We humans are a resilient species. In tough times, we adapt. While the financial collapse we are in the midst of right now may not be "tough times" compared to many other peoples' experiences throughout history, still it has required a good deal of adjustment in my life and in my household.
To write this is to admit that I am quite spoiled when it comes to creature comforts. I am learning, though, that some of the things I thought were important to my well being just two years ago are not actually as necessary as I once thought. For instance: I used to get my hair done for the pure pleasure of not having to do it myself. I have hair that requires a lot of tweaking to make it look nice and I justified the expense by telling myself that since I work with the public, I should look professional. Now, the money that was spent to support my hair dresser and her place of business is needed for more basic needs such as groceries and bill paying, so I take on the challenge myself. Likewise, my regular pedicures, especially in summertime, have gone by the wayside. Somehow, these losses of personal beautification have pretty much become a distant memory and no longer part of my weekly or monthly routine.
Another luxury we have had to cut way back on is going out to eat. This means that I must now plan ahead to be always ready with a meal when my crew gets hungry and have lunch foods on hand for packing. Meal plans are worked according to the grocery stores' weekly ad campaigns, and I've discovered that many store brand products are just as good as the national brands for less money. Leftovers do not go unused anymore
We are saving on energy bills by cutting back on the thermostat and saving on gasoline by planning our trips for errand running and kid taxiing carefully, and carpooling when possible.
I gave up internet on my phone as a frivolous expense and we trimmed our cable coverage as well.
New clothes and shoes are purchased only out of necessity now rather than random fashion purchases because our focus has now changed to getting all our credit cards paid off in the hopes that we will be debt free when we finally retire.
So, while these are challenging times and we have had to adjust our standard of living, I think it is probably a good thing to have been shaken out of our routine enough to take a close look at our spending habits for the good of our future.