Tuesday, July 5, 2011
1) The hunk retired. We now live on a fixed income comprised of Social Security and a pension from his job. Just between us, the two allow us to live pretty much where we've been living, and pay the bills. But there's no leftover at the end of the month, if you know what I mean. We budget carefully, watch our pennies, and usually end up in the black each month.
2) Rising prices at the grocery store, gas pumps, and other assorted places. There's a reason people are taking Staycations and shopping at Aldi's and the Dollar Tree. Many of us can no longer afford to take that little side trip to the beach or lake. And we certainly can't afford to shop in the mainstream grocery stores. Every time we go to the store, it's always with a carefully compiled list--a list we follow faithfully. Lights are turned out when we leave a room. Nothing is wasted.
3) Medical costs have gone up. Not necessarily the price of services (although I suspect that might be true, too), but our need for those services have increased in the last two years. We've had a never-ending string of medical issues that required services and medication. And don't get me started on the high cost for prescriptions!
4) There's been a steep nose-dive in my royalties. The publishing industry is crashing and burning. Some publishers have adopted less than honest avenues to keep their heads above water. Most of those avenues involve paring the author's share back to zero--or close to it. It really doesn't matter which publisher you have. Big or little, print or digital, they're all scrabbling for dollars. I've seen an 80% decrease in my royalty checks. Hmmmm. Tough to live on an 80% decrease.
What does it all mean?
In concrete terms it means my granddaughters can't come to visit me this summer. I can't afford the gas money to drive back and forth twice in one summer. Their parents can't either. This is not a life threatening issue. So many families are in much worse circumstance, losing their homes to floods, fires, and tornadoes. But it illustrates the way we, the American people are dealing with the plunging economy.
How has life changed at your house? Do you make fewer trips to the grocery store? Are you more aware of lights left on in empty rooms? What's your new reality?