The word recession is getting thrown around in the media a lot lately. We are told that we may be in for some very difficult times and truthfully I am already feeling the pressure. My husband works for a company that pays their winter payroll with loans. They do this because the winter is not their peak season and they simply use loans to keep production going until Spring when their business goes through the roof. Times are so good in the spring and summer in fact that my hubby was getting $200 bonuses for each day of overtime he worked. For winter though his company relies on credit and our current financial meltdown has meant they couldn’t get the loans they needed and they laid off a lot of workers. They are talking about laying off more and my husband would probably be included in that second batch so we are preparing for that.
As if that isn’t enough to deal with my hubby has sprung on me that all this economic strife has made him want to go back to his old job possibly. For newbies to this blog this means that he would go back to traveling all but 4-5 days a month….so yeah…we would never see him. We did that for 5 years and finally he came home in late winter of this year…now he wants to leave again, which has me so upset I can’t even tell you. I was basically a single mom and would be again if he does this. But he hates job insecurity and feeling helpless like this and it is making him want to do drastic things.
But sorry for vomiting all my problems on you…the point of this post was that I think it is important during tough times like these to come together and help each other. Corporations don’t need our money, people do. It is even more important to shop consciously. Here are a few of the ways you can do that.
Garage Sales and Craigslist – Stop buying new and check out garage sales and your local Craigslist. Not only are you buying second hand which is way better for the environment, you are directly helping local families too and they will be greatly appreciative I am sure. When my hubby needed a motorcycle helmet recently we turned to Craigslist and I already have several Christmas gifts bought that I got from garage sales.
Buy new from families too – Small family, indy businesses are are all over the web. They have their own web sites and you can find them on Etsy. When I needed a backpack for my daughter recently I knew I could buy one for $10 at Wal-Mart but I wanted my money to go further so I checked into Etsy and found the perfect backpack hand-sewn by another mom. When you start purchasing for Christmas think about how many items you can buy direct from other families.
Freecycle before you donate to Goodwill – Now I realize that some families can not ignore the tax savings you can get by donating to an organization but for families that just take the standard deduction (like mine) you do more good by Freecycling. Goodwill is a great company but they do charge for the items and if you Freecycle them you end up putting much needed items into the hands of another family for free.
Barter – Do you have a skill or a service you can barter for goods? Perhaps you can trade web design, carpentry work, knitting or tailor work, babysitting, food from your garden…anything you can think of…use your skills to trade with other like minded families. Look for local bartering groups or start one on Yahoo Groups if there aren’t any.
Swap – Local groups and online groups designed to help moms swap clothes and household goods are getting more popular. You can even host a swap party for friends and neighbors. Have everyone bring a couple bags or bins of clothes their kids have outgrown and let everyone start swapping.
Support your bloggers – My friend Carrie wrote a great post a few weeks back about supporting your favorite bloggers and she highlighted a common practice among mom bloggers…buying through each others affiliate links. Many bloggers use affiliate links when they link to products or stores and they get a commission whenever people purchase. When I need to buy an item from Amazon I will always try to buy from the link of a fellow blogger so they get a little something from my purchase.
Don’t discount Amazon – Amazon is a big corporation but many of the products on Amazon are sold by third parties which may be small family businesses. I buy lots of used books from small sellers on Amazon. eBay is another good place to buy to support small sellers.
Get cooperative with your community – Starting or participating in a community garden is a great way to help feed your family and get community support. You can also volunteer to work for local CSAs who will then give you a discount on fresh produce and this can be very helpful if food is taking a big bite out of your budget. Look into herd sharing agreements as well for cheaper meats and raw milk. And whenever you can buy from your local farmers and farmer’s markets. Patronize your local Amish community if you have one.
As I said…during tough times we really need to come together and support each other and one of the ways we can do that is by eliminating the middleman and going directly to other families with our business.
Got any tips to share?