Changing your spending habits?


Given the Wall Street/Credit crisis that impacts us all (but not yet fully clear how many different ways it will do so), are you changing your spending habits at this time? If so, how?

From my observations (and they are only anecdotal) I see little changes. When gas went over 4 bucks a gallon, I didn’t notice any drop in traffic on the road. Now that everyone’s investments have shrunk in the last few weeks and a portion of the country has gone belly up on their mortgages, are those of us who aren’t in bankruptcy changing what we do?

We’re told it is a crisis and I believe it is. But what is changing about how you spend your money? I’ve heard the stories of how the great depression and WW II changed how people ate, how they lived. My mother-in-law tells of the garden they had to feed the family, of how they had to burn furniture in the stove to heat the house.

Do you believe it will come to this for a large portion of the country?

How are you changing your spending habits now?

How much time are you spending worrying over your economic future?

6 Comments

Filed under News and politics

6 responses to “Changing your spending habits?

  1. Amy

    I don’t have any investments and haven’t lost any money (that I know of). My only debt is school loans, so if the crisis affects that or my income flow (which doesn’t look likely), I’ll be OK. But if prices skyrocket on other things, I’ll just have to do without–no biggie. It’s hard to predict future habits based on what *could* happen. If I let my mind wander into what it could be like… I have to stop there.

    I’m a bargain shopper generally looking for sales, clipping coupons, and so on. Personally, it’s just being a good steward of what God has given me. There are things I can’t afford, but so what? This is much better than being consumed by credit card debt!

    Let’s just pray we can advert another Great Depression for the everyone’s sake.

  2. Jess

    I was just thinking about this last night, because where we live (Suburban Philadelphia), it seems like people are doing the exact opposite of cutting back. Every time I am out, I see people shopping (buying lots, not just looking!), eating in restaurants, drinking expensive coffee, etc. I’ve almost had the sense that the prevailing attitude is, “Let’s continue with our present lifestyle as long as we can.”

    For the record, from time to time I drink expensive coffee myself. 😉

    From an economic perspective, though, there is a bit of a Catch-22 here. Consumer spending drives many sectors of our economy and employs people like waiters and waitresses, baristas, retail store employees, etc. So, continued consumer spending is, to a certain extent, good for the economy. The problem I see is that many people are living well beyond their means and that may catch up with them.

    For us anxious types, now is a good time to practice exercising our trust muscle as we look to the Lord. While we can control our own spending decisions, much of what is going on in the economy at large is out of our control, and therefore a good place to give over to Him.

  3. rosysunset

    I work for a non-profit that relies on donations for my income. As a staff, we’re looking at needing to do belt tightening for the rest of the year as we expect donations to drop as the wealthiest 20% of our members supply 80% of our income. These are the people we expect to be most affected by the declines in investments. We just talked this week about downsizing on our office space as an opportunity to cut costs.

    At least for my family, on the other hand, there are not very many easy ways to cut expenses in the short term. A lot of our monthly expenses are pretty fixed as we already do without a lot of the extras. Since the Great Depression, the percentage of family income that goes to food, for example, has gone way down. I think it’s only about 10% of income going to food for the average American family. In order for us to be impacted enough to really change whether we buy something at the grocery store, this crisis would need to be directly and dramatically cutting our personal salaries or jobs. I haven’t seen that yet, hope it doesn’t come to that, and don’t see much reason to worry in the short term as worrying doesn’t effect change.

  4. Scott Knapp, MS

    Not much will change for our family. During times of relative economic prosperity I’ve gone through jobless seasons in the past, when we’ve been down to our last can of tuna in the cupboard, and God has provided for us. I expect no less of Him if the whole economy goes into the tank…not even the teetering economy and Wall Street fragility can thwart whatever it is that God wishes to accomplish through us…and if it’s best accomplished by our abject poverty and economic suffering, no amount of Wall Street gain and economic boom will stand in His way of impoverishing us for His purposes. I’m just not too concerned.

  5. judi

    good question, phil…i’ve been trying to be more conscious of how i use my car. so if i just even go to willow grove, i think about stopping at any other places on the way. i have been thinking — and just need to sit down and do it — how i prepare meals. i’d like to be very deliberate with grocery shopping, as i’ve noticed a huge bite in our wallet (no pun intended!) just for the two of us.

    i do confess to an occasional stop at starbuck’s 🙂 and maybe chinese on the week-ends… and i want to be more careful with water and electric use. will be interested to see if any other suggestions are offered.

  6. Now that I’ve joined the “suburban poor” ….
    I’ve eliminated most disposible income items. No cigars ;-( , no music, serious reduction in trips to the movies (only 2 this summer), and serious reduction in microbrews, no new clothes, rarely eating out, less expensive food for meals ….

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