Spending money in a difficult economy is a difficult decision. I am making decisions every day about where to spend my money. (Many of these decisions are made jointly with my husband, but I am writing in my blog about my thoughts.) I want to spend wisely. When the housing market crashed and other economic downturns happened, we had to cut way back on expenses. I haven’t spent money on unnecessary items until recently with so many summer clearance sales enticing me, I bought 2 shirts and a pair of pants. Even that small purchase made me feel guilty. I finally decided that I really needed them, and at the sale price, it even made sense to purchase these items now, rather than when new fall clothes come out at higher prices.
So, why did I still feel guilty? In this difficult economy, many people are worse off than my husband and I. Many people lost a job and have gone further in debt or lost their home to foreclosure. Some people had natural disasters to deal with, such as Texas fires, New Jersey storms, and Missouri tornadoes. So I find myself questioning everything I buy. Is this a necessary purchase? Would the money be better spent by donating to a charity? Is my new outfit more useful to me, than a meal is to a family trying to recover from a disaster?
I believe that our economy is improving, and there are good signs it will continue. Still, there are some people who were so badly affected, that they can’t get out of the hole they are in without outside help. These people are helped through charities. There are food banks, free health clinics, churches, and many more that are helping people recover. With schools opening soon, there are charities giving out free back to school supplies in a backpack, because many families can’t afford to buy the supplies their kids need for school. So this is why I feel guilty, and question every decision I make on how I spend money.
I don’t begrudge myself paying a mortgage and paying for groceries, and other necessities. I do hesitate to spend money on things that are not necessary. Things like a new cell phone, new clothes, or a new blanket for the bed, I scrutinize to decide whether the old one will last longer, or if I need to buy a new one. If I decide to buy something, I give myself permission to buy what I decide that I truly need. If I make the decision not to buy something, then I have more money to spend on something I truly need, or more money to donate.
My husband and I have decided to donate weekly to our church, which gives money to people who can’t afford to pay rent or can’t pay their electric bill, and has a food pantry for people who can’t afford to buy enough groceries for their family. We have also given one time gifts to a few people who needed help when they lost their job or got ill. We also gave a one time donation to a disaster relief charity that was helping people in this country rebuild after a disaster. We have also donated used clothes to local charities.
I don’t know what your economic situation is, so I don’t know how you need to spend your money. We all have to make these decisions with our own conscience. I just wanted to share what I think about before spending money. When I see something I want to buy, I try to first think, “Is this something I truly need, or can I do without it?”
Together, we are making it through this difficult economy, which started about 10 years ago, although many of us didn’t feel it until 2007. If we share resources through charities, and tell the government we want our tax money to help those in need, then we all will be living a better life in 1 or 2 years.