Who will be here next year?

Boy, it seems like every day the news about the economy gets worse. More layoffs, home foreclosures, business closings and the stock market plummeting. Where’s it going to end? It seems like a downward spiral that just keeps going. It makes me afraid to go out and buy anything. I’ll just keep my money for now.

Well, why? I’m fortunate to have a husband with a steady job and good income. He’s not at risk of being laid off. Our kids are grown, we live within our means, don’t have much debt, and are comfortable. But I’m still worried. Is it, perhaps, that the gloom and doom of the media has gotten through to me? Sure, our investments are in the tank, like everyone else's. But we’re doing ok. I can afford to go buy new clothes, enjoy dinner out, take a vacation.

In fact, most of us can. I recently heard a statistic that 90+ percent of us are able to pay our mortgage as usual. Certainly a lot of people have lost their jobs, but a lot have not. I own a small stationery store and I’m doing all I can to make sure that I’m able to keep my employees. We don’t throw lavish parties, take corporate jets or have excessive salaries (heck, I just want to have money at the end of the year to buy new product!) But do you know how businesses keep from laying off staff? Sales. People have got to buy things at our stores. It’s as simple as that. Because if you don’t, the business owners wont have enough income to keep their sales staff, which means layoffs and ultimately, closing.

I had a woman come into the store yesterday and proclaim “I love your store!… I hope you don’t go out of business.” We joked that we were with her on that one. But it wasn’t funny when she turned around and left without making a purchase. Not that every person should buy something every time they enter my store. But I think there’s a disconnect there. People have to understand that their purchases support businesses and have a direct impact on whether or not people have a job, and that business will be around next year.

It’s as simple as that.

There's so much doom and gloom and warnings and frenzy out there in the media, and we're digging ourselves into a bigger and bigger hole. It's pretty basic and obvious. The less we spend, the more layoffs and business closings and foreclosures there will be.

Those of us that are able, owe it to our community to keep on making purchases. I'm not saying we should spend beyond our means or put ourselves into debt we can't handle. If that's the case, keep your money. But if you can, support your local business when they have something you love, want or need, and can afford. It's our own little bailout plan!