First Person: The Sacrifices I Made to Survive

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Bex Barker

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Bex Barker

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You've lost your job, your savings is tapped out and your retirement account is in the red - what happens when the mortgage comes due or you need to put food on the table? Are you really prepared to live without? We asked several Yahoo! contributors what sacrifices they've made in the past to survive hard times, and have shared their responses below. What would you give up to make ends meet?

Giving Up My Car

"When times were tough in the late 1980s and inflation was out of control, I gave up my car to help make it easier to pay for my kids' college education. I sold my car and got about $5,000, which covered a good portion of one of the kids' tuition bills. We also saved on the monthly expenses of gas, insurance and maintenance, all money which I could then dedicate to the education expenses, which rose each quarter." -- Ted Sherman

Goodbye House, Hello Studio Apartment

"After my divorce, I said goodbye to my spacious home and found my way into a cozy little studio apartment for half the price. The apartment is not so bad. It has amenities I enjoy such as a cathedral ceiling and closed-in back patio. So, now I am once again an apartment dweller. I must say, I love it! Did I mention, it is right across the street from where I work? This is going to save me a ton in fuel costs as well." - Janet Hunt

No More Vanity Purchases

"In the late 1990s I was making a decent living, but most of my money was still going to paying off debt, including college loans. In order to have enough money left over every month to pay my bills, I gave up the luxury of having my hair cut and colored, manicures, pedicures and fashionable new clothes. In essence, I gave up vanity purchases so my children could have what they needed and so that we could have a future free of consumer debt." - Laura Cone

Giving Up the Coffee Club

"Giving up a coffee club membership when the economy is tight doesn't seem like a big sacrifice. It isn't like we belonged to a gourmet coffee-of-the-month club. However, when looking through our budget for areas to cut even further in the fall of 2010, I couldn't even blink twice at the savings of $8 a month. With a heavy heart I cancelled my $20-per-month delivery membership." - Debbie Henthorn

No More Eating Out

"In our house, eating at restaurants has become such a rarity that it feels absolutely decadent to do so. We have given up eating outside of our home, except for very special occasions, in order to pad our budget. Before this, we ate out fairly often. If I got home from work and didn't feel like cooking, I would call my husband and have him grab something. This cut, while difficult at first, has saved us at least $20 a week, equaling at minimum $80 a month, which is substantial to our carefully mapped budget." - Bex Barker

Parking My Car

"I was spending in excess of $250 per month in gas to fill up my car, and I was spending an additional $80 per month for parking. Full coverage insurance on my car was costing me an additional $145 per month. So my solution was to park my car and use public transportation for a few months. A monthly bus pass would cost me $68 per month. This eliminated the $250 in gas and $80 per month in office parking that I was spending. That was an immediate savings of approximately $260 per month. I reduced my insurance from full coverage to liability only, which dropped my monthly premium to $40 per month. This saved me another $105 per month. Not only did this save me big money, but as an added bonus I lost 15 pounds in the process by walking more." - Brian C. Hopkins

A Bare Bones Christmas

“My husband was laid off three weeks before Christmas. Luckily, we had shopped for our relatives before he lost his job, but my husband and I were able to do very little for each other. For the sake of the family, we decided to keep Christmas small so that we would be able to survive another month.” – A.C. Haury

Baby on the Cheap

“Baby gear can run $1,000-$5,000. As this is my second baby, I'm drastically cutting this expense by reusing my son's crib, stroller, Boppy pillow, carrier, swing, activity gym, diaper bag, etc. One thing I recently bought was an infant car seat at 25% off, which replaced an "expired" one I traded in. I am convinced I don't need to paint my baby's world pink; she will be fine with gender-neutral (or even boy-themed) items in the early months.” – Dalia Tole


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