Just turn on any news program lately and you'll hear plenty about how rotten the economy is. And there is definitely alot of truth in it. We have felt the increase in costs, especially in groceries and gas. (This was one reason I started paying more attention to how I spent our grocery money.) I read yesterday about how we are in for a bad wheat crop and wheat prices are going to go up - although I think they already have as the flour I buy at Sam's has doubled in price in the last year.
But this morning when Kelly and I were watching the news, the reporter made a statement that really irked me. "Times are really bad right now." Yes I know it sounds innocuous enough. And I know that there are many families who have been hit very hard. But I'm sorry, things in the country are not "really bad" right now, comparatively.
Hear me out on this.
Yes I know all the predictions of gloom and doom - recession, stagnation, housing crisis, gas prices, these are all things I understand and have heard. But really, things just aren't as good right now as they have been for most of my adult life. We have been living through a time of great wealth and ease until very recently. Prices were low, inflation almost nonexistent, unemployment at record lows, interest rates on house and car loans very low. We've had it easy. And now that the pendulum is swinging back the other way (as it always does) we are panicking.
If you want to know about "times that are really bad" talk to your grandparents (or great grandparents) about what it was to live in the depression. Read cookbooks from that era - its quite eye opening. When we think we've got it bad because we can only buy the meat that's on sale, read how these women fed families with no meat, milk, butter, etc. These people lived through a time when they probably wished for only a recession - and don't forget the horrible drought that lasted for years that decimated so many family farms. They had it really bad.
Also talk to your grandparents about living through WWII. I know Iraq has caused some prices to go up, but we have never had to go "meatless on Mondays" or plow up our lawns to plant victory gardens. We would absolutely die if we have to have ration books to get certain items - we get upset if we have to take a raincheck on a sale item!
No, our country is scared right now (and the media is fueling it for all it's worth). And with fear we lose perspective. Now I'm not saying we should ignore what's going on around us. I'm all for being frugal, careful and discerning with money - just ask Kelly, who thinks I am too much sometimes! I am still working on bringing our grocery budget down, so that I've gone back to couponing after giving it up years ago. But we need to be careful not to get caught up in the hype. It keeps us from being thankful for what we have and being content. Our history gives us perspective - let's not lose it during this time. And as Christians, we have have the ultimate history - the Bible which shows us how God has always taken care of his people.