I am so, so sorry. It was never my intention to put the economy into a tailspin. I did not do this all by myself. I had help.

For me, it started innocently enough by taking a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University (FPU) course with hubby a few years ago. We got so much out of it that we decided to coordinate additional classes at our church.

We have since led a number of FPU classes there. There are several FPU courses going on now in this area, and we plan to start another in March.

The main focus of FPU is showing folks how to get out of debt and how to get your financial house in good order so that you can live debt free.

What has that got to do with the economy? A lot, as it has turned out. Last year we bought a new car – and we paid cash. Much of the profit for a car dealership is in the financing. Paying cash might have put a dent in the profit of the transaction. Sorry, car dealership.

We no longer have a balance carried forward each month on any credit cards. Each is paid in full at the end of the month. So much for any interest on the unpaid balances for the credit card companies.

Doing without, if you have to, can be painful, but if you are doing it by choice, it puts a different spin on things. I have had many years of doing without, most of which were by choice.

I preferred to spend money on music lessons for our kids rather than buy clothing for myself. I could always become a clothes horse later; you can’t go back and do things for kids after they turn 40.

As it turned out, I never did become a clothes horse. Instead, after I started having a bad attitude about all the things that are made in China, I cut back on clothing big time. If that has put store clerks in peril of job loss, I am so sorry.

Last year, I purchased only one item of clothing – a pair of jeans made in Guatemala – and that was in a store that sells at less than full price and with a 20 percent off coupon.

What has all this austerity done for us as a couple? The house is paid for. I am sorry if that has put a dent in the banking industry.

I have a feeling I am not the only one to do this. Interest rates are great at this time for borrowers, but not for people who are counting on high interest for their savings. My pension is on rocky ground, in part because of investments that we made that are not doing well.

If the person you work for is cutting back and having to tighten his belt, keep in mind we all are. The economy is not doing well. It is not the fault of anyone in particular. It’s just the way things are.

Margaret Griffin has lived in Sun City Hilton Head for 17 years.