So if you're like most of us in America, you're feeling a little it like . . . a Christian Scientist with appendicitis. Whether your job seems particularly threatened, the declines in the stock market and the housing market, and the collapse of consumer demand, make it feel like we might be in for a long bad spell. The economists can scream about aggregate demand all they want, but we're looking for ways to do less.
Like Tyler, I'm not sure this is bad. I think the government should palliate the consumption collapse--make sure that the supportive services and unemployment benefits are there for people whose consumption falls below acceptable levels. But we've been living on borrowed money for a long time. Eventually, we're going to have to spend less to get our balance sheet back in balance.
So here's an open thread: what are you doing to cut back? My partial list:
1) Considering giving up my apartment for a shared house
2) Street parking my car
3) Eating and drinking at home instead of U Street's many fine dining estalishments
4) Buying cheaper food in bulk. Luckily, I really like PB&J and ramen
5) Cancelling my gym membership. The Wii Fit turns out to be surprisingly effective. At least if, like me, you're in terrible shape and hate excercise.
6) No new clothes this year.
7) Getting serious about freelance income.
Yes, this is a list that screams "middle class single professional". I'm sorry. I can't help what I am. I was born this way.
And no, I'm not worried about my job, for those of you who are worried (or hopeful). Really. But the downpayment I wanted to put down on a house just got eaten by the stock market crash, which means that if I ever want to experience the many joys of homeownership, (like . . . er . . . 20% price declines) I need to tighten my belt something fierce.
What about you? What are you worried about? And what are you doing to make yourself financially more secure?