My Story: The Positive Side of Tough Times

contributed by Laurie

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What I Learned about Surviving Hard Times

We have been affected by the slowdown in the economy. My husband has had to take a significant cut in pay. Instead of moaning and groaning about it, we decided to look on the positive side. At least he's still employed!

Even though we have less take home money, we are still saving at the same rate we were before his pay cut. We still contribute to our 401(k) and our savings accounts. That's one thing that hasn't changed.

We don't eat out at restaurants like we used to. We prepare and eat our meals at home now. Our teenagers tell us they like eating at home better. In fact, they have their friends over more often and it seems the friends always stay over for meals. While it costs more to feed more, we are spending more time with our kids and getting to know their friends better.

I don't get manicures and pedicures anymore. Pampering myself with my own style of manicure and pedicure has become part of my Sunday evening ritual. My youngest daughter, who just turned 15, has joined me and pampers herself now also.

My haircut and color used to cost me $200 because I thought I had to spend a lot of money and go to "the best." I did a little research on the salons close to my office and close to my house. I found a great salon and a young professional getting started in her career as a stylist. She works extra hard to please her customers since she's just starting out. She also appreciates me more than the person I used to go to. Her prices are one-fourth what I was paying. My husband says that I look better than ever.

We live in a large city with a large university and have attended sporting events at the university. We have learned the women's teams provide just as much excitement. The ticket prices are lower and women's events tend not to be as crowded.

I do a lot of reading. Instead of buying the books as soon as they come out, I hit the used bookstores, thrift stores and the library. Sometimes the hunt for a new book is more fun than actually reading it.

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