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Does anyone feel poorer lately?


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Oh my gosh, our income hasn't changed, but boy something is changing! We have no extra disposable income any more. Our healh insurance will triple in 2013, so we are dropping it and going with our military insurance, but not many people take it here where we live. Our retirement has been cut giving us a ridiculous cut in our senior years, and you all know what college tuition is looking like. What happened?

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Oh yeah. We had a rough few years there anyway with some unemployment, but now it's been a while, and the salary just doesn't go as far. I was in a fabric store yesterday and realized that I used to buy a certain (sensible) amount without even worrying about it. Now, I see a few things I want to make into Christmas presents and I worry and fuss about the cost. I do it about everything all the time, and I say no nearly all the time, and I don't even know how to pay for things we need to do (like house repairs etc.).

 

Gas, food, and clothing prices have all gone up, so the money doesn't go as far.

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What happened?

 

Well, it used to cost only $20-30 to fill up your gas tank. Now it costs nearly $100.

 

 

$100? Yikes! I filled mine up for about $45 yesterday. But I have a smallish tank, it was about 15 gallons.

 

For a while, food prices were going up, but I've been spending less the past month or two than I was in the spring. Haven't changed my shopping habits but it seems some of the food (for me, that included toiletries, paper goods, pet food) is going back down a bit. I guess I'm not seeing such big changes but it must be where we live. I often don't see the changes some people mention on the WTM forum. I got our homeowners insurance bill for the next year just a few days ago. It went down about 5%. Not seeing increases in health insurance. Slight one for cars but that's due to my son.

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We earn a "great" income, I really feel for people who are struggling with jobs. You know you work hard, do the right things, become educated, serve your country, get a good job and hope to just chug through life. It is disheartening to realize that the good income you are hoping to retire from is just getting ripped from you. I think it is so wrong that big company executives can run a company into the ground, vote themselves millions in compensation, and then screw the employees and yes, take their retirement and cut their insurance!

 

My other soap box is that we are all paying for state/federal jobs, contributing to their retirement, while they allow the companies to take ours. Wait a minute! Why do I have to fund your pension? I've got to worry about mine!

 

 

Sorry, i'm feeling a little hoPeless today!

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yup. Broke here too. Gas and groceries....it is pitiful. Add to that some unavoidable expenses (house repair type things ) and yes, I am dreading the holidays. I hate going into Christmas broke.

 

Gas went down quite a bit over the past couple of days in the town up the road from you.....

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Oh my gosh, our income hasn't changed, but boy something is changing! We have no extra disposable income any more. Our healh insurance will triple in 2013, so we are dropping it and going with our military insurance, but not many people take it here where we live. Our retirement has been cut giving us a ridiculous cut in our senior years, and you all know what college tuition is looking like. What happened?

 

Yep.

 

Inflation.

 

Our van costs 100 to fill.

 

The house next to us just cut off it's oil heat and had natural gas put in--obviously they can afford to--but what about the families this winter that can't?

 

OUr food pantry at church is now feeding 400 people. THe line is heartbreaking. I mean, it will make you sob. The pantry director now is collecting coats to give to people on line who have none, they've given mittens from their hands, hats off their heads. One food pantry worker ran into the thrift store to buy a baby a bunting-because the baby was freezing.

 

Things are not fun.

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Gas and food prices are going way up. We're paying $4.49/gallon for gas now and milk just went up $0.50/gallon. Usually I. Don't pay too close attention to the price of things I HAVE to buy at the grocery store, but dh noticed the milk thing.

 

Another wow.... $4.49? I paid $3.40 yesterday. Milk was $2.99 for regular... I don't buy the regular as we don't drink enough of it so it's worth it to pay for the organic, since it lasts longer.

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Gas went down quite a bit over the past couple of days in the town up the road from you.....

THANKS! I will look into that.

 

I think some of my struggle is that I live 20 minutes from everything. So unless I want to drive to a small town that will have more competitive prices, I am stuck with what's 5 minutes from the house.

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THANKS! I will look into that.

 

I think some of my struggle is that I live 20 minutes from everything. So unless I want to drive to a small town that will have more competitive prices, I am stuck with what's 5 minutes from the house.

 

I would think the town closer to you is more expensive since there isn't competition. I do a "circuit" on M Street (Kroger, Publix, Walmart), based on sales.... Lately, I've been doing better than I had been.

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Yes. For us it is the price of gas along with the cost of everything else that has increased as a result of it. Gas prices are up as a result of increased global consumption, along with speculation in the market. I wish they'd get rid of the speculation, as that is the only thing the government can do about it.

 

The second problem for us is that DH hasn't had a raise in 5 years as a result of the recession. His field is affected by high unemployment, so we have been grateful he's had a job at all. But still, the increasing prices with stagnant wages are like getting a pay cut, and that hurts our family since we were already careful penny-pinching consumers to begin with.

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Oh my gosh, our income hasn't changed, but boy something is changing! We have no extra disposable income any more. Our healh insurance will triple in 2013, so we are dropping it and going with our military insurance, but not many people take it here where we live. Our retirement has been cut giving us a ridiculous cut in our senior years, and you all know what college tuition is looking like. What happened?

 

Definitely! We have our adult dd's here with their babies and our expenses are over the top. We went from being just a family of three(dh, ds and I) to having 3 grand-babies, our 2 adult dd's home and dh, 14 ds and I. Formula is alone $200 a month and that's buying it at Costco. Groceries at the commissary and costco and gas are killing us and we make a very good salary. Job's are hard to come by for our girls so they are both doing training courses to get a certificate in a trade to get on their feet financially. Times are just really hard right now. :grouphug:

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I would think the town closer to you is more expensive since there isn't competition. I do a "circuit" on M Street (Kroger, Publix, Walmart), based on sales.... Lately, I've been doing better than I had been.

that's where I am headed on Saturday. I REALLY wish they'd open a Kroger in PV or AC.

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yup. Broke here too. Gas and groceries....it is pitiful. Add to that some unavoidable expenses (house repair type things ) and yes, I am dreading the holidays. I hate going into Christmas broke.

 

:iagree: last year we did pretty good. I could afford to buy better curricula, take inexpensive trips to see family, buy socks if we need them...then my ex lost his job, cs has been spotty at best, our income is somehow lower with dh's annual raise, and we've had house repairs out the wazoo. It costs soooooooo much for groceries. I use coupons and price match, but with increased food costs, family food allergies & intolerances, it's been costing me five times what it did a couple of years ago. And don't start me on gas! We don't even do "fun" stuff like vacations, going to bars, good meals out, dates, but we are really struggling.

 

I have one present for my ds bought (yay for clearance Legos!) but it's gonna be hard this year. All of my kids have fall/winter birthdays. We usually use dh's overload pay, but he only got $100 for an entire semester of overtime this year. :glare:

 

Our struggle is nothing compared to those on here, though. (((Hugs)))

Edited by mommymilkies
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We finally paid off my Suburban this year and were looking forward to that extra income to ease things a bit. With the increases in gas and food prices here DH is having to work just as much overtime for the basics. It doesn't help that the kids are all growing, so the food and clothing needs have gone up at the same time. We are feeling the pinch. The plant where DH works is talking about ending overtime again after the first of the year so I am looking at ways to cut back even more.

 

I need to hit up some of the recipe threads.

Edited by melmichigan
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What happened?

 

Well, it used to cost only $20-30 to fill up your gas tank. Now it costs nearly $100.

 

A large container of goldfish crackers used to cost $5. Now it costs $7.

 

The tube of toothpaste used to be much bigger than it is now, meaning that now it won't last you nearly as long. You have to buy toothpaste more frequently.

 

If you take these examples and multiply it out across the spectrum, you can easily see why disposible income is disappearing.

 

:iagree:

 

We earn a "great" income, I really feel for people who are struggling with jobs. You know you work hard, do the right things, become educated, serve your country, get a good job and hope to just chug through life. It is disheartening to realize that the good income you are hoping to retire from is just getting ripped from you. I think it is so wrong that big company executives can run a company into the ground, vote themselves millions in compensation, and then screw the employees and yes, take their retirement and cut their insurance!

 

My other soap box is that we are all paying for state/federal jobs, contributing to their retirement, while they allow the companies to take ours. Wait a minute! Why do I have to fund your pension? I've got to worry about mine!

 

:iagree:

 

 

Gas here is about $3.85/gallon and milk is around $4.80/gallon depending on brand. "Carpy air bread" is $2.00/loaf...prices are just ridiculous and going up faster than anyone's pay.

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We're paying $4.49/gallon for gas now and milk just went up $0.50/gallon. Usually I. Don't pay too close attention to the price of things I HAVE to buy at the grocery store, but dh noticed the milk thing.

Not that it will help, but I wanted to chip in on the milk thing...

 

Even with the 50 cent per gallon increase, there is not one dairy farmer in California that is earning enough with their milk to buy the feed for their cows. :sad: It's not through mismanagement by the farmer, it's just mathematically impossible right now.

 

We are bringing in almost exactly the same $ that we brought in around 20 years ago, but fuel is 2-3x more. A load of feed that was $1500 before is now $5000. :eek: Add to that the rising cost of every kind of insurance including workers compensation, and the ever-increasing costs of EPA compliance, electricity, etc...Some dairy farmers in California are literally taking their own lives, even as they lose the farms that have been in their families for generations. :crying:

 

I wish it were different, and I'm sooo sorry that consumers are feeling the pinch of milk prices! Still, I just wanted you to know that the dairy farmers are definitely not profiting from the increase. :grouphug:

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It costs me over $70 to fill up my Odyssey. And it has pretty good gas mileage.

 

In NJ.

 

Wow! I'm paying about $3.60 a gallon here in central Florida. My husband uses the middle grade in his car and pays a little more per gallon, but even then he fills up for about $55.

 

Does NJ still prohibit self serve? I'm wondering if that plays into this difference.

 

Edit to answer the original question: Yes, we do feel poorer, but in our case it's because we actually are. My husband took a significant pay cut (about 20%) about a year and a half ago to get into his current position at work. At first, we assumed this would be temporary and kept spending merrily, taking out of savings when necesary to make up the gap. But just after Christmas last year, we realized this was going to last a while and pledged to cut back and live on what he actually brings in now.

 

We've phased out things over the last year, trying to get our spending in line with our income, but it's been challenging. We made committments before the pay cut that aren't terribly flexible now that we're trying to live on less.

 

In terms of gas and food costs, though, we haven't seen much of an increase. I'm finding it tougher than I anticipated to keep to my planned $125/week grocery budget, but it's difficult to tease out exactly how much of that is real rises in cost and how much is older kids eating more and/or waning committment from the rest of the family to eating more simply. The truth is that the $150 I'm spending most of the time allows for plenty of luxuries like sodas and chips and convenience foods for my husband's dinner on nights I'm not home to cook. So, I complain, but I recognize much of this is my fault for not insisting on holding the line.

 

Same thing with the gas, for us. Once my daughter graduated (meaning I was no longer driving 8,000 miles each year getting her to and from school) and we moved downtown (thinking that we'd be closer to my son's activities), we thought I'd be driving less and saving buckage on gasoline. However, it's turned out that we are still spending a lot of time in the car, that both kids are doing things that aren't significantly closer to the new house than the previous activities were to the old one, etc. Counting it all up, it's possible I'm driving more than I did before, which would explain why I'm spending more on gas.

 

I totally recognize these things are within our control to fix, though.

Edited by Jenny in Florida
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Good grief! Where does it cost $100 to fill a gas tank?

 

Depending on the size of one's tank and the need for a high-octane blend, it could be $100 here. The cheapest gas in town according to my phone is $4.41/gal. for regular or $4.57/gal for premium. If I happen to be over by Costco, it would be $4.37/gal. for regular and $4.49/gal for premium.

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Not that it will help, but I wanted to chip in on the milk thing...

 

Even with the 50 cent per gallon increase, there is not one dairy farmer in California that is earning enough with their milk to buy the feed for their cows. :sad: It's not through mismanagement by the farmer, it's just mathematically impossible right now.

 

We are bringing in almost exactly the same $ that we brought in around 20 years ago, but fuel is 2-3x more. A load of feed that was $1500 before is now $5000. :eek: Add to that the rising cost of every kind of insurance including workers compensation, and the ever-increasing costs of EPA compliance, electricity, etc...Some dairy farmers in California are literally taking their own lives, even as they lose the farms that have been in their families for generations. :crying:

 

I wish it were different, and I'm sooo sorry that consumers are feeling the pinch of milk prices! Still, I just wanted you to know that the dairy farmers are definitely not profiting from the increase. :grouphug:

 

:grouphug: -- I know. We have friends here in Maine that have a dairy farm...things are NOT good. The $$ is in the middle-man's pocket.

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We do get pay raises, but for the last three years and this upcoming year, they have all been below inflation and so we are tightening our belts. This economy is hurting just about everyone, including those who have had no unemployment. My dh has been employed throughout but not my kids. We had to support ds for over a year while looking for a job.

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YES!!! Dh hasn't had a raise in years and all the prices are going up. His company pays for gas, BUT they don't raise the rate per gallon they pay to keep up with the gas increases until many MONTHS later and they don't fix it retroactively. So they're still only giving him about $2 something per gallon! And he drives about 100 miles per day. It's killing us. Plus the gas in my van, etc. I've always combined trips (doing errands while we're already out for an activity) so we can't cut there.

 

Grocery increases are the other huge killer for us-it seems every time I am in the store things go up. Not a little either-20-50 cents more! I've always kept a price book and shopped each week at 4 different stores to save money, but even this is not helping that much anymore. Plus the kids are getting into puberty age and eating like crazy. I'm making lots of from scratch things rather than buying crackers etc. Because my other beef is when you buy things now, the amount in the package is WAY less! A box of crackers then has a small bag inside with the bag half full. It is ridiculous. We are practically vegetarian now due to the price of meat.

 

Insurance prices, etc., keep going up too.

 

We've been very frugal for years so I don't know where else we can cut! We already buy all clothes at consignment shops, etc. We haven't been on a vacation in forever and I don't know when we ever would be able to again-that is a pipe dream. It's just living to pay the bills basically.

 

Don't get me wrong, God blesses and helps us and provides our needs and many wants as well (through nice hand-me-downs, etc). But yes, we're feeling more poor than ever!

 

I suspect if the political/economic environment remains the same things will get worse and we'll be in real trouble. (And I don't necessarily mean political as in Dem vs. Repub-I mean the middle class need real help from whatever party is in power! And the economics in this country are scary-anyone in economics can tell you we're headed for a huge adjustment at some point.)

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This is amazing to me too. DH seems stuck in his mind on what we USED to be able to live on and when we have the least little bit of "extra" he wonders where it goes. I have a list of things we need and no income to cover it. It's so frustrating.

:iagree: My dh was stunned a few weeks ago when he went into the grocery store with me.

Not that it will help, but I wanted to chip in on the milk thing...

 

Even with the 50 cent per gallon increase, there is not one dairy farmer in California that is earning enough with their milk to buy the feed for their cows. :sad: It's not through mismanagement by the farmer, it's just mathematically impossible right now.

 

We are bringing in almost exactly the same $ that we brought in around 20 years ago, but fuel is 2-3x more. A load of feed that was $1500 before is now $5000. :eek: Add to that the rising cost of every kind of insurance including workers compensation, and the ever-increasing costs of EPA compliance, electricity, etc...Some dairy farmers in California are literally taking their own lives, even as they lose the farms that have been in their families for generations. :crying:

 

I wish it were different, and I'm sooo sorry that consumers are feeling the pinch of milk prices! Still, I just wanted you to know that the dairy farmers are definitely not profiting from the increase. :grouphug:

I know Julie. I am not blaming farmers at all. It is because fuel, fertilizer and corn are SO expensive! (we farm too so I know how it is)

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This is amazing to me too. DH seems stuck in his mind on what we USED to be able to live on and when we have the least little bit of "extra" he wonders where it goes. I have a list of things we need and no income to cover it. It's so frustrating.

 

Mine too!! I have started sending him to the grocery store so that he can wrap his head around how little $200 can get you these days. He keeps talking about how we used to live off $100 in gas and food a week as a family of 3 and no matter how much I SHOW him the numbers just can't do that anymore he still thinks I'm throwing all our money around :glare: obnoxious. He gets aggrivated that the money we have is already claimed to pay this, that, and the other and I'm the one in charge of our money so I take it personally even though I probably shouldn't.

 

Good grief! Where does it cost $100 to fill a gas tank?

 

As a family of 5, soon to be 6, there aren't many vehicles that can transport us that don't guzzle. We also live out on country roads so 4x4 is a necessity. It costs me about $85 to fill up a truly empty tank.

 

Gas prices just stink, I remember when I could fill up my 02 Taurus for $25 on e, now it's at least twice that amount. Thank goodness for .10 off a gallon at Murphy's if you use a Walmart giftcard.

 

10 cents? It's only a 5 cent discount here... jerks!

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Good grief! Where does it cost $100 to fill a gas tank?

 

I am on the West coast and prices in my city range from $3.95-$4.25 a gallon. Yesterday, it took $70 to fill my 18 gallon tank in the mini-van. Much of California takes a terrible beating with gas prices often well over $4.30 a gallon. It feels like every time our prices inch down, there is a fire in a West coast refinery that necessitates an increase.

 

There is an interesting article here on gas prices. It is political in nature so be forewarned. I followed the links for the supporting sources, which were varied in their leanings, and found them to be helpful.

 

National Gas Price Map

Edited by swimmermom3
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I am not blaming farmers at all. It is because fuel, fertilizer and corn are SO expensive! (we farm too so I know how it is)

I know, I just nearly cry when I hear people in the grocery complain about the price of milk. I completely sympathize with them, but I can tell they don't understand that dairy farmers are *not making money*, especially here in California, where we have the unique situation of a governmentally controlled milk price that is not related at all to the actual cost of milk production. :ohmy:

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What happened?

 

Well, it used to cost only $20-30 to fill up your gas tank. Now it costs nearly $100.

 

A large container of goldfish crackers used to cost $5. Now it costs $7.

 

The tube of toothpaste used to be much bigger than it is now, meaning that now it won't last you nearly as long. You have to buy toothpaste more frequently.

 

If you take these examples and multiply it out across the spectrum, you can easily see why disposible income is disappearing.

 

:iagree: :iagree: :iagree:

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I know, I just nearly cry when I hear people in the grocery complain about the price of milk. I completely sympathize with them, but I can tell they don't understand that dairy farmers are *not making money*, especially here in California, where we have the unique situation of a governmentally controlled milk price that is not related at all to the actual cost of milk production. :ohmy:

 

I'm sorry. I know the farmers are not profiting from high prices! Everything is going up, it's inflation. And the supply of gasoline is not meeting demand.

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Yep, for many of the reasons listed and because our older home has finally decided to start letting the little things go one by one--garage door opener has died, ancient dryer just blew a thermal fuse, for some reason our window screens keep getting gashes in them, etc. And I'm having a number of medical/hospital bills.

 

So, yeah, the money gremlins are out in full force here too :( I am, however, thankful that we have some savings to buffer the bumps and good insurance to take most of the sting out of the medical bills. I'm trying very hard to appreciate what we DO have these days.

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We are receiving wages based on 1988 scales. With the bankruptcy of the company, they are pinching any little extras from all of our backs, while company execs bilk the company for millions a year - to run the place out of money! This is after concession after concession is granted to management. I am so sick of it, yet we are lucky for our job! But my dh has had to take the military back on so we can be sure of some sort of pension for the future, thus he is gone approximately twice as much.

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I know, I just nearly cry when I hear people in the grocery complain about the price of milk. I completely sympathize with them, but I can tell they don't understand that dairy farmers are *not making money*, especially here in California, where we have the unique situation of a governmentally controlled milk price that is not related at all to the actual cost of milk production. :ohmy:

 

I don't know anyone who is blaming farmers. I live in corn/soybean country, and almost all of our crops in this part of the state failed and were plowed under months ago. That's mostly feed crops. It still sucks, though. I have a feeling it's not going to get better soon. Not even our garden produced. Total failure. We had some lettuce early in spring, but that's about it. Weeks of straight back breaking work, lots of money in seeds...nothing. So we didn't have anything fresh to put by or even eat in summer. Even the zucchinis didn't do well! I couldn't find any to buy or to have pawned off on me. That's the first time that's happened! We had a true devastating drought here.

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Gas prices rising even more is not exactly a surprise following QE3; indeed there were rising prices well in advance on the expectation of QE3 (this is not a small issue).

 

Here, it's around $100 to fill up the tank of my Suburban. I think the other day it was $109, though it was really empty :tongue_smilie:

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In NJ.

:iagree:$65 to fill up a Toyota Sienna on Totally Empty.

 

But we are doing well this year, compared to previous years. I remember what it was like to not know how to buy both gas AND groceries. :crying: If we bought groceries, how would Da get to work? If we bought gas, what would I feed the girls?

 

All I can say for those of you in lean times is that it helped me to "think like a poor person." I was in that mode for so long, I can be back there in a second. We never ate out. I cooked everything from scratch, mostly soups, stews, beans, applesauce, bread, beans, beans, and beans. We used to joke about having plenty of gas in the house, but none in the van. :lol: I thinned things out with water -- juice, soup, even milk at times. Yes, I did this, we were that poor then. I drank a lot of tea to keep going. For a time, my husband gave up coffee. You'd have to know how deep that went for him; it was like giving up a favorite child. ;)

 

We never bought new clothes for ourselves or the children, we just made do with what we had or were given. Christmas was lean (but someone from these boards sent us beautiful dresses for the girls :001_wub:). We didn't go anywhere, except to work and church and "free events" (see below). I didn't run the AC in the summer and we kept the heat low in the winter. I hung laundry on the line to save on the bill. We cut every bill we could, as much as we could, and it was still not enough from paycheck to paycheck.

 

We accepted gratefully anything that came our way, without asking for it publicly. We were given clothes, money, food, gifts, a used car, and a used (100,000 miles) van. We never solicited a thing. All these things were blessings, but even more meaningful was how God provided for our true needs at every turn. He saw and supplied ALL our needs, even the big and little ones.

 

We didn't buy homeschool stuff (much), only the essentials. We applied for help from Book Samaritan (so we did ask for help there), and received a nice package that was truly beneficial. We used the free public library extensively. We borrowed free DVDs to play on the computer, to have "Family Movie Nights" with pop corn (cheap) and water. We still do this, because it's fun.

 

We looked for FREE stuff to do in our community -- a living nativity at Christmas time, a summer concert in the park, free admission days at museums or parks, community festivals, church programs, Children's Church, church choir, Pioneer Club, strolling around town to see the Christmas tree lighting and the shops at Christmas time, taking a picnic to a local park. There's a lot to do that is FREE near us, and free is a wonderful thing. :D I don't know what more rural people can find to do, but it's worth searching out. Sitting around day after day thinking about "being poor" is so demoralizing. We enjoyed getting out and feeling like normal people (whatever they are).

 

Thankfully, my husband's job improved, then improved again, then improved again. Our mortgage is still upside-down, but what can we do about that? :tongue_smilie:Perhaps someday, we will be able to move out of this neighborhood, out of the dumpy suburbs, and live out the dream. IDK. In the meantime, we are still frugal, because we know how to live on next to nothing, and we want to give to others who have less. I look back on that time as a good training ground for us, really. We learned a lot about ourselves, our finances, our needs, our wants, our resourcefulness, our friends, our resilience, our capacity to give out of our poverty, and our ability to hope -- all things that we wouldn't have learned otherwise.

 

I realize I'm looking "back," and some of you are still "in it." I really am sorry that times are tough for so many, and I'm hoping things will change (soon). Hang in there! A roof and food, a roof and food. I used to encourage us by saying, "Honey, we have a roof and food! That's more than most people all down through time have been able to say. Let's be thankful!"

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I felt it when I went to buy apples this fall. Usually I can find them seasonally for $0.50/lb. This year, never saw them for under $0.98. :( I estimate our food bill has risen over 50% in the last 4 or 5 years. The only reason we are not feeling the pinch is because I started working part time—though that in itself is a pinch!

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What happened?

 

Well, it used to cost only $20-30 to fill up your gas tank. Now it costs nearly $100.

 

A large container of goldfish crackers used to cost $5. Now it costs $7.

 

The tube of toothpaste used to be much bigger than it is now, meaning that now it won't last you nearly as long. You have to buy toothpaste more frequently.

 

If you take these examples and multiply it out across the spectrum, you can easily see why disposible income is disappearing.

 

:iagree:

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:grouphug: -- I know. We have friends here in Maine that have a dairy farm...things are NOT good. The $$ is in the middle-man's pocket.

I don't think so. The price of oil affects every step of farming, not just transporting to market, and that is what is driving up the cost. I don't believe anyone has more money in their pockets.

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