Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Making The Best Out of Bad Times

WOW…I feel so rested from the holidays – for the first time in years. I, like so many others, scaled back my activities and spending significantly in 2008 and I have to tell you…it was really fantastic.

In fact, I was on the phone last night with a dear friend and we concurred that this trend of ‘less is more’ is so delightful that we may repeat it again this year!

Now, onto today’s topic.

OK. You’re working with less money this year so you have to scale back your social activities.

Or, you planned to ramp up your Socialite thang in 2009 but you’re uncertain which direction to go.

Well good people, go back to the proverbial lab to acquire and/or brush up on some soft skills that will make you a Social Superstar.

How? And with what funds?

Well for one, skip on down to your local library branch and check out books and articles on topics of interest. Librarians tend to be very friendly folks and will lend assistance to you. Grab some lifestyle books, all of the Emily Post hits, and other reads that may help you gain some skills and knowledge that will be useful at social gatherings and events.

This is also a good time to enjoy fine dining and learn about gourmet faire. The restaurant industry is staving (no pun intended) for business. Many hot spots are having nightly specials and ‘small plates’ where you can cultivate your palate for far less than a year ago. Gourmet shops will be happy to see you. Visit one and ask all of those questions about caviar, cheeses, wine, pate, and other delights that you were always curious about.

Many cultural arts organizations are offering deeply discounted tickets that are sometimes bundled with other discounts (food, parking, etc). What a great time to go an Art Museum or to experience your local Orchestra or Opera.

And what if I live in small town that’s not as fancy as cities on the East & West Coast?

Almost everyone has either a Target or Walmart (or Carrefour for my international friends) near their home. Grab a book on hosting parties and host a great event at home. Teas, hors d'oeuvres, and wine tastings can be done very elegantly for very little money. You and your friends can rotate hosting. Make the event ‘learning exercises’ where participants swap informational tidbits about the food and beverages.

Then, when the economy rebounds (and your mailbox is bursting with invites again) you’ll be armed with great conversation points that will razzle and dazzle.

Knowledge and information is the global currency of the 21st Century – not cash and flash.

The choice is yours to make the best out of bad times.