Thursday, April 16, 2009

Don't be depressed - think of the Bargains!

A few blogs back, I talked about the economy's collapse since last fall and the effect it had on my ass. Sitting in front of the TV day after day watching BNN and consoling myself with assorted high fat salty snacks was a mistake I now realize, but at the time it seemed like the only solution. Since then, I have been avoiding the constant stream of bad news blathering in an effort to avoid my own personal "depression" and work away at whittling off the 10 lbs of additional padding that resulted. Now, I only take a look at the closing numbers on the TSX every other day and only while standing and drinking water. Since I have absolutely no control over the world's economy, even that seems kind of futile lately. Yesterday, I got sucked into listening to an interview of author Harry Dent Jr. in regards to his new book, "The Great Depression Ahead". Big mistake! Listening to this guy's predictions, well, you may as well just liquidate all your capital (not until August) and hide it under your mattress. For those of you with little or no capital to liquidate, well, lucky you - your only fear will be losing your job. In Canada, even that isn't the end of the world considering our social safety nets and our health care system. You would probably survive. Americans might suffer more, but hey, it's every man for himself the way I see it. While most of the U.S. population was busy trying to outspend each other for the last 17 years, we Canadians were a little more conservative (I said little), so saving money isn't a new concept here. Reigning in the urge to shop - that's the hard one. My business is slow, but it's not dead. Frankly, it even surprises me when someone calls and says they want to get going on a renovation project or do some decorating. These people are still working. The money is still coming in. Most of them are younger than me. Their time horizon for retirement saving still seems endless. I am not in their shoes. My horizon is narrowing. I have been weaning myself off the spending spree that has been my life for a couple of years now. It is not easy. I still want things. I just want to do things more now. My priorities have changed. I'd rather take a trip or go golfing than buy a new lamp or install new flooring. Since these activities take me outside my home environment, I spend less time noticing the ugly old drapes or once trendy toile wallpaper and more time going places. It would be great to have it both ways, as many do, but I don't and it's OK. Fortunately I wasn't booked on a trip with Conquest Tours and for the moment my tickets to see A Midsummer's Night Dream in Stratford this September are still valid! No matter how bad the economy may still get, life will go on and if oil goes to $10 a barrel and housing prices go down 63% like they did in Japan, and the world really goes to hell in a hand basket, just think - you'll be able to get in a round of golf (with a cart!) for $25, fill up the tank for five bucks and buy your dream house for $300,000 (or less on the East Coast!). It's all relative. I'm going to go and book a tee time now - I've heard there are already some great deals out there. Nothing depressing about that!

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