Inside views on the jobs market
Economic crisis melts away the pounds
By Cheryl Williams
I never thought the economic crisis would affect me. I’ve never had a lot of money anyway. My home is paid for. I paid off my debts a couple of years ago. I have no IRA account. I figured my life would go on as it always had despite the worsening state of the economy.
I was wrong.
Bit by bit, the economy’s woes crept into my life.
First, my 24-year-old daughter moved back home with her dad and me when she was laid off from her job. I converted my office back into a bedroom for her, which meant my work hours were compromised. I thought her stay would be short-lived, but the job market in Charlotte, N.C., is not good right now.
Goodwill and The Dollar Tree stores are now where I shop. If I need something, I check at these places first before going elsewhere. I bought a new sweater from Goodwill for $3. The Belk department store tag originally listed it for $60. Once-expensive handbags can be found at Goodwill for $2. I buy my health and beauty products and cleaning supplies at Dollar Tree.
And the downturn has affected my health. Neither my husband nor I is able to afford the health insurance plans our employers offer. It would cost more than half of our paychecks to purchase company insurance. We have tried purchasing health insurance through private companies, but they will not cover my husband because he has Type II diabetes. The cost to cover me is the cost of a mortgage payment because I am 60 pounds overweight. Health insurance is not an option.
But we’re not defeated. We’re now living healthier lives. There are no more YMCA gym memberships, but I can just as easily walk in my neighborhood as I could around a walking track. I lift weights at home just as easily as I could in a gym. It takes more self-discipline, but I know the end result is worth it.
Grocery shopping has changed, too. I always make a list before shopping, and I always stick to it. I never shop while hungry. I never realized how much money I was spending on junk food, convenience foods and impulse buying.
Since making these simple changes, I have lost 40 pounds and two sizes, resulting in many of my clothes being too large for me.
The economic crisis has forced us to get creative. As a result, I am healthier, and so is my family.