 at each of them...and I was a new couponer, had just started in January. All that toilet paper sitting there, with the exception of the 2 darker blue packages, cost me a TOTAL of $2.03. Same with the Viva...I can't remember the exact cost, but it was close to nothing. All the Lipton rice was on sale for $1.00 per package, I had 75 cent coupons, then when you bought 10 of them, you got a free rotisserie chicken from the deli. I did that deal 2 or 3 times! You can't buy an uncooked chicken for what I got the chicken and the rice for! Anyway, this thread has been interesting!
post #56 of 86
Oh, I failed to mention...I haven't decided yet if I should feel badly about buying them or not...the Nestle hot cocoa mix was in a clearance cart at my grocery store for 50 cents per box. I had 17 copies of a $1.00 off 2 coupon, so they were completely free (no tax on food here). I have 34 boxes of that stuff which I will be donating to the food bank at church, giving to friends, etc.
post #57 of 86
We're definitely feeling it. DS's montessori tuition will be going up by 8% this fall. Organic eggs cost 50 cents more than they did last month. My grocery bill has been steadily increasing for the past year.
post #58 of 86
We're feeling it. Being a SAHM and having only one (measly) salary stinks. Last year I had a small container garden. (We have a concrete pad for a backyard so I couldn't garden in the ground.) This year I'm asking my parents to buy for my birthday the dirt to make some raised beds so that I can plant more. I've done a little bit of canning in years past, but this year I'm going to do a lot of it!

Marc works as a dispatcher for a trucking company. They deliver flour to General Mills and the price of flour went from $15 dollars a bag to $30 a couple of weeks ago. That means cereal prices are going to skyrocket for those of you that buy it. Everything made with flour is going to increase dramatically. We have our own grain mill, the Family Grain Mill (scroll down until you see it) so hopefully the flour prices won't affect us as much.
post #59 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by *Jessica* View Post
We're feeling it. Being a SAHM and having only one (measly) salary stinks. Last year I had a small container garden. (We have a concrete pad for a backyard so I couldn't garden in the ground.) This year I'm asking my parents to buy for my birthday the dirt to make some raised beds so that I can plant more. I've done a little bit of canning in years past, but this year I'm going to do a lot of it!
Are you planning on doing square foot gardening? It seems like it would work really well for you.

http://www.squarefootgardening.com/
post #60 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by llamalluv View Post
Are you planning on doing square foot gardening? It seems like it would work really well for you.

http://www.squarefootgardening.com/
Yes, that's exactly what I hope to do. Thanks for the suggestion, though.
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