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Anyone else really worried about the Economy? - Page 2

post #21 of 93
Quote:
One thing for me is we had to tighten our spending before this started happening, we had our DD, I had to quit my job to be a SAHM, and we had to tighten down. I was a spender before, now I(well, we) are trying to become savers, it's been a tough transition and really doesn't have to do with a recession or not.
This is very similar to my experience. I thought was a SHOPPER. I would go to Lane Bryant with my best friend and we'd each spend about $200. But after I got married and moved away from my shopper best friend, I realized that SHE is the shopper and I am just a total enabler and am easily influenced by others moods. I used to walk into a store and want one of everything. Now, my husband will ask if I want to go to Lane Bryant, and I can't even come out of there with 3 items (except the time I bought undies 5 for $25). Nothing really appeals to me. I'm happy now and I don't need to buy things to self medicate.

It's just a coincidence that this coincides with the recession that may or may not be coming.
post #22 of 93
i worry about the cost of things going up...but the big worry for me is my husband is in the architectural business and we've seen a huge slowing down of custom built homes. he's taking on side jobs now as we just aren't making enough with his current salary and i won't be working this summer (i take care of 2 little girls during the day, but their "nanny" comes home from college the end of may so i won't have them back until end of august). i'm trying to find ways to make some extra money so we can get back on track. we are in alot of debt right now and trying to dig out..
post #23 of 93
I've lived through recessions before. Both my parents and my ILs lived through the Depression. The economy will always be cyclic. Personally, we are in more secure situations employment wise than in past recessions.

As for energy prices, it's inevitable. My dad was an engineer in the energy field, and this stuff was dinner table conversation at least three nights a week. Oil is a finite resource. We need to develop alternative energy sources. No matter what we do, energy is going to continue to take a bigger chunk out of everyone's budget for the forseeable future, because alternative energy will not be as cheap or abundant as oil used to be. And as the population continues to increase the situation will only get worse.

How many of us even here drive big, gas guzzling SUVs and minivans? We have this mindset that we must have these gigantic vehicles and that we can in no way change our lifestyles so that they aren't "needed." Yes, sometimes those decisions are hard to make and they mean that we must make some sacrifices, but it's what needs to be done.

What ticks me off is that the country was starting to take rational steps toward developing alternative energy and conservation during the Carter years. Then Reagan came in and trashed all those programs. Why people think Carter was so terrible and Reagan so great is beyond me.
post #24 of 93
No apologies needed, pauletoy. This is an important topic

I don't watch the news, listed to the radio, or get the newspaper. But I'm acutely aware of this economic stuff, partly because a friend of mine has taken it upon himself to scrutinize the economic changes and offer it in a more digestible form for friends, neighbors, and the world at large. So I've been exposed to ideas of economic instability through him for a couple of years now.

A couple of years before that, we (DH and I) were already making choices that turned out to be smart ones; moving toward sustainability in the ways we felt possible at the time. I've been a SAHM for about 10 years and have had to be consciously frugal for most of that time.

We can't get around the fact that we need a family vehicle that has 4-wheel drive and can tow a trailer. So, yes, we have an SUV. I don't know what else would work in our current situation. We don't go out much. Staying home with the kids means we appreciate each other's company more than we did. Because of gas prices, I don't feel it's an option to put my kids in all kinds of classes and activities in town (10-15 miles away), and I think ultimately that is a good thing. It's keeping me from getting caught up in the frenzy.

What used to be considered a modest income will now be considered insufficient. What used to be considered a generous income will now be considered modest.

Also, consumerism is catching up with people, and it's long overdue. I'm trying to remember that we are on the brink of some much-needed and exciting changes in the way average Americans view consumption. It won't be easy, but by thinking about this stuff now and taking steps to prepare ourselves (even by something as simple as lowering our expectations!), we are already ahead of the curve. I'm trying to stay positive and optimistic. I will assume that the worst-case is only in my head, but I'm going to prepare for that and hope to be pleasantly surprised in the end.
post #25 of 93
I am not worried about our family as my husband's job is very stable and we live WELL within our means. It's the rest of everyone else I'm concerned about and how it will affect things for years to come. A LOT of people are going to be HURTING... not just saying, "Well, I won't go to the bar this weekend or get a new CD"... I mean people who truly were barely scraping by BEFORE the prices of everything went up and who have not had wages increase accordingly.

My mother was born during the Great Depression and remembers WWII and rationing... she is still very frugal to this day. She can make a chicken breast last like 4 days!

But SO many people are in SO much debt, and what is going to happen to everyone? I am not concerned about myself so much, but I am concerned about everyone else. Michigan, in particular, has been in terrible shape now for years. Nothing has been done here. There are houses in my neighborhood (good school district) that have literally been on the market for years.

It is just a huge mess and I don't know what they are going to do to fix it. It seems like everything will just be a band aid on the bigger problem. How do they (government financial people) expect people to spend money on "stuff" when people soon will not be able to afford food? Diesel here is now over $4 per gallon, food prices will not be coming down anytime soon.

We have no debt but our tax refund and "stimulus" check are going into our savings. We are not spending it. I don't think it's going to help as much as they thought it would.

OK off the soapbox now. I basically think a lot of people are screwed and it's really going to hurt everyone in the long run.
post #26 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by amyamanda View Post
No apologies needed, pauletoy. This is an important topic

I don't watch the news, listed to the radio, or get the newspaper. But I'm acutely aware of this economic stuff, partly because a friend of mine has taken it upon himself to scrutinize the economic changes and offer it in a more digestible form for friends, neighbors, and the world at large. So I've been exposed to ideas of economic instability through him for a couple of years now.

A couple of years before that, we (DH and I) were already making choices that turned out to be smart ones; moving toward sustainability in the ways we felt possible at the time. I've been a SAHM for about 10 years and have had to be consciously frugal for most of that time.

We can't get around the fact that we need a family vehicle that has 4-wheel drive and can tow a trailer. So, yes, we have an SUV. I don't know what else would work in our current situation. We don't go out much. Staying home with the kids means we appreciate each other's company more than we did. Because of gas prices, I don't feel it's an option to put my kids in all kinds of classes and activities in town (10-15 miles away), and I think ultimately that is a good thing. It's keeping me from getting caught up in the frenzy.

What used to be considered a modest income will now be considered insufficient. What used to be considered a generous income will now be considered modest.

Also, consumerism is catching up with people, and it's long overdue. I'm trying to remember that we are on the brink of some much-needed and exciting changes in the way average Americans view consumption. It won't be easy, but by thinking about this stuff now and taking steps to prepare ourselves (even by something as simple as lowering our expectations!), we are already ahead of the curve. I'm trying to stay positive and optimistic. I will assume that the worst-case is only in my head, but I'm going to prepare for that and hope to be pleasantly surprised in the end.
Yeah, that!! It would be fascinating to talk to your friend. Economics was never something I was that interested in, but it sure is now. I think we made very good choices that suited us well at the time and we are stable now because of them.

I am almost 39 years old and have lived through a couple of slumps... I am sure things will turn around again but it won't ever be like it was in the 90's and early 00's.
post #27 of 93
we're concerned. We have put off moving home because we don't want to go into debt (more debt) to do it. We live in a fairly low col area. My husband works 1 ft and 3 pt jobs. He stays at the ft job because it is stable. I'm frugal. We have some wiggle room in the budget if things get bad.
post #28 of 93
Thread Starter 
OP here- I just want to say thank you everyone for responding. When I talk to people around here, Alabama, most people laugh and think I am an alarmist. I personally think I am a realist. It is good to hear from so many others.

I noticed that a couple of posters are already having some extreme hardships. I will be thinking about you and your families.

As for my family, I am a SAHM, DH is a firefighter and a part-time 911 dispatcher. I am so thankful that we do not have to worry about potential layoffs. The firefighter pay here is not that great but it is a stable, essential occupation.

I wouldn't even dream of comparing the U.S.'s current circumstances to the Great Depression. I personally do not think things will get that bad. DH reminded me today that the economy has always had ebbs and flows.

I agree with a previous poster about the Economic Stimulus. There maybe a boost in the economy for a very short while but it won't be because of me. We will be stashing the money in savings. I don't believe a one time payment from the government is going to turn the economy around. JMHO

Maybe this down turn will be a wake up call to all Americans. We can not continue to consume. We must find alternative fuel sources and protect our natural resources.
post #29 of 93
I predict the gas prices will come down temporarily in the fall, in time for the election.
post #30 of 93
Our stimulus check is going to either go in the bank or it is going to go to stocking up for next winter. I've been thinking like a little squirrel and trying to get more and more food and necessities stocked up. I guess DH and I did decide to buy bicycles for us, but that will only be a couple hundred dollars and will provide years of entertainment(without eating away at resources). DH and I have already decided that part of it will go to buying pellets for our pellet stove, we have the space to keep them and it would be nice to have them before we need them(which is normally NOT the case). We won't be running out to buy a TV or anything like that, this is just going to buy us things necessary for our lives.
post #31 of 93
If we receive a stimulus check it will have to go towards paying bills. Hopefully it will help us get "ahead" so that we don't have to worry about losing our home.
post #32 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by amyamanda View Post
Also, consumerism is catching up with people, and it's long overdue. I'm trying to remember that we are on the brink of some much-needed and exciting changes in the way average Americans view consumption.
I think this is a really good point. Most of the rest of the world (and pre-WWII America) has lived with the paradigm that when times are fat, you save for when times are lean. In modern US, the paradigm has been to spend it all, spend it all the time, and "hell, yeah, I have a job - give me money that doesn't belong to me". I think that this economic crisis just might bring people around so that the next generation is better equipped to handle some VERY serious social/economic/environmental issues that we've created. How can you expect people to be economical with a resource like oil and find alternatives for it when they can't even be economical with their own lives by finding alternatives? There are scary similarities between "consumption" in the US economy and "consumption" the disease (TB)... they both consume the host from within.

I don't mean this to be a rant, but I do think that these economic problems are the direct result of over-consumption.

Personally, thanks to the facts that my dh is not American and has a healthy attitude toward consumerism/consumption/money and the fact that I simply grew up poor and learned how to be frugal from a young age, we are not materialistic and have been savers. Not caring about keeping up with the Joneses, although we certainly could have if we didn't want to save and invest, has positioned us well to weather this economy. Even if it becomes a depression. I am *really, really* scared for my family that is up to their necks in debt and are *still* overspending. I have been telling them to save for *years* now. Talked 'til I was blue in the face. I will not bail them out if they lose their shirts. (Mean, huh? )

My parents lived through the depression, my dh comes from a country with hyperinflation, and he and I have lived through a few recessions already, so while I hate seeing our investments take a tumble, we are well-prepared. I'm not worried at this point.
post #33 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by timneh_mom View Post
It would be fascinating to talk to your friend. Economics was never something I was that interested in, but it sure is now.
He's started a website with information (the Crash Course section) geared towared people like you (and me) who weren't previously all that interested in economics: www.chrismartenson.com

(And just to be clear, my intention is not to spam for my friend, but to share this resource; the information on his site is SO relevant to this kind of discussion, I'd feel irresponsible not sharing the link. I hope it is okay that I am posting it.)
post #34 of 93
the increased cost of food is my primary concern, so we're expanding our garden (200% expansion almost) and I'm planning to take advantage of the abundance of produce from my own garden and from local farms this summer to put up a lot of things. I've gotten back into the habit of baking almost every day, so haven't been buying bread/crackers/rolls at the market. DH and I are inthe middle of researching deepfreezers and anticipate buying one next month so that we can go in on a co-op beef share, and I'll be a baking fool through May and early June so that I can make enough bread to freeze for the summer so I won't have to turn the oven on when it's wicked hot out.

In terms of driving/gas consumption, I walk everywhere I can and pretty much drive less than 30 miles a week, total. DH drives 35 miles round tripto work every day, and that's it. We're saving money to buy him a car next spring and anticipate getting a hybrid, we're just not sure which one yet. He's also thinking about starting to bike to work, as his company has full showers/lockerrooms wherehe could get cleaned up before heading to his office.

Overall, we aren't big consumers, and are very frugal, so the cost of most goods isn't really affecting us, fortunately. I worry about my family and friends who are crazy consumers, though
post #35 of 93
We downsized to one car this past winter and we've been trying to drive our existing car less. We're also considering getting a more fuel efficient car that will still fit 5 passengers. (if you have any recommendations PM me!)

We are working on stretching our grocery budget by planning a larger garden (getting rid of the dog kennel and adding in another 16 squares) and buying food in bulk to reduce prices. We're also exploring simpler, less expensive meals and adding in more non-meat based meals.

We are constantly looking for lower cost solutions to our purchasing needs. We usually shop garage sales in the summer, but with fuel prices I'm wondering if using eBay and the TP here might be a better idea. I also might sew more clothing for the kids since I already have a good stash of patterns, notions, and fabrics on hand.

For a long time we only purchased something if it was a NEED rather than a want, but we'll likely look at this even closer now!
post #36 of 93
Quote:
Also, consumerism is catching up with people, and it's long overdue. I'm trying to remember that we are on the brink of some much-needed and exciting changes in the way average Americans view consumption.
I was just thinking about this. I was a part of the "I have the money/credit. I can afford it. I deserve it." mentality that was rampant in the 00's. Now, my husband and I are paying for it and we're experiencing a lot of astonishment from people who are still in the "spend, spend, spend!" mindset.

When I told people that we sold our truck, I heard a lot of "I'm sorry". (We aren't! We're saving $600/month between payments, insurance, gas, oil changes and car washes)

When I mention that I want to cloth diaper our children, I hear "Can't you afford real diapers?" (I didn't realize that cloth diapers were imaginary!)

When I suggest a way to cut an expense to someone who is struggling, like hanging laundry, I hear "Oh, that's for poor people and I don't have time for that!" God forbid you suggest they cancel their cable "What would we DO all day?" (Um....how about hang laundry?)
post #37 of 93
I feel lucky right now.

DH and I have been working our way out of debt steadily for a couple of years now. DH has a job that is pretty much essential in a public university (re: great benefits). I work for a firm that has no history of layoffs( I know it could change). Recently we have made a lot of good decisions. Eventually, I'll be able to stay home and practice home economics on a large scale(this will greatly reduce our fossil fuel consumption).


I think we are in the minority as far as consumption goes. We have prepared for economic energency. I feel confident that we will be OK. However, I get really steamed when I think about other families that can't make it. I worry a lot about mommas on MDC.

I admit I get anxiety by listening/watching/reading the news.
post #38 of 93
Quote:
"What would we DO all day?" (Um....how about hang laundry?)
Thatliterally just made me snort water up my nose, in my attempt to not wake up the sleeping babe in my lap!!!
post #39 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by EFmom View Post
As for energy prices, it's inevitable. My dad was an engineer in the energy field, and this stuff was dinner table conversation at least three nights a week. Oil is a finite resource. We need to develop alternative energy sources. No matter what we do, energy is going to continue to take a bigger chunk out of everyone's budget for the forseeable future, because alternative energy will not be as cheap or abundant as oil used to be.
Right on, sister. We bought fuel-efficient cars. The rising gas prices will not affect me much. My car gets 35 mpg and I drive 25 mi to work each way 3 x per week. It's $72 per month. Sure, I'd like to drive even less and can work on that in the future.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EFmom View Post

What ticks me off is that the country was starting to take rational steps toward developing alternative energy and conservation during the Carter years. Then Reagan came in and trashed all those programs. Why people think Carter was so terrible and Reagan so great is beyond me.
That ticks me off, too. I think the Reagan love might have to do with that deal where they waited for Carter to be out of office before they released the hostages. Then, everyone gave Reagan credit even though Carter had been the one doing all the negotiating work.



So, what can we/you do to reduce your expenses and help the environment at the same time?

Now, that's it's warmer, we've stopped using heat. We'll not use AC. I want to install ceiling fans where possible.

I want to hang clothes outside rather than use the dryer. We did that for 6 months last year -- saved lots of energy and $$.

I also want to create a square foot garden to raise some of my own food. I'll also be buying food from a woman who raises food in her back yard. That will require less in fossil fuels than if I were getting tomatoes from Spain or something.

I telecommute 2 x per week to save gas, and I rarely buy clothes that require dry cleaning.

How about you?
post #40 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by llamalluv View Post
When I suggest a way to cut an expense to someone who is struggling, like hanging laundry, I hear "Oh, that's for poor people and I don't have time for that!" God forbid you suggest they cancel their cable "What would we DO all day?" (Um....how about hang laundry?)
You are my people! I love to hang laundry. We did that for about 6 months last year. I became more aware of the weather. I could not do laundry if it was raining, and that meant some 'forced' relaxation. Eventually, it became too cold and we replaced the dryer that broke. Now that it's warm, I want to get back to using the air and sun to dry our clothes.

We did cloth diapers until DD told me they "didn't feel good" but I'm going to get some cloth training pants. If it doesn't feel good, she can use the potty! Kidding kidding.
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