Creative Thinking in an Economic Downturn

Oct 11th, 2008 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

No long trips, fewer shopping sprees, less frequent family visits, no air travel, except in emergencies, reducing going out to eat, this is what can be expected in an economic downturn, particularly one as serious as we currently face.

What is one to do? How does one come up with creative possibilities for a break from the real world, for enjoying one’s family, children, grandchildren, life? We who have become so accustomed to doing what we want to do when we want to do it may find it hard to tighten the belt, but almost everyone is now faced with such a likelihood.

Here are some clues: Pretend, assuming there really isn’t one, a snow storm or rain storm is raging, plan an evening when everyone stays in and plays table games for the evening or weekend, pop popcorn, make fudge, create s’mores. Have a “scary story night,” obviously I am trying to appeal to situations in which children may be or can be present. Plan and execute, with the help of others, a Neighborhood Scavenger hunt. Put together a “Watch the Stars Night.” 

When needing to shop, make a list and go to Thrift Stores, Goodwill, Salvation Army, helping them, while reducing your own costs. This is a good time to think about Christmas decorations, other holidays upcoming. Combine your shopping and errand trips…make a gas effective map. If time permits, make a picnic, stop by a park or public gathering place where there are tables or other attractions. Enjoy the afternoon.

If travel is a challenge for family members, choose a neutral location midway (if that is realistic) between the two homes, choose less costly housing options, take along some of the food for the trip, avoid restaurants. Go to places that are cost free or very inexpensive. If children are involved, this will be a lifetime learning moment. It may also give occasion to remember when you were less flush with discretionary funds.

If you have means for communicating over the Internet via video cam, so you may enjoy each other’s visage, do so with some frequency. If you have a video, download family events, sports activities, birthday celebrations, and send along to those who will most appreciate them. 

Spend time reading, perhaps to each other. Go through all the old photo albums and have a trip down memory lane, without leaving the comfort of your own home. Choose magazines and books that you no longer need, share them with people or organizations that can redistribute them. Discover ways to volunteer near your home, maybe within walking distance, thus getting exercise, another benefit.

Walk your pet or, if available, take him/her/them to a pet park at least once a week. Decide to do your own grooming. Begin to redefine necessity in all you do.

If you still have slides or have had them converted, along with old 8 mm films, etc spend an evening bringing them out to watch and laugh together.

Is there any end to the creative and imaginative ways we can choose to spend our time without having to spend so much money? Now is a good time to find out.



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