Feb
08
2009

Bad economic times? People act more like the Jeubs.

It is true! Businesses are downsizing. Ordinarily wealthy parents are looking for ways to cut back. Families are being wiser with their money. The secrets we reveal in Cheaper by the Baker’s Dozen are being widely adopted. Several families are looking to spend money like the Jeubs have for years.

Wendy and I went on our yearly retreat to Estes Park two weeks ago. To prepare, I stopped at Cost Cutters to get my haircut. Our small talk revealed that Cost Cutters was doing quite well despite the economy. I told the hairdresser about Wendy and my trip to Estes. “Are you staying at the Stanley?” she asked. No, I answered, we’re staying at the YMCA. She was unimpressed.

The Stanley HotelReally, the YMCA of the Rockies is an incredible place. Mountains surround the facility. In all practicality, Wendy and I could be shacked up in a desert lodge for all we cared. We take this “retreat” to catch up on writing, plan our year’s schedule, talk and pray over each of our children. “I hope you have time to be romantic,” my hairdresser said. She somehow thought Jack Nicholson in The Shining was romantic? (The Stephen King classic was filmed at the Stanley Hotel.)

The YMCA offers a “Pastor’s Getaway” deal, and being that I am the president of a nonprofit organization, I qualify for 2 nights lodging with 6 meals in their cafeteria for only $48/night. I ran into one of the coordinators, someone I have gotten to know as we’ve utilized their facility for events, Arlen the Group Sales Manager.

I asked Arlen if business was slowing down because of the economy. “Surprisingly, no,” he returned. “The phone has been ringing off the hook! Many corporations and nonprofits who usually go to fancy resorts are downgrading to more reasonable accommodations, like ours.”

Let’s face it: the economy is depressing. But why should this be the end of the world? Whatever the state of the economy, those who understand the fundamentals of economics are destined to survive the worst of times. The Stanley thrives when the economy sores, but the YMCA thrives when the economy tanks.

Cost Cutters and the YMCA are experiencing what I call the McDonald’s Effect. Folks are replacing steak houses for the Dollar Menu, salons for Cost Cutters, the Stanley for the YMCA. Likewise, stores like Wal-Mart have posted comfortable profits, while Macy’s-like upper-class stores are tanking. If anything is true about trickle-down economics it is this: when the economy shrinks, the rich start trickling down to more modest living. Frugal thinking replaces loose living.

Given our current political grounding of Keynesian spending to revive the economy (Note: this economic theory has yet to succeed in its nearly-100 years of trying), history is bound to repeat itself and will inevitably bring harder times. The highest unemployment rate in 30 years (hmm, who was president 30 years ago?) should give us pause. Growth is just not happening, and, if history serves as a good example (and it always does), growth will not be coming anytime soon.

But, children still need to be fed and family life must continue.

New Year\'s Eve Family PictureLife. Human beings are still the backbone of the economy. It isn’t spending–or savings, or gold, or business, or even money. The economy is organically alive with human beings making it run. As long as there are people, there will be ingenuity and invention and ideas. Demand for ingenuity will go up as finances get tighter.

I’m locking in printing costs and facility needs now with the expectation that inflation will hit hard. Nonprofits like Training Minds Ministry will feel the crunch in the coming years. Tough decisions will need to be made to adjust to the coming economic hardships. If we have to tighten up our frugality, this isn’t new for the Jeubs. Wendy and I have always been on the edge of finances, but this has never kept us from walking in confidence with God.

We had some family friends over for an elk and venison barbecue on Sunday. Jeff is a contractor, and though he personally has had business lately, he sees the contracting business getting hit hard. Jeff has nine children. “Yeash,” you may be thinking. “Families like Jeff’s are really going to suffer.”

No, the complete opposite is true. If the economy totally tanked–I mean totally and utterly tanked, complete poverty and turmoil everywhere–Jeff’s family would continue to thrive. He has a small crew of workers, and so do we. Our two families last Sunday night were not only eating like kings with grilled steaks from successful hunts, we had 24 human beings between the two couples. All 24 need to eat, sure, but they all are contributors to the economy of their families.

We Jeubs have responded to economic hard times and have always come out stronger in the end. We produce, we create, and we grow. We don’t take the predictions of doom and gloom seriously, for even if the economy did do as poorly as our leaders say, the Jeubs would thrive just like other families would thrive.

About Chris & Wendy Jeub

The Jeub Family live in Monument, Colorado. They encourage couples to love God and love one another, building an atmosphere of love in their homes.

  • http://www.asparklymessylife.blogspot.com Tangee

    Your family continues to inspire me and your viewpoint is a breath of fresh air. We go to Cost Cutters for my husband and the boys haircuts, we LOVE Wal mart, and continue to try and lead a life that is more simplistic. I really appreciate what you and your wife have to say.

  • Sarah M. in MI

    We’ve been cutting our kids hair for years. We choose to avoide even McDonald’s as much as possible. We try not to make long distance calls. We made the decision long ago to figure out what expenses we could voluntarily avoid, and then avoid them, NOT because times are hard, but because we never want to fall on hard times.
    God has never let us down, and we don’t expect Him to do so now. : )

    Have a great week! (Wasn’t it just Wendy’s birthday? I think hers is by mine. If so Happy Birthday Wendy!)

    Sarah M. in MI
    Wife to John
    Mom to the Magnificent Seven!

  • http://jent-manyblessings.blogspot.com/ Jen

    You mean there are people out there that don’t go to Wal-Mart?! lol With nine children of our own (and God only knows how many more), we are pretty fugal too. Planning on a garden this year now that we have the land to put it on.

  • http://www.creatingtreasures.blogspot.com tereza crump aka MyTreasuredCreations

    Large Christian families are an inspiration to me. Chris and Wendy, I appreciate all your insights and articles.

    Here are some of the things we do…

    Walmart is great but beware that some items are not cheaper but a lot more expensive. But I bet Wendy knows that!!!

    As for haircuts we use a hairdresser close to our house that is a Christian single Mom and has 2 daughters to support. She owns her own salon and although I am usually pretty cheap we chose to bless her. (I still get a haircut 2-3 times a year only, but my children and my hubby every 5 weeks or so).

    As a rule in our house we ask a dozen questions before buying anything. We never purchase anything on impulse and if we can delay the purchase we will do so. usually we end up forgetting that “need” and we safe the money to spend in things like mission and ministries.

    Recently I personally began to look at the people behind the businesses, like the single Mom, Christian families, Christian movie makers and
    Christian missionaries and more. We are trying hard to invest the resources God has given us to further the Kingdom of God. Knowing that a lot of our tax money goes to pay for an ungodly agenda, we believe we are doing our job as Christians supporting those that are working to spread the Gospel.

    As for the Stanley hotel, I don’t think my hubby would want to stay there KNOWING that a demonic movie was made there!! Yuck ๐Ÿ˜›

    thanks again for sharing,
    Tereza

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