9 February 2011

The economic crisis - has it changed you?

We knew it would last for a long time but this economic crisis is dragging on longer than I expected it to.  There is no doubt there have been dire consequences for many people.  Homes and jobs have been lost and more than a few lives and businesses destroyed.  I hope genuine recovery is possible for all those who suffered.

At the beginning, when we were being warned to tighten our belts, I knew things would be tough, but I saw it as an opportunity for all of us to change, to move from being spenders to savers.  After a period of hardship, I hoped for progress that would lead us to an environmental awakening.  I hoped people would have a Eureka! moment and work out the savage link between spending and the overflowing landfills spewing carbon and methane into the atmosphere.

There is $72 in that bowl - it's my change jar.

Those of us who have been living within our frugal means for a long time knew that if we knuckled down and kept to our budgets, if we were cautious and if we didn't lose our jobs, if we could continue our thrifty ways, we would survive the crisis.  However, there wen't many of us doing that, most people were living close to the edge. As the crisis dragged on, I was surprised to see people I've known for a long time change in ways I never thought possible for them.  They started cutting back, being prudent with their spending, looking more to the future and not just to now; money stayed in their pockets and started being saved. Now that conditions are easing (in Australia), I have real doubts they'll return to their old ways.  It looks like permanent and deliberate change for them, with lives transformed.  

I hope we don't go through such a desperate and difficult period of time and not have it teach us valuable lessons. There has to be some good come from it.   The main thing it confirmed for me was to always spend less than I earn and that the best strategy for living well over a long period of time is to live on one income, even when there are two.  I've had many emails from people telling me their stories of how they have done that and the enormous difference it made, and had they not been firmly committed to that way of living, before the EC, they would have gone under.  It also reaffirmed my belief that stockpiling for many people, though not everyone, is a huge help in tough times, and  that when you're living from week to week changing small things helps a lot.  I'm firmly convinced that cooking from scratch can make a real difference to health and savings, and that overall, if you adjust the way you shop, eat plain and simple food, make your own cleaners and laundry liquid, and do it consistently, week after week, it will make a big difference to how much you save each week.   And sometimes that difference will make or break you.

So what do you think about it?  What, if anything, has the EC taught you?  Have you seen change and improvement?  Have you adjusted and reorgansied because of it?



  1. To be honest: just before the EC we had to cut back all our spendings because of a forced housemoving. We were forced to pay big attention to all our spendings and decided to give the self sufficient living a big try.
    With little steps at a time, we will manage, but we still are on a (hard) way to learn.
    Thanks to the internet and beautiful blogging people like you, it's made a lot easier to life like that. So I want to give a big thanks to everyone who is sharing there tips and tricks around simpler living!

    Love from Holland

  2. Our lives really haven't changed. We were already tightwads, already lived well below our means, and in fact, purchased a house during the housing bust in the US. We'd been saving for several years (plus some generous Christmas gifts from grandparents) and were able to take advantage of the low interest rates. We also moved to a significantly cheaper part of the country at the same time (west coast to central Texas). We remained a single car family, cooking from scratch, and not purchasing but things we NEED.

    Unfortunately, here in the US, folks changed their behavior when gas prices peaked $4/gallon; but most have since reverted back to their previous habits when gas prices dropped to more bearable levels. Most people seem to think they *can't* live at a cheaper level and so many have a sense of entitlement that they can't/won't overcome. Alas, my soap box is starting to sag, I should stop.

  3. The EC has caused me to give more meaningful advice to my one adult child ready to fly the coop this spring. She has worked and saved for a used car .. and has a nice little emergency fund. She shops at thrift stores with delight. This has been a good learning process for our family .. that at one time .. spent too much money. Putting the horse before the cart is a must and is something that society is returning to.

  4. I am a shop-a-holic for bargains. When I lost my atm card, I did not get a new one. I keep a few dollars in my wallet for necessities like milk, eggs and that sort of thing. When I need to do a "regular" grocery shopping, my husband gives me his card. That helps out a lot. I make my own laundry detergent and it's more economical and I believe it works better too. Long distance telephone calls are made on the cell phone because we do not have free long-distance service on our home phones here. As light bulbs burn out I'm replacing with the energy efficient ones. Many of the gifts I give now are crocheted items I make but only if the person receiving likes crocheted things. I use less paper plates too. Really, what was I thinking when I used them it doesn't take much effort to wash a plate! I also can produce from the garden we've started the last few years--expensive to start out with the jars and pressure canner but so worth it in the long run. There are more little things we do that help to ease the crunch. Oh, and we don't take so many driving trips because gas is expensive and going up here again. This is a great topic; I'm looking forward to seeing what others post.

  5. Unfortunately, the economic crisis is alive and well in England and we are living in ' austerity times.' Luckily, we have always lived frugally - this has allowed me to work part-time or not at all during the last 23 years.We live in a small house,have only ever been a 1 car family , don't holiday abroad and have shopped in charity shops for over 25 years.I am fortunate , in that my husband took on an allotment 3 years ago whilst I was at uni full time, so that provides almost all of our fruit and veg needs.I have always shopped around for the best deals -I could never understand the people who just loaded their trolleys without looking at prices.Probably the most noticeable change we have made has been in petrol consumption- we have gone from being careful to planning trips with military precision, and we no longer have trips out to nearby towns, as we can't justify the fuel usage.

  6. we've changed alot..no more credit cards at all...save for everything...grow our own food, can and preserve..hang our clothes on the line now..I am alarmed here in the States as I heard that more people are going back using credit cards..foolish people..still many people out of work and foreclosures are going to be starting again.

  7. The EC has taught me that we're on the right track. We've always been frugal, but even so we still had to tighten our belts even further. Unfortunately, some of our friends were not as frugal in the prosperous tims and it has cost them dearly in the EC- forclosed homes, short sales on vacation homes, stay-at-home moms headed back to work full time...

    The biggest thing I've learned during the EC is that people who are givers will still find ways to give. We have done so and we we've been shocked by the generosity of others. My son got gigantic scholarships right here in the middle of the EC and when my daughter needed money for a mission trip last summer, we were dumbfounded by all the people that donated to her trip. We've experienced a lot more pulling together and meeting one another's needs and that has been wonderful.

  8. We've been pretty fortunate really - I've lost a little income based on previous years but my partner's business, started in 2007, has gone from strength to strength. It's hard to know how well it would have done if there hadn't been the EC but that's just fantasy games - the important thing is that it's doing as well as it is regardless.

    The biggest problems we've had have been partially/entirely of our own making - we decided to move house. We had an awful time trying to get a mortgage during the "credit crunch" and still haven't been able to sell our old house. (Due to careful planning/saving, we were able to move without selling it but our plans/expense projections hadn't really anticipated holding onto it for 18 months and counting after we moved because so few people are buying houses at the moment...)

    Aside from that, it's reminded me about the frailty of our current system - when banks and governments around the world go bankrupt... I suspect it's probably spurred on my desire to be prepared and to have food/energy security plans in place.

  9. I am from Ohio/USA & my DH had worked for many years as a contractor on an air force base. After our current president was sworn-in in '09 the cuts started & my DH was 1 of so many who were laid off. Since then, he has only been able to find an on-going temp job for 1/4 of his past income. Through this nearly 2 yrs, our oldest DD has moved out, thinking that '1 less mouth to feed' would help us, DD#2 helps w/bills & she & I now share a car b/c we have had to turn 1 in to the bank. I have had to go back to work after we graduated DD#2 from our homeschool in '09...I had intended on opening a bulk food store once DD#2 was graduated, but ALL of our savings have gone to bills & taxes. That dream has been put on hold.

    We still have our each other (the most important thing), we still have our home & we still have 2 cars (for 3 ppl) & I believe that a large part of that is b/c I had been living frugally for the last several yrs. I believe the pennies I save in making our own laundry detergent, dish detergent, deodorant, toothpaste, soaps, cleaning supplies & cooking from scratch are what have allowed us to ONLY lose 1 car & keep what we have. Things are BEYOND tight, & I pray that times will someday resemble the more prosperous times we had before (& we were VERY middle class, not wealthy by ANY means!). And I still haven't given up hope of opening my store.

    So many are finding out what you & I already know: you never realize how the little things matter until THAT is what pays for the big things.

    Blessings from Ohio/USA...Kim<><

  10. Things in my household haven't changed that much. I'm even more focused on living frugally now, and have cut back the budget to save as much as possible, but I've always lived below my means, so it hasn't been too much of a stretch to go a bit further. I am a bit more focused on growing my own food and living more sustainably, but this has always been a way of life that makes sense for me.

    That said, I live in Canada, and I'm not sure that many of the changes seen here are permanent. We were a bit less hard hit than the US, in some ways, but beyond some tightening of belts in the thick of it, I'm not convinced those changes will stick around long term. Here too are many people who seem to feel entitles to their cars / gas / entertainment / dinners out, and have relatively quickly moved back to them again.

  11. No change at all. As a matter a fact, we're doing better than we ever were. We never spent beyond our means, we don't have any loans or credit cards. We have stocked more food in the house and put extra effort into the gardens and meat animals this year but that is about it. We do understand how important it is to not lose our jobs and always look for more paying work to do or ways to be more self sufficient to save money.

  12. I'm new here, but love reading your posts. As well as obvious things like living within our means, making do and mending, buying second hand etc more than anything, the economic crisis has taught me to be grateful for all the things that I do have (material and otherwise) and not to take them for granted.

  13. Rhonda, I can't find a recipe for egg custard that you posted. The recipe includes granny smith apples, egg custard, and yogurt or sour cream. Can you tell me the date of the post to find that recipe please? Thanks!

  14. We started downshifting and paying off debts a few years before the financial crisis struck; though 2008 did give us a sense of urgency. After a brief bounce in the UK, I fear the worst is now to come. Some of our European neighbours are being brought to their knees by 'austerity', we are probably next. I heard the phrase 'jobless recovery' in relation to the UK yesterday and it made me shudder.

    In the years preceeding the crisis, there was a definite move here towards growing your own, home baking, handicrafts and general sustainability - lots of media coverage meant these things were seen as hip. Hopefully that has helped a significant number of people. I know that most of my peer group have been quite ambivalent about it until now, carrying on spending on credit, assuming the jobs will always be there. Its only in recent months that they have started to question where we are headed.

  15. Your little change bowl reminded me of our change "piggy bank". All year we put our change into the pig (it is rather big!) and use that money for our Christmas spending (food included), nothing else. This last Christmas we ended up with around $700 in it! It was a good Christmas indeed! In fact, we actually didn't even spend it all, some went back in the pig for this Christmas! It's amazing how small things like that can make a big difference, especially to your stress levels.

  16. Hi Rhonda
    I used your link last week to buy both my daughter and I a copy of the Frugal Kitchen. My daughter who lives in Sydney (and who is interested in setting up a frugal lifestyle) was thrilled to receive her surprise in the mail. It is so full of hints, tips and great receipes using everyday ingredients. Thank you so much for putting that link on your blog. We both love it,
    Kathy (Tas)

  17. My life hasn't really changed all that much, and I doubt it ever will. I started my own business during the EC, but that is the only change really. I still buy the same things, make the same things and am still geared towards doing more and more from home. :)

  18. Hi Rhonda, wow, where to begin..it's hard..but this economic hard times here in the States has really taught me to appreciate the value of the dollar. Now I'd been learnign this lesson before the economy worsened, because I was in debt and didn't want to live that way anymore. I wanted to control my money and not have my money control me. So when I had heard about a man named Dave Ramsey and his story, that's when I decided to take control of my life and get out of debt. so I'm almost debt free, with the exception of student loans from school. That's my last one. Okay...so once the economy got worse, I needed to make things last longer. I had less money, because I was layed off from my job due to lack of work, yet all the bills didn't go down. Those stayed the same. I started looking for websites with peole who were living a frugal life that I aspired to. so my life has c hanged because I don't spend wildly like I used too. It's changed becaus I made/do more at home. HOwever, I find that my life is richer. I'm learning to be content/happy/joyful with what I have right now!! Plus, I have ever increasing peace of mind. I like to give even in my need. I find that I'm always blessed/happy to help someone else. What else can I say? There's freedom for me in being a good steward of my money and other resources. Besides, I love doing craft things at home and doing for myself. Does any of that make sense? The economic crisis has changed my lifestyle, but in a way that's go ing to serve me well in the future :) :) Have a lovely week. Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

  19. Before the EC we sorta lived frugal-lite. We bought second hand, lived with one car, grew a garden and preserved food. But we also ate out a lot, did not keep a good eye on our money and did not really save that much.

    I would say that now we have everything more aligned to the life we really want to live. We still worry about whether my husband will have a job. He is a public school music teacher and state budget cutd promise to be deep again this year. But now we find ourseles in a much better position to weather the storm.

    And that feels pretty darn good:)

  20. With 2 children at Uni the costs are very high, eg, one textbook can cost $150 upwards, the second hand ones are as scarce as hens teeth so I'm very pleased that I've always been mindful of spending. I see malls and the latest fashion as not relevant to my life, so it's no temptation. Now that energy costs have risen so steeply in Australia I'm finding that any savings are being handed over to that area and as well our rates have doubled in 4 years but at least we have not had to book up the credit card. Cooking from scratch is a huge saver, I am incredulous that people on low incomes can eat out so much. I wonder are they better money managers than I? Just recently had a bill of $1200 for our sons wisdom teeth removal and unexpected car costs of $800 so it often seems one step forward, two backwards. But, I am very thankful that our heads are above water and know that things will get better. Mindset is everything.

  21. The EC didn't really have an effect on our lives however this has now changed. My oldest son is leaving home to go to uni in another state and we have decided we would pay for his accommodation while he pays for everything else. We are now paying really close attention to our spending and have realised that we waste so much money.

    This blog has been a saviour for us, giving us great ideas. We make our own soap, have the vegetable patch and for gifts are often home-made. My son who is flying the coop, is now reading this blog as well to get some ideas.

    Thank you for such a great blog!!!

  22. Our family income has decreased by 40% in the EC. We never had loans or credit cards but have gone from over-paying our mortgage to paying interest-only. I've learnt to cook cheaper cuts of meat, and have grown some of my own veg although I think I've spent more on the garden than I've recouped. We have always been bargain hunters but we've hunted harder and sold stuff in the months that are really tight. Thankfully we are just starting to get back on our feet slowly, although have been hit for a £2k bill yesterday for a new boiler which we really can't live without. We have always been careful to leave some money for a rainy day but this has been a lesson I'll never forget.

  23. Sometimes I think there needs to be something Big to happen to help change society. I know there are terrible effects of things like the EC, but it didnt help change people as much as I had hoped. Well not the people I know. When I think of the world my daughter and unborn child are going to grow up in, I get really scared. Its only going to get worse and there needs to bea catalyst for change, but really if the EC couldnt do it.... what will?

  24. I don't think it has changed me, but rather brought me full circle. I am back to were I was some time ago - it's a familiar way of life being frugal, using what I have, making do, enjoying what I have, and I think it suits me much better.

  25. Sadly, I think anyone who thinks the "economic crisis" is over is in for a rude awakening. Things are not going back to the overshoot we had a few years ago. On the contrary, the economy will continue to collapse and shrink until it reaches a stable point. We're far from reaching it.

  26. My dh and I think the economic crises is not over but the things we have learnt so far is: wait before making a purchase, waste nothing in the food line, grow enough vegies to feed you, your neighbours and preserve some, be content with what you have,pay your debts but do not stress if you can not get them all paid is a short period of time due to limited finance. Be thankful for the job you have at the moment if you have a good employer and do not think the grass is greener on the other side.
    Throwing junk mail in the trash stops the " I want" syndrome as does staying at home as much as possible. Looking for free entertainment such as a day at the beach compared to going to the movies for a 2 hour film. Having a camping holiday in a conservation camping ground rather than one with all the mod cons...... and we keep learning :-)
    Karen - NZ

  27. Thanks for your post. Yes, changes need to happen to benefit many things. We are renters on 1 irregular income with 2 little children so the EC actually didn't affect us- we were already with tight belts! But we have benefitted from all the new hints and advice for coping and living through tough times. Thanks for keeping it fresh as some people may be drifting back to credit card habits for the temporary pick-me-up of spending. And I thoroughly enjoyed reading all the comments from around the world. The blogging community really is an extended family. xx

  28. I live in the Detroit, Michigan area where the economy relied heavily on autos and steel and was a good place to live for my parents generation in the 40's and 50's and 60's. However, that all started changing around the 80's and steadily got worse. Up until 2000 I held steady, decent jobs and there were plenty of jobs to be had. But the auto industry started falling apart about 2000 and will never be the same again, along with all the other jobs that go with auto-making. And so the entire region has been in a decline for 20 years already. I have been living frugally for many years now, at age 60 I don't expect it to ever be any different, and this region is learning some hard lessons now. I am just glad that I never was much of a spender. We did have a credit card problem for awhile but we got that fixed before I lost my last full-time job. Good thing...

  29. The EC has helped me grow up and realize I alone am responsible for my actions and decisions, regardless of the decisions of others.
    I'm so thankful for all I've learned in the EC, and I'm still learning. There is no way I'm going back to consuming- even if my DH gets a promotion or a bigger paycheck, because this way of life is so much more vibrant, exciting, challenging and...well, alive! There is truly so much to discover, so many different ways to do things, and so many tasks and hobbies to learn. Take today for instance- I finally figured out how to crochet a dishcloth without turning it into a triangle. Knitting is my thing, so crochet was a little tough, but I learned. It was so rewarding to see it.
    Your blog has been one of my biggest influences in simple living Rhonda. You showed me all I have just described, and helped me step back and use my head to say "No, I don't need or want that. I don't have to buy that to be happy. I'll make it myself."
    One of my favorite posts here is the one on soapmaking, because when I first read it, I thought "You can make your own soap? That's amazing!" That is where it all started.
    The Girl in the Pink Dress

  30. Hello Rhonda I think we are lucky we have always lived frugally but my children coming out of University and College at this downturn has been awful for them. They cannot get a job in there field, or even a decent paying job. I worry about them trying to pay student loans. We have been trying to help them so it is good we know how to live on less. I think it is hard on the young people under 30.

  31. The ec has changed my lifestyle for the better because I no longer spend money for whatever, I now think long and hard before I buy. Blessings jane

  32. In a simply word....YES! I recycle everything now, cook at home more and watch what I spend much more closely.


  33. I sort of chuckled at the beginning of all of this. Everyone I talked to was scrambling around in a panic of sorts, because they didn't know what to do. I on the other hand have been living close to the bone my whole adult life and had nothing to cut back on. I wasn't affected much by the economy at the time. But now prices are rising for gasoline and food and anything tied to being transported...everything. I am starting to feel some of the pinch. It still doesn't hurt too much, I always have tricks up my sleeve to survive by.
    In a few months I will have my vegetable garden in and growing. (hoping!) That will help me some!

  34. The EC has not changed us. We have always been a frugal household. I am grateful that we are doing well on just one wage as it is a gift to be able to be at home while my babies are so young.

  35. The EC has changed my husband to my way of living frugal while running our home...That in itself is a blessing he now thanks me for everyday..Before he just thought I was a tightwad...We will never turn back to the days of debt!!!

  36. A truly thought provoking post.
    Here in the Western USA we don't feel the economic crisis as much as they do in other areas.
    We were able to buy a house in the town where my husband works and avoid a 60 mile per day commute due to very low interest rates on new mortgages in our country.
    Increased food prices have brought me back to the drawing board to consider new and more ways of stretching our food dollar.
    I hunted with my husband this fall and shot my first deer. I will practice with bow and rifle during the summer to hopefully increase my odds in the fall.
    I will continue to garden and can lots of produce, increasing a bit each year.
    My son and I may get some composting worms to help produce fertilizer for our garden.
    I appreciate the many ideas I have gleaned from your posts!

  37. Living in South Africa the past 20 years has seemed like a version of the recent EC! With high unemployment rates (24% in 2010 regardless of the EC....similar rates before the EC), I feel very privileged compared to many others in this country. I do try to incorporate many simple living aspects into our own lives and keep some sort of balance between saving for our futures and giving away to those in much greater need than us.

  38. I don't see things as changing permanently here in the US. I have been through at least three major economic downturns, and while everyone promised they learned, this was it, and all of that, as soon as the economy recovered so did the spending. Our lives didn't change much, we are careful with our money in some areas so we can splurge in those where it matters to us. Money is a tool afterall.

  39. At the beginning of the economic crisis I had a good job, and although I have always been a bit thrifty, I did not feel the need to really be frugal. Then, I got pregnant, got laid off my job, and my husband lost his all within 2 months. He did find another job, but the pay was not as good and the benefits were non-existent(we are in the southeast US, so we don't have the same benefits from the government you do there). All of the sudden we were living off of less than 25% of what we had been bringing in, and we had a baby on the way.
    After some time of me not being able to find any work, and the fact that no one wants to hire the obviously pregnant woman, my husband and I decided I would stay home with her. I believe in a weird way that the crisis helped our family even in the midst of all that strife. I love staying home with my girl, and we have all made material sacrifices, but learning to find happiness without all that extra stuff has been wonderful. I think many of the things we have implemented will continue to be a part of our lives even after this all blows over. I can't see myself going back to paying full price when I now know where to find things used, or make them myself.

  40. When the EC hit, my husband lost his extremely well paying job, and I kept my part time job.....because we had been mindful with spending for years (we're in our early 50's)(and we homeschooled and raised six children)we were not in too bad of shape. What we have done is return to my husband's roots of farming, and we tip-toed back into organic farming....we now offer fresh, raw milk (in Ohio, US) and grassfed beef to families in the local area. We are growing our business, and with my job, savings, etc. we're able to wait it out while the business grows. I would encourage everyone to evaluate their skills and abilities and see what each can do to create their own paycheck, and not have to rely on a business or the government to survive. We are enjoying this new adventure and thankful that we decided to live on less than we made years ago.

  41. I had just finished my PhD, and was starting on a 3 year research contract when the EC hit. I was lucky, in that I had already managed to get my financial house in order, and continued to live on my 'student' budget while paying my study debts. I was also lucky enough to be promoted within a few months of starting the new job. By staying on the same budget, and banking the extra, I was able to save a large deposit for a house. My partner and I have now bought the house we hope will be our home for quite some time, and we are continuing to live very frugally. I try to gently share what I have learned with friends & family - some are more receptive than others.

  42. Like so many others we were raised frugally and live so still. We always have our thinking caps on to learn new ways of doing and improving on our skills. Therefor we make a bee line to your site Rhonda to see what is new!! :) We never think of it as a chore but as fun. Life is what you make of it. This downturn has not affected us that much. We just pull in our belts a bit if needed and go on. We are all in this together and so we try to help our neighbors and teach the younger ones ways they can help themselfs. Keep the information going to the next generation. This is a legacy money can not buy...yet it is worth so much! :) Sarah in America

  43. I don't know in other parts of the USA, but here in the mountains, the crisis is beginning with no sigh of stopping.

    My cottage is right under the Marcellus Shale, which if anyone hasn't been following the US news, it is filled with natural gas. The pumping of this resource has created a very hard economy in little towns like mine, since the housing prices have sky-rocketed where the locals are leaving, too expensive to live here. Land is not found at all, due to the wells that are been erected there.

    All of this to say, that the food prices here in this farming town are very high. And is forcing many farmers to raise their prices and the supermarkets to raise them also.

    The crisis is probably not happening all over the US, but here in the northern part of the country, it is.

    I stay at home. So my job is to do everything, and I mean everything from scratch. We have to. Due to all the changes, my husband's salary has not had an increase in over 2 yrs...but the prices do rise.

    I know that the worst is just around the corner. How wonderful, that I have been stockpiling, canning, gardening, and sewing our own clothes.

    Great post as always, Rhonda!

    Be blessed,


  44. It was fun reading all of your comments.
    For us, we've done frugal things for years (here & there) more of to see if I could do it. Like can & make soaps. Now, it is done out of necessity.
    I'm very thankful for sites like this they have taught me so much.

  45. We have been affected but we have done fairly well, while living on a smaller income. We've always been frugal, have lived with less material things, and don't live above our means. We had common sense to get out of debt before the economy started to tank. I'm thankful we worked so hard to do that. I'm always amazed to hear people who make 2, 3, or more times what we do and still yet, have a ton of debt.

    Through the news I have heard that many Americans are saving more and living less on credit cards. There are people who have changed, but no matter what, there will always be people who won't really change, no matter where they live.

    It's annoying when people here complain about our present leadership, when the former administration was a huge part of the problem and put us in such a hole. Things are very slowly changing, but it's not going to get better overnight, no matter what. Instead of putting the blame on the government all the time, people need to also take personal responsibility for the choices they make.

    In the end, I'll continue to live my life frugally, be the best steward I can be of what I have been given, and stay positive.

    Lyn, U.S.

  46. It had no impact on us whatsoever. We were already at the bottom of the feeding chain financially at the time anyway, lol! We were already scrimping on our spending. We're always trying to learn new ways to save more money, be more frugal, green, etc, anyway, so that hasn't changed.

    My parents though? They've been big spenders and risk takers. They lost $800,000 from their managed fund, which was intended for their retirement. They've been cutting back a lot, being more frugal, and they're proud of it, but I think that loss of money will always sting.

    I think they do miss their spending they used to do. On the up side, I think they are a bit more compassionate and understanding of others who are in this situation all the time

  47. I have always tried to live a frugal life, and never been a spendthrift, but my daughter and now sadly ex son in law have lived the life of Riley and run up debts which partially caused their break up. Now my daughter is alone with the grandchildren I am delighted to see her changing her ways, she has become much more Old Style, cooks from scratch, buys secondhand etc. I know some of this is due to income changes, but now she asks me about things, and is reducing her carbon footprint as well as her debts. Hard times indeed, but what a result!

  48. You could have surprised me there was any crisis...yesterday, I took my children to a local mall to get their pictures taken (because I had an $18 coupon) and you would have that Nordstrom's was having a 50% off sale. There were people literally coming out of the woodwork...and they were very rude to boot. Here I'm pinching my nickels and dimes (didn't buy anything else in the mall), yet credit cards were flying. It was the same way with Christmas...ugh...For me, I'm on a strict budget and extravagants would be like my $18 coupon, but for everyone else it seems they were saying - Recession...what recession?


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