Monday, June 8, 2009

There Is Life Without A HELOC

Last week we heard about the backlash to the recession - called frugal fatigue. The theory is that people have a strong desire to go shopping that has been suppressed due to the current economic crisis. The economy has improved enough for all those people to release their inner shoppers that have been pent up and repressed for the last year or so. Since much of that shopping urge was placated by HELOCs, when they are closed off our shopping habits have to follow. The house is no longer an ATM. However, contrary to the usual stories about what a traumatic hardship losing your HELOC is - there are actually people who do not mind. This interesting post at titled Recession diary: Squeezing that buffalo portrays looking at the positives of losing your HELOC. Let's take a look -

How low can I go? Since we discovered we lost our home equity credit line in March, anything I would consider buying must qualify as a necessity.

The inability to afford anything else is liberating. We went to the local mall to get two freebies in stores on opposite ends of the complex. Along the way, I peered into shop windows as though I were in a museum. I found myself regarding the merchandise with detached interest rather than desire. I didn't feel tempted or deprived.

It was the first nice Sunday this spring and the outdoor mall was crowded. I suddenly noticed very few people were carrying shopping bags. The fountains, benches, tables, statuary and meticulously manicured tulip gardens were replete with relaxing patrons, and the climbing dragon was swarming with kids. I realized the lovely mall has become the poor's Chicago Botanic Garden.

I'm indifferent about ever again vacationing or dining in a restaurant. I care only that, if any of our children live out of town, we can drive there and sleep in their home -- even if only on the floor.

I'm cooking more than previously, using recipes neglected for years, finding new treasures in my cookbook library, and devising my own concoctions. Vegetarian cookery is tasty, nutritious and economical. Fred and our younger daughter, home from college for the summer, are most appreciative.

Cooking more. Learning to enjoy what they have rather than what they do not really need. It almost sounds as if losing the HELOC was liberating. After dealing with the cultural shock of not being able to purchase anything at anytime it sounds as if this HELOC loss was liberating.

It is understandable that retailers and others in sales are hoping for frugal fatigue. But after the bubble - that was more than just a housing bubble but also a buying spree - perhaps HELOC closures will morph into a new approach. Not a decade of excess but a decade of buying only what you need.

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