Serena Freewomyn

How Are You Weathering the Economic Crunch?

Filed By Serena Freewomyn | July 12, 2008 9:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Living
Tags: budgeting, economic crisis, food prices

I know it's a depressing thing to think about on the weekend, but let's face it: these are depressing economic times. From high gas prices, to rising food costs, everyone's starting to tighten their belts. Quite literally.

For me it's meant reassessing what items I put into my grocery cart. This has been especially challenging, since a lot of the food that I've had to practice making for culinary school is far from being economical. I'm already a vegetarian, so I keep food costs down pretty easily by not purchasing meat. But the cost of produce is also going up, so I've started looking into farmer's markets as a way of eating cheaper. It's a fun thing to do on the weekends. Plus, it's good for the environment on top of being good for my pocketbook.

So how are you weathering the economic storm?

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Well, we are lucky in that we work at home where we have our two teaching studios so we are not spending a ton on gas to get to work. Though our 18 year old son is a constant drain on money to put gas in his vehicle and our 15 year old constantly wants money. I feel for everyone who is getting hammered by these gas prices. We also have a few lucky details like a vacation home that is less than an hour away on the beach. So we can pretty easily avoid spending in the areas that are killing people right now. There seems to be a slight drop in number of students but nothing big.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | July 12, 2008 10:49 AM


Haven't you heard that the recession and economic pressure that we are feeling is all in our heads?

At least that what McCain adviser Phil Gramm says. Of course, he is a multi-millionaire former senator with lots of corporate fat-cat friends to help him out should he ever be in economic need.


Here are a few things we've done:

Planned a staycation over the long 4th of July weekend instead of driving six hours up to Big Sur.

I'm shopping online more to save time, money and gas.

Spending more time doing DIY house projects instead of my tendency to hire the job out.

And I even know one person that was willing to risk his own life to get out of debt.

Michael, you're hilarious!

Nina, I really like your suggestion of shopping online to save money on gas. Funny, but I hadn't even thought of that.

Speaking of DIY project,s I'm really interested in looking into gardening as a way of saving money on produce. It's going to take an initial investment to buy seeds and such, but I'm excited to get started!

Our recreation has become the DIY projects. Hopefully if we do enough we can move out of our neighborhood. We've installed several burglary deterrents in the face of the economy, got rid of one car, are shopping online when we can, and have looked at all of our service plans (phone, cable, etc) to see where we can trim fat.

Nina and Bil, just curious - what kind of DIY projects are ya'll doing?

1) Installing new windows downstairs (11)
2) Tear down old plaster walls
3) Install insulation
4) Paint the new drywall walls
5) Clean up and re-paint/re-seal/finish de-molding treatment for basement
6) Put in better drainage so the basement doesn't flood as easily
7) Put in wall in front yard and re-grade since digging the drainage ditch anyhow
8) Remove old walnut tree (F---ing walnuts! Yuck!) in back yard
9) Finish pulling up old sidewalk and putting in brick walk
10) Better outdoor lighting (security reasons)

So far we've:
1) Pulled up most of the old sidewalk
2) Cleaned up the basement. Twice.
3) Installed new windows upstairs. (7!)
4) Redug and staked out the flowerbeds
5) Moved two flowerbeds in anticipation of #7 above
6) Pruned back all of the trees
7) Did I mention the basement?
8) Repaired both toilets
9) Rewired front porch for better lighting
10) Put in new privacy gate on the side of the house

As I worked in the finance industry. I saw this mess coming up eight years ago. Which should tell anybody how morally culpable the Republicans are to this current mess. Everybody knew things could not go on, but NOBODY was willing to confront the High Flying Movers and Shakers making their millions.

I bought a fuel efficient car in 2000 and bought a much smaller home than the bank said I could afford in 2002. Then used the savings to pay down debt. That said even I didn't anticipate how much the hurt would extend itself to price increases everywhere. I don't go out like I used to. I entertain friends at home more and keep watch for free public events. I try to drive less and have a "no driving" day once a week. Which forces me to stay home as my area lacks effective Public Transportation. I've watched nearly everything double EXCEPT my salary.

Yet according the McCain adviser, Gramm, it's "all in my head."

France isn't in the same slump as the US, but I just lost my job, so here goes.... Oh, wait, it never paid much from the start.

I'm doing the farmers' market as well and shopping at the French equivalent of ALDI. I take the bike everywhere to avoid using subway tickets. And no name brand diet coke for Alex!

I upgraded my job, have quit driving vans and have a Matrix instead (28mpg vs17), driving less, no out of town trips on spur of moment (used to do a lot of that), and getting into motorcycles to save more fuel. No rail system in my town, and I can't get to or from work on a bus. Bicycling will come next.