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Old 10-31-08, 01:56 PM   #1
Durward_Kirby
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Economic Slowdown

I've been really careful to ride my bike to work as much as I can and can say that I have seen a difference in my pocketbook. It feels good to not spend so much money on gas and even though the price has come down since the summer, I am glad to still not be spending the money. I picture myself riding past Ahmadinejad in his big black limo and thumbing my nose at him.

I've also been a little more careful with my money so far as how much we've been eating out. I have noticed over the last month, when I do go out to eat that the numbers of people eating out has gone down dramatically. This may be a bit of a bad sign for our local economy.

Are you planning on spending a significantly less amount of money over the holiday season? How much of this downturn do you think is just in our confidence in the economy vs. real economic hardtimes for each of us?
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Old 10-31-08, 02:02 PM   #2
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Don't forget to picture yourself thumbing your nose at the All-American CEOs of ExxonMobil, Texaco, Shell, and so forth. They're stealing a lot more money from your fellow Americans than anyone in the Middle East ever will.

With regard to my personal economy, it has nothing to do with the national economy. If I have money to spend and sufficient wants or needs, I'll spend it. If I don't, I won't. Following the mainstream media is a great way to work yourself into a panic. Focusing on your personal situation is a great way to reconnect with reality.
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Old 10-31-08, 02:07 PM   #3
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I can say that the difference I've noticed in my own "mind-set" is the desire to get as much of my debt paid of as I can. I would say that I've not spent less money, I've just been careful to put it towards debt and to get some savings on hand.

BTW-These are things I probablly should have been doing all along and just kept putting it off and buying one more _______ for my bike and such. My income remains strong. I'm just more aware of what I'm doing with it.
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Old 11-01-08, 02:40 AM   #4
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i'll be real happy when I can finally bike to work (10 miles one way with lots of steep hills) I would drive part way and then ride but I need my car for work in case I need to go to a customer location. Needless to say I was pleasently surprised when I filled up this morning and gas had dropped 30 cents over the weekend. I'll be happy when I only have to gas up once a month vs once a week though. Just gotta stick with my training regiment and i'll be there soon enough.
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Old 11-01-08, 07:21 AM   #5
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i'll be real happy when I can finally bike to work (10 miles one way with lots of steep hills) I would drive part way and then ride but I need my car for work in case I need to go to a customer location. Needless to say I was pleasently surprised when I filled up this morning and gas had dropped 30 cents over the weekend. I'll be happy when I only have to gas up once a month vs once a week though. Just gotta stick with my training regiment and i'll be there soon enough.
I have a similar scenerio, and 5 days out of the week I leave my car at work. On the weekends, I bring it home - sometimes for family trips.
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Old 11-01-08, 08:15 AM   #6
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Mostly sudden paranoia. They'll be a substantial effect. We're seeing it this year. Our profit over expenses and what we pay ourselves is down $60,000 for the year. We expect a poor Christmas season.

The root cause is likely the rise of credit as a way to live rather than saving as a way to get things. Fortunately a good number of people never gave up the concept of using money one has rather than money one hopes for.

Young city people in particular seem to live on borrowed funds. We have a number of lake houses along our stretch of water that have stalled. Owners seemed so young. Well, they're stalled in renovation because the money dried up. In chatting with a couple of these folks and following up on that information, I've found that many young people think borrowing 100% of the money to buy things of certain depreciation or uncertain future value is OK. As opposed to saving the money, then purchasing. A typical example in this area is a fellow who borrowed 100% (through 2 loans) of his primary residence money, then leveraged something or other into almost 100% of a lake house, then borrowed money for renovation of about 20% of the cost of the house. So he has a lot borrowed. These two houses are now worth less than when he started out by maybe 20%, so he's terrified. I figured he was well off. Turns out his big truck is worth less than he owes, his Toyota is worth less than he owes. He borrowed everything!!! What if one of them loses a job? They must be paying 30% or more of what they make in interest! And he says that's not uncommon. Talked to some bankers and they indicated the same thing. Can hardly talk people out of leveraging a "job" with a "steady" income into massive debt.

I get looked at oddly by most younger people when I explain (after comments on the age of my cars) that I won't buy anything I can't pay for right then. Sometimes I have to explain what I mean - the concept of paying for things is so alien. "You mean you just write a check for a CAR??!!" My answer is "No. I walk in with car and start bargaining hard." That's really alien! If someone wants to chat about it, I explain that my house is 80% paid for and I hope to finish that off in the next few years. And that everything I own except the house I actually own free and clear. No credit card debt, nothing. And that if you count my business worth, I'm a non-liquid millionaire.

It's really funny. The majority of the flashy car driving folks I get to know are in hock up to the eyeballs. All the wealthy people I know (ones I know are solidly wealthy) live quite modestly and drive relatively inexpensive vehicles, dress modestly. The exception is, of course, that we fiscally conservative folks ride really hot bicycles!!!

And that's the root cause. For the country, too. I notice both our candidates shy away from how to pay for their proposed programs! Any shift from the most amazing borrow & spend government we have now will be welcome!

Regardless, they'll be a reckoning that will have us all tightening our belts. Mine won't tighten much at all. I'll put in a truck garden again and get a motorcycle. Whoopie. Other people in the area will have to dump their 80% finished houses for nothing. I may get a couple of them myself!

Be well, save money, pay cash. Negotiate.
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Old 11-01-08, 09:16 AM   #7
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I heard an economist on NPR recently comment that there may be a shift to more of a cash economy and that while the transition may be painful, ultimately that would be a good thing. I heard another commentator say that all the doom and gloom in the media is making things worse because he feels people will tighten their belts unnecessarily taking money out of the system.

My personal situation at the moment is fine. We live in a um... "modest" house this is paid for and we have no debt. Houses in this neighborhood average about 1600 to 1800 square ft while the state average is about 2100. Our neighbors across the street buy everything with cash including cars. You wouldn't think of them as rich but obviously they have more cash available than most.

Nevertheless I realize that I'm part of a larger society and that if things get bad enough, it will inevitably affect me. The organization I work for specializes in making buildings more energy efficient. It's a good business to be in but it does count on people/companies having the money and being willing to make the investment upfront. I'd be one of the last to go if work slowed down but I take nothing for granted. I also have an ailing mother who can't pay her bills.

With the higher gas prices earlier in the year there was a huge jump in bike thefts right where I live. I have 4 neighbors, - people I know well, that had bikes stolen out of their garage in the last year. Nothing else was taken. With winter coming and cheaper gas, I'm sure the incidence of that type of crime has probably peaked for a bit.
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Old 11-01-08, 09:27 AM   #8
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A more succinct response.

We live pretty modestly anyway so I don't think we'll change how much we spend day to day. What has changed though is that we used to talk pretty frequently about either buying a bigger house (ours is 1400 sq ft) or adding on to this one. In the past we felt that we could make a offer on another house and sell our current one pretty quickly. Those days are gone so we don't really talk much about selling right now.

Also, we're unsure about how much we'll be needing to help my mother out in the near future so until that becomes more clear, we won't be taking on any debt.
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Old 11-01-08, 09:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Durward_Kirby View Post
Are you planning on spending a significantly less amount of money over the holiday season? How much of this downturn do you think is just in our confidence in the economy vs. real economic hardtimes for each of us?
The best money mantra is live by is a really old one that has been around forever but needs to
be re-learned each generation......"Spend less than you earn and save/invest the difference"


If you , and others, learn ,and live by, this simple mantra you will always have "enough" as well as
peace of mind. Spending up to what you earn is a fools way to live. Econominc down turns or up
turn it matters not if you live by this simple proven mantra.

One other point that will also help is to learn and remember the concept of "enough".
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Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 11-01-08, 10:15 AM   #10
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We live by the 80/10/10 rule...Live on 80% of your take home pay, save 10% of your take home pay, give away 10% of your take home pay. (In reality we live closer to 60/20/20) We also pay cash for everything we buy. Seldom buy very many brand new items, let the original purchaser take the hit on deprecation. We own our house(s), acreage and vehicles free and clear. We don't live like hermits, but don't run out and buy the latest and the greatest just because it was advertised on the idiot box. Before spending money on big ticket items we research and find out what is the most durable, repairable and best value prior to spending the money.

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"Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred
Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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Last edited by wahoonc; 11-01-08 at 10:21 AM.
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Old 11-02-08, 06:58 AM   #11
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Never keep up with the Joneses.
Drag them down to your level. It's cheaper.


The most substantial people are the most frugal, and make the least show, and live at the least expense.
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Old 11-02-08, 08:08 AM   #12
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I noticed a decline in the number of people in my area out driving around when gas prices went above $4 but, the stores were still packed as well as anything that had to do with entertainment. I was able to walk down the MUP to the library or to the market and it started to get quiet. I also noticed fewer people on the commute to work. Now that gas here has gone down to sub $2, people are out EVERYWHERE.. Traffic is all backed up, the stores are jammed...everything is back to where it was. I don't see any belt tightening. I haven't observed people pushing empty carts around in the stores....
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