May 12, 2008

Yep, conundrum. That's what I was faced with today. I guess I have been living under a rock because I think I'm the only one who didn't know we had an increase in the price of postage stamps starting today. I guess I need to get out more! lol Anyway, because of my lack of knowledge of this rate increase I was faced with a conundrum, or in other words, a difficult decision.
We had a very important letter that needed to go out in the mail today, but I only had 41cent stamps sitting in my desk. Now, normally I would have jumped in the car and done a quick run to the post office to purchase the one cent stamps I would be needing to go along with all my other 41 cent stamps. But, with gas prices being so high, I thought to myself, "is it really worth driving all the way to the Post Office to buy the one cent stamps today and waste all that gas"? I then started to calculate in my head how much money in gas I thought I would be using versus putting on the extra 41 cent stamp and losing 40 cents.
All of that got me to thinking about people who are having to make some much harder, gut-wrenching choices. They sometimes have to choose between buying gas or food, or buying gas and paying the electric bill. Maybe they are faced with the hard decision whether to buy food or get health care for their sick child. With food prices skyrocketing, it's all some families can do to eat one decent meal a day, and I'm sure there are many more that go to bed hungry. I have even heard that the food banks are in dire need of provisions because people are just not able to afford to purchase and donate that extra can of soup or beans.
My little stamp scenario is nothing compared to what they are facing, but it brought to attention the fact that we are all in some way or another, feeling the pressure of these hard, economic times. I think we all are going to have to ask ourselves some tough questions and maybe rethink how we have been living. "What is a NEED versus what is a WANT?" "Do I really need to go to the drive-in window at McDonalds and spend money on a hamburger, all the while wasting precious gas while waiting in line?" "Do my children really need those designer handbags, or do they have to have the jeans with the right brand name in them.?" Taken separately, it might seem that one of these things really wouldn't make a difference, BUT, it does. Maybe in the past, we could have opened up the pocketbook and not felt the sting, but today we all are.
I feel it is very important that we know the priorities in our lives and start to live them out. In order to care for our families it is important that we save money whenever we can. It is also important for us to teach our children the VALUE of money so they will know how to handle these situations correctly when they arise. Finally, above all, we need to be in constant communication with the Lord. How do we do this? By praying!! We need to ask him to give us wisdom in our spending decisions (especially in the the need/want category). Along those same lines we should always remember to give the Lord back His portion, after all, HE IS THE ONE WHO GAVE IT TO US IN THE FIRST PLACE!
So, y'all know me, many paragraphs later you know why a little postage stamp + gas money = my conundrum. It isn't really important what I decided to do. What IS important is that I realized that a decision had to be made and so I tried to carefully consider what the best option would be. It has made me realize that each monetary decision I make, no matter how large or small, can make a big impact, either positively or negatively, on my family and their well-being. When you think about it, it's a pretty awesome responsibility, isn't it?
Sometimes it's those little moments in life when you realize you can go one of two ways, and I have decided which way I'm going. Oh,what a truly humbling experience this was, and just think, all because of a little postage stamp.


Anonymous said...

Hi Susan,
A very good blog! It is rather discouraging to watch the news these days, isn't it? I, for one am trying to be more frugal these days. I feel sorry for the poor senior citizens on fixed incomes. From what I have read, even teenagers are getting into shopping at thrift stores. Maybe it will be the new trend! I have always enjoyed thrift stores and lately I have noticed that there are a lot more customers than there used to be. So---what did you decide to do: put on an extra stamp or drive to the post office? I am guessing you just put on the extra stamp, right? Judy

Mrs. C said...

I've been having very similar thoughts lately myself. It all goes back to being content with what God has given us and making wise choices that will please him.

Storybook Woods said...

As one who is always trying to find the sliver lining in things. I just think of this as a way to stretch us and help us think out of the box. Love Clarice

LBP said...

What a great post. My family has always tried to live below our means. It is how I was raised. I feel so bad for some people having to make difficult choices like between rent or medication.



Susan P. said...

Judy ~ your guess was correct:o)