Thursday, June 5, 2008

Is Anybody Else Really Feeling The Pinch?

A fat cat squeezed into an empty water box, thought that would be an appropriate picture to accompany this post. We are really starting to feel the squeeze of this recession! I don't know if any of you out there are really feeling it, but we certainly have been, especially since the gas prices have increased so. For instance, I used to keep my gas tanks full. I haven't run my truck in over two months. It sits in the driveway nearly on empty. My car is getting to the "ding, ding" moment on the gas tank every single week and I only throw in 10 to 20 bucks at a time until "payday". Paycheck to paycheck living here lately and I make pretty decent money as a specialty nurse. My health care coverage cost has gone up this year and the benefits really stink! This is United Health Care, folks. My portion that I pay each month is nearly $600 and I have one bill I'm making payments on and just wrote another check for $106. This is not hospital stays here. It makes me sick, although I can't afford it, sick that is.........How the hell can anybody? I've had to stagger all vet visits over two week periods for pay weeks as to pay my vet bills, thankfully all is taken care of maintenance wise, anyway. And grocery bills that used to be on average $65 to $75 are now coming in at $130. We've cut back in many respects, but we're talking basics here, groceries, health and gas to work. This household is really feeling the pain. How is everyone else out there? I'm really curious? What are you doing to get through this crisis?


Grey Horse Matters said...

I guess we're all having the trickle down effect from the outrageous gas prices,do you know it's costing the truckers almost 2 thousand dollars to fill their trucks up. So everything else goes up too. The one thing I am doing is using my small car and leaving my truck sitting in the garage unless I really need it.I'm also trying to only buy necessities right now, nothing extra. I hope whatever jerk gets elected can do something about this, it is so far gone I don't know if it can be fixed.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

For us, I intentionally timed car payments to end this year so that we can afford to start paying a college loan. I'm also paying off credit cards and forbidding any unnecessary expenditures. So, paying at the pump isn't too painful. The biggest problem is finding items I need like dog food, because the delivery trucks aren't coming as often due to gas prices, or the stores aren't willing to pay the extra shipping. If I still had all those extra bills, gas would hurt. I spotted $4.99 per gallon the other day.

There was an article in our local paper about 2 out of 3 area Homemakers Clubs folding because they didn't have enough members. I figured that unless someone has really young children and doesn't want to or can't use daycare, everyone works for money. Families with children just can't make it on one salary alone like they did when I was a kid. Gone are the 1950's. This economy sucks. Let's just hope we vote the right people into office this time around.

cdncowgirl said...

To be clear, I am not "American bashing" (which does seem to be a Canadian past-time... maybe to get back at all the Canadian jokes on American sitcoms?)
But right now I'm very grateful to be a Canadian. Things aren't great here (fuel!!) but things are much tougher for our southern neighbour right now.
(probably will be here soon too) :(

Hopefully things improve before you have to start laying in the feed for winter.

Callie said...

Arlene, I know we're just hitting the start of this and I can see it getting much worse before winter ends.

NuzMuz, Smart, I'm trying to get cards payed off and not spend on them, we managed to pay off our one really big one just before the poo started hitting the fan, but man this is tough!

cdncowgirl, I'm not sure how your health care actually works up there, but I do know we need a big change in that department down here!

kdwhorses said...

OH girl I know what you mean! I have cut everything out but the basics when I go to the grocery store. I plan a menu for 2 weeks of meals and stick to it. Buy just what I need to get by till the next 2 weeks! I get the circular for the store and see what meat and things are on sale, and that is what we eat.
I have cut back on going to church on Wednesdays and that has helped alot on fuel. If I have to go to town, I take a list of everything that needs to be done and do it.
Gas here is at $3.99 and diesel is $4.65 a gallon, that is totally asseine if you ask me. I hear that it is supposed to hit $6 by the end of summer! WTH!
I have also cut back on all the bills that we have. For example our home phone is the basics.
We are feeling the pinch as well and I do not know what we are going to do either if things just keep going higher and higher. The good thing for us is that Savannah is out of school now and I will be staying home more. I have a list of things that need to be done around here, so I guess I will be getting them done!
I really hate to say it but I foresee alot of people losing everything they have. So many have car payments, house payments, etc, etc. I see people all the time living off there credit cards, what happens when things keep getting worse, they keep going further in debt, with no way out. I really hope people start cutting back and making concessions now, it is going to get worse. I heard someone at church saying Oh we will make it, but they are not doing anything about the way they have been living, they are still living like they were a year ago. My opinion, you have to change and reprioritze your life and get a plan for now and the future. That is the attitude I feel is going to get them into trouble in the future. I wish and pray that the goverment will see the problems and step in there and help out. These big name gas companies are screwing the people and lining there already bulging pockets! It is sickening really! Off soapbox!

Callie said...

Amen, sister! It's gonna get tougher! I find it really scary!

Andrea said...

Yep we are feeling it here. My horse feed went from 6.60 a bag to 9.45 a bag in like two weeks. That was the biggest jump. My food bill has gone up too. I too stay home a lot.

I have heard that if you keep your tank more full then empty the car runs better?? I don't know if that is true, but just a thought.

Laura said...

Another Canadian here - we are lucky that we don't have to pay health insurance or worry about large health care bills (it all gets sucked away from our income in taxes though).

Gas prices are really high and I've seen it affect the horse world already this summer - not as many people are trailering their horses around for fun as before.

I have started to notice a small increase in grocery prices - especially on items that are trucked in. I'm hoping that big stores start using more local suppliers over the warm summer months (better for the environment too). We might not start feeling the pinch on food prices until the upcoming winter, when everything is shipped from lands far away.

dickiebo said...

Petrol here is £1.15 per litre. We now only put a few gallons in at each visit to the filling-station as it is so dear.
Don't mention Healthcare. It was free here, but is gradually being transformed! Especially dental treatment, where it is now almost impossible to obtain without paying direct. I'm currently featuring a few healthcare 'problems' that we are experiencing.

Mrs Mom said...

To be honest, since we started living like no one else anyways a few years back ( we are doing pretty darn well consdiering. No credit card bills (I will not allow them in my life,) no car payment, great insurance rate, house is paid for, yada yada yada. (I know- making some folks sick right now...) But thanks to Dave, we are doing well. We live well below what we make, pinch nickles until the Buffalo poops himself, and try to be smart about things. My former paniced state has eased QUITE a bit- garden is in, bread machine's efforts taste WONDERMOUS, and we are confident in our ability to maintain status quo around here.

Do I go places? Nah- never did before the gas crunch either, unless it was to a client. More clients are coming here, so that works too.

Things are going to get pricey. The main stream media THRIVES on doomsday predictions,and I have decided to REFUSE to listen to their drivel, and FIND OUT ON MY OWN. Politicians are not going to step in and save us. (THEY are what got us into this mess, and some of you want MORE government? Dude- think about that for a moment...)

Right.. turning into a book, and I am soapboxing... sorry Callie!

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

We have really noticed the difference in the numbers of kids rodeoing this year. The High School Rodeo and 4-H Rodeo used to be huge and this year they were about 1/2 the size.
I felt the "pinch" 2ys ago when I decided to move home from AZ. I just couldn't make it work anymore. Rent, gas, groceries, horse feed...That 3% annual increase in my pay just wasn't cutting it. That is the first time ever that I have left somewhere to come home due, in part, to economics.

Not much else I can cut out. We live with the necessities, as does most everyone in this area.

Callie said...

Andrea, Unfortunately, I used to keep my car full, now I can only fill on paydays, sucks, really and my grain has gone up tremendously.

Dickiebo, I'll have to go do some reading at your place as I find changing health care in the UK quite curious.

Mrs.Mom, You sound all set for this, wish we were in a slightly better position. Not too bad compared to some. We owe about half what our house is worth even in the crashed house market, so that sure could be worse.

Transylvanian horseman said...

The oil companies are making huge profits. Your President and his friends benefit personally from oil company profits. So they are going to continue to make large profits. Are McCain or Obama connected to the oil companies? If not, they soon will be.

Meanwhile, here in Britain, gas is pricey. Housing is extortionately expensive, costs have increased something like threefold over two decades. Young people, single people and those on low incomes have been screwed. Now, thanks to sub-prime lending, mortgages are in short supply. House prices have dropped a few percent. So hardly anyone will sell, rental prices are through the roof, and the greedy whining real estate industry has virtually stopped building houses.

The solutions:
1. A ten-year programme to substantially reduce dependency on oil. To include investment in renewables and public transport, and tax breaks for small cars and electric vehicles. The technology exists.
2. Cancel all biofuel programmes. All they do is make food more expensive.
3. Stop building suburbs and sub-divisions. Only build in cities and near transit/railway stations.
4. Allocate land for citizens to create personal vegetable plots. Tax breaks and grants for citizens growing their own food.
5. In Britain, a hefty tax on everyone who lives in a bigger house than they need. That will encourage them to sell, and real estate firms to create apartments from big old houses.
6. No foreign wars. They are too expensive.
7. Live economically. Mrs Mom is right.

Callie said...

TH, Lots of houses for sale here, but the market has dropped so that the asking price is way more than the worth and people are defaulting on their mortgages as they've been using their houses as banks, We have not done that, so we're in a good place with our house. Just a mile down the road, we watched a family move out of their home that they only bought a few years ago, I think they abandoned it as the bank has taken it and I'll bet it goes for auction soon, but even when they bought it, Steve and I said a few years ago, that they'll lose it, because they started building out buildings and all sorts of things that you know they borrowed against the house to pay for it. And then the numerous for sale signs popped up.

cdncowgirl said...

Fuel tips and tricks:

* Keep your tanks as full as you can afford to. You'll use less to evaporation

* Fuel up early morning/late evenings when its cooler out. Heat affects the volume of fuel.

* No speeding! (this ones hard for me)

* Maintain proper tire pressure & use your cruise control if you have it.

* Keep your vehicle properly maintained.

Callie said...

Thanks, CDN, good tips!

ell said...

I car pool (17 miles)with a woman who works close to where I work and lives just a few miles away. I walk 1 1/2 miles to meet her--it's good for me. I sold my prius to pay off the tractor I need for the farm sooner--can't afford both. I may be getting a bomber and we will still car pool, just take turns walking to meet. We are raising some of our own meat. We are working toward being off the grid ASAP--solar and wind.
Transylvanian horseman is right. Our way of living is changing--there is no magic left, no huge oil reserve, no government subsidies to bail us out. we have to change what we're doing, all of us. I'm seriously thinking about sharing our little farm with another family--a couple of us work for money(&health insurance) and a couple of us work creating food and clothing at home.

Callie said...

ell, we're seriously thinking about a wind turbine for electricity.

The People History said...

I must admit we have only one thing to concentrate on to be in a better position

We are quite lucky and did not have to use the house each time as a bank except once to pay college fees so compared with some we are OK.

My own personal goal is to clear what is left on credit cards and clear store cards, it surprises me how much those little bloody cards add up in monthly payments

I like many here only see things getting worse latest unemployment figures 5.5% and wonder what the real rate of inflation is not what governments tell us but what actualy affects most of us in everyday spending

And just to finish Oil just hit $138 not a big jump to next barrier of $150.

As they say buckle down and hold on for a wild ride , and I do not envy the next administration whichever it is , maybe some of the hardest decisions by any administration for many years.

It would be easy to place blame for problems on current administration but honestly they did what they felt was right following 9/11 and the cost will need to met ( Governments are no different to anything else debts do have to be paid back some time )

steve sorry if soap box

Callie said...

Laura & BECS, didn't mean to miss ya there, It is tough, seems to be world over and I don't see it getting better soon, I think we're in for a rough ride!!

Rising Rainbow said...

I'm scared to death and from the sounds of it things are only going to get worse. I'm getting close to panic mode with all these horses to feed.