For the last week or so I've been trying to dance around the fact that the financial markets are roiling and the economy is getting scary.
Unless you are a member of the Congress of the United States or a bigwig with a financial institution you only have two choices: take your money out of your bank and put it in your mattress, or be prudent in your spending and continue to live your life as you have.
I spent part of last weekend paying bills. One of my goals for this fall was to pay off a couple of credit cards and cut them up. I did that this past weekend. I could have saved that money, paid minimum payments and held on to the cards, but that was not my goal.
FDR said about the Depression, "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself." Last night on TV a financial talking head pointed out that the reason credit markets are drying up is because bankers are afraid of not being paid. While that is certainly prudent we're seeing fear as the main motivator for decision-making. Again, the key is to be prudent but not fearful.
So, here are three things I'm going to do: First, keep my gas tank reasonably full and not sit in a line waiting to get gas because it costs 15 cents less a gallon than at the station across the street. The waiting raises my stress and fear level. Second, keep a few hundred dollars in cash on hand. Third, live.
That's it. To a great degree those three things are the extent of my control over the craziness that is going on right now.