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View Full Version : Has the devastation caused by Katrina inspired you to save more or be more frugal?


Lyn5
09-08-2005, 04:18 PM
Just posing a question. Previously, I think DH and I were doing well, but lately I have had more time to go onto discussion boards and have found myself inspired in the last few months to improve and help put my family in a better financial position. I also starting reading the DR books. But....now with Katrina and watching what financial pain so many families are needing to deal with, I have a newfound desire to REALLY keep a tighter watch on our money and to change some of our habits. For example, I usually don’t keep cash in the house, but now I am thinking that maybe having some money at home is wise...after all, what happens if you can’t get to or withdrawal from an ATM? Also, I am thinking of stepping up our savings. It seems that many Americans, myself included, seem to think that if our property value is high, that is some kind of safety. But in this case, so many people lost their homes and what they really need are more liquid investments to keep them going in the months ahead...wondering if anyone else was looking at this too?

NY Disney fan
09-08-2005, 04:27 PM
Absolutely. I have been brown bagging it for 2 weeks and have saved quite a bit to step up my e-fund.

I know a family in New Orleans who was able to get out, had money and a place to go (middle to upper middle class). Now that have to pay their mortgage and rent out a house, get some kind of child care and re-root themselves. They will now go into debt to keep afloat. Its horrible.

cascadecupcake
09-08-2005, 04:30 PM
I'm VERY worried about the economy as a result of Katrina. Tens of thousands of displaced citizens who will need public assistance for several months to come. Where are we going to get all of these resources when we can't even get proper schools for the children and healthcare for the elderly? I thought my local, state, and federal governments were facing tough cost cutting choices before.....I'm afraid we haven't seen anything yet!!!!!

Free4Life11
09-08-2005, 04:39 PM
I've definitely felt a need to change my ways. I'm going to try hard to get out of CC debt ASAP and start hacking away at my student loans. I also want to set aside some emergency funds and also cash at home.

bdcp
09-08-2005, 05:12 PM
I'm VERY worried about the economy as a result of Katrina. Tens of thousands of displaced citizens who will need public assistance for several months to come. Where are we going to get all of these resources when we can't even get proper schools for the children and healthcare for the elderly? I thought my local, state, and federal governments were facing tough cost cutting choices before.....I'm afraid we haven't seen anything yet!!!!!

Don't. Which children and elderly aren't properly cared for? Katrina is not going to break the bank. Do a web search, there are all kinds of info saying this will not push us into a recession or anything else. I'm afraid the "sky is falling" is a really useless way to look at things. The displaced citizens are being absorbed across the country and many are already looking for employment. The resources are coming from within the local communities. Let's chill some and not go off the deep end without any "facts" to support your fear. Also, a lot of people displaced had cc's and insurance and are renting apartments and finding jobs. The few (by percentage of population) you see on the news that are poor are being taken care of.

NY Disney fan
09-08-2005, 05:26 PM
I'm VERY worried about the economy as a result of Katrina.


I agree. Not even government can forecast what will happen. Its too early.

soccerchick
09-08-2005, 05:40 PM
Not so much Katrina, as the rising gas prices and energy costs, which were going up pre-Katrina. We just had an almost $300 electric bill and gas is $2.99 a gallon here. That's $200 more a month just in the cars' gas tanks. People at work are carpooling like crazy, and that's a good thing anyway. Fewer cars, less traffic, less pollution, less demand for gas so the prices drop, etc.

The only debt we have is our mortgage, but I only work part-time so these increases add up. Before, I wouldn't think twice about buying something (on sale, of course), but right now I'm in a "buy it only if I really need it phase." In the past, I wouldn't let a great bargain go. This week the only shopping I did was to return some things. We've been eating in more, using leftovers before they go bad, driving only if needed and combining errands. I plan to do this until Christmas and reassess. Of course I worry much more than DH, who thinks I'm overreacting. Oh well. When the credit cards come in, I'm sure he'll notice how low they are.

I also don't plan to be too cost conscious when we are in Disney in less than 3 weeks :banana:

DreadpiratK
09-08-2005, 05:41 PM
On the other hand, Billions will be spent on rebuilding. That means jobs, material, food and shelter for the workers, all kinds of people up and down the food chain benefit from these projects, and thier will be lots of them. A semi-skilled carpenter or roofer will be able to get rich in that area over the next few years. They all buy cars, clothes food ect. All of this generates tax income, and stimulates the economy, so it's not all bad. In fact, i doubt that there will be any excuse to be unemployed in the affected areas a few months from now.

There is much that is bad, but the money the goverment spends isn't going into a black hole, or some foreign country, it's going hopefully to American companies, and American workers, so it doesn't just disappear, it stays here and circulates.

Anyway, my optimistic spin on it.

etwinchester
09-08-2005, 05:45 PM
Watching this devistation on TV has really hit me hard. My baby steps (from the Dave Ramsey book) need to be kicked into high gear. The only problem is that my husband was laid off a couple of months ago and we're living paycheck to paycheck.

I do have a slight e-fund but may need to tap into that to pay some bills this month. It's horrible and I have my heart and mind into fixing it. I can't wait to get everything but the mortgage paid off and get some of this stress off of me.

We have so many things around the house that need fixing as well: car, driveway, retaining wall, deck, etc... It's like one thing after another. Everything is falling apart.

I pray and thank God for what I do have. There are so many others right now that have lost everything so I try not to complain...things could be worse for us as well.

God be with us all !!!

mrsbornkuntry
09-08-2005, 05:59 PM
I am feeling more of a push to get my savings going, it's definitely not where I want it to be. I'm doing TMM babysteps and I'm only on #2, and i have my $1000.00 emergency fund in place, but I would feel alot better if it were more. Although DH's job is secure (military), I keep thinking "what would we do if we had to evacuate?" and worrying whether or not our resources would be enough to hold us over.

A little off topic, but I've also felt a need to get an emergency kit together for my family. We don't have hurricanes where I'm at, but we do have earthquakes (I've been told, I haven't been here long and haven't felt one). Who knows when an emergency will happen? I would feel much better having all of our necessities in one place. I'm a flybaby, too, and flylady has been focusing on this also so that's giving me a push to get it done. I would hate to be in a situation where I had to rely on someone else to feed my family because I didn't prepare when I could have. :umbrella:

barbeml
09-08-2005, 06:05 PM
Although we are doing ok and only have mortage debt, I am also concerned about the economy. DH is a land surveyor/civil engineer and his firm has been on thin ice for two years because the architects and construction management firms refuse to pay their subs. We are facing a doubling of our property tax bill next year (please don't lecture me about how happy I should be that my house is more valuable...that is only good if you are in a position to sell and move. Move where?). Energy costs are going to make EVERYTHING much more expensive very soon. We suffered a HUGE increase in homeowner association fees due to the insurance industry fallout from 9/11. I think this disaster will yield even worse insurance increases.

If my October WDW trip was not already paid for, I would cancel it. We have decided not to travel at all next year and shore up our savings instead.

Kay1
09-08-2005, 06:49 PM
Yes. It reminds me why I shouldn't count my chickens before they hatch. Though on paper I have a good deal of wealth, I can't get carried away thinking my house is worth what my neighbor sold his for last month, it's worth what I'll get at closing the day I sell it. I live in Florida and our house could be destroyed by a storm like Katrina. . . insurance only covers just so much.

can'twait
09-08-2005, 10:33 PM
I'm terrified. I really hope the economy doesn't tank due to the loss of oil production and the loss of 400k jobs on the Gulf Coast, or we will all be in trouble. We spent $340 on gas last month alone. BEFORE Katrina. Gas has gone up .40 since last week. We are OK but on the edge, and the increase in gas and heating oil prices might be the straw that breaks the camel's back. Just when I think OK, I'm NOT spending anything for the rest of the month except on food, we have to buy a birthday gift for that party, host a party for my son's birthday, buy supplies for school, register the kids for soccer ($100) buy their equipment ($123) and finish buying odds and ends for our trip to WDW in October (costumes, batteries, toiletries). There goes $500 - POOF! We were supposed to pay for this trip in cash, but we charged it for convenience sake and it's still sitting there gathering interest like a snowball. Great. I'm starting to wonder if I will be able to enjoy this trip if we have no room in the budget for souvies or meals off the dining plan and I feel guilty because we shouldn't even be there. Then we get notices from school regarding signing up for chess ($100) foreign language lessons ($100) and afterschool activities ($100). Where do people get the $ for all this stuff? How do you do it with a large family? I know you can't do it all, but I feel obligated to expose the kids to as much as we can, within reason. Sigh. And then IF we recover from the vacation, we have to contend with being "Santa". I'm dreading Christmas shopping. DH and I agreed that the video camera we bought for the trip and the trip are our gifts to each other. And the house is a mess. We can't decide if we want to fix up the living room, bathroom or the kids' rooms first. I visited the library and put DR's TMM on hold. I hope I can get it soon! OK, thanks for letting me vent. :rolleyes1

PaulaSue
09-08-2005, 11:17 PM
I so want to do better/save more especially now. I had thought of canceling our trip but after sleeping on it I decided life is too short and it is a once in a life time trip (our 10th anniversary too) for us. I would just hate myself if we never got a chance to go as a family.

I do have a big stockpile of food and beauty stuff (couponing is hard but worth it, IMO) now that I have that I am trying to work on the $$$ part by living of the stockpile. It is also good for donating to others hurt by Katrina since money is tight.

mamaprincess
09-08-2005, 11:26 PM
I'm worried about the long term financial implications of this as well. I've changed some of my spending habits. I can't imagine getting something I don't need right now. I'm not sure what's coming. I don't use debit anymore I just take out enough cash for the week and when that is gone spending ends.

Foladar
09-09-2005, 02:34 AM
Yes, we have. After losing all of our food to Katrina (Homestead area in FL) .. we didn't have enough to buy more so now we're keeping lower amnts of food due to hurricane season. Chicken and sandwiches daily = aagggghhh!

Amyality
09-09-2005, 07:08 AM
The only area I have cut back is driving, I really try to combine trips more than ever, I used to bunch trips because, it was convenient but, now its to try and stretch that tank of gas. I have been driving a little slower and excellerating slower. I occasionaly will ask myself, do I really need this now and try to talk myself out of going.
The disaster has inspired me to have some items stored in my home (water and more canned goods). Also, we are planning on moving to a remote area - probably Maine - and living sustainably (for the most part). The disaster has deffinitely galvanized that plan, by spring...were gone. But, this plan was in the works before the storm hit. It is not happening because of Katrina it just makes me sure I need to distance myself from major cities and make sure my famiy will be eating, drinking and flusing the toilet no matter what happens outside of our "world".
More than the economic reprocussions, I worry about social reprocussions. I am an upper middle class caucasian woman so, I can not fully interpert/understand what the African American population is feeling as a group but, the don't seem real happy about the way things have been handled (according to the media at least. I don't trust the media farther than I can throw them personally - especially when it comes to politics, but, they must be getting things right some of the time). I see dissatisfaction as another road block in this county's sense of unity and healing the huge probelm with racism (on all sides of the problem - black, white, yellow, brown...everybody).

Took
09-09-2005, 08:29 AM
We, too, have stepped up plans for saving more and getting out of all debt (we don't have much). We also are driving our Saturn SL (about 40mpg) much more now and leaving our bigger vehicle in the garage. As someone else said, Katrina didn't give us completely new life plans, but it did push us to speed up our "responsibility timetable."

took

PlaneJoy1
09-09-2005, 09:08 AM
Between hurrican Katrina and already rising gas prices, I am really wanting to get out of consumer debt. It will take a while, but I would really like it to happen. I feel less and less secure in this economy given that both DH and I are in an unstable industry.

Now to get my husband on board..... I know he agrees, but in practice it can be difficult for all of us to go "cold turkey" on things we used to not think about when doing (like eating out).

ElizaB39
09-09-2005, 09:38 AM
Don't. Which children and elderly aren't properly cared for? Katrina is not going to break the bank. Do a web search, there are all kinds of info saying this will not push us into a recession or anything else. I'm afraid the "sky is falling" is a really useless way to look at things. The displaced citizens are being absorbed across the country and many are already looking for employment. The resources are coming from within the local communities. Let's chill some and not go off the deep end without any "facts" to support your fear. Also, a lot of people displaced had cc's and insurance and are renting apartments and finding jobs. The few (by percentage of population) you see on the news that are poor are being taken care of.

I agree with the above. Panic is what sent the gas prices up in the first place. One of the major lines in the gulf is already at 100% capacity and the other is close behind.

Be careful in your spending, be thankful for what you have, be calm in the face of adversity, be generous to those less fortunuate. Have your own plan for a disaster.

We (USA) are now doing everything in our power to assist those affected by the hurricane. They are and will be taken care of. The rebuilding will help the economy, even though tough times are ahead.

ElizaB39
09-09-2005, 09:41 AM
Also I am not "very worried". I am hopeful, knowing that I am doing my part in assisting the victims of this disaster. I am being cautious about spending, nothing to do with the economy or Katrina, just a new way of DR thinking. I will spend less because of Katrina, but the $$ not spent will go to donations for those affected, still supporting the economy just through another person, not just myself.

dvcgirl
09-09-2005, 09:51 AM
More than the economic reprocussions, I worry about social reprocussions. I am an upper middle class caucasian woman so, I can not fully interpert/understand what the African American population is feeling as a group but, the don't seem real happy about the way things have been handled (according to the media at least. I don't trust the media farther than I can throw them personally - especially when it comes to politics, but, they must be getting things right some of the time). I see dissatisfaction as another road block in this county's sense of unity and healing the huge probelm with racism (on all sides of the problem - black, white, yellow, brown...everybody).

Yes, this is going to be a big mess socially, and for some time. What disgusts me about the whole issue is that African American leaders, many democrats and the Media are trying to turn this into a racial issue when it really is a class issue.

I find the whole issue incredibly frustrating. In many ways I think that the population of New Orleans is getting all of the attention from this catastrophe when there are thousands and thousands of people in Mississippi who have lost everything as well. Lots of them are probably in hotels now or with family members, and not standing in line for $2,000 debit cards.

I can't even imagine being in a position where I'd have no place to go...and had to stay in a shelter. And so I really and truly feel for those people. But boy, if this catastrophe isn't the catalyst for people to start creating their emergency funds, I don't know what is.

BoyLovesBuzz
09-09-2005, 10:18 AM
Actually I tend to the opposite, perhaps irresponsible, direction. Despite what you do, you may be a mere tropical low pressure system, a broken levee, or a jumbo jet away from loosing it all. Live Life!!!!!!

cascadecupcake
09-09-2005, 10:34 AM
Let's chill some and not go off the deep end without any "facts" to support your fear.

Woah. I think you misunderstood my post. Didn't mean to make it sound as if I'm running around all willy-nilly hoarding water, stuffing cash into my mattress, and standing in line to fill up my six gas cans at the pump. :rotfl2: Must've been the bold VERY. ;) Let me re-phrase....I'm concerned. I'm re-thinking many of my spending choices trying to be prepared for the long term effects of this.

ElizaB39
09-09-2005, 10:43 AM
Woah. I think you misunderstood my post. Didn't mean to make it sound as if I'm running around all willy-nilly hoarding water, stuffing cash into my mattress, and standing in line to fill up my six gas cans at the pump. :rotfl2: Must've been the bold VERY. ;) Let me re-phrase....I'm concerned. I'm re-thinking many of my spending choices trying to be prepared for the long term effects of this.


hee hee it was the bolded very that got me... :goodvibes

DMRick
09-09-2005, 11:12 AM
I have done just the opposite. I booked another vacation..we always said we wanted to see Disneyland, and now we will. Life as we know it can be short, and as you can afford them, I believe we need to fill our "wish we coulds" list before they become our "wish we dids" list.

Living in the northeast, I've always kept frozen jugs of water in my freezer, and always kept some cash, in cash the ATM machines went down in a storm.

ladysoleil
09-09-2005, 11:23 AM
I've been more frugal only in the sense that I am cutting my spending in order to be able to donate more. I've been living minimally for a week (not suffering, just skipping things like newspapers and sodas), and managed to sock away an extra $20 to add to my donation fund, as well as spend more on care packages a friend is making to send to her family members who resettled in Texas...they literally need everything from toothpaste to shoes and a lot of stuff in between. I'm probably going to stay on this regime for a while in order to keep helping them out, but really, I'm pretty frugal to begin with so there isn't a lot more I can cut back on, these savings are coming out of my "mad money" fund.

We also decided that anything left over from our Disney trip budget for next week is going to be split evenly between our savings account and America's Second Harvest. We're bringing the same amount we did for our last trip, but with the free dining, I think we won't spend nearly as much, even if we do buy souvies and gifts for families. We have $600 each to bring, for a 5 day trip with 3 park days. I suspect a good chunk of that will come home with us- I brought home over $100 last time, and we didn't really deprive ourselves of anything, just ate in the room a couple of times because we felt like it.

I'm also trying to get DH and myself into better habits about our energy use, as I know that fuel prices this winter are going to make our utility bills jump dramatically. If I can get us acclimated to things like closing doors to preserve room temperature, cutting a minute or two off a shower, not having to need the light on in every room, etc, once winter comes it'll be easier to keep up those little energy-saving habits, and by then, it probably will make a difference.

momof1princess
09-09-2005, 11:26 AM
i'm concerned as well...only driving back & forth to take and p/u my DD to school & 1 trip to town per week, and not spending money whenever possible. i also agree with dvcgirl-everyone is so focused on what's happening in new orleans, there's little to no help for the gulf coasts of mississippi and alabama, which were devastated as well. it outrages me as an alabamian-sure millions of people come each year to enjoy our beaches and our hospitality-where are those people now? oh i forgot, they're busy in dallas, houston, etc., making sure evacuees from new orleans are taken care of...too bad for the people in biloxi who've been living under tarps in parking lots since the storm and haven't seen a red cross or fema vehicle yet.

i'm sorry, i really didn't mean to rant, i guess i'm a little more nervous and frustrated than i thought...*sigh* perhaps i should watch a little LESS news for a while.

DiznEeyore
09-09-2005, 12:36 PM
Be careful in your spending, be thankful for what you have, be calm in the face of adversity, be generous to those less fortunuate. Have your own plan for a disaster.

Very well said!!

georgina
09-09-2005, 12:36 PM
Haven't changed anything, but I feel I've been pretty frugal all along. I'm trying not to worry about the immediate future, with gas prices, the economy, etc, because there really isn't much I can do about that. We have a fixed natural gas price for a year, and that expires in November, so I suspect my heating costs for the winter are going to jump.

dizcrazy
09-09-2005, 03:22 PM
We are also REALLY loking at our spending and trying to put more aside for emergenices. The cost of gas (for the car and to heat our house this winter) had me nervous. I have a long commute to work - lots of gas $$$$

Lisa loves Pooh
09-09-2005, 04:11 PM
Yes, we have. After losing all of our food to Katrina (Homestead area in FL) .. we didn't have enough to buy more so now we're keeping lower amnts of food due to hurricane season. Chicken and sandwiches daily = aagggghhh!

No food spoilage insurance?