Phil writes a blog for the U.S. News & World Report called The Best Life.
Hi. I write The Best Life online column for U.S. News & World Report. I'm seeking your help for a story I'm doing for a future print edition of the magazine. The story is about how people have had to adjust their spending and lifestyle priorities during the tough economic times of the past two years.
I'd like to hear from your about steps you've taken to stretch dollars and perhaps even find new sources of income. What money-saving things and ideas might be helpful to others? How have these actions changed your life? Looking ahead, what have you learned about yourself and the way you will live when the economy recovers and things finally get better? Please share your stories with me. And, if you would be willing to be interviewed in more detail, please let me know and include contact information.
Before the recession, I used to leave gift buying to the last minute, which resulted in my puchasing of expensive greeting cards and presents. Now, instead, I save cards, gift wrap, ribbon and any assorted trimmings and recycle them into my own greeting cards. For presents, I draw or paint pictures that are memorable to the recipient. The presents are naturally more time consuming, but means so much more because I have made them myself.
Over the last two years you have seen a lot of people move from Naperville to where I live in Naperville Township Aurora. You have the same great schools, but slightly less expensive houses and lower property taxes. I have seen folks doing that quite a bit. It's just on the other side of the street.
I shop at Aldi and Big Lots instead of Jewel or Dominick's for groceries - and drink store brand pop only. I use Netflix instead of Blockbuster or Red Box for movies. I drive slower to save on gas. I covered up my fireplace to save on escaping heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. I use my apartment complex's free fitness center instead of wasting money on a gym membership.
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