Saturday, April 4, 2009

RANDOM QUESTION


Has the economic situation changed how you live your day-to-day life?

28 comments:

Liza Beth said...

For me the current economy has had a bigger impact on my credit score than I would prefer. I have been reading (and noticing) that credit card companies are raising interest rates and lowering credit limits. Because of this even if you have thousands available on the card, they can just slash that and suddenly you have over credit limit charges when you are only over the *new* credit limit they just implemented- not the one you signed up for. Since part of your credit score is based on the amount of available credit, this has actually damaged the credit ratings for many Americans and caused interest rates to skyrocket as well (since they are also based in part on credit score).

This is mostly frustrating as I look at houses and my financial situation before getting a mortgage. Even though I have paid off some credit cards and am on my way to being out of debt, it is frustrating to a lower credit score due to a slashed credit limit.

It feels at this point like there is really nothing you can do to help the situation, except keep getting out of debt and saving for the future. We shall see how it all goes when I attempt to set up a mortgage for the house I am looking to buy!

Eileen said...

Oh, Liza Beth, I didn't know about the credit card companies doing that! I know they sneakily raise your interest rates but I didn't know they also slash your limit and then add extra finance charges! That should be a crime.

So far we're okay in these harsh economic times, I have cut back on spending (I don't fun shop nearly as much as I used to, and we don't go out for dinner once a week like we used to) but it hasn't been too bad for us. The only thing is the price of houses has dropped drastically, which also puts a crimp in my husband's plans to sell and move, no way would we get enough to pay off our mortgage and still have left-over to buy a house out-right with no mortgage like we could have a year or more ago. I'm not that upset about that though, the thought of moving away from the grandkids right now is not something I want to do.

Jacelynn said...

I hope you get your house Liza Beth! Im in Alberta Canada and although the economy has effected me its no where near the effects the americans are feeling. My husband and I are lucky enough to have a good financial status, he works in the safety portion of the oil fields and Im a stay at home mom. Things have changed for us but again no where near the amount of changes others are facing.

Linda said...

Financially, we're okay.

But the overall economic picture has made me more committed to my practices of frugality.

We shop sale items. I use coupons and rebates. We use store brands rather than name brands. We pack lunches rather than buy. (Oh my, I sound like a certain person with a t.v. show.)

Furthermore, I'm really trying to be less wasteful. We eat more leftovers, we reuse more items than we had previously.

I guess that I got a wake-up call to utilize some of the practices that I had learned from my depression era mom because I wondered if my kids would know how to survive in a time of economic uncertainty.

Jacelynn said...

The major plus side of the failing economy is most people are living greener. Which is a great thing IMO. In general I think people are more aware of how wasteful they once were, regardless of their finances I think people are really paying attention to where their money is going. I used to recycle here and there when I remembered but now I recycle EVERYTHING possible, lol and I pay a more attention to in store sales and coupons.

Quiltart said...

Our day to day situation hasn't changed at all, but it has certainly put our retirement into question. DH and I are both in our early 60's and had hoped to retire in the next five years or so... That is definitely up in the air now, although DH is confident that things will improve...

Mom said...

Well, ours is getting ready to. Beginning this month, I'm taking a 7.5% pay cut. UGH. I'm pretty certain I will never get it back. It was company-wide - several thousand employees nationwide. We probably will not be going on vacation this summer. Wah. :-(

themrs said...

ours hasn't changed much. we believe in living debt free (other than the mortgage) and without the use of credit cards so many of the areas of fall out haven't affected us. it's a little harder to make my grocery budget stretch but i'm used to that :) we don't have any credit cards, school loans or car payments so that really helps. we made the decision to be without debt about five years ago and i'm so glad now that we did. we would love to have a bigger house, but feel at this point is more responsible to stay in a house we know we can afford and make it work.

indianprincess said...

My family hasn't been affected by the economy yet but we have been frugal and saving money where we can. We're hoping to be out of credit card debt by the end of the year. We're not struggling but it doesn't hurt to be more mindful of our spending.

Saint said...

My husband's company is selling off their PA properties for a move down south. We'll most likely go because no one is hiring now. I'll have to leave my own job, and we'll lose a part of our income. Selling now won't be as easy as it would have been. And yes, our retirement funds are shrinking, not growing, as they have in the past. Oh well.

Fanny said...

Well, I was planning to sell my house this summer but there's just no way. We have quite a bit of equity and I don't want to give it up just to move.

We both work for small businesses, and hubby has just been laid off(temperarily)for the second time. The first time was only a few weeks, this one is only supposed to be one or two, so it's not so bad. The bright side is that he gets to stay home with our boys, and when he's home all day he tends to get bored and do laundry! Woohoo!

Bella Donna said...

My husband lost part of his 401K, but luckily he sold his stocks before the market dropped. He may end up getting his hours cut at work, but on the other hand, there is a strong chance he'll be deployed again this year. Which sucks, but the silver lining is that he makes a lot more money overseas.

My job hasn't changed much, so far. I've actually had my hours pick up because of coworkers slacking.

We've been a lot more careful with spending though. I scour the weekly ads for coupons & sales & plan meals around them. We also shop a lot more at Sam's Club, and I plan on utilizing garage sales more this year for clothing & HH items for all of us.

The good thing is that the only debt we have right now is our mortgage payment. Our vehicle is paid, the credit cards have a zero balance & we have no other loans.

Anya said...

Well, I give a little bow to those living debt-free. I really admire that. You are setting a wonderful example for your children. Same with recycling and scouting out coupons.

Now I don't have to shriek at you all:

"You didn't use a COUPON!!!!????"

lol

I am lucky to have a very stable job. "If" anything were to happen to it, I feel pretty confident I'd have a lot of notice (I know some are not as lucky).

So everything is ok for now. I have some financial obligations that continue to worry me, but I continue to get by.

Lizabeth, I did have one card (Old Navy) that get cut my available credit by about $500 a few months ago. They lowered it to just around the balance I was carrying. I considered it for the best actually. I have not shopped there recently and am just working on getting my balance down.

JerseyGirl said...

*knock on wood* We haven't changed the way we live. Other than grocery expenses, I tend not to spend a lot of money each week. I'm just hoping gas doesn't go up over $2.00/gallon here again. They say it may be up to last years prices this summer.

I watch the news and hear all this dreadful economic news and yet the stores and restaurants here are still busy. Some woman even pushed me out of the way at Nordstrom yesterday.

SamanthaNC said...

I've always been frugal so it hasnt changed my spending that much. It has however thoroughly depressed me.....

Our family's business has of course been effected and thats always hard. Lots of businesses in our town have closed. My husband's parents lost a LOT of money in the stock market.... hopefully patience and time will bring those stocks back up.

Theresa said...

I too have been streamlining our grocery list and making coupon use a priority.

It's the additional expenses, too, that sock you. We weren't expecting to have roof work done. But due to really windy days in our parts (where who would've thunk...Wind damage!), we had to have roof work done. Insurance paid a nice little sum of it, but we still had to put in a nice little chunk. That was going to be vacation money. :(

We hope to get away at the end of the summer. But for now, it's the local amusement parks and porchville. Porchville is nice, especially when you get to spend it with a healthy family.

Jenn said...

We're okay for now. Lucky for me, my husband is a tight wad. LOL. We had hoped to change our kids schools, and not have to pay for private school anymore. Due to when my sons birthday falls, they won't let him attend Kindergaren until the following school year. So, we've elected to bite the bullet and pay for 1 more year of private school, which will allow him to do K this year. Thankfully we qualified for tuition assitance so our of of pocket is only about $700/mo. I'll be glad when we're done with paying that!

One of our CC will be paid off next month. After that, our TV will be paid off in July. We've committed no no extra bills for the next school year. We skipped a summer vacation last year, so we're definitely taking one this year.

Liza Beth said...

Thank you to all who wished me well with my house hunting!! It is definitely a buyers market in this area-- I found quite a few houses in the city I would like to live which are at least 3 bedroom, and under $70,000!

Jacelynn, I totally agree that green living is a good side effect of the economic times. People seem to be more careful in their wastefulness as well as shopping. I appreciate how so many of you also clip coupons and shop the sales-- that is something I have done forever as well!

MrsRef said...

My son and his wife both lost their jobs and had to move back to South Jersey with her mom. Fortunately they are both working now and are moving into their own apartment. They were only married two months when they had to move and it is an additional strain on a new marriage. My hubby and I are doing okay now that gas has gone back down. He has a 90 mile round trip commute at 3:00 a.m. and the gas was killing us. His 401 K took a major hit but hopefully it will recover. I am an insurance agent and things are very slow because no one is refinancing or buying cars, etc. The alternative would be to go part-time but I really can't afford to do that. We as a couple have been through hard times before and can survive again if we have to. Lizabeth - congrats on looking for a house under $100,000. We have always lived in a modest home which has helped us whether any economic setbacks that may come our way. Too many people are in over their heads in the housing market.

As for the credit card companies, they really need to be reigned in. I have always paid my bill on time and more than is due - my cc company just raised my rate 4 percent and the only choice was to take it or leave it. This was one of the banks that just got a major bailout too. I took the ding on my FICO score and declined the account. The gov't has put in some consumer protections but they don't kick in until next 2010. Good luck with your home purchase.

Kikibee said...

Well, our day to day lives have not been affected too much. We live below our means anyway.
We have lost a lot in our investments, which really gets to me. When I think of all the things we could have done with that money, if we had known it was going to disappear. Ugh!

Anya said...

Mrs.Ref: As for the credit card companies, they really need to be reigned in.

I completely agree. I know government intervention and policy making doesn't always help things, but if these companies cannot act ethically, then it's time for some better consumer protection laws.

Niecy said...

I have always paid my bill on time and more than is due - my cc company just raised my rate 4 percent and the only choice was to take it or leave it.

For no reason? It sucks that so many people are allowed to just walk away - if you are a person who pays albeit slowly (minimum each time), you are dinged. I have heard that if you "owe" too much (not over limit) on another card - your other cards are allowed to raise the rates - just because.

Weed said...

It stinks. I know there are so many people worse off and one of those is my sister. My husband was laid off on 31 Dec 2008 - he's still looking for work (fingers crossed real tight). Although I make a really good salary I was able to help my sister with my husband's salary. She is raising her 4 grandchildren. One son is in prison and the other was a drug-addict. He is recovering now but is out of state getting an education in Aircraft engineering and the mother of the children is in jail and a drug addict. So my sister has all 4 children. She has no job, gets little assistance from the state. She took care of my grandmother and received a salary for that, my grandmother recently passed away and that cut her income and now with all the children. But - I was able to help her but now with just one salary in my house I can't afford to help like I did. It frustrates me and we have been trying to get her more assistance through the state but according to the state she can not benefit from getting custody of her grandchildren. Have you ever heard of such nonsense??? Benefit - she's trying to survive but she can't get help with rent, food, etc. because that would be benefitting from getting custody but she had to get custody to do anything for the children, school, medical, etc. It was a catch-22. Anyway - it's a rough time but we struggle to do what we can with what we have. We are a very tight family and live just a few houses away so... I just pray for us and everyone else suffering in these times. It's hard on everyone and I really don't see an end in sight.
And reading Liza Beth's post about the credit card companies just makes me sick to my stomach - how could they?? Good grief. I have to stop now, I'm getting depressed.

Baby Mama said...

Up until recently I was one of those crazy mommies that spent, spent, spent. Just for looks and show. My husband didn't see the credit card bill and didn't know up until recently how bad it was. My dad lost his job after working at his firm for 16 years. That's when the ball dropped. Right before Christmas which was so hard and depressing this year. He just found a job last week.

After seeing my family that sad and concerned for these past few months it make me fess up to my shopping guilt and go back to work part-time to pay up the bills myself. Its been devastating for me to leave my baby, but I'm proud of myself for trying to resolve the issue and move forward....

MrsRef said...

Apparently they just sent letters to a couple of million people stating that "due to economic conditions, blah blah blah." I called and spoke to a very rude girl who pointed out to me that the cost of everything was up and explained the cost of groceries was up at WalMart. There were articles in our local news about this same credit card company. I found a card with a better interest rate and canceled this one. I get upset about this because I am an insurance agent. The insurance companies (at least in NJ) use your credit score to determine you insurance rates for your home and car. So if you have a problem in one area, it hurts you everywhere. I see people who can't afford auto insurance because their rates are so high. It is just a big vicious circle and not getting any better.

Nancy said...

My husband had his pay AND his hours cut. We sold our second car, as I had been unable to work/drive due to vision problems, but we lost our home anyway because not enough money was coming in to make the mortgage payments. Fortunately, we were able to purchase a fixer-upper mobile home for less than $500. I like it just fine. Home is where the heart is. But yes, in my case the economy has had a BIG effect on my life.

Hoping4GoodTimes said...

My husband just took a 20% pay cut to work 15% more hours for free. (Meaning they cut salaries and bennies and were told they would have to work more.) What are you going to do? There are no jobs in his field and although I make a good living, we can't afford to be without his income. We're paying down credit cards---- I had one have a tremendous offer-- basically they advertised that if we paid off half our balance, they'd spot the rest. At 29.9% interest, I called and asked if this would ding my credit, if they were going to close the account, etc. And they said no. I got a letter last week saying they were closing "inactive, zero balance" accounts. WTF???

Jacelynn said...

Sorry about losing your home Nancy, but your right home is where the heart is. The economy sucks and sometimes its really hard to see the good in it but I think if we look really hard its there.

Some good things I can think of:
1. More people are living greener. I think people in general are more aware of where their money is going and are less likely to waste.
2. Families are spending more time together. Because the money isn't there to be off in our different directions families are spending more time together at home, IMO anyways.