Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Taking care of your most important asset

With the economy on a downward slide now is a perfect time to take care of your most important asset: your health!

Economic studies have looked into whether bad times are good for our health or not. Some positive benefits of economic down turn include less eating out and more meals prepared at home, increased time with family, and reduced work stress because production is down (kind of a glass is half full/half empty scenario). More details are in a recent NY Times article.

Times are stressful and money is tight. But instead of curling up in a fetal position and worrying, try taking control of the things over which you actually have control: Eating healthier, staying active, lowering stress with low cost, brain stimulating activities you can do at home with friends and family. Here are some suggestions:
  • cut food costs by preparing foods at home instead of eating on the run
  • plan potlucks with friends
  • use the outdoors, things around your home and your own body weight as your gym.
  • host wine tasting at home with friends
  • take up a new or old hobby, preferably one that is low cost like quilting versus deep sea diving.
  • save money and the environment: walk, bike, or do mass transit to get from point A to point B
  • be a tourist in your own town
  • grow your own food
  • share bulk items with friends so you don't end up with a surplus that goes bad before you use it
  • use your library!
Let me know what you're doing to cut costs and what you plan to keep in your budget.


m.w. said...

We disconnected our landline and don't miss it at all. I'd be all in favor of pulling the plug on cable TV, but had to compromise by retaining only a very basic, no frills package. Who needs gazillion channels anyway?!

Look at local alternative newspaper ads -- there are lots of 2-fer coupons for local restaurants. Use the coupons sparingly -- it still adds up!

Don't give individual store gift cards --many small retailers will close in a flash, so your recipient may not be able to make good on them. If you want to give a gift card, due to unstable financial times, avoid gift cards from individual retailers and instead opt for Mastercard or Visa gift cards which can be used where those credit cards are accepted.

If there's something SPECIFIC you are looking for, call ahead and see if the store has it in stock. If they don't have it, you've saved a trip.

Know a friend who has a particular skill? Someone who can cut hair? Make a barter. Walk her dog X-number of times for a haircut. Or double up the size of the casserole you're making for your dinner and give her a delicious meal in exchange for a haircut.

Get your movies, CDs, books -- and even art for your walls! -- from your library. If there's a book you must buy, check a used bookstore first. Or ask around among your friends to see if someone has a copy -- and make a trade.

Give to the food bank. Set aside at least one can, package of food a week for someone less fortunate. The rewards are plentiful.

If you have a personal trainer or work-out with a group, don't give it up! Good health -- physical and mental -- is your best defense in difficult times!

betty lou said...

During the holiday season, a good way to cut **costs** -- to the environment and to your pocketbook -- is to give experiences, rather that stuff.

All that stuff, wrapped in more stuff, contributes a whole lot of stuff to the landfill.

Give an experience such as a movie, a museum membership, a concert, a massage, a try at takeitoutsidefitness. None of that is "stuff" -- it's an opportunity to be experientially rich.

I'm such a PITA. But, HAPPY HOLIDAYS! We can make it a better world.

Gayle said...

I have to say your comments and the NYT article are pretty spot on. Since I was laid off in September, I have tried my hand at baking, something I have never felt comfortable doing. I seem to be doing ok at it, cause all reviews have been positive.

I get so frustrated with people who want to dwell on the negative aspects of my layoff. I could worry constantly about how my bank account isn't as healthy as it once was, but that won't help me get through the day. What does help me get through the days and weeks is keeping a positive outlook, smiling, and counting the blessings I do have in my life, #1 my heath and the job I do have, and the fabulous, supportive people I have around me.

One thing I started this year in a money saving measure, even before my layoff, was to invite friends in for a potluck brunch every month or so. You can indulge in decadence and have a full afternoon to work it off.

Thanks for all your great ideas!

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