I read an article today that spoke about insulating ourselves against the continuing rise in consumer prices as disposable incomes are not keeping up with those prices which in turn causes more stretching of the end-of-the-month dollars.
The author spoke about ways of insulating ourselves from these fluctuations as well as be able to start saving more money. One of his suggestions which I found interesting, was the idea of creating a network of family and friends who basically share and truly care about each other. The trading of skills for skills such as you paint my house for me and I’ll re-finish your floors. The even-trade without money being spent on the outside indeed sounds like a way to have a win/win economic situation.
It certainly is not a new idea he proposed. For centuries people helped each other in their villages and farms and had good livings. The Amish today don’t go out and start raising a barn all by themselves, but rather the community pitches in and the job gets done in a very short period of time. With the recent statistics showing a fewer percent of truly middle class people living in the US and the percentage of millionaires increasing, that’s telling us that through the mechanics of consumerism, the middle class people are spending their way backwards.
I think it is sadly comical to see students as well as people who are on some sort of government assistance running around with expensive smart phones. I thought parents justified their children having cell phones for emergencies only. Those don’t look like simple phones with limited plans. It’s no wonder more and more parents who are supposed to be part of the middle class are falling backwards when they are supplying their grown children with un-necessary electronics. I’m sure peer pressure has a great deal to do with it as well in an attempt at being “with it” when among friends.
I know a number of people who live so frugal simply to make ends meet yet they don’t consider many of the various ways of creating a better quality of life for themselves. Far too much idle time spent being passive spectators rather than finding their niches of talent that could be used to help supplement as well as compliment someone else’s needs.
Our world is too much dollar driven rather than value driven which causes us to put a price tag on everything we do for others which of course causes others to do the same. If people would spend a little more time in the creation of a community of like minds who are willing to share their time and talents with others, they would find that they in turn would have a like-in-kind return on their personal investment. The return of the mentality of the herd in creating real connections in our society may help to keep the middle class the backbone of our country.