We have all heard these words or some variation of them lately. Everyone is feeling the pinch in one way or the other. Sometimes the pinch is not immediate, as one lady remarked to me, “I am not that worried about myself as I am about my children and my grandchildren.” How can we as Americans respond to such times? It’s time we return to some foundational values that made us great.

First, it still pays to budget and save. Stopping all spending is not the option. It is unrealistic and counterproductive. It is unrealistic because without spending you cannot survive. It is counterproductive because it will make the economy even worse if there is no cash flow. Instead, do you remember seeing your parents and grandparents budgeting and saving? Those habits require discipline and self-control but the rewards are tremendous and long-lasting. For example – a good home cooked meal not only saves money but also remains a miracle cure for most family conflicts. When you eat out remember to take those coupons. We keep ours in a folder in our van so when the urge hits we can eat out and still feel smart about it.

Second, don’t wait for it to come to you. We have heard the words “global economy” more than ever lately. The internet has forever changed the face of our world and business. We may not be able to return to the glory days of Norman Rockwell’s small town USA or Remington’s Old West, but we still have the spirit of America. “Pulling yourself by your bootstraps” still remains a unique American spirit. The French political thinker and historian, Tocqueville observed this spirit in his visit to America in the 1830s. He said, “As one digs deeper into the national character of the Americans, one sees that they have sought the value of everything in this world only in the answer to this single question: how much money will it bring in?” Although we know that money is not everything, we know how to adapt, adjust, regroup and step into the face of the global challenge. We need to instill this spirit of entrepreneurship in our children and train them to value education, broaden their horizons, work hard, take calculated risks, and not wait for it to come to them.

Third, begin to invest in our local community. It has been my experience that instead of buying something locally and saving more we often drive two hours to look for a bargain. Then if we are dissatisfied or need servicing we drive again. By supporting our local businesses we will fuel our local economy and support our local job market. The job you save might be your own.

Finally, remember to be thankful. No matter how hard the times get, we are still blessed to be living in a great nation. Our freedoms are a gift from God and still worth preserving. We need to take seriously the words in Psalm 33:12, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.” God is not through with our nation if we turn from our sins and return to Him. Will Rogers, cowboy and humorist from yesteryear, once remarked, “What the country needs is dirtier fingernails and cleaner minds.”It is good to have things that money can buy as long as we don’t lose the things that money can’t buy.

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