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How has the downturn in the economy and the recession affected you?

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posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 12:02 PM
I hope this isn't a duplicate thread--I searched and didn't find one like this. If there is one please feel free to merge it, mods.

My question is has the downturn in the economy and the recession affected you and your family personally? The news today of the unemployment rate reaching 10.2% seems to indicate that the bad economy isn't going to level off anytime soon.

Although both my husband and I have good jobs, we have made many adjustments to our lifestyle in response to tighter money. My husband has a job in the financial/investing sector and I am a professional writer and we have both been affected by the downturn.

Here are some of the changes in lifestyle and spending we have adopted:

*We no longer have a cleaning service clean our house every week (which was definitely just a perk of the nice market conditions for a few years). This was a total nonessential and the first thing we cut out about 18 months ago when we started trimming nonessential perks.

*We eat out much less often..down from once a week to more like once a month. We also eat "left-overs" more often as well. These are also easy changes to make and things we haven't missed. Honestly eating out less often makes it seem more special when we do eat out now.

*We are cutting back this year for the holidays and only buying presents for the children in the family and no adults.

*We have cancelled all future plans for any vacations and will be doing "day trips" in the area when we do get away.

*We have paid off all of our credit cards in an attempt to cut out fees that aren't necessary.

*We also keep the thermostat turned down or up, depending on the season.

*This one seems silly but I have stopped buy Starbucks coffee to brew at home and now opt for a cheaper brew for our home coffee...still it saves money each month.

*We cancelled our more expensive Satellite TV and have cheaper cable instead.

*We are much more conscious about "extra trips to town" in an attempt to conserve gasoline even though our main vehicle is a hybrid.

*Most importantly I stop and think if something is really necessary before it buy it and often decide no, I don't need it.

Those are the things that come to mind right away. None of the things we have done to adapt our lifestyle really make a huge difference in the level of enjoyment of our lives...which is actually a nice lesson for us!

Anyway, I'm curious as to what changes others a making in response to the economy. I am quite sure there are many people much more greatly affected than we are...especially those who have lost and/or are looking for employment during these difficult economic times.

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 12:27 PM
Luckily, I am a teenage and my parents have a solid job as superintendents at a apartment building, giving free rent, plus my dad is an amazing handyman so instead of them hiring company's, he does most of the work around the building bringing in a decent amount of income. Sadly debt took its toll and we had to file for bankruptcy just a couple weeks ago.

So once were good, my parents will hopefully be moving back to newfoundland(this is ontario canada btw) to build a large cabin to live in. this is what i want them to do, this is what my mom wants to do, but my dad wants to stay longer to make more money.

I am quitting money in a few months when i leave for "My Great Adventure!" in the northern rockies. Leaving for probably 5 months. If i can last that long. I am learning all i can, and i have a forest near me where i do 5 night trips. Its not that hard once you get a food source and water. Shelter is the easiest, i have lots of experience cutting down trees to build log forts when i was a kid with my cousins.

So, the only way money could be affecting you, is if your in debt. otherwise, leave while you can.

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 12:35 PM
I am still gainfully employed, and better off than most, so it hasn't hit me as hard as it has others. However, that doesn't mean it hasn't changed my Quality of Living.

I have always lived as Debt-Free as possible, however now it is a necessity rather than a luxury to live that way. Rather than even carry something on Credit for 30 - 90 days, I won't even consider a purchase unless I can afford it in full outright.

Even when I can afford large purchases I have indefinitely put off making non-essential purchases. Do I really need a new car right now? I've been doing fine for the past 4 years using my bicycle, Public Trans, and my own two feet. Is it worth the cost, let alone the added monthly expense of Fuel, Maintenance, and Insurance? Although my computer is about 7 years old, do I really need a new one? Sure it might be nice to have a computer that can play the bleeding-edge games at full resolution, but do I really need to blow my money on that? Do I need a $100/month HD Cable Bill when Hulu gives me the three shows I would ever want to watch for free already? Do I really want a $100/month Cellphone Contract for the next 2 years when I can just use VoIP for free? Do I need a new Digital Camera to replace my 7 year old Digital Camera? Sure, 22MP is > than 3MP but would I ever make prints bigger than 8x10 any way? Even when I want these larger purchases I find myself reconsidering and realizing I can live without them just as happily as I would with them.

Saving for a Rainy Day has become saving for a Clear and Present Danger. What used to be $100 here and $200 there has now become putting away 30% of my Net Income into Savings and stockpiling Food and Consumables like there is no tomorrow. I've always kept a month supply on hand in the past, but now I am stockpiling 2 years worth of Food, Consumables and Savings.

Knowing the plight of others, and realizing I could easily be in the same boat, I've become more sympathetic towards the homeless and jobless and always help out how I can. Giving a homeless person at a time a warm meal, a couch to crash on, a warm shower, and Internet Access for an evening has become not just something I do once in a while but something I now do daily.

The other thing that it has changed is my hope for the future. For the past 10 years the Housing Market in my area has been so far out of control that there was no way I would have ever been able to afford a house even making twice the Median Average Salary in my area. When the cheapest, rat-infested, roof-collapsing, ghetto house goes for $500,000+ even the Middle Class falls into despair knowing that Home Ownership is no longer a reality. However, with the House Market plummeting, a lot of these ghetto houses are now more reasonably priced at $60,000-$100,000 which puts them easily in my price range. All of a sudden I can dream of Home Ownership again, now that it has become a potential reality for me. (However, I find myself questioning whether or not I would want to risk spending my Savings on such, or if it would be better to hold unto those Savings and seeing how low the Market can go first.)

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 12:47 PM
I have less money because the part time job I have is based upon commission. My last paycheck was $4.90; that is for two weeks, that is worse than the great depression of the 1930s wages! Thank goodness for my disablity payments.
Rising costs for electricity have made me late on 1 or 2 bills per month now. I finally caught up only to have prices go over and beyond my income.
70% of my income goes to rent due to rental prices rising in 2008-2009. I have to cut out many extras which is fine. I don't have napkins except for the ones I get when I occasionally go out to eat.
I have not had any new clothes in a year. I finally bought new socks after I realized that I can spare a few bucks for them. I only go dollar tree, dollar general or occasionally Walmart or amazon. If I can't get things from one of those stores I don't need it.
I put in $10 of gas every 2 to 3 weeks. I rarely spend money frivously. I only use my heat as needed. I use things for more than one purpose. I use hand and dish soap as kitchen,bathroom and floor cleaners. Any left over plastic forks or spoons from fast food I save. I skip breakfast most of the time and only eat 2 meals a day. I drink no more than one or two bottles of water in a day.
I ask for hand me downs from family for clothes. I have a friend who helps me as needed.
I have not been able to get a better job because of little jobs available.
This has made my depression worse and made me feel more doomed.
My dreams of owning a home are crushed due to tightening rules. I become more wishful less hopeful everyday.

[edit on 6-11-2009 by dreamseeker]

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 01:10 PM
I was laid off after 22 years with my company. It was the only full-time job I ever had. The money was very good, but the fact that I truly enjoyed my job was the worst part of being let go. I have 3 kids, one is a junior in high school, so we're looking at college in another year. Or we were. My son is thinking he should hold off college and go to technical school. He's more interested in plumbing and electrical work than college anyway.

My husband is still working, but we don't know for how long. He's survived the last 5 layoffs, but it's only a matter of time.

We don't go out to eat anymore. We do get a pizza once a month so that I get a break from cooking.

I shop sales at all the grocery stores and use coupons religiously. It takes more time, but I saved $108 this week using coupons! Plus I stock up for those weeks when I can't afford to shop.

I splurged on a sewing machine and am learning how to sew so that I can make our clothes last longer. A little bit of ribbon on the bottom of a pair of girls jeans will give them another inch in length and another 6 months of wear as long as she doesn't get taller too quickly!

I clean everything with baking soda and vinegar. Much cheaper than cleansers and better for us and the environment.

We used to keep the heat at 64. Now we keep it at 62 and wear a lot of layers.

The Salvation Army store and Goodwill stores have become my new favorite places to shop.

I make one trip out a all the grocery shopping and other errands in one day. The only exception to that is church on Sundays. A tank of gas lasts me almost 3 weeks.

I hate being unemployed....

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 02:29 PM
Where I live, the malls are packed, the movies are packed, the restaurants are packed, coffee shops are get the idea. The recession is a lie. It only exists everywhere else.

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 02:36 PM
reply to post by xtradimensions

I'm excited, I had no idea my wife was a member on ATS.

Being a Mortgage Banker this downturn has turned my life into to what I can only believe a cop killing, pedaphile expieriences on a daily basis.

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 02:40 PM
well i just got home from work here in metro detroit and i just got laid off next week.hopefully it wont be for that long,i just moved up 7 spots on the sinority list also (yes i have a union job im a teamster)and i was hopeing to work till almost christmas.and i just found out im gunna be a daddy lol
but the plus side i am staying with my dad for now so i can save some cash.i guess im gunna have to start doing the tattoos on overdrive now,that is if anyone has cash to pay.

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 03:07 PM
reply to post by newworldrev

Clear sentence structure, excellent grammer, and a polished vocabulary.

Just kidding. This is a terrible post.

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 03:22 PM
reply to post by anotherdad

Honey, is that you?

Seriously though, our lives have been relatively unaffected in major ways. That said, we have made adjustments in our lifestyle as a result of tighter money. I am curious as to how people are affected across the board due to the recession and hurting economy.

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 03:52 PM
As a self employed interior/ finish carpenter dealing with new home builders for the last 13 years, the economy has really affected me. I went from doing two houses a day to two or three a month. My wife worked at a local television station until she was laid off in January. Also in January, my mother, who lives two and a half hours away from us, was found unconscious in her home. She never took care of herself or the house she owned and her doctor said she shouldn't live on her own. So, I spent the majority of what I had saved up in traveling back and forth to get her affairs settled and in an assisted living facility where she lives. I guess it was a blessing in disguise that my wife had been laid off as she was able to stay up there with some of my friends in order to get most of the leg work done concerning my mother. Although my wife was getting unemployment benefits, it just wasn't enough and she had to file bankruptcy for a second time for which she will be losing her car. I have applied to several different jobs but they all expect a certain level of experience not to mention, I have found it to be nearly impossible to talk to anyone due to having been self employed and 42 years old. My wife just recently found a job and I keep hoping that the builders in this area will start up again as it was before......I can HOPE for a CHANGE........right?

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 03:54 PM
Normally the economy would be hitting me pretty hard if i still lived state side, but since im here in Iraq for a whole damn year i never have to worry about not getting feed, have a moldy tent for shelter with shoddy wiring, and free gas for missions only. One very bad thing for me though is the cost of internet. Depending on what speed you want you can pay 55$ for 64k. 70$ for 98k and 85$ for 128k but thats just per month but the internet connection is garbage because i can barely make it to this site and is nothing more then a rip off!

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 04:19 PM
reply to post by Longtimegone

It's exactly the same where I live as well!
I feel like I'm living in a dream. I was in Vegas a couple of weeks ago and the high-end shops at Ceasar's were FULL and many had more than one bag.

I DO believe it's "out there" but I can't personally say I've seen one sign all year...spent the Summer on a lake in NY and again,nothing but boats,laughter,people in and out,and life as usual.

I don't get it...not at all.

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 04:29 PM
Actually, I'm doing better than average in this economy right now.

I have a stable, adequately paying job, a house on a low interest fixed mortgage, car is paid for, I have 4 months of bill money in reserve in the bank, and a bit of mad money for x-mas and life is generally good.

You see, I have had my extravagances, but I rarely have overspent nor overextended myself. I bought a house that I knew I could afford on my own, even if I did have to live a little lean. I didn't buy banking on that it would be paid by a two income relationship at any point.

I pay with cash, and I carry a decent bit of it around with me.

I am a rather conservative person financially. I saved a bit yesterday so I can have more fun with a safety net today. I'm not a stodgy skinflint who neuroticly turns off every light, and lives in a cold house in winter just to save a buck. At the same time, I'm not about to drop $200 a night at the titty bar unless its to help out with a bachelor party I'm attending, nor do I need a $10K stereo system when I honestly can't tell the difference from the barely adequate audio on my cable tv.

I read the research and saw I didn't have to buy the $100 monster speaker cables for my stereo because there is no sound difference between then and a wire coat hanger. I bought basic good quality cables. Price? $10.

I'm 34 now, I've been like that since I was 28.

I'm enjoying the hell out of the sales and clearances at the stores.

My area is pretty mixed. you have semi old money a few miles west, and you have the lowest income/highest crime town about 3-4 miles to the north east. Driving down the streets, day or night, the only real difference I see is a slight drop in traffic.

[edit on 6-11-2009 by CoffinFeeder]

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 04:35 PM

Originally posted by Longtimegone
Where I live, the malls are packed, the movies are packed, the restaurants are packed, coffee shops are get the idea. The recession is a lie. It only exists everywhere else.

I know, same where I live. It almsot seems like a boom town, because every one is spend spen spend, and it is mostly small town businesses here, so everyone is just giving back to the community.

I tip big time, and people are full of graditude so they are generous towards each other.

I feel a real family type spirit in my town, so if there ever was a real 'crash" the boys would be out fishing for us, the girls picking veggies and cooking, and whoever brings beer or wine eats for free too.....

I feel very blessed where I am.

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 04:36 PM
Both my wife and I are still employed although my hours have been cut.

We've always lived debt free and were managing to bank a fair bit of money every month.

So, with the depression on, we decided to build a vacation home. The price of lumber is about 30% of what it was when times were booming. The house is closed in and most of the wiring and plumbing is in. We've just about got enough money in the bank to finish it.

Currently, we don't have cable TV gym memberships or anything of that nature. That's what allowed us to save enough money to build the second house.

I think my job is solid till the end of June next year but then we may face another round of layoffs and I feel that I've got a target on my back.

I don't really think that we can live smaller so if things go bad, we'll have to put the second home for sale right about the time we finish it.

That would suck.

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 04:52 PM
I'm from the southern Philippines. So far we continue to buck the recession. But lately our electric company keeps cutting the power about 1-3 times a day, every day. Usually at 10-30 minutes. Why? I can only assume demand has lowered and the returning elecricity after a brownout causes a surge which keeps the meter spinning at a furious speed. That's how the company compensates for their weak income.

Unfortunately for them whenever there's a power failure I turn off ALL appliances and lights and wait 5 minutes to turn them on after the power returns.

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 04:53 PM

Originally posted by xtradimensions
My question is has the downturn in the economy and the recession affected you and your family personally?

In Vegas, unemployment in closer to 15%.

I was working 5-6 days a week. Now I work 2 or 3 and have no insurance. Since I am permanently (but not totally) disabled I do not qualify for unemployment benefits, nor SSI.

We eat out about once or twice a month. Sometimes not at all.

We have resigned from committees and boards.

We use credit cards only when necessary, since we can't always pay them off each month (like we used to).

Cancelled gym membership when it was time for renewal.

Cancelled automatic payments for bills and pay closer to due date.

Reduced auto-insurance policy coverage to cut premium in half.

Can't afford to make student loan payments right now.

Cancelled standing appointments for routine vision/dental/physical exams.

We have down-graded to the cheapest level of cable so I can still see the "news".

Gifts for birthdays and holidays are limited to items of necessity.

We make a list of errands that need to be done and group them according to area to conserve on gas.

Buy lowest quality of gas.

We're sticking to mostly necessity, but an occasional non-essential purchase is also considered a necessity to keep morale up in the household.

It's affected us pretty hard, but we've still got a roof over our heads.

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 04:55 PM

Originally posted by Longtimegone
reply to post by newworldrev

Clear sentence structure, excellent grammer, and a polished vocabulary.

Just kidding. This is a terrible post.

Oh, the irony...

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 05:07 PM
My husband and I already live frugally so I don't feel the pinch as much as some people.

I am planning a bigger veggie garden next year and I can and freeze the harvest. My husband also hunts and goes fishing.

And I am already a big fan of fleamarkets (that's my entertainment). It's fun looking for "treasures" even if I end up not buying anything.

Instead of eating out we get together with the rest of my rather large family and have potluck suppers. It's cheaper than restaurants.

Neither my husband's nor my job is that secure (construction) so I still worry sometimes. In the mean time we do what we can to save and not spend on what we don't really need.

[edit on 6-11-2009 by elaine]

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