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The Cost of Living Affects People Unfairly

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The percentage of their income that many people are paying for the cost of living in this economy is unbelievable.  Have you ever considered the gap between the cost of things in our economy and the ability of many people to pay for them?  The gap is getting bigger and bigger between what one group of people consider a reasonable amount of money for something and what another group of people can hardly imagine paying for something.

Because of how the cost of living effects them, more and more people are cinching their belts, doing without, and buying things on the cheap, or recycling somebody else’s trash.  This is the new group of poor which is being  being created by the number of qualified people who can’t get a job and the retires who find that their social security check, pension fund, and/or savings have shrunk in terms of what costs they can expect them to cover.  For example, paying $600 a month for house and car insurance may not seem like a lot when you are making $50,000 to $75,000 a year; but it seems impossible when you are on a fixed income of $10,000, $15,000, or even $20,000 a year.  Yes, there are people on social security who are getting less than $900 a month.

Many costs of living keep going up and up and we expect people to be able to pay them.  Costs to farm and raise a crop or a herd of beef, dairy cows, etc. are jaw dropping.  The profit margin keeps getting smaller and smaller.  Big business handles this by raising their prices and expecting somebody to pay them.  How have we come to accept this as normal?  I can tell you why people are buying imports from China, they can’t afford anything else.  Quality goods that have a longer useful life and home repair, maintenance, and appliance upkeep are unaffordable.  We have learned to skimp on things where we can (like using the dollar menu at the drive-through) and to do without things (that many people now consider a necessity) like a cell phone or inter-net access.

How did we get into this mess?  How did we come to accept the increasing inequality of the ability to pay the cost of living in our society?  We expect the little people of this country to pay the same big prices for some things that in reality only the disappearing middle (or upper class) can afford.  As Marie Antoinette said, “Let them eat cake.”  Where has the American Dream gone?  We thought this was ancient history, a time when royalty expected non royalty to pay starvation tax rates so royalty could live a gracious life style while wearing a blindfold when it came to seeing how this was achieved.  Power versus love.  Materialism.  People whom we have given authority to make decisions that are in our best interest are not doing it.  I would rather have a stove that works than pay for some government agency‘s meeting at a resort, wouldn’t you?  The Little Red Hen story also applies here too.

How have we come to accept this, this inequality of the ability of the citizens to pay the costs of living in our country?  Do you think that most of us should pay exorbitant prices for gasoline, medical insurance, and prescriptions and get by on little or nothing in the rest of our lives?  What is scary is that this may have been planned and controlled by the powerful and the wealthy in this country to be this way and we (like they thought we would) have come to accept this without protesting.  I know I have.

Once I made enough money to cover the cost of living and have a little left over; but now I don’t When it comes to eating out, I usually don’t.  For example, spending around ten dollars, tip and all for lunch is the max and is reserved for special occasions.  It is something that I do very infrequently.   When I am in town, I usually just get a drink and I am very selective about where I buy that.  I spend very very little money on clothes and as far as updating any rooms in my home like I see on HGTV, it ain’t gonna happen.  Lots of things don’t match, show a lot of wear, and are an eye sore.  I think my car would almost qualify as an antique.

For other things which are part of the cost of living, I pay what the economy demands.  This includes insurance premiums, utilities, gas, household supplies, but not food.  We have what we can afford that will stretch, not what we want.  When it comes to meat, we are very frugal; and we still cringe at the going rate for things like chicken wings and hamburger (but pay it anyway).  For a lot of things, we don’t have much choice, either pay what they ask or do without.  What happened to competition?

 

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How You Give Things Away

homemade-bread-800x800Do you know when you give things away?  Do you give things away without knowing that you do.  Maybe you don’t just give things away for free but maybe you don’t sell them for what they are worth.  Are you aware of what you are worth?  Do you have something of value to sell?  Can you actually afford to give this stuff away?

If you are aware of how you give things away, then you can get in control of what and how you give things away and you can do so when you can actually afford to do so.  Have you heard the story of the little red hen who grew the wheat, made the bread, and then gave it away, but did not keep any for herself  so died of starvation and could no longer provide the bread for others.   Of course, the little red hen even liked to grow the wheat and make the bread; but she could not keep doing this when she did not get anything in return and ran out of resources to do it.

One way that you give things away is by offering free samples; but you need to leave your audience wanting more.  This is when you offer to sell them more by getting something from them.  You have to sell it for more than the cost of the ingredients because your training and experience, your knowledge, your time and energy are worth more.  In order to develop new products, to offer quality services, to make improvements in your existing product, and thrive, you must price your product appropriately.

Everybody does not know everything and there is a good chance that you know something about something that is not common knowledge and could be worth an appropriate amount of money to other people who need this knowledge.

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Money And How You Think About It

american-currencyBecoming more mindful has led me to realize that the amount of money that something costs and whether it seems like too much or a real steal depends on what it is, who you are, and where you are.  I first began to think about this when I started watching HGTV and realized that what was considered a reasonable price for a house in one part of the country or the world was not reasonable in another part.  Decent-sized homes could be bought for $200,000 or less in some places, for $500,000 or less in others, and for over a million dollars in yet other places.  The same was true of rent which ranged from under $1000 to several thousand dollars a month.  The bigger prices were found not just in resort communities but also in suburban areas.highpricedpen

I am currently on a fixed income and am very money conscious.   I found that what I considered to be a good price for something depended on what category it fell in.  I found that I was the cheapest about clothes, hitting clearance racks and garage sales and usually spending under a few dollars usually no more than five or ten bucks; but  I found that I would  spend that much on eating out and on a very special occasion, I might double that.  It all dealt with what I allowed myself to spend even actually keeping a running total in my head.   Why is it more acceptable to spend more on laundry detergent than than on many grocery items?

You might not be on as tight a budget as I am and you may have to spend more to keep up appearances than I do.  Even the higher house prices don’t shock you and you may have already invested that much in a place to live.  What determines what seems reasonable to pay for one type of thing and not another?  Yes, this can be a matter of personal taste and the desire for quality in something you purchase.  But it does seem at least for me that I am willing to spend more on somethings than others.  How did I get that way?  Is it price fixing like the cost of a carton of pop?  Is it brain washing?  Is it due to propaganda?  What one person considers acceptable to pay for something may not be acceptable to another person.  How much of this is due to what is the usual price for something in a certain area and how much of this is due to what its really worth.  Or are things not intrinsically worth anything, except what you can get people to pay for them?

 

 

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Anxious?

Anxiety - Stress ... Time management vital for...

Anxiety - Stress ... Time management vital for finals -- cancel your Netflix subscription (7:45 PM, Nov. 28, 2012) ...item 2b.. Muddy Waters - After The Rain - Full Album (1969) ... (Photo credit: marsmet481)

Do you find somethings hard to deal with in life because you get anxious when you think about them?  These things don’t inherently make you anxious.  Something had to happen that was associated with them which taught you to be anxious when you have to do something with them.

Money, I thought, was dealt with constructively in my family growing up.  When my mother shopped, she always had a budget to follow even if that meant she didn’t get some things that she wanted that week.  My parents also got around the dining room table to pay the big bills together once a month.  Oh, yes there were some arguments when my dad would help his family (mother, brothers, and sisters) out and my mom was worried that we didn’t have the money to do that and that it wouldn’t get paid back.  I never did without when it came to the important things and I always had three hots and a cot (just joking).  Also in those days, there weren’t the TV advertisements that we have now that create desires for things we think everybody should have.

You get your first sense of security in your family of origin.  It is there that your needs are met or not met.  Although my parents were very practical about money and we never did without that I can remember, still there was some anxiety about the whole subject.  The great depression had just ended and it had had to have made an impression on almost everybody who experienced it.  We didn’t have a welfare state and family members were expected to help out family members in need.

Dealing with money still makes me anxious and I would avoid bill paying if I could, but I have learned through experience that not dealing with something can make for even bigger problems in the long run.  I keep a much closer track of my money than I used to.  Even with these better money handling habits,  I still get antsy about dealing with it.

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