By Elizabeth Desquiron
Special to CSMS MagazineSummer has always been a wonderful time for many of us, especially for those of us who can afford to get out of the house for an exciting weekend get-away. Summer is also the time to strengthen family ties, to reenergize broken spirits, and to go out on wild adventures like horseback riding, mountain climbing or windsurfing etc… Here in the Colorado Mountains where I live half time of the year, summer is quite exotic. The green foliage of the rolling hills, the picturesque villages in the valley below and the breathtaking scenery of the wild flowers invading the bed of prairies that I enjoy contemplating from my bedroom window, are quite enough to inject into someone’s heart the infinite taste—le goût de fin du monde. I fell in love with this area when my husband took me here to spend our honeymoon shortly after we got married 6 years ago in Manitoba, and we have been coming ever since. But this year, I must say, our journey from Manitoba to this beautiful place is not going to be easy. We had to agonize over this sentimental decision. We wanted to be true to ourselves as to whether spending our strategic savings on an exotic vacation or staying with the hope of riding this economic meltdown safely, with our head still holding above water. It has been years since the last time I remember feeling so worry about the future. I feel like a passenger on an unsafe ship where land in no where in sight. Although, we only have one child, and our economic situation is somewhat secure, it does in any way bring comfort to my family once all one hears and lives through everyday is bad economic forecasts: the housing market in a wreck, the climbing gasoline prices, the soaring prices of precious commodities like food and other household items etc.. I live in a neighborhood where most people are pretty well off, and last week during a home owner’s association meeting, one neighbor raised an important question: How long can this go on? No one seemed to have the tiniest idea as to when the dice will seize to roll. But the mood in the room following the question led me to believe that here in Canada, it is not only the average citizen who is feeling the pinch, the uncertainty had already penetrated the highest echelon of society. This is not a good sign. When those who have the cash are reluctant to spend it, and consumer spending has always been the driving force behind the economy, we know we are deep in an economic slump. How long will this last? It is the one million-dollar question. From Wall Street to Main Street, no one seems to have the magic answer. Meanwhile, we continue to live day by day in the hope that the train of deliverance will finally arrive at destination. I know that nothing last forever, just like the housing grand fiesta we have just ridden, hit its pick and then collapsed. The uncertainty will eventually vanish. A brand new day will emerge, and the party will once restart as it has happened many times before. While we are longing for the deliverance, there are certain things we can do to minimize the pain:
- Spending wisely as opposed to lavishly.
- Minimize the use of household necessities.
- Buy according to the need, not the desire.
- Reduce long trips unless it is business related or it is absolutely necessary.
- Impose fiscal discipline in your expenditures (control the checkbook).
This might be hard to do for those of us who are accustomed to spending without thinking of the future. But new economic realities always imply new austerity measures. As responsible parents, we can ill afford to live in denial. Only those smart measures will guide us unharmed through the course of this economic storm. As for as our vacation to the Colorado’s beautiful prairies this year, we have let it forego. My heart is bleeding, but I know there is always a chance to go next time. Also see Coping with holiday stress Best tips for emerging Note: Elizabeth Desquiron is a writer living in Manitoba, Canada.