The next three days is community wide yard sales in the nearby twin towns we live near. People have been cleaning closets and emptying attics for a few weeks, hoping to make some extra money. Many here are unemployed, some under employed, some retired but watching their investments dwindle. There are more yard sales this year than ever before according to many I talked with today. Thing is, compared to last year, this first day has seen little traffic.
No surprise there when more people are holding yard sales instead of shopping them. Our local historical society has a sale too & once again I donated a few items to it. We did NOT hold a yard sale. Sweetie hasn't bothered to haul anything out of the pole barn and the items I had collected from the house, I either donated to the historical society or placed in a friend's sale.
I volunteered a couple hours at the library sale and bought a denim dress and bed pillow for $1.00. Also stopped at the local food pantry with a donation then came home with a pie tin containing 12 cinnamon rolls made by a friend. They were a gift for bringing her daughter to an art gallery tour and fused glass class yesterday.
Instead of shopping today I did more donating and visiting. And everywhere I stopped I heard similar remarks: "It's getting tougher." "We hope to make enough this week to keep our cell phone turned on." I asked if they had a land line. "No, they're not convenient."
Guess that depends on how one's life is structured.
When I returned home I had a couple emails. One asked: "Would you explain to me how someone like you with so little money is always giving and not complaining about having bills?"
I know this person quite well and we've talked in the past about stocking a pantry; keeping an emergency kit on hand and stashing a few cases of drinking water. Maybe I'm tired today. I am in pain due to the RA which doesn't flares up in humidity. So I had little to say. After reading her question to Sweetie and staring at the computer screen awhile all I could say was, "We're willing to go without things. Social entertainment that requires purchasing a ticket is off the radar for us. We usually grow a garden but this year only managed basil, green peppers and tomatoes."
Awhile later she emailed again. "How do you afford eating steak then?"
I sighed and said: "Refer to my previous answer."
When we first moved here people felt sorry for us because we had such a small income, drove older vehicles and lived in a mobile home. Some still feel the same way but for the most part they're snobs who need to prop their egos up with shiny cars, large homes and monthly payments.
The people who've dared to get to know us marvel at our thriftiness and ingenuity. Some joke that if they "were as cheap as" us, they'd eat steak too. By the way, the New York strip was on sale for $2.49#. We bough four slabs & had it cut into 56 steaks!
Despite the continued downturn people still don't get it. Adjust your habits & expectations and do more for yourself and you'll have more on less money. Simple plan but hard to follow for many.