7 October 2008

When did personal responsibility die?

,
I had a thought today when I was out running.....read that again, r-u-n-n-i-n-g.

It was only one thought though because it was a very short run.

Normally when I feel the urge to exercise, I usually lie down and wait until the feeling passes.

But this gobal doom and gloom, which seems to be permeating my every waking moment, is forcing me to get a better grip.

On reality.

And while I had a good thought as opposed to a good run, I feel the need to share it otherwise it will stay in my head and there is every possibility it won't have much company...

Besides, for this thought to take shape I really need YOUR help!!

My brother in law has just made 30 staff in his London company redundant.

It’s disturbing but common. And will put a great strain on many people.

Are we in free fall? Who's to blame?

I thought about this all day. I came to the conclusion that many of us (in the west) are wading around in murky waters weighed down by some kind of warped victim mentality.

About ‘our crisis’.

Whether it’s a crisis in relation to the economy, our leaders, our governments, our bodies, our church, our finances, our health or whatever! Someone else has to be to blame. Surely.

How could they? How dare they? Why did they? To us? Why?

When was the last time you heard anyone stand up and say yes, I'm to blame for the predicament I'm/we're in?

I am less disturbed about the economy, politics and the environment and more fearful about where humanity and our communities are heading.

We seem to have pushed the notion of personal responsibility and restraint out the window and replaced it with excess. In everything. At whatever cost.

And now, we may just be going to pay for it.

In this blame culture it’s easy to point fingers. We are in serious debt because we are enticed to take out more and more credit from pushy lenders, we are obese because fast food corporations serve us saturated fat wrapped in a bun, we are alcoholics because we are enticed by fancy sweet beverages which are marketed down our throats, we are killed on the roads because our cars are built for a speed we don't need, the earth is leaking because mammals just refuse to share their neighbourhoods with us, our children are getting greater diseases because companies are adding thousands of new additives to the market each year, we are lied to by our politicians because they cannot be trusted and we have no power over the process. Any of this sound familiar?

By blaming others and not taking any personal responsibility we are giving away all our personal power -to greedy people, corporations and politicians who just do not care about us as individuals. If we let people walk over our personal boundaries they will. Whether it be by the economic policies they introduce or the latest junk food that hits the market. It’s that simple.

Many people are genuine victims and face real disparities. There are people who are taken advantage of every day and it is these people who should be protected at all costs and helped wherever possible. And those of us with a voice need to use it loudly and more often.

Sometimes we are to blame for our situation and at other times we are targeted or manipulated unfairly.

We need to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps, take the driver's seat and take back as much control over our lives as we can. We should not be so accepting or give people too much power. Instead, we need to demand accountability.

Those of us with children should be mindful about the impact our decisions are having. Apparently Generation Y think nothing of being in debt to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars (with no assets to show for it). They think nothing of declaring bankruptcy simply because they cannot live without the latest material possessions. They are puppets of the big lenders and will end up owing hundreds of thousands in interest alone. Not only that, but their health is expected to be worse than past generations and health professionals are predicting this generation may be the first which does not live as long as their parents. But hey, who cares? You only live once right?

We cannot fix what cannot be fixed. We can learn the lessons and make some energetic progress towards something good. We need to share the burden and help those in worse situations than our own. We have more power than we give ourselves credit for. We need to grab this power with both hands and never let go.
Simply because if we don't care for ourselves and each other than who will?

With so many creative people in the blogosphere I thought it would be proactive to share practical ideas about how we can better cope during these tumultuous times.

How can we tighten our belts, save money, reduce debt, make money, reduce stress, help others, better live within our means and get better outcomes for our families? If you have ideas (ask your parents, grandparents, friends, co workers) they may be beneficial to share with others.

Please make as many comments as you can and I will compile a list, share it with everyone and give credit where it’s due. The more simple and practical the idea, the better.

What's your idea or do you have question others may be able to help you with? Please share and don't worry if we double up on comments we can edit later!

43 comments:

  1. To help the budget and earn some money try 'Mystery Shopping' for market research companies. As long as you are internet savvy and have an opinion then it is an ideal part-time job. It’s not hard work and while the pay rates aren’t great you do get the chance to trial products and services which can greatly benefit families. Google mystery shopping companies in your country and sign up. You can mystery shop all kinds of organisations. You get to review service levels in companies and for your trouble you get paid some money and you may also get free gifts, petrol or groceries. This job is great for anyone 18 to 100.

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  2. You are a person after my own heart. I have been preaching about living within your means for years. I have always told my children to live a cash life and save their money. Don't use credit cards and if you have credit cards and student loans get them all paid off as soon as possible. Have enough money saved to live a year if you lose your job. Great post, I really enjoyed it.

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  3. Lilly, good idea lets swap ideas here to better meet our budgets.

    1. Shop at thrift stores
    If your children are growing out of clothing quickly and constantly, scout the thrift stores. You’ll find excellent condition clothing there, as well as other household goods. Not only will you save a bundle, but once your children have outgrown those clothes, you can usually resell them at a consignment store.

    2. Drink more water
    Cut down or cut out soda. Drink more water. When you leave the house, grab a water bottle from the fridge instead of buying a soda. Helps both your health and your wallet.

    3. Learn to love your library
    Stop buying books. Borrow from the library instead. Most libraries will allow you to reserve new releases and items on your “wish list”. Take advantage, and save a few dollars at the same time.

    4. Get your news online
    These days, most major newspapers, and many smaller ones, are online so you can cancel your subscription and read the news online instead

    5. The hardest one for me is to STOP recreational shopping
    Don’t go “recreational shopping”. Don’t go to stores to wander around. If you need something specific, go, purchase your item, then leave. Staying home will do wonders for your budget.

    I will gather some more! Does anyone know how to make safe cleaning products because they are the items that cost a fortune.

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  4. excellent post Lilly!!
    I have three:
    1. love your family and friends with actions and deeds (words are not enough) and give more than you take..
    2.look at nature every day..
    3.have a passion...whether it be painting (mine)..reading....gardening...blogging...
    running (eek..I wish ;) ..collecting stamps..etc etc etc

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  5. My wife has gotten pretty good at clipping out coupons. We both take med's and most pharmacies have pretty good deals to get you to switch stores - this includes grocery stores with pharmacies. She'll buy 10 Sunday newspapers to get the coupons she needs. Add to the fact that some grocery have pretty good in-store deals.

    This is not an exaggeration - my wife saves up to 75% easily off our food bill on a regular basis.

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  6. Great Post!! I will have to think about this one a bit and get back to you!

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  7. You're selling yourself short again, of course, Lilly. There's a lot more in there than one lonely thought. However, it's a great post and (for what it's worth) I think you're absolutely right - personal responsibility is what most of life is really all about. There are enough things in life over which you will have no control at all, so don't ever abdicate responsibility for anything you don't have to!
    Credit cards, TV advertising and all the rest are fine as long as you understand the rules and the consequences. In both cases, it's quite simple…

    The rules are:-
    1) They're trying to screw you!

    The consequences are:-
    2) They're GOING to screw you!

    Therefore, be aware and be prepared. There is nothing wrong with credit cards, if you generally pay them off each month (there's no interest for a start) and they can be a handy tool and even a safety net if things do go unexpectedly awry. Nor is there anything wrong with a desire for material things, providing you remember that NEED is NOT spelt W-A-N-T. Just don't forget that YOU are responsible for buying what you buy, drinking what you drink and all the rest. Smile and do whatever you reasonably want to - enjoy yourself - but don't blame anyone else when it doesn't work out quite the way you thought it would because you should know that the nebulous "THEY" are lying to you and the only person you can really trust is YOU (hopefully)
    :)

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  8. I think everyone is going to have to pull their belts in and learn to live a lot more efficiently. I think we should see that in a positive way and if we actively do this as a family unit we may have some fun.

    I think people should have family meetings and explain to children exactly what is going on and get them involved so that they can come up with ideas about how they can reduce costs. In this way we are teaching them that life is not easy and free.

    - not wasting electricity, turn off lights and appliances when not in use. Stop using the clothes dryer as much.
    - buy lots of cheap pump bottles and fill them with shampoos and conditioners, liquid soaps and detergent. These products are expensive and you end up using too much and wasting them. This is what salons do.
    - get the whole fmaily involved in cooking. Make meals from scratch and reduce take-outs to once a month.
    - get in the habit of paying in cash again and stop using plastic as a matter of course. What we can't pay for we can't afford. Credit is not worth it unless we can pay it back quickly.

    There are so many but I will come back with some more. We do need to take control of what we can so we are not at the mercy of big corporatations and idiot policitians. The more we control in our lives the less impact others can have when things go belly up.

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  9. I take up your challenge, Lilly, and I applaud you for this cogent look at our "victim" mentality culture today.
    I'm a bit brain-dead this morning after taking a friend to the airport at 5 am, but I will think when I walk - not run - and get back to you.
    You are a force for good in this world, Lilly.
    Jlo

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  10. Amazing post. Here's my 2 cents:

    --Just say "no" to credit cards
    --Save money out of each paycheck
    --Get a good sleep every night
    --Love your family
    --I like the tip, from another commenter, about shopping at thrift stores
    --Pick a favorite cause and volunteer, even a few hours a month will help YOU
    --Pay for new purchases with cash. Want a new sofa? Don't go into debt; save for it.

    That's it for now; I may think of mroe later.

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  11. This post was so well-written. I love it.

    First and foremost...because I'm a humor girl...I have to relate to the one thought you had while jogging because it was a very short job. Loved that. That's me. Honestly...I'd really not run unless I'm being chased.

    On to the serious stuff. First and foremost, buy at discount stores. We have found a grocery store in our area called Aldi. You have to pay with cash and everything in it is incredibly cheap. There are no name brands but honestly...most of the food we buy tastes EXACTLY like it's name brand counterpart. It probably IS it's name brand counterpart - just in a different packaging. That has saved us a ton. I actually spent $75 on four bags of groceries the other day. Would have easily been $150 in my normal store...which is not a fancy grocery store.

    If I go on much longer, I turn this into a blog so I'll stop...but I'm anxious to read your list. We can all benefit and learn from it. Thanks.

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  12. Excellent post, Lilly. I could not agree more about personal responsibility. I'm not sure at what point we all became such sheep. Then we looked up, baffled at the mess surrounding the world and the economy. I'm pretty sure the red flags were all over the field. :)

    Everyone has posted great ideas. So I'll just add my two cents in what changes could be made for future generations (kids and grandkids). It starts with the smallest things.

    1. Hand-me-downs. They don't cost a dime. I grew up in a large family (many cousins). Clothes were taken care of and passed down to many children. In our house, we save kids' clothes (ages 7 yrs, 1 yr, and 3 months). We store them and write the sizes on the boxes. We keep our youngest baby's clothes b/c at some point someone will have a baby.

    2. Teach your children to stop wasteful habits. I believe it starts with food, toys, electronics, and clothes. How many toys does one child need? We are destroying their creativity.

    3. Start teaching your children about finances early. Our 7 year old earns money during summers working for his grandparents. He can only spend a small amount of it, and the rest he puts in savings. I feel like he's learning three lessons-- 1)hard work pays off, 2) the importance of saving money for the future 3) kids take better care of things they've bought with their own money.

    4. The difference between a want and a need.

    5. And lastly, we have to teach our children about personal responsibility and consequences for bad decisions.


    Great post and great comment thread. I'm going to start clipping coupons. Mr. Bill, where does your wife find her coupons? I wasn't sure if they still come with the Sunday paper.

    Kim, I totally agree about loving nature. We get so busy in life, we forget about how wonderful nature makes us feel. TV has replaced nature for many families. When I was little, my grandmother referred to the TV as the "idiot box." How right she was.

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  13. Lilly - I have one big suggestion that, if taken seriously by everyone, will do more to help solve the "victim mentality" everyone seems to be running around with today. And that is...

    OPEN UP THAT CLOSED MIND!!

    A huge problem with people these days is that we have not only become too reliant on other people to take of our problems but we are also closed-minded in respect to listening to reasons why we are in trouble in the first place. In other words, be open to the possibilty that the problem just might actually lie within yourself, not at the doorstep of your government, parents, children or society in general.

    I think if people would open up and accept other people's views and opinions and be more accepting of those, realizing that we are not always right (no matter how much we convince ourselves we are), then we would be more willing to help each other in all aspects which, in turn, would help ourselves.

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  14. I think responsibility is a character trait. Education can foster it. They are trying to teach about non-renewable resources in the schools. Think of eliminating disposable plastic water bottles, using re-usable coffee mugs. Our town has a pickup limit of 3 garbage bags every 2 weeks, it's been called 'tough love'.

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  15. Personal downsizing has been in effect in our household for two years now.

    My husband lost his job a few years ago, he now has a new one Thank God.

    Financially we were OK but we didn't want to tap into savings.

    So we cut back on everything that was un-necessary. It was hard at first. I was missing my morning coffees and deli salads at lunch.

    I realized that I had become a creature of convenience and that it was becoming quite costly.

    I started preparing my coffees and lunches at home. I started saving quite a bit of money.

    I also started volunteering my time at organizations like the food pantry and shelters.

    Although I didn't need to use their services I was upset that I couldn't contribute to them financially, as I had in the past.

    I felt that volunteering my time would be appreciated,and it was!

    It is of vital importance for us all to find ways to be a part of the solution.

    Cut back, be aware of your impact on the earth and your community, be kind and take care of those less fortunate.

    In short: Love one another.

    Peace - Rene

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  16. Hi Lilly,
    Nice post, rather thought.
    I think we are in a larger mess than can be overcome by small thrifty measures. But I would love to be proven wrong.
    Normally when I feel the urge to exercise, I usually lie down and wait until the feeling passes - lol!
    Cheers,

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  17. I am a Lilly's Life fan. A wonderful lady that tells the truth about living.

    Gary

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  18. And although i am retired and comfortable, listen to Lilly. I really believe she is very smart. GarysWorld USA supports Lilly. She is a true treasure on the internet. A refreshing drop of rain in a puddle of a heckava lot of mud.

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  19. Your post hit me at just the right time. I have been reading many stories about the great depression in our news papers. I find it interesting that many of the survivors did not think the era as hard as we have come to believe. Mostly because they "got used to it".

    I'll work up some ideas, but I think it may be time for the "Victory Garden" to return. Your right our parents and grand parents are an excellent source of knowledge. It's time to get back to the basics, and back to being a community.

    Excellent post, and I agree with cjw666, you have a lot more than one or two thoughts running around in there. We need to Blogg the recession, depression, crisis what ever its will end up being called. As you said, We have a voice, lets use it.

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  20. And yes we need to take our own fair share of responsibility. Most of all learn from what has and is going to happen.

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  21. I was in earlier and forgot to say that I'm a op shopper. It's the first place I go to actually.

    Inquiring minds want to know more about the mystery shopping. I've heard about it of course, but always faintly thought it was some mythical venture.

    Smart cars - hey, we were sitting having cappuccino in Portofino, as one does, and a Smart car belonging to a local drove past the parking police and stopped in front of us. The woman driving it then unloaded cases and cases and cases of wine from the back for a little restaurant.

    My gosh it was like watching the scene in Mary Poppins where she pulls all that good stuff out of her carpet bag. :)

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  22. Hey Lilly

    My two savings ideas are re-cycle when ever possible and car pool again whenever possible.

    I work from home for a world wide company so I make a bit less money then if I had to go to an office but we save a ton of money on gas, dry cleaning, lunches out and daycare.

    Also we only have fast-food/take-out once a month.

    We have an electronic thermostat so it will turn itself down at night and that saves dollars.

    I hope these ideas help others.

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  23. This came from Carole Tompkins, USA via email

    Lilly

    We have just looked at how we can save energy in our house and my sister sent me this list, I have more I can add later. I don't know who wrote them originally but I think they came from a mazazine. They have helped us substantially and it's well worth making the effort. It's an imperative.

    1. Appliances
    If you do have to replace an electrical applicance make sure its energy efficient. For example: if you replace your 1972 refrigerator with a 2001 model, you may cut your carbon dioxide emissions by 1,100 lbs. a year and save $80 a year on your energy bill. (Install the dishwasher away from your refrigerator: the dishwasher's heat and moisture make the fridge work harder.) Replace your top-loading washing machine with a front-loader, and you may save $100 a year in energy, water and detergent. A new Energy Star refrigerator uses about 20% less energy than a standard new refrigerator and 46% less than one made before 1980. A new Energy Star washing machine uses nearly 50% less energy than a standard washer.”

    2. Cold Water Wash and Line Dry -Washing clothes in cold water reduces your washer's energy use by 75% and saves almost 500 lbs. of CO2 per year. Drying clothes outside in the fresh air and sunlight not only lengthens the life of your clothes but also saves energy and 1,386 lbs. of CO2 emissions. When you need to use the clothes dryer, run full loads and use the moisture-sensing setting. Clean the lint trap after each use and clear the outdoor dryer vent frequently to eliminate blockage and reduce resistance.

    The same techniques apply to dish washing: Always do full loads when using your dishwasher and washing machine. Conserve energy by turning off the dry cycle on your dishwasher and air-dry the dishes instead.

    3. Refrigeration Tips - Maintain your refrigerator and freezer at the right temperature. If they're only 10 degrees F colder than necessary, your energy consumption will jump 25 percent. The refrigerator should be between 38 and 42 degrees F and the freezer between 0 and 5 degrees F. Make sure the door is sealed tightly. Check the gasket (rubber seal) for cracks and dried-on food. Choose a refrigerator with a freezer on top rather than a side-by-side unit. On average, the savings amount to 20 percent.

    4. Seal Air Leaks --- One of the least expensive and most effective ways to reduce energy consumption in the home is to seal air leaks. A simple effort to weatherize your home—especially to seal any large air gaps in the attic and basement—can reduce a typical home's greenhouse gas emissions by 1,300 pounds per year. Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning to prevent heated air from escaping through the chimney. Avoid using kitchen, bathroom and other ventilating fans in excess, as these can eject a significant amount of heated or cooled air in a very short period of time.

    5. Eat a Vegetarian Diet --- The production of meat, dairy, and eggs is energy intensive. We can all reduce our food energy consumption by eating plant proteins directly, converting at least some of our daily meals to vegetarian dishes. This will also be healthier for you and your family, save money, reduce water consumption, reduce water pollution, reduce landuse impacts of livestock production, and reduce the potential for animal cruelty.

    6. Lighting --- For every 75-watt incandescent light bulb which you replace with a 20-watt compact fluorescent, you’ll get the same amount of light but save 1,300 lbs. of CO2 and $55. (Compact fluorescents screw into regular sockets.) Fluorescents save 75% of the energy, yet they last much longer. Turn off unneeded lights, and save 376 lbs of carbon dioxide per year. Also, keep bulbs dust-free. Dust on a light bulb or dirt on a glass fixture can reduce the light it emits by 10 percent and make it seem that you need a higher-wattage light. When building a new home, include natural lighting features (skylights, suntubes, larger south-facing windows, etc.) to reduce the need for artificial lights. Adjust your schedule when possible to be active in daylight and sleep during the dark.

    More later - its a great idea if we could compile a whole list of all the different categories and have it all in the one document.

    Carol

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  24. Hi, Lilly.

    Can we talk you into running for office in the U.S.? Please hurry -- the election is very very soon and I'm afraid of what will happen...

    Pearl

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  25. Thanks for your ideas to date, keep them coming then I will categorise them and make them available to you and note who provided the idea.

    I have asked Bill to give us more details about the coupons.

    Leslie - the Mystery Shopping is really good - great for students, stay at home mums, retirees, and anyone wanting some more money. Basically you sign up to different companies, you go online and select jobs near where you live, they brief you on what you are to do, you usually have 2 weeks or so to do it at a time that suits you, check service or whatever and then key in your results online (they give you a structured form to do this) and then they pay you th emonth after. Now while jobs may only attract $20 a shop it all ads up. You also get to buy goods they will reimburse you for. Big department stores are great because you can do many different departments at the same time. The variety of organisations you can check is amazing - who would have thought?

    You would never be able to do it as a full time job but you can still earn a lot (if you sign up to a few companies) and you never have to see an employer - its all done online. You also are doing a worthwhile task because you are offering feedback on service levels and the quality of products. Just go to Google and search for Mystery Shopping companies, go to their websites and they will tell you how to apply. I did this at one time in my life and got up to $1,000 extra a month - and it is true for anyone who loves shopping its ideal because it's not like work at all!

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  26. What a great post! My husband works in the financial industry, so we talk a lot about the world economy (& the messed up US economy at home!)... while lots of things contributed to the current issues, some people need to take responsibility for being a part of the problem. Just because you could get a mortgage you can't afford, doesnt mean you should have... and it definitely doesn't mean that the world is out to get you now that you can't pay it! {ok, stepping off soapbox!}

    Love all the comments & suggestions... I work from home 3-4 days a week, saving tons of gas money, so that has been a lifesaver (especially lately!)... I definitely need to do a better job at Sarah's suggestion to get to know my Library! I am way too familiar with Amazon these days...

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  27. 1.Stockpile food and groceries. Buy in bulk.
    2.Make sure you know what you're spending money and where your money is going.
    3. Make a plan to Pay your debt off.
    4. Plan your menus.
    5. STOP food waste - eat your leftovers, never waste food.
    6.Take lunch to work/school.
    7. Stop buying magazines, newspapers, coffees and drinks when you're out.
    8. Make your Christmas gifts/cards - be creative.
    9. Enter competitions - someone has to win!

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  28. Oh, Lilly! This is such an excellent post. One doesn't need MANY thoughts when they are of this caliber. :-)

    Most of my tips have already been listed here. I can't wait to see the final list. Here a couple others:

    Cook at home instead of eating out. Freeze leftovers.

    Keep you trunk unloaded - a few extra pounds in your car adds to your fuel costs.

    Park in the shade and keep your gas tank topped off to prevent the gas from evaporating. (This is important for those of us in hot climates.)

    Reward yourself with free things - a hot bath, a walk in the park, a visit with a friend - instead of buying something.

    Thanks again for a great post!

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  29. Great post. I say, "simplify, simplify, simplify." Buy only what you need, first and foremost. Look around you - are you surrounded by excess? Can you liquidate anything? Take the money and pay down debt. Continue to buy only what you need, and insist on the best value for your money. Continue to look for excess and eliminate it, hopefully with a financial reward - is there anything in your life you can simply downsize rather than get rid of (services like cable and cellphones are prime examples)? Look for creative ways to make a little extra. Take the extra and pay down debt. No debt? Then put it away in a safe place. It's amazing how simply we can live and still be happy, all while saving money and preparing for an unpredictable future.

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  30. Lilly, I think you know how I feel about this matter. When people say what that the government is putting us in debt, I ask in return, "How much debt are you in?" They look at me shocked, but the fact of the matter is that we need to look at our own backyard before we look to the government. If we are credit cardless, out of debt and investing wisely, THEN we can turn the government and ask, "What in the heck are you doing!"

    I don't like owing people. Sometimes we have to, such as a mortgage. But then, INVEST WISELY - can you afford the note, not just the mortgage, but the insurance, the property tax, the renovations, the repairs, the utilities, the fees. All that has to be in the budget.

    I could rant a week and a half on this conversation and not get to the halfway point of information. *sigh*

    When I was divorced, I went without cable on my TV. Imagine, I survived for 2 years without anything but the local stations and guess what, I was OK with it (my friends and family didn't come over to watch TV, that's for sure. Lol)... But there are SO many ways we CAN cut back and live without and within our means. We need to tackle this problem personally, not look to the government to fix things so that we can continue to buy gadgets (and half the stuff we use gets loaded into closets after time)... ARGGHHH

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  31. OK, going to add a few other things:

    If you want to get out of debt and don't know where to start - start with the smallest balance credit card. Pay it off and then close the account. This will give you a sense of accomplishment. Then whatever you used to pay off that credit card can go towards the next smallest balance and you keep doing this until it's all paid out. It DOES work.

    Don't carry your credit card with you. If you think you'll need it for emergencies, keep it at home in a safe. Otherwise, you'll be surprised just how much you won't buy without it.


    Keep a budget and stick to it. Determine how much you have and EXACTLY where it will go.

    Cook more (I'm so bad about this, thank heavens Greg is a good cook!)

    This Christmas, make it a "handmade Christmas" and make things rather than buying.

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  32. Oh and here's a challenge. I got this from someone who is a multi-millionaire. Kid you not and he was serious.... he ONLY goes to a fast food restaurant if he can pay in change - NOT in dollar bills, definitely not with a credit card, but if he has pocket change. He says that people down play the pocket change and it gets lost between the sofa cushions or stuffed away somewhere at the bottom of the purse, but that's MONEY too.

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  33. Darn, thought of another thing. I think this particular post will be addictive for me...

    Before your children start a job, before the age of 16 (which is job potential), if you pay your children for jobs around the house, then teach them about taxes. Show them your check and show them what comes out of it. Then do the same to them (Only as YOU are their government collecting money, you could put that money into a savings account for your child as a future nest egg). It's a thought, but at least it teaches children about taxes early on and the value of the dollar. And try not to use credit cards in front of children....

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  34. I don't know if you realize this or not but your post is extrememly spiritual. As a spiritual person (healer) it pains me to know that many of my colleagues don't understand how to translate this to their everday life and misunderstand empathy and enabling and give OVER their power as you mention. As an American who is staunchly Republican leaning, many here cannot understand how I can be a healer and associate my political beliefs with Republicans. They are sadly ignorant.

    My only suggestion is to LIVE your beliefs and be the example for others. Eventually it will show the good results.

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  35. Thanks everyone for your comments. And keep them coming (everything you say we can use) and odnt worry about repition because we can just edit these. So Aleta the more the merrier! Lilly

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  36. Thank you so much for this post. I actually had an idea of putting up a post that was entitled: No point in pointing fingers!, but it was on a more emotional topic. Come to think of it, the reality is sad and very true: the life rate on earth is starting to diminish. And I dont just mean that people are dying. Everything around us is dying. Because it's the natural way of evolution: think of all the new products that bomb us every day. No product (and I dare include in the product paradigm, with the coldest cynism possible, relationships and friendships) lasts more than a limited number of years. Why? Everyting is speeding up around us: traffic, cars, planes, communication, we have mobile communication, 3G, internet, sms, you can get your message accross anywhere anytime in seconds if not less. I think we have lost our patience and our curiosity as it is fed by default without us having to ask for it. I'm not saying that the society is to blame. There's no point in handing out blames. I'm not saying we should get used to it. what I'm trying to say is that the outcome is inevitable. We are going down and we are going down fast. But this is not necessarily bad. If we realize it, it means we have the intellectual ability to ponder things and to evolve. Isn't this the point of life? I think the most powerful tool is our brain. Unfortunately we use it less and less. Our brain creates and generates the reality we live in. So my suggestion would be: as we as specie have been able to build cars, planes, travel accross the globe in the shortest time possible, it should be fairly easy for us to return to the simple things in life, to enjoy our life and what's left of it. I realize I've been rather chaotic with my ideas, but what works for me in a time of distress: I simply think that it could be worse and fight my way to enjoy what I have. I'm sad, lonely, frustrated, angry, nervous, yeah I'm all of those things, but thank God I have my eyes, both arms, both legs, I can walk, I can see the sun, I can listen to music. It all sounds poetic, but I urge you to imagine your life without all this. That would be dying. So as long as we're still alive, why forget to live?

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  37. I would buy at least the Sunday paper each week for all the ads, there is enough ads in most newspapers that can actually pay for your newspaper in addition to saving extra money on your food bill. Most ads in papers are for newer products, old faithful products, and sometimes products that do not sell well. You have to wade through them and find what you will really use and what you need.

    If you do not want to go the newspaper route (I find it is one of the more easier ways to get my coupons but not everyone does), there are also websites that you can print free coupons and you can surf those after making your weekly grocery list and check to see if there is a coupon for anything you have on your list and print it out.

    Sometimes, there are coupon swapping groups (yes they still exist haha, but they are few and far between) or get some friends together and start one; that way you all benefit. You can possibly find coupon swapping groups within Mom's groups, and places like that online will guide you to a local one in the area, if it exists.

    Check the magazines you read. A lot of the recipe, cooking, home and garden magazines are huge with coupons on popular products.

    Check your grocery store receipt, sometimes there are coupons on the back and some stores print out coupons at the register. Save these for later and make sure you use them before the expiration date.

    Check product websites. Some of the more popular products have huge websites and you can surf them to find coupons, they are large enough to give out massive amounts of coupons because that indicates dollars in their pockets. Here are a couple websites that you can get coupons from:
    1. Box Tops for Education These are boxtops that come off of cereal boxes and many more other products from General Mills, they are glad to give away coupons because when you clip these little boxtops and send them to a school that accepts them, they get money but they also give back by giving money to schools when they turn it in. Win Win situation for all. I clip many many boxtops for my daughter's school.
    2. Betty Crocker Coupon Page
    3. Pillsbury Coupon and Promotion Page
    These are just a few of the sites you can get coupons from. All 3 of these individual sites come from General Mills. You can also look up Post, Kellogg's, and whatever else site you can find. If you have the surfing time, you can save a bundle of money on looking on sites of products you use the most.

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  38. Don’t see a budget as being about what you can’t have, but instead, working out what you can afford.
    Don’t deprive yourself completely. Factor in the odd treat, otherwise you will never stick to your budget.
    Don’t use ATMs, or only use them once a week.
    Leave your credit card at home; the less temptation, the better.
    Only shop when you have to.
    Shop during sales, especially for major purchases.
    If you see something you want, look at your budget first. If you can, save the money rather than use credit.
    Pay your bills on time. You can save hundreds of dollars a year in charges.
    Go back through your bills and work out where you can cut costs.
    Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount.

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  39. I am bloody speechless!!!!!

    But I still have a lot to say!!!! LOL LOL LOL :) :)

    This is AMAAAAAZING Lilly. You seriously need to be writing for a magazine or newspaper column. You are a kickass writer, I mean seriously GOOD. I started to copy STELLAR lines as I was reading so that I could paste them here and comment on them...but then there were so many knock-your-socks-off lines that I gave up. This is funny and deeply insightful and just blew me away. You go girl!!!

    I agree, the victim thing has to be thrown out. It's crap. Hello people! We ARE the government! We ARE the people. As I get older I am really realizing this and I get more active at bringing positive change into the world. I just posted two http://nakedineden.com/nakedinedenblog/?p=605 videos at the end of my new post that are amazing. KIVA is a great idea. You have to check it out. People can make a HUGE difference in the world if they have only 25 dollars.

    Also, people don't often want to hear about this but I get almost all my clothes, dishes, housewares, lamps, etc at Goodwill or Salvation Army. It saves tons of money and it supports jobs for people who have a variety of handicaps, and all the money goes to feed and house elders and people who have serious illness, single young moms, etc., AND it recycles amazing amounts of good quality items that would end up at the tip/dump just taking up more land.

    I take my own bags to the grocery store, I grow a garden, my sweetie and I share a car and he often take the bus to the college where he teaches or I bike and he takes the car. We have put off getting a second one as it's more pollution and more gas money down the drain. It's not always easy, but then that's why Al Gore calls it, "An Inconvenient Truth". But I feel good about it in my heart even though some days it's a bit harder. But most days I'm here at home at my desk anyway as I have so much work to do. There are a whole bunch of other things we do that help the environment and other people.....

    BUT I think one of the greatest things we can do to get off our butts and stop whining and blaming and get out and help others who are worse off. Get involved.

    So many of us spend hours and hours in front of the TV. It's like a drug...and meanwhile the "real" world is going on out there and we are asleep at the wheel. We are not active in our real lives.

    TV is a weird thing it not only brainwashes us (or can) but it kind of numbs us and time slips by without us almost knowing it. Until one day we wake up and realize we've gone from 20 to 50 and what have we done? Whose life have we touched? How have we changed our world?

    There are elders abandoned in nursing homes that would LOVE to have visitors. There are people in developing countries that we can help change their entire village with ONLY $25 (that's through KIVA)and we get the money back as it is only a loan. There are groups that plant trees on the weekends to re-green the planet. There is so MUCH going on that is good. But I think we often let TV zone us out and we forget to LIVE. We forget that we really are ALIVE and that many of us have almost full control over our lives, the world and the health of the planet...if we ACT.

    Sorry this is turning into a rant because you inspired me THAT much. And I know it's a disorganized rant at best.

    I just noticed that SARAH mentioned thrift stores. YAHOO Sarah!!!! :)

    I think we have to start living within our means. We fill the emptiness inside with expensive clothes, shoes, food (food that we waste in restaurants every day...all day long). Meanwhile itty bitty children in Cambodia and other Asian and African countries are turning themselves over to brothels and slave labor just so they can eat a single mouthful of food a day.

    In light of that I can't do it anymore. I can either buy the $100 top or help 4 women in Africa start a business so they can feed their children and escape abusive husbands. It's an easy choice for me.

    Oh Lilly this is SUCH a good post. I feel so excited. I hope one day to meet you. You are ASTOUNDINGLY DYNAMIC!!!!


    Again, I apologize for this being a disjointed rant but I feel so much love for you for posting this. Thank you my dear Aussie friend who inspires me so much. Love, Robin

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  40. Thank you Rocksnowhite, Magee and Robin for your wonderful comments. Robin you always lift me up when i need it most by your wbsite and posts and your continued support. I appreciate it more than you know(but then you probably do know). I am going to put all of these comments together and put them on the blog as a downloadable document. THANKS EVERYONE!

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  41. I think (together with everyone else) that this is an outstanding post. I agree with Robin and others, you should be a journalist - truly excellent.

    I enjoyed reading the whole comment thread and it is amost unfair to single out one comment (but i will lol)

    "Aleta said...
    Lilly, I think you know how I feel about this matter. When people say whathat the government is putting us in debt, I ask in return, "How much debt are you in?" They look at me shocked, but the fact of the matter is that we need to look at our own backyard before we look to the government. If we are credit cardless, out of debt and investing wisely, THEN we can turn the government and ask, "What in the heck are you doing!"

    Just so true.

    My little contributions are:-

    1. Eat when you're hungry - If you can, don't bother too much about mealtimes. If you get to dinner and only feel like a small bite to eat, so be it. Don't have a large roast just because that's the time you're supposed to have it. Drink a glass of water instead.

    2. Stop buying bottled water, unless your local water supply is foul. Tap water has got to pass health requirements and while it may not taste as good as the bottled variety - it does the same job of hydrating the body. Fill up old water bottles from the tap and put them in the fridge - it tastes fine when it's really cold. Work out how much you spend on bottled water...you can save up to $2,000 per year (even more) by using the cold tap.

    Finally, I read this in an interview by Richard Gere I thought I'd like to share...

    On an end to poverty:
    "We're so rich in the US and Europe that if we took just ten percent of our GNP and used that money for food, hospitals and schools, we could solve the problem of poverty."

    (Gere then goes on to say)

    "In India, it's incredible how families get into debt, just because someone gets sick. So I've started a programme for micro-insurance that covers people for most medical problems for 120 rupees a year (about $3.) Insurance in the Third World is still a pioneering idea, but it helps to take lots of people out of the circle of debt as most of the debts in these countries are due to medical bills."

    henry

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  42. Brilliant post. I agree whole heartedly that Personal Responsibility is the one thing that seems to be missing from our society. Very well written!!!

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  43. Dropping by from sits. Thank you for this. Why can't people OWN their mistakes instead of pointing fingers. It seems like everyone is consumed with keeping themselves gratified instead of justifying taking up space.

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Thanks for your comments. I love reading what you have to say.