|Rainy day lazy puppy Buddy - 10 months|
If you live outside Canada you may not know that Canada is currently in a recession. Low oil prices have decimated the oil industry in the prairie Provinces and that has had a relay effect on the economies of all the other Provinces as well. I don't talk too much about our business but we essentially help other businesses make more money - via sales training and consulting, mainly to companies who deal with the oil industry. A lot of the companies we deal with have been reporting back 30-40 percent drops in sales this year. That means some have laid off staff or effected cost cutting measures to stay afloat. Is this effecting our business? Yes. We are also having a tougher year as our clients have less money to spend with us or in some cases are having to delay signing contracts until things get better. Fortunately, there are only two salaries to pull out of our company and if things get tight we can simply lower our salaries - not something you can easily do if you have outside staff. We don't have high overhead as work from home - high overhead is often a business killer when times are tough.
Canada is such a vibrant country that we all know things will get better as we have a very diverse talented population and lots of natural resources. It reminds me of growing up in the 1980s and graduating high school during a recession. Although my Mom had a good job she was a single Mom trying to raise two kids with an ex-husband who refused to pay any child support. At that time the court system was such that she had no recourse as he fled out of country. I distinctly remember one time in winter when we ran out of furnace fuel and had to try and keep the pipes in our mobile home from freezing by using space heaters and blow dryers. We kept warm by snuggling under electric blankets that we already owned. Fortunately, Mom got paid, we got another load of fuel delivered and that never happened again. I also remember times when the cupboards were quite bare and there was no money to buy groceries. Mom always seemed to be able to make dinner out of nothing and we never went hungry.
I was always a bit jealous of kids who had new clothes every new school year. Our clothing all came from other families as their kids grew out of their clothes although we did get new shoes, coats and underwear every single year. For a time when I was really little I thought that was the way it worked for all families. Mom brought home a couple of garbage bags of clothes, we tried on everything, kept what fit and passed on the bags to other families in the community with kids around our size. Funny, now I can afford to buy all my clothes brand new and I buy 90% of my wardrobe from thrift stores because I would rather spend my cash on other things that make me happy like travel.
I never realized we were considered the "working poor" back then. Having assets gives me peace of mind now as no matter what happens with the economy we will be ok. We no longer have a mortgage or owe anyone any money. We pay credit cards off immediately. Our retirement is funded sitting in the bank thanks to pensions from our last jobs. If things got worse and we reduced our salaries we could certainly find areas in our budget to trim.
Perhaps that is why I seem to be stockpiling groceries this month - a gut reaction to all the crap on tv about the economy and hard times. It makes me feel better to have 40 pounds of rice, 10 pounds of chicken legs and 20 pounds of potatoes on hand. I happen to remember what hard times felt like. What other families are probably going through right now. I do know this - you cannot expect anyone to take care of you but yourself. Spend every penny wisely, try and limit your debt as much as possible and you will be ok.
Yes, the puppy picture had absolutely nothing to do with this blog - but a bit of cuteness was required to lighten this post up a bit :)