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Thread summary:

Americanís adjusting to down economy, decreasing spending, thrift store shopping, Americanís becoming fiscally conservative, improving daily spending habits, sale shopping

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Old 12-18-2008, 07:28 AM
 
Location: West Texas
2,441 posts, read 5,261,757 times
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HIF,

Not so much of a change, but to piggy back off what you said... I am still paying off a divorce from many years ago where I was "awarded" every single bill we owned because I had a job and she was going to nursing school at the time. And we had racked up some credit cards!! I have paid much of it off, but still have a long way to go. More than many people make in a year. Valuable lesson there. I still have near perfect credit (my only tarnish is a debt to income ratio). My current wife is in the same boat paying off stuff her ex didn't because she had signed with him (things like the car he has, and tools/equipment he bought for his job in construction). He went to jail for bad checks, etc., but she's still stuck paying unless she wants her credit ruined.

Since my initial divorce, my kids have also come back to live with me the last couple of years. And if you don't think that teen kids cost a lot... whoo hoo hoo...let me tell you! lol

That said, I've learned that it's easier to swallow pride when buying clothes then continue to rack up debt. So, believe it or not, we buy clothes quite often at Sam's. (For those that don't know, it's the bulk store related to Walmart. It's like a Costco). Still, I can get slacks and button down shirts for work. And, I'm one of the better dresser's at work. People often compliment my style or the fact that I dress nicely. If only they knew that anyone can dress nicely... AND affordably! lol I think the clothes don't last in durability as much as some more expensively made clothes. But at the cost of a pair of slacks, I can just buy new ones more often when they do wear out.
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Old 12-18-2008, 02:05 PM
 
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Historically I've been a big, big saver. In addition to maxing out my 401K I've made sure we were saving a meaningful portion of every paycheck into a more liquid money market type account. We're not rich, we just make sure we live below our means. For example, if the "experts" say we can afford a house 2.5 times our income, we'll buy something cheaper than 2.5x.

However, I realize now that most of our net worth is in cash or securities tied directly to our monetary system. The actions being taken by the current administration and the proposed actions by our next administration include printing MORE and MORE NEW money to bankroll bail outs, entitlement programs, and defense spending. This results in an increase of the money supply- inflation and thus devaluation of the currency.

I fear that we may approach a state of hyperinflation which leaves the currency completely worthless. My personal mitigation strategy is two-fold... one, invest some percentage of our net worth in gold. Gold will NEVER be worth nothing. It will always have value in the world. I'm growing skeptical of relying on a bank/safe deposit box for gold storage. I fear this makes it easier to become a victim if government passes a law authorizing seizure of privately owned gold... "for the good of the people" or to "rebuild our monetary system" or some such fascist nonsense.

The second strategy is to not save so much. For example, if we have the money, why drive around old cars? We might as well spend some of our money on tangible assets that at least have some intrinsic value and potentially offer some enjoyment. I'd rather have two new cars in the driveway and a safe containing some gold bars, as opposed to just a big pile of worthless currency- if indeed it comes to that.

Most of you will label me as some type of paranoid freak. That is okay, I don't mind. What if someone would have told you a few months ago that your 401K would be losing 25-50 percent of its value by the end of the year? And honestly, what do you think is going to happen when all these trillions of dollars that have been promised enter the money supply? I can't wait to see the next "economic stimulus" package. I'm sure it will involve mailing a $500 check to everyone to "stimulate the economy."
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Old 12-18-2008, 06:05 PM
 
Location: NoVa
18,434 posts, read 28,634,605 times
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I have always used coupons and done ethings to save money and cut corners.

I find myself making sure there are no lights on in the house that are not currently being used. As another poster talked about, the meat specials.

Buying things at the grocery only when on sale.

I never really bought things for myself. I am not into 'things'. I suppose that has worked out for me.
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Old 12-18-2008, 07:36 PM
 
Location: NE Florida
9,362 posts, read 22,395,698 times
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I've only recently noticed meat specials and am trying to figure out if there is a certain day/time that meat is marked down.

Another thing that I do is reuse toilet paper........okay, it's not what it sounds like! Every morning I get ready for work and the last thing that I do as I leave the restroom is clean my glasses with a spray of alcohol, wiping the lenses with TP. Now, instead of throwing it out, I just... reuse it for its original purpose- LOL! One day my son came into my bathroom and asked why I had all that toilet paper on the back of the toilet....

I also save leftover coffee in the fridge and make iced coffee. I used to chuck it and buy Starbucks.

I am seeing more and more that things that I had been doing without thought were really quite wasteful. And things like thrift stores, leftover coffee and TP, things that I think I will just incorporate into my life from now on, mean I will buy less from here on out. Multiply that by so many others and it has to affect the economy from here on out.

One thing that I will go back to is pedicures. I miss them and I miss the family that owns the shop. I'm sure that they have been hit hard, as well, and hope that they are doing okay.

Would love to hear more- what changes have you made that will remain past this stinkin' economic crisis?
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Old 12-18-2008, 07:48 PM
 
3,460 posts, read 4,809,687 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjax1000 View Post
I fear that we may approach a state of hyperinflation which leaves the currency completely worthless. My personal mitigation strategy is two-fold... one, invest some percentage of our net worth in gold. Gold will NEVER be worth nothing. It will always have value in the world. I'm growing skeptical of relying on a bank/safe deposit box for gold storage. I fear this makes it easier to become a victim if government passes a law authorizing seizure of privately owned gold... "for the good of the people" or to "rebuild our monetary system" or some such fascist nonsense.
I think a lot of people are worried about a big spike of inflation after the dollar bubble starts to pop. I thought about buying some gold, but I'm worried about a bubble there too.

Instead of worrying about how to protect my savings to buy things I'll need in the future, I'm just buying some of those things now. Today I bought a couple heavy sweaters, and an extra pair of tennis shoes that can sit in the closet until I need them. I hear that coffee will be in short supply next year, so I'm stocking up while its cheap. I didn't buy new cars, but the old ones have new tires, belts, batteries, and hoses.

I figure that if things get bad, I'll be comfortable. If they don't get bad, I'll have a little extra money in the future when I don't have to buy as much.
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Old 12-18-2008, 09:33 PM
 
Location: CasaMo
15,309 posts, read 7,185,963 times
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There's some pretty bright folks in these parts! Very good ideas, habits and decisions. I (at the age of 35), have finally got a clue on how and how not to grocery shop. It is no longer that I decide I need to stop at the store and get a "few things" and sort of wander around the grocery store to see what they have. That got me nowhere. I just make a list, plan meals, and learned how to cook (which kept me away from expensive convenience type foods). I realized how much I really liked rice, beans and pasta! I was amazed at how much it saved me and my stress level has gone way down knowing my only debt is my house.

I got into this awhile before this downturn. Glad I got the head start.

Again, all of your posts help me continue my motivation.
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Old 12-18-2008, 10:00 PM
 
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Both my spouse and I had parents who came through the Great Depression, and we were both raised on stories of how they got by (or not) during that tumultuous time, so we've begun to go back over those tales for the kernels of wisdom they contain.

One big thing we're doing more now is to mend/repair things rather than replacing them outright. Neither of us is very good with carpentry or mechanical things, so that's been a bit of a stretch in some ways, but in a good way. When we encounter something we can't manage, we get advice and occasional assistance from our daughter's boyfriend, and accomplish the repair with his help.

I am also rediscovering my sewing skills of late. My mother made nearly every article of clothing that I wore until I went off to college, as well as most of her own clothes and my sister's clothes, curtains, reupholstering furniture, knitting sweaters, tatting doilies, and so on and so on. (This, in addition to being a single mother with a full-time career in nursing and nursing education.... those Depression-era folks were made of stern stuff.)

She made sure that I knew how to sew, too, but I never found the same kind of enjoyment in it that she did, so I've never pursued it with the same passion. Now, however, sewing skills are a real godsend; I can repair a torn pair of trousers or remake a blouse to fit better just as well as she did, and that means we get a whole lot more mileage out of our clothing than was the case ten years ago.

You know, as a side benefit of this recession, we may start to see somewhat diminished volumes of solid waste going to the landfills, as more and more folks learn to repair/rebuild instead of running out to replace things as soon as something breaks.
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Old 12-19-2008, 03:02 PM
 
425 posts, read 1,064,233 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sterlinggirl View Post
I think a lot of people are worried about a big spike of inflation after the dollar bubble starts to pop. I thought about buying some gold, but I'm worried about a bubble there too.
Well, I think the two will react inversely- if the dollar goes down, gold will go up, and if the dollar goes up, then gold will settle down a bit. You are pretty well hedged if you own both, IMHO.

Even if you can't afford a lot of gold, coins like the American Eagle come in 1/10 oz. size I believe.

BTW, you can own gold as part of your IRA. Your bank apparently holds the gold on your behalf. I haven't fully looked into this yet but I know it is permitted per some legislation signed into law during the Clinton era.
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Old 12-19-2008, 06:33 PM
 
27,079 posts, read 38,335,431 times
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Speaking of gold. If you are entertaining the notion of selling your old gold jewelry, etc, DO NOT mail it into one of those places you see on TV!!

One of my clients owns a jewelry/coin store and told me that someone brought in some gold they had sent in. They refused the amount offered and paid $15 to have it sent back.

They had been offered $36 for it. My client gave them $140 and he makes 30% as a markup.

We have dropped our thermostat to 67 (I swear it lies, it's only 60 in here) and use some throws and "cozys" to keep warm. on really cold nights (-25 to -35 wind chill expected tomorrow night!) we light a fire. Our house is very tight so we don't get much of a draft like our neighbors do when a fire is going.

We have been driving less, combining trips, etc. Unfortunately she is starting a new job and will be driving to Milwaukee and Omaha on a regular basis. She is reimbursed, but it doesn't cover the entire expense.
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Old 04-02-2009, 08:54 PM
 
Location: this side of knoxville tn...
253 posts, read 688,873 times
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Default kinda sad thou when u think about it...

Quote:
Originally Posted by AksarbeN View Post
HIF

I agree!,,, Americans are on the move for something better and different in our lives. Itís good that weíre not as wasteful as we have been over the last few decades. Iím remember now how Mom and Dad made things work for our family and it was much better then. You donít just throw out an item without giving it some thought that others (friends and neighbors) might have a need for it first.

Dad always bought his work shirts at a second hand store for 25 cents each. He said if he damaged the shirt Ė it was not a problem just throw it away then. It made logical to do that then and itís that way now.

I think (if not now soon) there will be a internet website that will ďmatchĒ men and women for size and style of clothing. People can then exchange items after they get tired of wearing them. Shoes, shirts, dresses, pants etc can all be exchanged with others.
ive lived on both sides of the tracks so to speak, parents made a good living, but back in the 80's...hard times came about and bamm...things change fast. but it didnt hit is real hard, both my parents grew up without money, same as their parents, so depression lifestyle was well taught.
but over the years, even with money again, ive held onto my budget ways. I grew up on a farm to, so that helped.
but its sad now days, when people have gotten so used to haven what they want when they want it, folks have forgotten how to apprecitate the little things.
its sad when people have to learn how to be thrifty and leave withen their means, give up on credit cards, drive less fancy cars, live in smaller houses, etc.
I for one am sad the recession happened, lost jobs, etc. but glad that its bringing americans full circle again, meaning, that we are realizing now that all that fancy new crap and dozen credit cards in our pockets sure didnt save ou butts when times got tough. what does save our butts???
ourselves, our 2 hands, our minds, our hard work, etc, everything that used to be instilled in us growing up, all that is gone now that we have everything at our fingertips.
so im glad this has happened, i hope that we will all get back to trusting our neighbors again, hanging out in our front yards, borrowing that cup of sugar, passen down those hand-me-downs, swapping childcare, making our own meals to enjoy at the table as a family, all that good stuff we all recall growing up, cuz if you really think back, we was all happier back then with alot less then we have now.
God Bless everyone!!!
oh....my thrifty tip for the day....skip all the pricy cleaners...comet does it all, all you really needs is a can of comet and some window cleaner.
bar soap last longer then pump, soap is soap...all cleans. sauve or vo8 is just as good as those expensive brands. recall all the times we drank our water from the tap??? and that was before they added clorine and minerals, skip the bottles, try a glass, it never hurt anyone before, skip the fads, even with clothes, come up with your own style, you dont need new wardrobes each season...make kids appreciate their clothes more, they will when they dont get them replaced every 3rd wear.
stop buyen kids things just cuz its out there. it makes them look forward to christmas more when they have to wait for it like we did as kids.
koolaide...as kids, we had water....as a treat, koolaide...we didnt complain, and we was thinner to!!!
grow a garden, and dont make it cost more then it produces, got dirt?? got seeds??? got sun and rain??? you got veggies, they dont care how fancy you make it, they will still grow.
there...thats a start......lol
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