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What has your experience been in this economy?

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posted on Jul, 15 2009 @ 10:00 PM
From another thread I started, there is lots of conjecture and predictions going on about the economy. With this in mind, I think it would be good for people to read what other people's experiences have been.

So, let us know what you've seen and experienced first hand. Are thing getting better? Worse? Will you ever return to your previous spending habits when things do improve?

Here is my experience:

I live in Seattle and am a business owner. In 2008 my business shrunk by about 30%. Maybe 25% of my friends are either unemployed or close to it. Every single person I know, from the very wealthy to the poor, are spending much less money than they were before and agree they will never spend like they used to.

In terms of real estate, multiple new condo and commercial buildings are majority vacant, and there is an amazing amount of closed completely vacant small retail spaces. My parents have lost about half of the value of their home and are still having a problem selling. Multiple of my friends bought in the real estate run up and every one is well over $100,000 under water on their homes, and feel stuck.

All in all, my experience has been very lucky compared to most. I still have my business and my livelihood, but the stress has increased exponentially. My friends, family and colleagues are all stressed, and no one confident or comfortable in their current situation.

What has your experience been?

[edit on 15-7-2009 by johnny2127]

posted on Jul, 15 2009 @ 10:06 PM
I can tell you...we dropped our dish service, tv is not important. we don't eat out much anymore. husband and I both work and work hard and live pay check to pay check these the time we pay bills, fill up with gas and buy groceries...we are pretty much broke... the thing is, the prices on consumer goods have gotten so high and yet our pay has stagnated...we have a son at university and the cost of that is astronomical...we are scraping by and so are a lot of other people that we know...

[edit on 15-7-2009 by Greenize]

posted on Jul, 15 2009 @ 10:16 PM
reply to post by Greenize

Thank you for your input.

Oh you reminded me to talk about my own spending. I traded in an expensive car for one 1/3 the price. Downgraded the unit I rent by half, and don't spend near as much when I go out, or go out as often. I buy in bulk more often now, and have cut many little services like movie channels on cable. And keep in mind, I have been fortunate compared to most people.

I can't wait to read what many of you have to say. I feel like I reading these experiences will be priceless moments in history everyone should read.

posted on Jul, 15 2009 @ 10:30 PM
I was retrenched on June 12. I cannot find a job. I have filed endless applications online.

i have one for sure job that Im not sure I can do. I sold cars once in 2005 and now i have an interview july 21. Car sales is a hard life man, your bosses are dicks, customers are dicks, finance are dicks, nothing rewardinga bout even in good times but crap in a recession. I just dont know. will have to decide by then. Its the only friggin serouis START TOMMORROW. Offered to me

[edit on 15-7-2009 by Spartak_FL]

posted on Jul, 15 2009 @ 10:34 PM
Things are different. We spend a little less but more specifically spend differently these days. Boss tells tales of doom and gloom from throughout the country as he travels. Spent lots to get a large diverse organic garden(s) started. Complete with vegetables that will come back (perennials). Understand now that real wealth never actually came from little green pieces of paper but also understand how I once thought that it did. I don't want to depend upon you or anyone else so I have tried to take freedom into my own hands, doing what I am still free to do while also trying to do "the right thing" in regards to the planet and my fellow human. For me, so far, these new troubling times have been an awakening and nothing more. Now, that being said, I am still preparing for more...

posted on Jul, 15 2009 @ 11:12 PM
We are lucky in my situation. Well, my daughter lost her job and she and her three kids moved in with us. She is lucky she has us. My wife just got a small raise. That helps. I have no job. That is by choice. I still get my government pension. That is good. My daughter is so far unable to get employment. That is bad. Prices on things rise faster than our income. That is bad. I know lots of people who are unemployed or underemployed now. That is bad. These folks are not going to make it much longer. We do what we can for them, but we can't be a welfare system for everybody. While it seems like we can go on, yeah, spending less for luxeries and more on necessities, we can probably weather things so far. We've got another grown child who will move in with us eventually. We will all make it, though. It's not an ideal situation, in any case. It's like every plan has been put on hold. Until.........Oh, well, luckily I was born into a poor family and I know what needs to be done and I can pass on knowledge and attitude to the rest of my family who have little experience with such things.. We will survive. Good luck to everyone else, I know we will need a bit of it, as well as determination to overcome adversity.

posted on Jul, 16 2009 @ 11:16 AM
I think we are seeing a societal shift where household sizes with be increasing. That is both due to multiple families residing under one roof, but also people picking up roommates and family moving back in with family.

I think much of that is permanent for large portions of America. Consequently, we are over built for our population demographics now.

posted on Jul, 16 2009 @ 01:35 PM
My husband and I are cooks, and starting around mid-May, we've started seeing business slow down a lot. The slow down has resulted in us being scheduled less hours every week. Besides that, there are some days that are so slow that instead of working the 6 to 8 hours that we normally would work, we're being sent home after working only 2 or 3 hours.

Some employees are being called before their shift even starts and are told to not even bother coming into work. That's happened to me only once. Others come into work and are sent home before they can even clock in.

My husband and I are doing better than most because we've been with the company a long time and are strong employees who are cross-trained to do pretty much every position in the restaurant. Newer employees and/or those who have only learned one position are losing the most hours.

Turnover with servers is really high right now because we have too many servers and not enough guests. Many servers are quitting and going to other restaurants because they're not being scheduled enough shifts. Bad schedules, in combination with fewer tables and guests tipping less, is making it difficult for many to be able to be able to pay their bills. I don't know if the restaurants they're going to are busier or not, but I guess they're hoping they are.

Anyway, I'm aware that when times are tough, people either stop going out to eat, eat out less, or they go out to eat at places that are a lot cheaper and which don't require tipping. I know that we may face tough times ahead if business continues to decline. I guess we'll just take it one day at a time and hope that our restaurant will stay afloat.

posted on Jul, 16 2009 @ 01:48 PM
My corporation started lengthening operating hours and cutting payroll! Pressure increased to make sales, jobs started being cut, and it became impossible to see my two young children. They were asleep when I left in the morning, and asleep when I came home at night. I stopped being able to take days off, and I had to make a decision to quit the job.

I finally got a job with the state that was a strict 40 hours. My income dropped from $62K/year to $28K/year.

I let my truck go back to bank. (08 Nissan Titan, Owed $19K, but only worth $9K when gas prices hit $4/gal.)

We put the house up for sale, but the home we purchased for $165K, sunk $20K into remodelling and adding on, was only worth $130K now! After getting no action on the sale for a year, we had to let it go to bank also, and we decided to file bankruptcy.

My wife and I, along with my parent's (Dad's job cut his hours and layed off about half of the employees!), decided to remodel their home into two Master suites, and now we live with them and pay rent.

We are actually much happier now! I get to spend a lot of time with the kids, we have an acre yard and a pool. My parent's have some disposable income again courtesy of our rent. The stress is off of my wife and I. Life is pretty good.

My old neighborhood is about 30% vacant. There are many homes selling at auction. We are buying extra rice, beans, canned goods, etc. We are growing some vegetables, we have well water, and we are looking into solar power, so we will be entirely off-grid!

The economy sucks, but sometimes change is good!

posted on Jul, 16 2009 @ 02:10 PM
reply to post by johnny2127

I'm also in the Seattle area. Currently my work is in Seattle, but I live way out on the eastside in the foothills.

My personal habits honestly haven't changed much, but I've seen so many whose lives have been forced to change. Thanks to the pointless busy work on 2nd Ave the past couple of weeks, I've had to walk around a bit more to catch my evening bus and have noticed a lot of changes I had been unaware of. For example, the Westlake Center itself seems to be doing pretty well, full storefronts and such... but walk just a block away from the center and you'll notice a huge number of empty stores. Even the corporate towers have whole empty floors thanks to WaMu's demise and large downsizings. I've noticed that the line of cabs parked around the Westin scarcely moves, whereas last year at this time it was a steadily revolving chain of Yellow cabs picking up Westin guests one right after the other. I'm seeing more and more young couples with fully loaded backpacks including sleeping bags walking around who by no means look like they've been on the street very long.

I'm seeing huge changes to traditions in the area, like Ivar's canceling their Fourth of Jul-Ivar's fireworks show after sponsoring it for decades and Chase canceling support of the other fireworks show after this year. There's talk of this year being the last time they hold the State Fair in Puyallup. Hell, G.I. Joe's closed down! They have random job fairs at the libraries and at Quest and I've noticed a ridiculous number of people in line for these... many of them involve just a few jobs available with PSE or Seattle City Light and they're talking about dozens or even hundreds of applications for one or two sub-$20 an hour positions.

On the possible plus side, I've noticed a lot more people showing up for little things around the community. The town I live near (North Bend) had a centennial block party a few weeks ago. Lame as can be, yet we had a massive turnout of people just looking for a few hours of music, togetherness, and a chance to be a happy community for a while. The lunchtime street concerts they've been having in downtown every day have drawn huge crowds, too. The snobs and the Seattle Freeze are still in effect in many places, but we've noticed a bit fewer snobs and a bit more friendliness is starting to seep into the area. I think people are starting to recognize that, when times are lean and you can't afford to run to Bel-Square to drop a few hundred on a new toy, you have to actually communicate with your neighbors and make some friendships that are based on more than how new your Beamer is or how much you overpaid for your townhouse on the Plateau.

posted on Jul, 16 2009 @ 02:21 PM
The economy has affected our grocery severely. I was raised to pay attention to the prices of products and have done so always. We noticed the sudden price increase in every item we bought and our estimation is we now pay close to 50 bucks more every 2 weeks in groceries. This began in October, around the time Dubya Bush told reporters the economy was strong and we were not in a recession. Of course within a month every reporter and news anchor and anaylist started making references to the recession that we were in and no one ever mentioned it to Dubya anymore since it was clear he was not paying attention to his surroundings.

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posted on Jul, 16 2009 @ 02:24 PM
So far it's been pretty good. I still have my job.

However, there is going to be mandatory furlough days for the next year. That's 18 days that I won't get paid for.

In addition to that, it looks like there will be more layoffs.

If I survive the layoffs, I'm still going to be alright.

If I get laid off, it will suck.

posted on Jul, 16 2009 @ 03:09 PM
At our company pay was cut about 10%, vacation benefits were reduced, pension was shut down. New business activities were at 0 from about November through May this year, but there is a lot of "noise" in the system now, but no new ink.

Luckily, my wife and I started a debt reduction program a few years ago and we only have the mortgage now on a house we bought before the run up, so we are ahead in that regards. Got 8 years left on it and trying to figure out how the hell to get out of it sooner in case the worst happens.

We've stopped eating out and buy in bulk, just trying to save as much money as we can.

posted on Jul, 16 2009 @ 03:13 PM
I'm on the east coast USA, and people are getting laid off left and right...glad I never went into finance or started a family at this time for that matter....

posted on Jul, 16 2009 @ 03:21 PM
We've seen a number of stores close up.

In a nearby city the mall that we used to go to has lost it's major anchor tenants. Mervyns and Gottshocks both went belly up. If you go into the mall now, it's really depressing.

The one and only department store in our town went bankrupt.

Usually at lunchtime, I go for a walk. One of my indicators of the economy is how many people are eating outside at the local Mexican restaurant. Two years ago, you couldn't get a table outside unless you went before 12:00. Last year about half of the tables were available and for the first part of this year, they were almost all available. Just lately, only a few have been available. I took that as a good sign. Perhaps those that are still employed are starting to spend some of their money again.

posted on Jul, 16 2009 @ 05:45 PM
soon as i get 20 posts i'll tell you my story... because it's not pretty... and it deserves it's own thread...

posted on Jul, 16 2009 @ 06:00 PM
I can tell you that I have been in dire straits since the day I was born and that people tell me to believe that someday the american dream will happen, but the only american dream I have left is keeping my family safe from their government. Which in more blunt terms means out of the way. Thers a lot of people on welfare out there but I ain't one of them, theres a lot of people getting free money and sucking up the welfare but not me. I know better than accepting free money from the government, I am not their slave and my life and the lives of my family members are not bought and paid for by the US Government, they can keep their god damn stimulus checks and their blood money or garnish them hey what do I care, because I don't owe the federal government one god damn penny.

However if there is one thing that remains true to this day, I get what I need, it might suck and I might not always get what I want, but I get what I need.

posted on Jul, 16 2009 @ 06:12 PM
i'm into traveling sales, markets, shows etc..., through out the south west. it's down everywhere. the only people i still run across who are not deeply effected are those of us who are self sufficient beyond worrying about open grocery stores. those who sold out in places like california before the drop, moving to cheaper areas and having plenty of money to basically semi-retire at a younger age. those who do not owe money. have paid for what they live in, drive etc....

posted on Jul, 16 2009 @ 07:50 PM
Been nearly a year for me. Reno is pretty bad. Our unemployment rate is 11.5% but it doesn't count people like me so it is actually higher. I haven't given up looking, and I'm hoping to get a job serving tables soon even though I'm qualified for much better work but none is available. What is available has about 500 to 1000 applicants. We have entire strip malls empty, businesses shut down every day here. Even down town Reno has HUGE empty spaces. Casinos are shutting down. None of the open casinos are hiring, they are under a hiring freeze..EVEN WAL*MART is on a hiring freeze.

Luckily there's still some money in the bank, and the girl friend has been more than understanding.

posted on Jul, 16 2009 @ 08:51 PM
I sold a successful business in 2000. Everything was dandy until "professional" money managers advised me to stay in the market because "it always comes back". Well their idea of always and mine are two different things. I managed to salvage enough to set up my Son in business and went back to work. In my opinion, the last 10 years have been witness to some unbelievable greed and governmental manipulation. If you tell a populace that the world is in a dire financial condition, two things happen. The first is the available capital disappears as the banks and financiers put their money into protected assets. Next the general population quits buying all but the essentials and the whole financial machine starts to fall apart thus satisfying the "self fulfilling prophecy". The catalyst to this whole financial abortion started in the states as the powers to be decided that everyone deserved a 3 bedroom, 2 bath brick home even though they could not afford it. The banks were pressured to make disadvantaged loans available with the assurance that the loans could be packaged and unloaded to greedy financial institutions at discounted rates. These big potatoes were assured that Fanny & Freddy would bail them out if it really hit the fan and guess what happened and who wound up holding the bag. As the US is the world's largest borrower and consumer, as goes the Yanks, so goes the rest of the world. Enter the community, now national, "organizer", Obama. With a single word "change", he won the election from a mediocre republican party that had strayed from conservatism in order to be "politically correct" and make a few bucks on the side. A large part of his vote came from young "up and coming" professionals that grew up always having their every need fulfilled and the remainder came from people that were either afraid of losing what they had worked their whole life amassing, or people who considered government "owed" them a living and should take care of their needs.

Solution, who knows. I believe I will just sit back and watch the melt-down. I have prepared myself, my family and my business to survive the worst case scenario and maintain a position to take advantage of a rebound when and if people realize that they themselves are responsible for making their own way in this world and government is a hindrance instead of a help when it denies a person, a company or a country the basic human right to fail. Hopefully there will be some good lessons learned by the survivors.

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