I'm sure the economical crisis we are facing isn't something local - as I read on other people's blogs, and learn from conversations with friends who live abroad, the same is happening all around the world. Banks are crashing, gas and food prices are soaring, and the average family finds it more and more difficult to get by.
My husband and I have always been frugal-minded, not afraid of taking the challenge of spending less, using second-hand, recycling, and getting by without excessive luxuries. However, recently it seems as though something just happens every month, which makes us spend far more money than we originally planned. This month, for example, it was our washing machine breaking down. We also bought a house and have a baby on the way, and while we didn't acquire a huge mortgage like people tend to get here, and don't plan to get every fancy item out there which our baby will supposedly "need", the necessity to be creative and resourceful becomes more and more prominent.
We began thinking our money might not be entirely safe in the bank, and the thought of relying on government compensation in the case our bank crashes makes me feel uneasy. It happened to another bank a few years ago, and some people never got all their money back. We are thinking of splitting our savings, so as not to put all the eggs in the same basket.
Rhonda Jean recently wrote a post calling us to "live like squirrels", stocking away for the difficult times ahead. I agree with Rhonda on the point that we need to make our best efforts to pay off debt, and not to acquire any new debt. I also believe we could all benefit from "getting real" about our actual needs, as opposing our wants. I know people who would be honestly baffled if they were told they don't actually "need" a trip abroad every year.
I do think, however, that facing a difficult economical situation should never drive us to a point when we refuse to help others in need, explaining it by limiting our budget in such a way that charity isn't included. It happened several times that we have given to charity supposedly more than we could "afford", and God provided for us abundantly every time, returning our contribution in unexpected savings, gifts, and employment options. Charity is not a luxury, and He will never, never forsake those who extend their hand to others. Moreover, a strong, supportive community is a very important part of surviving in the face of economical breakdown. Mutual help and trading home-grown produce might become much more common in the near future.
I'm also convinced that the number of children we welcome and embrace should not depend on our fears of the future. Russia's birthrate crisis is supposedly tied to the dire economical situation in that country, and the government is trying to solve the problem by paying fairly large sums to new mothers. However, they are missing out on the fact that the situation is largely the same in many countries which are far better off financially. I'm convinced that Russia's problem is rooted not in its poor financial situation, but in lack of faith - the Soviet regime had done everything possible to wipe out every remnant of religious communities, no matter if they were Jewish, Christian or Muslim. When we don't trust God to provide, largely it doesn't really matter how much money we have.