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Peach State says: Middle Class Humor and Current Events

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My husband and I went to do a few errands, yesterday, on his day off. Fox News had been talking about the overnight jump in gas prices in Ohio…we did not know it was here in Georgia too! We drove into the gas station and the price had jumped 15 cents. He laughed and said “I guess I should have filled up last night when it was $3.63 a gallon!” The numbers began to spin around as if possessed! Click! My husband got back into the car…”Well at least I am no longer driving the truck!” It would be way over $75 to fill up and he uses almost two tanks per week. At least we have Middle Class Humor and Current Events!

I guess his stomach was growling because he asked where I would like to eat. We decided on trying out the new Panera Bread restaurant. We ordered conservatively: 2 sandwiches with chips, 1 orange juice and one water, and 2 cinnamon rolls. One of the cinnamon rolls was 99 cents! “They were for his dessert later that night.” The red flashing lights streaming from the register should have told us to run…”That will be $21….” My husband handed the girl, behind the register, the money as he choked back his shock and surprise. As we found a seat he looked at me and said $21…!” We were offered a free pastry due to slow service and my husband told me to select a pastry. “If we are going to pay this much for a meal we might as well get all we can!” We enjoyed our meal and time together.

We left and were headed to the local home improvement store to buy lightbulbs. We were driving down the road and headlines became the topic of conversation. They were not just any headlines…well you will see.

*In Lieu of a Summer Trip We Bought a Tank of Gas and Lunch at Panera Bread!

*Cost of Gas and Lunch Bankrupt Family!

*Who Needs Lightbulbs Anyway?

*Family Vacations at Local Gas Station!

*Vacation Destinations Now Include Gas and Grocery Stores!

I see families taking vacations and talking about their vacations on Facebook. They are going camping or visiting Disney and the some head to the beach. I would love to go to the beach house. It is relatively inexpensive except for the gas. I guess we just prioritize differently. A friend posted a picture on Facebook and well it gives us a good laugh…but could it be a true statement?

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Our boys are learning how to repair their vehicles themselves…they shop around for the best prices and replace the brakes and most recently an alternator. My 21 year old saved over $150 by replacing the brakes on his truck with his brother. “I think my husband may have supervised!”
My 18 year old had to replace his alternator this week and was immediately on the phone to the auto parts stores comparing prices. “I must have done something right!” I came home from church that night to see my sons under the hood with grease ridden faces and hands…and they were googling the how to guide. It took them several hours but they did it…and saved more money. After cleaning up they collapsed, proud in their accomplishment, and still had greasy faces.

I am old enough to remember my parents complaining about gas prices…I remember complaining about higher gas prices and the cost of living…and now…well we try not complain. We just make jokes! If we can’t laugh about our situation we will get more upset and stress out. We have enough stress today without fighting over the cost of gas. Cut back on trips…combines errands…do it yourself repairs…and don’t forget the lightbulbs while you’re out! Middle Class Humor and Current Events!

The politicians of our nation don’t feel the pinch in the wallet. They do not see the soaring prices the way we do. They campaign on the issues and against each other. If one comes up with a plan another will tear it down. Campaign promises are made and forgotten. They get back on their fancy buses and planes and move on to the next campaign stop. Maybe they do feel the pinch…with all the money they are spending for fuel they can’t afford the commercial air time!

Creative spending not splurging is the norm in our house. Oh..wait…I do splurge! I got a coffee at Starbucks the other day…with a free e-card! “I was worried for a second!” I have found that when I buy my “ginormous” (giant and enormous smashed together) bag of espresso beans I will get a free coffee…I earn Swagbucks and get e-gift cards for Starbucks…I love free Starbucks! Shopping wisely, cutting back, and finding deals are the way we live now. We sacrifice in ways to make ends meet! “Soap is soap…right?” I no longer get my specialty hand soaps with fragrances and colors for each sink in the house. Refillable soap decanters and over-sized containers of plain liquid soap will have to suffice. We all do our part!

Have your and your family made changes in how you spend? Have you changed the way you drive or the number of trips you make? Do you cut out coupons and pay attention to the prices? Do you get excited when you save money? Do you have or find Middle Class Humor in today’s Current Events? Please send me your money saving ideas and techniques! We need to help each other…after all…we all will need lightbulbs eventually!
Have a great day!

Peach State

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Peach State says: Time for Current Events Friday

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In talking with a dear friend yesterday our conversation covered many discussion points.
Politics, gas prices, death and loss, and the concept of Houdini Economics.
Houdini Economics! I just love that term…the now you see it now you don’t payday tease. Welcome to Current Event Friday!

My day started as normal…the preparing of coffee (latte’) and breakfast. Then my husband and I attended a Presidential Campaign Rally scheduled in our city. This was our first Presidential Rally and it was very exciting and motivating. He spoke about the money issue as well as cost of gas per gallon. He gave us his ideas for lowering the cost of gas per gallon. He noted that with gas possibly reaching $5.00 a gallon this summer the average family will have very little left over. “I leaned over to my husband and said…”We’re supposed to have money left over now because we don’t?” and implied if we don’t have it now how could we have any when the gas prices rise!” We really have been quite fortunate with the cost of gas at the pump! Some friends of mine in Europe tell us the horror stories of almost $10.00 a gallon there. “I don’t think I will complain to loudly.”

I told my friend I got paid and was excited to be able to go grocery shopping. “I have my coupons ready and my menu for the upcoming month.” The planned menus generated the grocery list I would shop from. “You should know that it really is easier to shop when you plan your menus ahead of time.” We then discovered the term Houdini Economics!

This is what occurs when you get paid, and before you have the chance to think, it is gone. The money simply vanishes into thin air with little to prove you were paid. The “payday illusion”! We really had more fun discussing the new names for lack of money during this time.
Sadly, when I went shopping, the amount spent went up and I did not get everything I needed. I should have had more left over…! The coupons and bargain shopping did help…but not enough to have any left over. “Do you ever have the same problem when you go grocery shopping?”

Sadly I think I am not alone in this boat! We have cut back to the point of menu boredom and are growing tired of hearing complaints from the family peanut gallery. I must pat myself on the back, at this point, because I have not received the typical “This again!” statements. However, they are beginning to wonder where I am finding my recipes. “Keep ’em guessing…and they will eat!”. Still hungry….want some more bread? We manage the best we can with what we have.

Making the paycheck stretch is a learned skill. My great-grand parents taught my grand-parents and they taught my parents and well you see the pattern. How to shop…when to shop…how to cook…all valuable life lessons we must learn and teach each generation. My sons know how to shop wisely…even though they tend to spend unwisely when it come to junk food. They surprise my husband by coming home with change after buying grocery items… I just smile and say they have learned to read and compare. I went to buy some Hillshire Beef Sausage yesterday for a Cajun recipe and it was $3.98 for 1 package…”I don’t think so!” I finished at that local store and headed to the Wal-Mart. The very same brand was 2 for $3.00! Know your stores and prices!

I really need to pick up some items at the Warehouse bulk store but do not know when I will be able to do this. I have a funeral to attend and a dish to take to the family today and have to be back for my youngest as he steps off the bus. I have an extra choir practice tomorrow for our Easter Musical until 12:00 or 12:30…maybe I will try at that time. It is a good thing I filled up my gas tank earlier this week and will not have to pay the new higher weekend price.

All in all…things could be a lot worse! I will just have to rearrange the menus a little to make things work. Funny…the food seems to disappear just like the money. Poof…Gone! Oh yeah…three growing boys! Have a great day and please send me your ideas for stretching the money we have. Until then…don’t blink…we are living in a magical time when it comes to the finances.

Peach State