No. of Recommendations: 13
Hi All,

With the stock market/job loss/recession picture out there, I'm wondering how many micro versions of today's macro-trends are visible in each of our home situations, and those of our friends/family? The inference being that if you and 2 or 3 people you know have something in common (say people who lost their jobs, or they're having kids, or buying certain product brands) that these observations can be extrapolated to the economy at large.

At my house, we have the following trends:

1) 1 out of 2 workers unemployed. Coincidentally my sister is also out of work (maternity), and we have friends who are also 50% employed in their households. One couple, the husband has been "job searching" for a high-level executive job for ... jeez, 2 years now? They have a nest egg, but I don't know how healthy it is today vs. 2 years ago.

2) Cutting back on driving/gas. Road trip/vacations have been cancelled, for forseeable future. We are trying to save up (cash) to celebrate anniversary in May. We have friends who had vacations planned then canceled them (ski trips to Canada, cruises, etc.)

3) Cutting back (even more) on eating out, and also now alcohol and groceries. We took cash to the grocery store last time, to force us to stay under budget, which is something we hadn't bothered with in the past. We used to not care if we went over a few bucks, or 20. Now we care.

4) Shopping at discount stores. Almost all our shopping is being done at warehouse stores/bargain/consignment stores. No Mall, and definitely no high or even "medium" level retailers...

5) More use of coupons and discounts in general, when we can score them.

6) Less entertainment spending. I don't think we went to a movie theater (maybe once?) all winter. I get discount passes, if we do, but we didn't even do that. A buddy of mine with small kids says he hasn't been to a movie in 3 years because it costs $100 after a babysitter, dinner out, movie ticket, and popcorn/drink, and that was not factoring gas, either...

So considering all this, aren't DW and I just the *picture* of Joe Average US Consumer? Too much debt, not enough income, and not spending on luxuries/retail/entertainment anymore ... and looking for more areas to cut, so we can make/keep up our mortgage payments!

DW's phone has been ringing off the hook this week for job inquiries/interviews, though, so my fingers are crossed she will get an offer soon. :-)

Keep those Efunds healthy folks!!

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