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I do agree with you on part of that. I do agree we should count our blessings. I do understand that we are relatively well off in comparison to other places in the world. And I agree that it is nice to think about when we are feeling low - as well as healthy children, a loving family, etc.

finances don't actually concern me much because they a only a small part of a fleeting life and they don't matter in the long run. I would much rather have what we have than be rich. I don't think it's our right to be rich, honestly. :)

I just have found that many times Irl, when someone is talking about a difficult financial situation, they place more guilt on themselves by saying 'I know, I shouldn't complain....there are people elsewhere who have it so much worse than me.' I think it's all in how you look at it - either as 'they have it much worse, at least we have _____' or 'I shouldn't complain, they have it much worse.' Kwim?

So in general, in practical conversations when someone is saying they can't afford to eat or pay their bills, I usually try to discourage any of the 'third world countries have it worse' talk. Because, while it is ok to have that perspective, it still isn't a practical solution or helpful in any practical way. :) (not trying to bust on anyone AT ALL. Just giving my perspective.). :)

 

I agree with this. If someone is venting or spilling emotion because things are so hard, meeting it with this attitude is less than helpful. But if someone is sincerely interested in ways to feel better (or is posting on a message board :D) I think remembering what we have by looking at others can help. It helps me to cultivate a spirit of gratitude rather than deprivation. Focussing on the "I have"s instead of the "I don't have"s changes the way I feel about my life.

 

Others should never, in any instance where there is suffering, hear, "It could be worse," offered as a platitude. The thoughts I share are only meant to be offered in a digging deeper context.

 

Things are hard. And today I am at the end of my rope. If someone told me today that I shouldn't feel badly because I am so much better off than others, I would cry. I just sent my 8YO out to play in cold weather with holes in her shoes. We can't make our October mortgage payment and I am tired of eating beans. DD8 is longing for a telescope for her birthday in two weeks and not only is she not getting it, I have to figure out how to tell her she isn't getting anything boughten. DD6 is flaring up again with her breathing and you know, I've had enough. I want someone to feel sorry for me. :crying: I want someone who will care a little bit about how hard things are for me right now.

 

But tomorrow, or the next day, I will be back. And that spirit of gratitude will help heal those broken places.

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You can't necessarily assume this. I could buy an iPhone 4 on Craig's List for ~$150 or an iPhone 3 for ~$100 and piggyback it on my folks' Consumer Cellular family plan. I have an Android phone (gift from my parents) and my share of the CC plan is only $25/mo, which is far less than what we had been paying for me to have a basic Internet phone through Verizon.

 

:iagree: we only have cell phones and get upgrade credit each year. Last year i got my htc phone free on black friday. This year I was able to get ds a iphone 4 free, also with upgrade credit and a sale. Our plan is one we have had for years. It is the best deal for three phones we can have and our ten year relationship with the company helps.

 

Were broke. We still have nice things from when we were not broke. We also have generous family. I am sick in bed typing on my phone, but otherwise our story is similar to many here. We have two cars paid for, yet one needs work and is parked.

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We are making the same amount of money that we were making 13 years ago. Thurteen years ago we were very comfortably middle class. When I went grocery shopping I just picked what I wanted and threw it in the basket. When the kids needed clothes we just went and picked what we wanted. We could go to the movies or out to eat whenever we felt like it. Holidays were no big financial stress.

 

Needless to say we can't easily live on the same amount of money as comfortablely these days. It has gotten progressviely worse over the last five years. I haven't done regular grocery shopping for about a year now. I just went with my hubby this passed week and I almost cried. This payday we have the choice to either pay the mortgage or get the breaks fixed (they are to the point where metal is scratching metal and it is not safe to drive) and get two new tires because the front ones are bald. I don't see things getting any better for at least six months. it's just as bad for everyone else that I know personally.

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Consider this. Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names. One fourth of the world lives without electricity. And half of the world lives with water and sanitation problems.

Now let’s think in terms of our income. In 2008 almost half of the world, over three billion people, brought home less than $1,000. At least 80 percent of the people in the world lived on less than $3,500.

 

There’s a website, globalrichlist.com, which calculates how rich you are compared to the rest of the world. Their figures are based on figures from the World Bank Development Research Group in the year 2000. Based on their calculations, if your annual income is $100,000 a year, you are richer than over 99% of the people in the world. If you bring home $40,000 a year, you are wealthier than 97% of the world. If you make $20,000 a year, you are still in the top 11% richest people in the world. In order to be in the world average, you only need to make $850 a year.

 

 

I know we are struggling and things look bad, but it can always be worse. :grouphug:

 

While I'm all for being grateful, I really think that when people are mourning and hurting, we should be mourning and hurting for them, not telling them they're really better off than they think.

 

I'm sure you didn't intend for your post to sound that way, but it kinda does.

 

From my perspective as someone who has for most of her adult life BTDT (i.e., knows firsthand what is is to be without material things), lived and worked in third world countries (Malawi, Mexico, Belize), and worked as a social worker for many years prior to marriage --

 

I respectfully disagree that kwickimom's post was hurtful.

 

For us personally, when we were struggling, yes, it was painful. But we encouraged ourselves with the fact that the basic human condition for most of time has been less comfortable than anything we were experiencing. During all my time overseas, the factor that made the deepest impression on me was human resilience. We are stronger than any economy, we are stronger than we've been lead to believe. But I do acknowledge that it hurts to go without basic needs for so long. And what is basic in Malawi would not begin to be basic in Missouri or Manhattan. Even so...

 

We in the well-fed, modern world can become so accustomed to the idea that life owes us something, or ought to be comfortable, or should be easier, or should eventually lead to prosperity. Where does that idea come from? Most people around the world today do not hold to this belief. They expect hardship from cradle to grave, and for most of them, that's exactly what they get.

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From my perspective as someone who has for most of her adult life BTDT (i.e., knows firsthand what is is to be without material things), lived and worked in third world countries (Malawi, Mexico, Belize), and worked as a social worker for many years prior to marriage --

 

I respectfully disagree that kwickimom's post was hurtful.

 

For us personally, when we were struggling, yes, it was painful. But we encouraged ourselves with the fact that the basic human condition for most of time has been less comfortable than anything we were experiencing. During all my time overseas, the factor that made the deepest impression on me was human resilience. We are stronger than any economy, we are stronger than we've been lead to believe. But I do acknowledge that it hurts to go without basic needs for so long. And what is basic in Malawi would not begin to be basic in Missouri or Manhattan. Even so...

 

We in the well-fed, modern world can become so accustomed to the idea that life owes us something, or ought to be comfortable, or should be easier, or should eventually lead to prosperity. Where does that idea come from? Most people around the world today do not hold to this belief. They expect hardship from cradle to grave, and for most of them, that's exactly what they get.

 

:iagree: :(

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Things are hard. And today I am at the end of my rope. If someone told me today that I shouldn't feel badly because I am so much better off than others, I would cry. I just sent my 8YO out to play in cold weather with holes in her shoes. We can't make our October mortgage payment and I am tired of eating beans. DD8 is longing for a telescope for her birthday in two weeks and not only is she not getting it, I have to figure out how to tell her she isn't getting anything boughten. DD6 is flaring up again with her breathing and you know, I've had enough. I want someone to feel sorry for me. :crying: I want someone who will care a little bit about how hard things are for me right now.

 

But tomorrow, or the next day, I will be back. And that spirit of gratitude will help heal those broken places.

 

:grouphug:

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I didn't take offense. I know you meant well.

 

Yes, this is really sad that people here are living this way. And, as a whole, this is a highly educated group of people compared to the rest of society. This sort of flouts the idea of "go to college and get a great job," doesn't it? In this economy, the rich keep getting richer and the middle class is disappearing.

 

:iagree: And let's not forget that we have third world conditions in some parts of the US. I have family with dirt floors, one need only drive through the inner city or Appalachians, for example, to see the same kind of poverty and devastation that we see on TV in other countries. So I tire of hearing about how much better we have it. Yes, most of us do, in comparison. But that doesn't make anyone's suffering less.

 

About cell phones, etc., most people I know have hand me down or used phones. They look nice, but they were cheap. Dh and I have "good" phones, but we save over $40 a month with these and we got them for a steal from Virgin Mobile. Due to travel needs and diabetes. We really have to have cell phones for our piece of mind. It is a small cost. Much less than many spend on junk food or cable. Luckily, we also have the option to go month to month if we can't afford it. My SIL's bf made better money (working factory with a hs diploma at only 19!) than my college prof dh. Then he lost his job. Ty have tons of nice stuff from "before", but it would cost them more to lose the car, or pay the disconnect on the phone, etc. than keep them. They have nice clothes & stuff. And she is an expert couponer and thrift store shopper. So it's best not to judge on appearances. :)

 

Don't quote-for privacy, I will delete later. I was homeless when pg with my ds. I had an 8 month old baby and I was so malnourished that my normally size 7 self got down to a 0 when I was 5 months pg. I stayed with friends or in my car. I ate one can of Great Value ravioli a day, on a good day. Eventually things turned around. It was slow, but I had a better job, a home and (thanks to a coworker that I owe forever) clothes when he was born. I still remember that every day. I am eternally grateful every day, but that doesn't mean I'm not fearful every day of being back there. It doesn't lessen the pain of now when I have to beg gas money from my kids.

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I keep shaking my head over this apparent dichotomy. This isn't an either-or issue.

 

The fact is that we are lucky in the U.S. and most of Europe. There are many people without electricity. I said in my post there are mothers, and I have friends who have worked with them, who mix salt with dirt to fill their children's bellies. And they don't have food pantries. There are many people without access to clean water. When you spend some time being grateful for those things it does help. It really does. I am saying this as someone who doesn't have money to buy a bra right now (with giant b00ks) so is living without one or shoes for her 8YO with winter coming. But spending some time in the place of gratitude with what we have compared to what so many lack does help.

 

I suppose that my perspective is permanently skewed towards gratitude, because I have lived and worked with people who had no choices, no hope of anything changing for the better. From cradle to grave, their lives were crushing and hard.

 

In one country, I naively asked a woman who looked pregnant when her baby was due. She told me she was dying with hepatitis. Her liver was swollen to the point that she appeared 9 months pregnant. She was exactly my age (22). I will never forget that experience, nor the realization of what life is like for people in countries with less than 1 doctor for every 10,000 people. :crying:

 

In Malawi, when I pulled out a first aid kit (for someone's small cut), people suddenly came running from all directions and lined up outside the hut. No one had shoes, so their feet were full of gashes and rashes. The people clearly expected me to wear latex gloves, for protection against "slim" (HIV/AIDS was called "slim" there). Everywhere I went, the furniture makers had all gone over to making coffins. Funerals every Tuesday and Thursday. Orphans in every village.

 

IDK, I suppose these realities forever changed my definition of poverty. I'm thankful every time I can get my toilet to flush.

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I suppose that my perspective is permanently skewed towards gratitude, because I have lived and worked with people who had no choices, no hope of anything changing for the better. From cradle to grave, their lives were crushing and hard.

 

I think it's a blessing to you that your perspective is that way. The more you can lovingly share that with others, the better off we'll be. You made me feel a little less pitiful. It is a fine line to walk though.

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See, we bought the Tahoe when gas was about $1.25/gal. It's approaching 10 years old. It's still cheaper to drive it than to buy a newer more efficient vehicle. I don't drive the Tahoe daily. I drive a 2002 ford windstar daily which gets about 18 mpg average. I try to only fill up when I have fuel perks to drive down the price. We are about 6 miles from a grocery store, 20 miles from my work, and 20-35 miles from most activities. I'm thinking of buying a *newer* vehicle in the spring but we still need something like a suburban for the carrying/towing capacity.

 

Oh, we all have to make choices, no doubt. We used to live farther from downtown, too. And we had our fling with the minivan before I realized I hated driving it, the gas mileage was bad and we didn't really need all of that space. We don't live a lifestyle in which towing would ever be an issue.

 

Actually, I'm bugged by the 25 average MPG I'm getting on the Scion. I did better with the MINI Clubman, but it just got unweildy once the kids and their friends got to be adult-sized people. I'm very much looking forward to downsizing the vehicle once I'm not hauling teens all over town. I'll probably go back to a MINI at that point.

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There is a psychological difference, however, between choosing to shop at thrift & consignment shops and having to do so. Back before the economy tanked, I generally did for the reasons you mentioned, but if I couldn't find what I was looking for, I had the option of going to the mall and paying regular retail. Also, because fewer people were shopping the thrift/consignment stores the selection tended to be better.

 

Well, we have to do so more often now. It doesn't really feel different to me.

 

Of course, I also drive a small-ish, fuel-efficient car because I like it and because I'm bothered by the environmental impact of large vehicles, even when I can afford them. We've vegans for ethical reasons, meaning the high prices of meat and milk don't affect me. I hate waste, even if it's not a big problem for my own, personal pocketbook. I enjoy creative problem solving when trying to figure out how to make do with what I have on hand or can get hold of free or cheap. I get a real thrill out of that kind of thing and take a lot of pride in doing more for less.

 

I get stressed about money only when I owe more to others than I can reasonably pay. I rarely mind not having any for myself.

Edited by Jenny in Florida
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You can't necessarily assume this. I could buy an iPhone 4 on Craig's List for ~$150 or an iPhone 3 for ~$100 and piggyback it on my folks' Consumer Cellular family plan. I have an Android phone (gift from my parents) and my share of the CC plan is only $25/mo, which is far less than what we had been paying for me to have a basic Internet phone through Verizon.

 

And few people pay the full price for their phones even if they do buy new. I have an iPhone 4 that was $99 new and we get a steep discount on the bill via my husband's work and we don't have a landline. We pay less for phones than many who don't have smart phones. It is less than we paid for our cell phones before and far less than the cost of the old phones plus the landline.

Edited by kijipt
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I think it's a blessing to you that your perspective is that way. The more you can lovingly share that with others, the better off we'll be. You made me feel a little less pitiful. It is a fine line to walk though.

 

:grouphug: It is a fine line. I hope I have a sensitivity to where people really are, here and now. My neighbors are going to lose their home, and when they're moving out their stuff, they won't be thinking about how much better off they are than the people in Malawi.

 

Encouragement doesn't always mean that we can "fix things" for people in need. Oftentimes, we can't. In Africa, the needs were so overwhelming, just mind-boggling. Even the softest heart would not know where to begin. I certainly didn't.

 

These days, I honestly believe we are in serious trouble here in the USA/Canada/Europe (and perhaps elsewhere). I don't think it's hardhearted to say that there is a need for us to put on courage, grit, fortitude, resilience, and a calm, patient hope that God will turn things around and provide if we ask Him to.

 

To encourage means "to put in courage, to hearten, to spur on." That is, we acknowledge in hard times that we need to move forward with courage. If times were not hard, we could move forward without it.

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:grouphug: It is a fine line. I hope I have a sensitivity to where people really are, here and now. My neighbors are going to lose their home, and when they're moving out their stuff, they won't be thinking about how much better off they are than the people in Malawi.

 

Encouragement doesn't always mean that we can "fix things" for people in need. Oftentimes, we can't. In Africa, the needs were so overwhelming, just mind-boggling. Even the softest heart would not know where to begin. I certainly didn't.

 

These days, I honestly believe we are in serious trouble here in the USA/Canada/Europe (and perhaps elsewhere). I don't think it's hardhearted to say that there is a need for us to put on courage, grit, fortitude, resilience, and a calm, patient hope that God will turn things around and provide if we ask Him to.

 

To encourage means "to put in courage, to hearten, to spur on." That is, we acknowledge in hard times that we need to move forward with courage. If times were not hard, we could move forward without it.

 

Wise. Thank you.

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From my perspective as someone who has for most of her adult life BTDT (i.e., knows firsthand what is is to be without material things), lived and worked in third world countries (Malawi, Mexico, Belize), and worked as a social worker for many years prior to marriage --

 

I respectfully disagree that kwickimom's post was hurtful.

 

For us personally, when we were struggling, yes, it was painful. But we encouraged ourselves with the fact that the basic human condition for most of time has been less comfortable than anything we were experiencing. During all my time overseas, the factor that made the deepest impression on me was human resilience. We are stronger than any economy, we are stronger than we've been lead to believe. But I do acknowledge that it hurts to go without basic needs for so long. And what is basic in Malawi would not begin to be basic in Missouri or Manhattan. Even so...

 

We in the well-fed, modern world can become so accustomed to the idea that life owes us something, or ought to be comfortable, or should be easier, or should eventually lead to prosperity. Where does that idea come from? Most people around the world today do not hold to this belief. They expect hardship from cradle to grave, and for most of them, that's exactly what they get.

 

So glad you posted this. I have learned the hard way that this line of thinking is just wrong wrong wrong.

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We in the well-fed, modern world can become so accustomed to the idea that life owes us something, or ought to be comfortable, or should be easier, or should eventually lead to prosperity. Where does that idea come from? Most people around the world today do not hold to this belief. They expect hardship from cradle to grave, and for most of them, that's exactly what they get.

 

I would be the last person to say that life owes us something. I would be the first person to say we should be content in all things. I am the first person to say suck it up and keep on marching.

 

Do I think better days are coming? Yes. But with the poverty, foodstamps, and unemployment in this country right now, I'm mourning with those who mourn.

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You can't necessarily assume this. I could buy an iPhone 4 on Craig's List for ~$150 or an iPhone 3 for ~$100 and piggyback it on my folks' Consumer Cellular family plan. I have an Android phone (gift from my parents) and my share of the CC plan is only $25/mo, which is far less than what we had been paying for me to have a basic Internet phone through Verizon.

 

See, even spending $100-$150 on a phone seems like a lot to me. :blushing:

 

I have a $19 phone (had it for four years) and a pay as you go plan. I buy $100 worth of service every year--and use it mainly for emergencies.

 

I guess everybody has different priorities. :)

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See, even spending $100-$150 on a phone seems like a lot to me. :blushing:

 

I have a $19 phone (had it for four years) and a pay as you go plan. I buy $100 worth of service every year--and use it mainly for emergencies.

 

I guess everybody has different priorities. :)

 

And I thought my husband and I were the only people in America with that kind of cell phone...

Here's to being frugal!

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During all my time overseas, the factor that made the deepest impression on me was human resilience. We are stronger than any economy, we are stronger than we've been lead to believe. But I do acknowledge that it hurts to go without basic needs for so long. And what is basic in Malawi would not begin to be basic in Missouri or Manhattan.

 

You do what you have to. About 5 years ago I remember saying, "We can't live on $30K per year!" In 2009, our household income was right around $15K. Things happened during that time and decisions were made that have scarred my dh for life. Laugh if you want, but it was traumatic for him not to be able to buy food for his family.

 

Life is hard, and we've had to make hard decisions. We're doing well now, but that is with two incomes. We struggled and struggled and struggled for a long time. It wears on you after awhile.

 

Everyone needs hope. If you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, it isn't so hard. When I could say, "I just need to graduate in May and everything will be better," I was able to relax and stop worrying so much. When you have no hope, it's hard to get through the regular day to day activities.

 

:grouphug: to everyone.

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You do what you have to. About 5 years ago I remember saying, "We can't live on $30K per year!" In 2009, our household income was right around $15K. Things happened during that time and decisions were made that have scarred my dh for life. Laugh if you want, but it was traumatic for him not to be able to buy food for his family.

 

Life is hard, and we've had to make hard decisions. We're doing well now, but that is with two incomes. We struggled and struggled and struggled for a long time. It wears on you after awhile.

 

Everyone needs hope. If you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, it isn't so hard. When I could say, "I just need to graduate in May and everything will be better," I was able to relax and stop worrying so much. When you have no hope, it's hard to get through the regular day to day activities.

 

:grouphug: to everyone.

 

How true!

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See, even spending $100-$150 on a phone seems like a lot to me. :blushing:

 

I have a $19 phone (had it for four years) and a pay as you go plan. I buy $100 worth of service every year--and use it mainly for emergencies.

 

I guess everybody has different priorities. :)

 

Not necessarily priorities, but location and lifestyle. We are very isolated from family. I will spend the extra couple dollars a month for our limited (300 minimum) minutes so I can talk to my mom or dad. And that price doesn't go everywhere. Many of us who are more rural have limited cell providers, so less competition. That means less choice of carrier and less price options. And if you want a carrier that actually has coverage (like here in corn country!), that narrows it further. The cheapest ones simply are dead zones anywhere you would need the phone for an emergency. My dd has a $10 phone for emergencies and $20 on it for emergencies & contacting me at sports. That's lasted 6 months. Unfortunately it dies really quickly and doesn't work most areas around here. So not a good bargain, in the end.

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See, even spending $100-$150 on a phone seems like a lot to me. :blushing:

 

I have a $19 phone (had it for four years) and a pay as you go plan. I buy $100 worth of service every year--and use it mainly for emergencies.

 

I guess everybody has different priorities. :)

 

Or balances the budget in different ways.

 

As others have already said, many people use cell phones in place of several other services (land lines, internet at home, etc.).

 

Or they get their phones as gifts or have them left over from better days . . .

 

Edit: I just went back a couple of pages and noticed your signature says you're typing on an iPad? So, maybe some of those folks who spend $100 on a phone but skip the $500 additional gadget do, indeed, have different priorities.

Edited by Jenny in Florida
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Yes, I agree that we have different priorities. There amy be something you do/have that I would find frivolous or not worth spending the $$ on.

 

I did get an iphone 4 off of CL for what I thought was a low amount. I also use a pre-paid phone plan for unlimited talk, data and texting for $42/mo. I talk over 3,000 min. a month and your plan would not work for me.

 

But my friends and family are very important to me and I feel that it is worth it to me to stay in touch.

 

Now, if I could not afford it, that would be different, but we can.

 

Dh's phone is through work so we don't pay.

 

See, even spending $100-$150 on a phone seems like a lot to me. :blushing:

 

I have a $19 phone (had it for four years) and a pay as you go plan. I buy $100 worth of service every year--and use it mainly for emergencies.

 

I guess everybody has different priorities. :)

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Which is entertaining and a little acurate in that we are all very rich in some ways. BUT, it doesn't take into consideration the cost of living.

 

You also need to factor in the standard of living. In a 3rd world country having a roof over your head & food on the table is what is aimed for. Having electricity, multiple (ie more than a couple) changes of clothing, a vehicle, education for your children, etc. are all luxuries well beyond the hope of many families. Yes, many of us (including my own family) are feeling poorer this year when compared a few years back. I believe that this economic down-turn is in reality going to be the new normal. We (ie the Western World) have been living well beyond our means (both as individuals & as nations.) This could not continue indefinitely & we are the unlucky generation to grow up during the "rich" period, but raise our families during the "crash." Our readjustment will be no less painful than what our grandparents & great-grandparents went through in the Great Depression IMHO. Here in NZ jobs are still being lost & not many new jobs are being created. There is forecast to be lots of work in Christchurch coming up as we rebuild the city, but housing, etc. is very scarce in CHCH & they are closing numerous schools, etc., so relocating the family isn't really an option. DH worked away from home in CHCH for months at a time for most of last year to have work & next year we may have to relook at this option again as there simply isn't work in our provience. Putting our problems into perspective isn't meant to belittle anyone's pain, but is a necessary part of healing & moving on.

 

Blessings,

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Edit: I just went back a couple of pages and noticed your signature says you're typing on an iPad? So, maybe some of those folks who spend $100 on a phone but skip the $500 additional gadget do, indeed, have different priorities.

 

Wow snarky. If I hit a nerve, I'm sorry.

 

As my shock over iPhone prices seem to have caused such interest, I'll also put in a plug for Verizon's Hopline Program--recycling of used cellphones for domestic violence survivors. If you have any old cell phones lying around, and don't know what to do with them, consider donating them.

http://aboutus.verizonwireless.com/communityservice/Shipping.html

Edited by umsami
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Wow, that must be some gas tank! I filled my car (which seats five) last night for $43.

 

MY gas tank holds 50 litres (about 13-14 gallons). We gets about a week's driving on a tank, if we only do running around town, no trips out of town. It has cost us $100+ / fill-up for the last 5+ years. With the oil refinery only ~30 miles from our house, you'd think we'd have cheaper fuel. :confused:

 

 

My car is a 1994 Toyota sedan. A newer car would probably get better gas mileage, but as new cars cost more than we make in a year, we keep praying that our current car keeps going. Even a ten year old used car would cost $10k-$15k, well beyond what we can afford. When we first moved back to NZ we had to put in new seat belts every time we had another baby as the car we had then was built before they had seatbelts! It was older than me :tongue_smilie:. At least our current one was built after we were married.

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Wow snarky.

 

I apologize. I honestly didn't intend to be snarky. I was just trying to point out that none of us ever really knows why other families make the decisions they do. It seemed to me like your comment implied a certain opinion about folks who have made different choices, which I thought might not necessarily be fair. Sometimes, we assume our choices make sense but forget that others make decisions for reasons that are equally appropriate for them, even if we don't, from the outside, understand.

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MY gas tank holds 50 litres (about 13-14 gallons). We gets about a week's driving on a tank, if we only do running around town, no trips out of town. It has cost us $100+ / fill-up for the last 5+ years. With the oil refinery only ~30 miles from our house, you'd think we'd have cheaper fuel. :confused:

 

I'm afraid I don't know anything about the exchange rate between US and NZ currency or the comparative cost of living. I do know that, regardless of how much we like to complain, Americans actually have it pretty easy when it comes to the cost of fuel.

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I believe that this economic down-turn is in reality going to be the new normal. We (ie the Western World) have been living well beyond our means (both as individuals & as nations.) This could not continue indefinitely & we are the unlucky generation to grow up during the "rich" period, but raise our families during the "crash." Our readjustment will be no less painful than what our grandparents & great-grandparents went through in the Great Depression IMHO.

 

:iagree:

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I apologize. I honestly didn't intend to be snarky. I was just trying to point out that none of us ever really knows why other families make the decisions they do. It seemed to me like your comment implied a certain opinion about folks who have made different choices, which I thought might not necessarily be fair. Sometimes, we assume our choices make sense but forget that others make decisions for reasons that are equally appropriate for them, even if we don't, from the outside, understand.

 

I apologize too. :)

 

 

 

So new question... if you agree that this might be the new norm, how are you raising your kids differently than you were raised? Like in our house, we try and do the three cups thing (I think it's similar to Dave Ramsey), where kids portion out money in terms of long-term savings, spending, and charity (some programs also do investing).

 

We limit toys/gift at birthdays, holidays, etc. and often try and go for a family gift or family experience.

 

When they're older, we'll talk about credit cards, interest rates, debt, budgets, etc. I would really like them to think/get used to living off of 75% of whatever they make or less--and saving 25%. Oh how I wish I had done that...especially before I had kids. :)

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Wow snarky. If I hit a nerve, I'm sorry.

 

As my shock over iPhone prices seem to have caused such interest, I'll also put in a plug for Verizon's Hopline Program--recycling of used cellphones for domestic violence survivors. If you have any old cell phones lying around, and don't know what to do with them, consider donating them.

http://aboutus.verizonwireless.com/communityservice/Shipping.html

 

No nerve hit here. We have iPhones left over from the time we could afford them. My husband spent this evening replacing the battery in his with a kit he bought online, because the phone is out of warranty and we can't afford a new one or to get it fixed by a professional. My phone is a year older than his but still works.

 

I'm sure those phones raise a few eyebrows when I explain there are things we can't afford, but I don't go around feeling sensitive about it. I know we, like pretty much everyone else, are doing the best we can.

 

We've donated old phones through a program my husband's employer sponsors. I loved knowing they were going to a second life instead of cluttering up the drawers in our house.

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I'm afraid I don't know anything about the exchange rate between US and NZ currency or the comparative cost of living. I do know that, regardless of how much we like to complain, Americans actually have it pretty easy when it comes to the cost of fuel.

 

Exchange rate is only valid if you are paying with foreign currency (ie if I paid for my gas with US$, but was charged in NZ$.) Cost of living is high here when compared with the States. Food, power, phone, rent, taxes, etc. are all way, way higher that what my siblings pay back "home." Even our PS isn't free. I will admit that tertiary education is cheaper, but most uni students don't have the option of all the extras (ie dorms, food plans, etc.) that I remember from when I went to uni in the States & scholarships are quite rare. Healthcare is much, much cheaper, but we get no choice in how our healthcare is provided. If you want choice, you must have private insurance or pay for it yourself. Medical waiting lists are a fact of life here, something that I don't believe would go over well back in my hometown.

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So new question... if you agree that this might be the new norm, how are you raising your kids differently than you were raised? Like in our house, we try and do the three cups thing (I think it's similar to Dave Ramsey), where kids portion out money in terms of long-term savings, spending, and charity (some programs also do investing).

 

Well, I don't agree that this is the new norm. I'm old enough to have lived through several economic downturns, and I'm certain this one will pass, too. I'm not in any way minimizing the trauma that this crisis has caused/is causing to people. I know there will be long-term consequences for many of us, especially the young people who will have their educational options curtailed because there is no money to go to college or because they have to skip school and work to help their families. I'm just saying I do believe things will get better relatively soon.

 

My husband and I come from very different approaches to money. My parents consistently spent more than they earned and indulged me (an only child) to a ridiculous degree. On the other hand, my husband's parents were extremely responsible with money and raised their four kids very frugally on much less money than they earned. Interestingly, it's my husband who gets upset when he can't spend money frivolously, while I'm very comfortable making do with less.

 

We've never indulged our kids like I was, but they definitely have more stuff and more opportunities than my husband and his brothers did. We don't consistently give allowances, and we have no rules about how they spend the money they get (other than that they may not buy things we don't want them to have). My daughter is turning out very much like me about money, and my son is much more like my husband. I hope I'm modelling good daily habits for both of them.

 

We also communicate with them as much information as seems age appropriate, asking for their cooperation in cutting back when things are tight, trying to cultivate gratitude (without guilt) for the cool things we can do and have when times are better. I'm honestly not terribly interested in money, not enough, anyway, to spend a lot of energy bugging my kids about it.

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Exchange rate is only valid if you are paying with foreign currency (ie if I paid for my gas with US$, but was charged in NZ$.) Cost of living is high here when compared with the States. Food, power, phone, rent, taxes, etc. are all way, way higher that what my siblings pay back "home."

 

You're right. I didn't mean "exchange rate," I guess. I meant I don't know how the actual value of the US dollar compares to the NZ dollar and can't, therefore, get a good sense of the difference in how much things cost there. As I said, though, I do know that Americans generally have it pretty cushy when it comes to gasoline prices in comparison to other countries. It does kind of put it in perspective, doesn't it?

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if you agree that this might be the new norm, how are you raising your kids differently than you were raised?

 

Yes, my kids are being raised with a much different standard of living than my brothers and I had growing up, even though my DH's salary is higher than what my dad made in inflation-adjusted dollars.

 

The basics are so much higher these days that we don't have the disposable cash for many of the extras my parents had growing up- a 2nd car, vacations to places other than relatives, private music lessons for my brothers and I, martial arts for my brothers and community theater for me, getting pizza delivery or Chinese takeout a couple times per month, "date nights" for my parents to see a play/ballet/symphony several times per year, etc.

 

We do have a bunch of gadgets that weren't available when I was growing up but I'm pretty sure we are not spending a higher percentage of our income on cell service than my parents paid for two landlines and long-distance phone calls.

 

I was raised with the expectation that if I worked hard, graduated from a prestigious college, and married someone who was also hard-working and well-educated, I would have a solidly upper-middle-class lifestyle like my parents.

 

Our kids are learning a much different lesson- you can do everything "right" and it still may not be enough. :(

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I would really like them to think/get used to living off of 75% of whatever they make or less--and saving 25%. Oh how I wish I had done that...especially before I had kids. :)

 

Hubby comes from a few generations of middle income and they are used to saving at least 50% of their income. I come from a few generations of business owners and we typically save more than 50% of income. Our mortgage is 22% of income. The reason we put aside so much is so that we can survive on a single income and also pay off our mortgage faster if we wish to.

 

Our kids are still young but we intend for them to stay home instead of renting when they turn 18. Rental cost is just not worth it in our opinion.

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my husband works his tail off and makes a decent wage. His gas and travel expenses are paid for by his company, but, We live thriftily. Never go out to eat, shop at thrift stores or garage sales or rely on hand me downs. Luckily we have many children the same gender and clothes can be passed on. We don't have cable or satellite and only have internet because my kids school (the high schooler) and DH's work pay for it because they need it and we don't have credit cards either. We spend at MOST $450 on food and toiletries for 8 people a month. We only travel when needed and now our new to us for 6 months truck just died. Another expense.

 

HOWEVER, we are happy and the kids don't know how to live any differently. Birthdays are about cake and ice cream vs. presents and Christmas is about making cookies and family time rather than presents because unless its from a grandparent, it just doesn't always happen. I count my blessings everyday though and pray every night that something will change. Because sometimes I'd love to put LOTS under the christmas tree or take the kids to a movie. But in the end we have love and health and are warm and fed. Our needs are met mostly, even if our wants aren't :)

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Well, I don't agree that this is the new norm. I'm old enough to have lived through several economic downturns, and I'm certain this one will pass, too. I'm not in any way minimizing the trauma that this crisis has caused/is causing to people. I know there will be long-term consequences for many of us, especially the young people who will have their educational options curtailed because there is no money to go to college or because they have to skip school and work to help their families. I'm just saying I do believe things will get better relatively soon.

 

:iagree:There are already many signs of improvement in the economy.

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:iagree:There are already many signs of improvement in the economy.

 

It will be interesting to see if you are correct. Personally, I don't think we are out of the woods yet. I have no doubt that things will improve eventually, but I do think that things are going to get worse before they get better. I hope I'm wrong.

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I was raised poor when i was little, but my mom always bought me toys even if we were hungry. Until she remarried. then only my brothers got things. I remember this strawberry shortcake doll that had a massive hole in it. I got it from the thrift store. I wanted one for ages, but we couldn't afford it. My mom was mortified by it, but I was ecstatic. It just needed "love". :) . My mom is still an indulger, and my much younger brothers are massively spoiled in the worst sense. One broke a tablet in 11 days and requested an ipad ASAP. This was after breaking 4 phones and 2 ITouches in a year. :glare: I was lucky to get clothes at their age. Literally. I was never given or bought clothes after age 14, because my stepdad thought it unimportant. What I learned was frugality, but I do find myself in the position of oldest child who wants it *now* when I'm in a bad mood. :lol: dh was spoiled by big expensive items whenever he wanted, and still doesn't understand why we can't afford new guitars on whims. :001_huh: I do not buy my kids toys except for birthdays/Christmas. If they want anything at all-even a stick of gum, they earn their money. I always have extra chores that need done. :)

 

I don't know if the economy is improving, but we at least haven't had big layoffs around here again this year.

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It will be interesting to see if you are correct. Personally, I don't think we are out of the woods yet. I have no doubt that things will improve eventually, but I do think that things are going to get worse before they get better. I hope I'm wrong.

 

:iagree: That's the way things are looking here. Many people here were heading to Australia for a better life, but what I've read lately in our local paper seems to suggest that even there things are getting tough.

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:iagree:There are already many signs of improvement in the economy.

 

This is what they tell us on the news (until yesterday's company earnings anyway). We are not seeing it where I live and we're in a place that usually doesn't get hit by the economy. It did this time and has moved with other ups and downs due to this downturn. It's not moving up right now (here).

 

Perhaps it is happening elsewhere.

 

:grouphug: to all who are seriously hurting. Our income has been down and we've changed a ton of our spending due to it, but for right now, we're still surviving - just without the extra travel and "fun" we used to have. I miss those things, but such is life.

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You do what you have to. About 5 years ago I remember saying, "We can't live on $30K per year!" In 2009, our household income was right around $15K. Things happened during that time and decisions were made that have scarred my dh for life. Laugh if you want, but it was traumatic for him not to be able to buy food for his family.

 

Life is hard, and we've had to make hard decisions. We're doing well now, but that is with two incomes. We struggled and struggled and struggled for a long time. It wears on you after awhile.

 

Everyone needs hope. If you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, it isn't so hard. When I could say, "I just need to graduate in May and everything will be better," I was able to relax and stop worrying so much. When you have no hope, it's hard to get through the regular day to day activities.

 

:grouphug: to everyone.

I remember. You guys had such a horrible time. I'm so glad things are so much better for you now. :grouphug:

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When I grew up, we were extremely broke. No tv until my teens and then it was black and white (I'm not that old), no car except for an old junker every so often (including an old VW beetle with missing floorboard and smelled like pot), my brother and I were latchkey kids since my single mom had to work long hours, I wore my brothers hand-me-downs until I was in school then it was cousins hand-me-downs or hand-made, never had a salon haircut or perm until I was a teen, walks to the store where there wasn't enough for a penny gumball (I do remember a penny but it was usually a nickel), clothes hanging to dry all over the apartment.

 

Comparatively speaking, my kids are super spoiled.

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This is what they tell us on the news (until yesterday's company earnings anyway). We are not seeing it where I live and we're in a place that usually doesn't get hit by the economy. It did this time and has moved with other ups and downs due to this downturn. It's not moving up right now (here).

 

Perhaps it is happening elsewhere.

 

Nationally, the unemployment rate has gone down over the past few months. Around here, we have seen a lot of new businesses come in or expand, over the past year. Help Wanted signs are in many store fronts, which I hadn't seen on a regular basis for a couple of years. Housing is going up again (never dropped as housing was already low here, but did stop climbing for a while), homes are selling faster.

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There are already many signs of improvement in the economy.

 

This must REALLY vary by location and industry because from where I'm sitting, things are getting worse again.

 

My DH was just telling me last night that the tech industry is in for a whole bunch of layoffs soon because of the shift away from PC's to mobile devices.

 

Gas prices spiked a couple weeks ago and even though they've come down slightly in the past few days, they are still way above what they were a month ago.

 

The state budget will trigger automatic mid-year cuts if the tax hike proposition doesn't pass next month, and that will mean a lot more layoffs of civil servants.

 

And don't even get me started about the "fiscal cliff" and what that might do...

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