That Sinking Feeling: How’s Your Budget Holding Out?

numbers.jpgEverywhere I look the last few weeks, it’s budget and jobs nightmare central in the news.  As Calculated Risk explains:

…as of June, almost 4.4 million people were unemployed and had exhausted their regular unemployment benefits. Most are now receiving extended benefits, but – at the least – it might be prudent to have additional extended benefits ready to go later this year.

Folks are hurting still.  It helps to know that a second round of stimulus may be in the works.

But that doesn’t exactly mean a job you can find or retraining that really gets you anywhere or a check you can cash right now to feed your family, pay your bills, and keep a roof over your head, now does it?

And I’m not just talking about the state of California, either.  Although if you live in CA, do be on the lookout for loan scams — they are on the rise.

While there’s not as much immediate action we can take on weirdness in oil market volatility or the fact that not listening to Stiglitz and Roubini has consequences, there are things we can do for our own bottom lines.

I decided to poke around for some useful information on how to deal with all this doom and gloom:

— If you work in a public service job — including "all levels of government work, teachers in public schools and universities, employees of public hospitals, and anyone working for a 501(c)(3) nonprofit" — potential student loan forgiveness may have just gotten a little easier. But only if you borrowed from the Direct Loan Program.

— It seems most folks have difficulty budgeting for themselves.  Here’s a good starting place. Here’s another. And yet another. Plenty of info out there on the basics, if you need it.

–You can still eat healthy meals, even on a budget, with a little planning. With a little more planning, there are ways to shave a little cost out of your family food budget.  If you want to save a lot — and need to take it to the extreme level of thrift — check Amy Dacyczyn’s books out of your local library and have at it.

— Also, farmer’s markets are in full swing around the country — support local growers and get something healthy for your own table, too.  Find a market near you through localharvest or the USDA database. A lot of farmer’s markets around the country are taking food stamps, WIC vouchers and other public support vouchers so folks who are having a tough time can get some fresh, healthy produce on their tables, too.

— Speaking of libraries, local library budgets are being slashed all over. Use your local library. Donate books you aren’t reading to them for library book sales and circulation. Same with DVDs and videos.

Have some other ideas to share?  Would love to hear them.  Sometimes, the thing you know is just the thing that someone else needs to hear.

PS — Speaking of budgets, with the economy still in a doom and gloom phase, we could use support for FDL if you have it to give. So could most blogs these days. Thanks mucho for any support.  We truly appreciate it.

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