Lighten Up About the Economy

I have long held that a sense of humor is life’s best shock absorber. That’s why I have “55 Jokes About the Recession” pinned to my bulletin board.

I rely on humor to blunt the shocking economic headlines du jour, news that could easily render a person powerless.

The economy is so bad, Hot Wheels stock is trading higher than GM.


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Feeling powerless is a terrible thing. It causes self-pity, victimization and depression. Powerless people spend their lives managing one crisis after another, reacting rather than taking action. They’re forever hoping to get ahead someday.

Some powerless personalities you might know include Eeyore and Charlie Brown. These two manage to whine, feel sorry for themselves and barely cope with life one cartoon strip at a time.

The economy is so bad, the White House turkey turned down his Thanksgiving pardon—all his wealth was in stocks, and he has nothing to live for.

Can’t you just hear Eeyore upon returning from the local Replace-A-Tail Shop, whining to Winnie the Pooh, “I just couldn’t help myself. They were on sale. I really deserve these after all I’ve been through.” 

It’s so bad, the Lone Ranger sold his silver bullets on eBay.

Charlie Brown can be heard muttering to himself, “How can I save any money? I don’t have a good job. My clothes are ugly and I don’t have any friends.”

What these little guys lack is power, commitment and a serious obligation to reach a personal goal.

Write it down. Your commitment must be clear and measurable. A commitment “to handle my money better” won’t work. What will work is, “I will pay my rent on time every month” or, “I commit to saving $100 per week into my Contingency Fund.” These are easily described and measurable commitments.

The economy is so bad, I bought a toaster oven and my free gift with purchase was a bank.

Create a plan. Strategy is key to accomplishing anything worthwhile. Once you have set your goal, visualize reaching it by seeing the steps you need to take.

The economy’s so bad, Exxon-Mobil laid off 25 Congressmen.

Give yourself a deadline. Zig Ziglar, the great motivational expert, says, “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” By setting a time frame you will put things in motion. Time limits give dimension to abstract thoughts.

It’s so bad, I saw four CEOs playing miniature golf.

Commit. Tell someone. Force yourself to become accountable, and push yourself. Make a chart to visually track your progress.

The economy is so bad McDonald’s is introducing the 1/4-ouncer.

Persist. As you come upon obstacles and you’re hit by life’s curveballs, your unbending persistence will protect you from retreating to your old powerless ways.

If you have failed in the past or feel you are too old to try again, you’re dead wrong. You are more experienced, wiser and that much better suited to make it this time.

The fed chief, car czar and a rabbi walk into a bar … 

 QUESTION: What steps are you making to take back control of your financial life? Join in the conversation here

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10 replies
  1. Stephanie
    Stephanie says:

    I am a psych nurse. I agree with Renita and belaglick that Depression is a serious illness not to be ignored or washed over. However, cognitive behavioral therapy – that is, actively identifying prior mistakes that have led to undesirable consequences, becoming educated about choices more likely to lead to the outcome you desire, and actively choosing those choices – even when everything in you is programmed to go the other way – and tracking your success – has as good a success rate as Prozac at six months, and almost twice the long term remission rate. (Feeling Good Feels Great, By David Burns, M.D.) http://www.amazon.com/dp/0380810336/?tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=2355251755&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=17671521581552549144&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&ref=pd_sl_znzx2ugip_b

    And that is – from a spendaholic stand point – exactly what Mary advises. I’ve been a follower since the paper newsletter, and I was a member for the longest. I still have print outs of the articles and information that helped me most, but I couldn’t afford the membership until I got out of school – so, ahem, Mary, I’m waiting for another sale. 🙂

    The advice works. It’s hard to follow, because it’s a total change in direction from where we (or at least, from where I) was programmed. But if my spending weren’t an issue, I wouldn’t be looking for a solution.

    Thanks a million, Mary – your honesty and guidance have saved me from my own ‘fiscal cliff’ a hundred times over.

  2. Shelley
    Shelley says:

    Dear Mary, Thank you for the lighthearted banter, I really appreciate it! However, are the “55 Jokes About the Recession” on one of your webpages? If so can you post the link. Lastly, from Ruth Seebeck “You can wallow or you can win. But you can’t do both. It’s your choice.”
    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6587416

    Thanks again, Shelley

  3. Chirping
    Chirping says:

    We EAT EVERYTHING in the fridge, (well almost everything) before I go grocery shop again. When it gets down to that last couple of days; we are forced to be creative; buckle our belts and eat what’s there. There is minimal waste of perishables; and I think as a family we shop with the end in mind. We FINISH that last bit of ketshup; milk, butter; instead of putting a barely there sip back in the fridge. It has worked for our family and I think there is a lesson to be learned about “Waste Not/Want Not”.

  4. Cathy
    Cathy says:

    I love the humor. Better to smile than frown, and just do your best with what you are presented with. I don’t know the rest of the last joke, but one simple ending to “The fed chief, car czar and a rabbi walk into a bar … ” is “the fourth guy ducked!” ( I know, really bad).

  5. beth
    beth says:

    i just wake up each day and thank God for it…I keep a small savings, and other than that…we just continue to enjoy life..we are not big spenders, my husband and i enjoy an occasional dinner date, and we continue to give to missions…and others in need..God has taken cared of all our needs so far..God’s economy is NOT affected by the world’s economy!

  6. Renita Marjan
    Renita Marjan says:

    As an ardent Eeyore lover, I must take exception. He’s not in comic strips. He’s a depressed donkey. He doesn’t need a kick in the (re-attached) tail, he needs a little therapy and maybe some Vitamin D. Have some compassion!

    In all seriousness, Mary, while I am all for tough love when it’s needed, I think you do have a tendency to minimize mental illness. Depression and anxiety are real, chronic conditions, not something that can be “gotten over” with a little attitude adjustment.

    • Whithered Belaglik Von Poobah
      Whithered Belaglik Von Poobah says:

      Well said, Renita. I think one thing that’s important is not to judge someone else’s response to the economy. Some people have lost not only jobs, but also homes, businesses, and even spouses because of economic problems. Just yesterday, I heard that a friend of mine is getting a divorce after only being married a few months and part of the reason is because she is having a tough time finding full-time work and not able to equally contribute to household expenses. Well, my opinion is that sounds like a roommate situation, not a marriage, and she could do without that jerk anyway and there were probably other issues involved, but telling her to get over it would be inappropriate.
      The fact is, economic problems do more damage than just make it difficult to balance a budget. They cause depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, health problems, relationship problems, and on and on. I know/knew older people who suffered life-long psychological problems from their experiences during the Great Depression, including my Grandma who grew up in Kansas during the Dust Bowl.
      The fact is, a bad economic situation does make people feel powerless and sometimes does cause people to make some very bad life choices. Telling them a joke is not going to help them get their lives back on track.

      I fear that the problems with the economy now are going to continue to cause problems in our society long after the unemployment rate goes down and the stock market goes up–assuming either one ever do!


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