Tuesday, November 16, 2010

a call for your comments...

“I don’t talk much politics here”. We have our views but choose to keep them quiet here. But one thing I will say is this… No one, yes, NO one held us at gun point and handcuffed and said, “GO OUT and spend over your heads, buy a house you cannot afford and while you are at it a few really nice cars on payments”. No one forced us to buy what we truly did not need. Not the Democrats, not the Republicans and not the Conservatives. We have done this to ourselves, we have over spent. I am not preaching at you, we are very guilty as well. We have been downsizing ourselves (obviously) a few years with the beginning in the winter of 2007-2008. We have learned many hard and tough lessons as well… We obviously do not have it figured out yet. We have goals to continue our simplification and you will see them being accomplished as we write about them. Sometimes the failures too. So with that being said I ask you this:

The question here is for all of you to weigh in on. I think this could be a valuable adult discussion between all of us.

What are you and your family personally doing during the “recession” turning to_________ to be better prepared for what could be coming? What changes have you made or are making? Do you think we have seen the worst of it yet? Do you think "it" is over?
PLEASE share with us? Come out of the dark per se and have this be your first time to comment here. We are truly interested. I wonder what all of you are doing around the globe and how you are feeling “it”…

Until we all are willing to take responsibility for our spending actions, until we are willing to produce a solution to emerge from this and work together, I fear it can only get worse. We need to be responsible and own up to our part in it…

Please share…


Deb said...

I think it will get worse, food prices are so high and keep going up, I don't know what Older people that are on SS, are gonna do, they will not get a raise this year, you are right we have no one to blame but ourselves, I have a good job,with USDA, and I thank Yahweh for it,I raise a garden , can and freeze what I can get my hands on, have chickens for eggs, I don't want my children to go hungry..I need to save and spend better.. I don't worry so much about me , but my family...

Ma said...

We decided to put off building our dream home & are fixing up where we are now. (little by little) Also we already raise chickens,ducks & hogs but are thinking of getting a milk goat for those needs & also a steer to raise for meat.
We're keeping the garden going as much as we can with the season. We also canned alot more this year. I am also in the process of buying on sales & in bulk to build up food storage.-Especially water.
We're also trying to build up a supply of animal feeds.

To do as much as we can to be self-sufficient is our plan at the moment.
I've been also searching the internet for ideas & have found some really good ones.

Homemaker Ang said...

Keep the comments coming! 2 so far! Thank you Deb and Ma!

I cannot really comment well through my phone but just because I don't please keep talkin!

you can always email me at angela@maplevalleyfarms.net

thank you!

Stephanie said...

We did our first garden this past summer, and while it didn't produce much more than a weekly salad, we learned a lot and plan to upgrade in size this coming summer. My hope is to can/freeze what we grow.
We have gone back to more home cooking...when I was working I took the easy route. Now I make all my own bread, am learning new recipes so in case their are shortages of things, I can make do.
We have always been a frugal family...used or hand-me-down clothes and that hasn't changed. When we do have to buy something, we check the thrift stores first.
I am building up a pantry slow but sure, so if something should happen and I can't go to a store, we have food.
It will definitely get worse...there is no doubt about that.

Ryan said...

I still dream about my dream home. Something highly efficient and low cost to run. For now we rent, we have cut our spending as much as we can and are saving and giving a lot. We have shifted our food sources to our garden and farmers markets, because of the health and good taste. Nancy has canned lots of stuff and we have bartered with that stuff for meat.

I don't think there will be a horrible collapse of the US economy in our generation just that it will get 'worse' than it is. Worse being like now is worse than the 1980's.

If the absolute worst things happened Technological improvements (like the iPhone) will keep happening. What we will see will be like India. The majority class will be eaking by with their own economy and actions. But there will still be a lot of super rich playing the capitalist and government game well. Democrats will do their best to pacify the masses. Republicans will encourage the masses to work hard to be like them, which is just going to seam like a slap in the face to those that are without. Esp since the masses used to have so much more, or at least their parents had a much better life.

But the worst will not happen. The western consumerist growth will grow by raising up africa, asia, south america, and eastern europe.

Jamie Cooley said...

Our family has drastically reduced spending. We use to go on vacation every year, wether we could afford it or not. Now we realized that it isn't worth it to go into credit card debt in order to travel. We make our own laundry soap, and drive our vehicles until they are way past what most people consider 'usable'. We have a long way to go for sure, but we are open to ideas & would love to become more self reliant & 'green'. Baby steps seem to work best. I've learned that if you make too many drastic changes at once, your family will protest. :)

Treasures Evermore said...

Once again...wonderful post and great questions.

We live in Western Canada so our economy hasn't suffered as much...but I do know the Eastern provinces have felt the rumblings from the US.

We try very hard to eat organically even if it costs more...but we then refuse to spend on other things. We purchase most of our clothes from thrift stores...and anything extra my children want they have to earn themselves...but when they finally have money in their hands, they don't want to spend it. So needless to say, we are not a household full of toys (thankful for that). We just bought a small acreage and are planning on having chickens for eggs and meat birds again...I do a lot of my own canning. We eat most of our food from scratch and we also decided to eat a lot less. We all over in this country and the portions are WAY to BIG...so we downsize our portions and that makes the meals go farther.

As far as will the economy get worse...I think it will get worse before it gets better...but will it get better, that is the million dollar question. I guess it depends on who you speak too...as a born again Christian, I am not worrying too much...I am trusting in God and not what the world says. I just live every day and don't borrow from tomorrow as it has enough worries of it's own. I ask God for wisdom each day so that I make wise choices financially...but more importantly, am I storing up my treasures here or in heaven? And if I am storing up my treasures in heaven, God will take care of the rest.

Sorry that went on so long.

Treasures Evermore said...

Sorry...I mean to say "over eat or over indulge".

Anonymous said...

We are trying to simplify our lives, not in the way that you are, but we are selling off real estate we own, and a business, and repairing things around the house that need repaired. We are trying to eliminate "stuff" because Bob will be retiring before long and are just trying to get our ducks in a row. I think, if our current President stays in office for another 4 years, we will be in very deep trouble. I am counting on the people of this great nation to come to their senses and get him out of office. Our grand children will be hurt the most by all this spending, and I hate to see that happen...debbie

Melody said...

We sold our house at a loss last may and moved into a teeny tiny apartment with exactly 4' of usable counter in the kitchen space. We've been licking our wounds so to speak and now finally with the land we bought a couple of years ago we are building a house and a farm (I think we get to break ground next month!). We've been selling off a lot of our extra goods on Ebay to help pay off some debts. I'm also trying to return to work (which I hate mind you) to really work on those bills for a bit. Its like you say, we made this mess..now we bust tail to get out of it!
I think the recession could get worse but its really bringing out a lot of people's ability to be frugal and resourceful; much less wasteful and much more family centric.

Joannah said...

Losing Michael has really made me feel loosely tethered to this earth. Stuff just doesn't matter as much anymore. My heart is in Heaven, and that's my goal.

I have taken on debt in the pursuit of parenthood. That's something I'm working to eliminate. I'd love to move somewhere less "flashy" and live a simpler life. Maybe not as simple as your life, but simpler than mine! :)

Rita said...

I think we will all live on less. Maybe the way people lived in the 50's. Only with out the excitement of life only getting better. Some will feel as if it is awful and yet I find those times to bring peace with more work and more rest. Using what we have and making do. Fixing things and being creative. I don't think I'll mind it nearly as much as some. I've always lived frugally. I think to each his own. Some will garden some will buy carefully and buy loss leaders etc. Some will sew and others will do other things to conserve. I remember the food my mother cooked in the 50's and I am already working my way back to that. The food was plain and very enjoyable. Potatoes could be fixed so many ways and still can. :) I'm not afraid but I am making changes.

Bluebell Country said...

We've taken what we had saved and built a house, it's not finished but mortgage free...we have gardens, chickens, and we try to preserve what we can. We don't have car payments, and live a cash only buying policy. We also had to learn the hard way of over spending. The Lord has graciously always provided and kept us! We have just about a years worth of food stored in our large pantry, and continue to stock up.
yes, it is going to get worse before it gets better, and we've done it to ourselves...your absolutely right.
Your IA friend,KA

Ann at eightacresofeden said...

Our economy is meant to be the strongest - the talk is Australia came through the recession hardly ruffled. Our dollar is on parity with your dollar at present BUT there is going to be a big price to pay for the outlandish 'stimulation' spending that propped us up. Our country has huge debt and has wasted so much money on government schemes which were true fiascoes(a roof insulation rebate scheme was one example - good idea, terrible implementation, it even cost lives) and has sold off many of its assets including productive farmland to overseas companies.
Power prices are going through the roof which affects the cost of everything else. Because of the strong dollar our interest rates are going up again.
As for me and my family - we are doing our best. Establishing our food gardens. Living more simply, spending more wisely on what we actually need. I can't believe how much plastic rubbish disguised as toys parents are loading into their trolleys at the moment. I'm always looking for the balanced approach. I don't like the term self-sufficient mainly because of the word self. It is not just about us and each man or family for his own. God is my provider and I do believe He will send the rain in its season to water the gardens we plant. He will give us what we need to come through any crisis. I also don't believe we serve a destitute God and sometimes our thriftiness can backfire. The cheap pans that burn out after a few months use. The cheap chain store clothing that looks like rags after a few washes. My solution - buy as new quality and designer clothes at garage sales - often cheaper than the chain store stuff. Love sourdough bread but can't afford it - learn to make your own. Create gourmet food gifts for friends at Christmas - give out of your own abundance and use the gifts that God has given you to bless others....as you guys do!
My concern for the future of my country is more focused on its moral direction - I see so many foundations being hacked away.
Thank you so much for this chance to comment - I cannot come and visit or buy your produce but can glean so much from what you have learned on your journey. Next step - cheese making to accompany the sourdough!

Kelle said...

Love this question and here is our comment.

Our journey( God inspired)to be less dependent on the world, began decades ago with the blessing of our small homestead almost 8 yrs ago. We strive to simplify our life daily, finding great pleasure in making do with what we've been blessed with. You have to be able to think outside the box, so to speak and repurpose items for different usages.

Personally we feel it's just the beginning of some really hard times for this country. People are going to have to adapt and overcome or be overtaken.

Shopping secondhand, making gifts, growing your own foods and raising animals( of supporting a local farmer/ rancher) is going to become the norm for many.

We were blessed to be led to information several years back in how to roll over your 401K's and IRA into a Precious Metals IRA. We did this with the intent of paying off our morgage and in just alittle over a year our precious metals had gained enough to pay off our morgage in full, cover the penalties and taxes, so a year ago( Nov. 22, 2009) we paid off our morgage in full making us officially debt free. What a blessing it's been, especially lately with uncertain job markets and changes in jobs,my Dh is now able to take a part time job or even less $$ and not have to worry about covering all of our debt.

Our homestead is small and people in our area( S. Central MT) are just in the very beginning stages of supporting local farmers and ranchers, so at some point down the road we may be able to earn a enough from our homestead to cover our monthly expenses.

We've postponed building a shop building for my Dh, instead he's making due with our double garage and other small( single car sized) building.

People are going to have to learn that $$ isn't everything and that God and family should be higher on their list of priorities.

Our elderly are a truly valuable blessing( although sadly not treated as such), if you only take the time to speak to them and then listen to what they tell you( many lived during the Great Depression)

You don't have to have the ability to do it all yourself, you just need a good barter circle in place.

Joe and Jeannie Family said...

I feel self conscious even commenting because our "sacrifices" are so minor. But, our faith and resolve has been strengthened over the past few years as we've seen God bless our family. Leading up to the birth of our first child we took a loss on a car and a house to get out of debt - thankfully we had the cash to do so. I quit work before my sons birth and we rented for 6 mos and then moved north in Michigan where we thought it would be cheaper (not so). We should have kept renting to pay down student loans (our only other debt), but did buy a home. We drive old cars (over 10 yrs old), have only basic cable to have internet (we do online budgeting and our church site ) and to have the local news. We grow a garden, but could do much better on our food costs. We have baby #2 arriving any day and have faith that the Lord holds the future. It is our responsibility to be good stewards of what he has entrusted to us - that is our goal and we are a work in progress.

Just Me said...

Something that I have learned to do and really am enjoying doing is thrifting. I don't spend a lot of money on clothes for myself. I find things at Good Will and second hand places that I really like. They are in good wearing condition and probably have been given away because someone just didn't like them any longer. so I get to use them. I have found many really good books there also. Books can be so expensive. So my bookshelf is full now of books that I will gradually read when I get enough time. I would have chickens for eggs except my husband really doesn't want to do that, he likes to be able to pick up and go without having someone have to come and feed. Although I'd rather stay home and feed animals I'm going his way for now. Thanks for your blog. I really enjoy it. It truly inspires me.

Sherry Sutherby http://russ-stickacres.blogspot.com/ said...

No, it's not over. And I don't believe we've seen the worst with gas and food prices. I'm leaving a good paying State job the end of December for an early out. We will be dropping 2/3 of our income to live on 1/3. With that comes changes. We already live frugal, in a 15 x 20 cabin with outdoor facilities. We plan to go even further with our self-sufficiency. We don't want to count on anyone for any of our needs. That will take some doing with our 22 sled dogs and farm animals. But we're ready for the challenge. Like my kindred spirit says..."God's driving this thing..." Amen to that...

Mumsie said...

Here at the cottage we are embracing most definitly a time of voluntary frugal living, paying off our self-inflicted debt (a line of credit we used for the finishing of our cottage) It's not huge..we should be 100% debt free..Lord willing, by June of 2011. We have no mortgage, no car pmts. As we pay off the debt we are also saving up an emergency fund, continue to add to our food pantry, have expanded our garden space, canning/drying lots more. Even as we serve a small country ministry...we have been striving to live simpler and embrace a less is more attitude. Is it going to get worse? From where I'm sitting..sure seems so. Are we panicing? No..but we want to be wise and discerning, to be able to see what's coming and prepare. As we have been living through the *moratorium* on spending $$ on our wants we have found a freedom and peace that has been truly wonderful. It's definitly a *God* thing, an unexpexted blessing!

goatldi said...

It "ain't over until the fat lady sings".

We raise dairy goats. We provide all our dairy products, soap,etc. We buy/barter our meat from friends who raise beef and hogs. We have our own chickens.

We have an organic veggie garden for over 30 years. We can, dry and freeze.

When we get to the place that will be our forever home we will explore solar.

We are blessed to have no debt except a very small mortgage. After selling our home and moving 4 years ago. The home we sold was owned by us outright.

Goals? Become more self sufficient.Move to a larger acreage with a slightly larger home so that when it finally comes crashing down, and it will, our adult children and their children can have a place that is safe to come to.

Mumsie said...

Also, during this time I will be working on my spelling and/or typing skills ;o) ha!

Selina said...

Wow, these comments are so inspiring, and encouraging.
Like Ann said, in Australia we are supposed to have made it through the global financial crisis, but prices for everything are going up, and wages are not.
I think it will probably get worse, it is hard to know what decisions to make financially, but I would love to get some land so I can have my own gardens (instead of taking over my parents).
I am very glad that we have God to rely on and that he knows the future. I was reminded just this afternoon about praying to him about everything that happens in our lives, and praying for his guidance in everything.
For now, I keep up my garden and continue to learn more gardening and 'self-sufficiency' skills.
Thanks for having this discussion, it is good to hear what is happening in other parts of the world, I think Australia tends to follow the US in a lot of things, but we seem to have a time lag in doing so.

odiie said...

We have shortened our mortgage from 30 years down to 15. I do wish that we had no mortgage at all. Trying to make our farm pay for itself with beef cattle, wool and mohair sales, herbs and vegetables. We're not there yet. We lost our trucking business about four years ago and filed bankruptcy. We have stayed away from credit ever since. I know we still have a long way to go to cut spending. We still buy when there is no need, but God is good and He is sustaining us. This is an adventure and life is so much fun that way. Our house and barn need a LOT of renovation, but these are things that aren't as important as they used to be.
I am glad that I found your blog. I truly enjoy it.

Diane said...

All the comments are great to read. So many people taking charge of their lives with God's help of course. A couple of years ago we also started on this journey of living a more simple life. We have chickens for eggs, make do with what we have, make many more food items from scratch than before, not eating out as much, using wood stoves for heating,etc. We still have a long way to go to be more self sustaining, but working on it. I believe this is only the beginning, worse is yet to come. Food, gas, etc. prices just continue to rise with no real end in sight. Only time will tell just how bad it will get. But I chose to put my trust in God and know that all things happen for a reason and we will get through it one way or another.

Renee said...

We are re-evauluating our small farm to see what else we can do here. We had a big garden year and I canned more than I ever have before, but still could have gotten more. I am looking at the food we have and being better at menu planning. One of my bad habits is running to the store too often and getting stuff, when I could go to our freezer and make something else. We are raising chickens, heritage breed turkeys, rabbits and are now looking at goats. I know for us small land owners (less than 2 acres) there is so much more we can do with the little we have if we are creative. I am trying my hand at farmers markets and things to make a little extra money with what we have and what I can create out of it. Somehow along the way cable/satalite t.v., cell phones, for every member of the house and other costly none essentials have become essential. We know people who are in foreclosure on their home, but continue to live in the same way and not making any changes. Which seems sad to me. Teaching our children these principles becomes so important, because in a few years they will need to make choices and decisions for themselves.

Mo said...

Our attitudes and actions echo what many here have already said. We are endeavoring to be more self reliant in all aspects of our life. Energy and food are the most challenging.

I too believe that the economic crisis is still in front of us. The actions taken have only postponed the inevitable and probably made any real recovery more difficult. I suspect they way we use (fiat) money will dramatically change in the next decade. It could even challenge our sovereignty.

Interesting times ahead. In the prism of hindsight I suspect the post WW2 American lifestyle will be viewed as an anomaly in our history. The post correction lifestyle will be very different, hopefully sustainable and more self reliant.

Anonymous said...

I learned how to cook bake and live frugally and naturally from my Mom and dad who came here from war torn Europe owing $500 to the Lutheran World Federation . Meat does not have to be a daily part of ones diet, soups and stews strech farther than roasts. Leftover meat and veggies can make a wonderful meal. Find a easy recipe for bread and make your own.I have arthritis in my hands and have a no knead bread recipe I can now make with my eyes closed. Cotton goods are going to start costing a lot more as the price of cotton has jumped. Try the art of darning socks and sweaters, instead of throwing them away. Crocheting and knitting can be more than a fun pastime, one can actually USE what one makes. Don't waste things like fabric or yarn, reuse them!Look up sites online that sell cheaper than your local grocery store, even with shipping I have found some incredible bargains. If physically able have a garden and freeze or can your own. Buy from farmers markets if not able to grow own produce.

I live on Soc. Security alone and I live simply in a small apt. I have downsized to live here, yet kept my favorite antiques, I now actually USE them as functional furniture. Well, just some of the things I do, hope it helps.

Pam said...

Yes. Things will get worse, not only economically but morally. We are a society in decline. There is no fear of God. Many people would rather sit at home and receive a welfare check from the government than go out and work. A society cannot survive when the people expect to be taken care of by the government. Sooner or later, you run out of money. The producers will quit producing. We are retired and have provided for ourselves by saving and frugal living for many, many years. We have no fear for our future. But I do worry about our country and the country our children will inherit. What happens when a country spends money it does not have and takes money from those who earn it and gives it to people who it does not belong? That's called stealing. It's actually legalized theft. It will destroy this nation and its people. And then when that country decides to just print more money to pay off their own debt??? What kind of stupid is that? Yes. It will get worse. But our faith and our hope must be in God and not man. God is our only hope. I pray that our nation returns to Him.

Anonymous said...

Pam, welfare is a temporary situation for MOST states if not ALL states in the US now , since welfare reform under President Clinton. I do not want to turn this wonderful comment section to turn into a political debate, BUT please be careful when saying that people expect to be taken care of by the government.

I worked for 30 plus years as a single Mom of 4 children as a nurse. I became disabled and at age 57 started collecting Disability , which is not an entitlement program , but is a trust that I and many other working Americans paid into.

I do not believe for one minute that most of those who are currently receiving help, would rather sit at home and not work .

What happens to a country when greed rules and there are no longer jobs to keep the citizens working? What happens when Christians harden their hearts to those who TRULY would rather work, yet are painted with the broad brush of laziness?Makes me so sad.

Anonymous said...

I'm are doing nothing different.
What is happening around me is of little concern in my day to day life.
I'm prepared for come what may. But I worried for others less fortunate.

I've known for many years that bad times are coming.
And now they're here. And the hard times I believe will unfortunately get much worse for many people.

That said, I'm actually very hopeful.

I see a great political awaking occurring in our Nation, and as the U.S. dollar collapses
(as it surely will)
I believe we'll see a rebirth of America.

We as a Nation can no longer afford our American Empire. We are going the way of the former Soviet Union and 19th Century England. All Empires end because of debt,hubris and foreign wars. And we have indulged in more than our share.

When the bottom falls out of the dollar, we will be forced to return to local economies and depend up our communities.
And I think that's a good thing.

I'm delighted that so many people are looking for a return to a traditional household economy that is predicated upon small backyard livestock and a garden.

I see great opportunities for people of faith.
After all,is was Benedictine monastics that save Europe after the fall of Rome.
Benedictine monks & nuns prevented mass starvation and death, by teaching agricultural skills and feeding and clothing the poor and the hungry.
God willing we will have the same Christian love, patience and fortitude to help others who may need it in the coming weeks and months.

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