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Spend vs Save

This pandemic has me really confused.

When I start to think about the economic implications of this global catastrophe, I want to save every last penny, plant a victory garden, and start feeding my family rice and beans for every meal.  Then, in the same minute, I start to worry that if I don't continue purchasing items and eating out (which I am really not doing), everything will grind to a halt and make it so much worse.  What are we supposed to do?

If I had the security that our jobs would not be impacted, I would be happily supporting local businesses by doing home improvement projects, ordering things online, and sending gifts and cards to loved ones.  I don't have that security, though.  So far, we've been okay, but if businesses and developers decide to put their construction projects on hold, much like I'm doing with my typical purchases, then there will be a huge drop in demand for architects.  

There's also the fear that with every new package we receive and every item sent out to others, we put ourselves and those we love at risk of contracting the virus.  How do we just go on shopping when every unnecessary purchase may put someone in the hospital?  I really don't have the answers to this, but I would love for someone to tell me.  The problem is, no one really knows.

CBS is reporting that a large majority of people who received stimulus checks saved them.  That seems completely sensible to me.  We don't know what's going to happen in the next couple weeks, let alone months.  But I do see how that's not necessarily good for the economy.  

So, I'm really stuck in a buy vs save mentality right now, and I don't know which way to swing.  When purchases seem like they will improve the quality of life of my children, I'm hitting the "buy" button, but when it comes to items for myself or something as simple as a Mother's Day card, I have been leaning on the side of caution.  

If this pandemic continues to keep us locked in our houses while it wreaks havoc on our society and economy, I think I'll have to reconsider just what is "essential" when it comes to purchases.  I think a lot of people see the local restaurants, book stores, and businesses that they support as essential, and I think that's okay too.  The worst thing we can do right now is fall prey to a continuous loop of judgement and superiority.  The choices you make for your family are your own, and they're what you have decided with the information you have.  I think you can take comfort in that and not judge yourself or others too harshly.  This situation threatens to tear us apart, right down party lines, but if we all act with kindness towards each other maybe we will come out of this more united than divided.


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