October 7th, 2008


Economics, Chez Rambo

If you're like me, you're eying the bailout and financial crisis and wondering - what does this mean for me, overall? Is this, for example, going to be used for yet another try at gutting Social Security? What is going to happen to my 401k plan? What are prices going to be like next year? Will I be able to sell my home if need be, or find a new rental? How secure is the employment situation? How will this affect the publishing market? And I, like everyone else, know nothing, despite a six month stint as an economics major, during which I managed to absorb astonishing little. This is all pretty mystifying.

So what we're doing is waiting and seeing.

In the meantime, we're doing things that can't hurt, even if the financial criss magically repairs itself:
  • Paying down credit card debt and making sure we're financially secure.
  • Re-evaluating the household budget to see what could be trimmed if needed, including things like looking at the cable bill to make sure we do need all those channels and renewing my library card in order to look for books there rather than at Borders.
  • Stockpiling nonperishables that we know we'll be needing in the next year: things like a year's supply of Claritin for Wayne, enough cold medicine to see us through the flu season to spring, and enough supplies in the pantry that we could live comfortably for a while amid the hordes of looters and zombies. I've always been a fan of buying in bulk -- we just ran out of Comet from the six pack I bought when I first moved to Redmond, for example. Having a pantry that has a flat of canned tomatoes, enough pasta to feed an army, and a ton of garlic makes me feel a bit more secure.
  • Stockpiling in case we get another winter stint without power: fuel for the wood stove, the camp stove, and making sure the hand-crank radio is in good repair and as easily located as the cribbage board.
  • Making sure we use up health benefits before the end of the year and are up to date on things like prescriptions.
  • Keeping a jaded eye on the scams springing up to prey on people worried about their finances. Thrift and frugality are, paradoxically, going to become marketing strategies.
Frankly, there's a lot of other stuff to be worrying about, such as this.