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Pinching pennies

June 30, 2008

Piggy BankTimes are tough for Americans as their wallets take multiple blows from the housing slump, rising oil and food prices, growing unemployment, inflation fears and recession talk. Many homeowners are facing negative equity, with mortgages bigger than their property’s value.

Even as recently as November, households were going into debt to maintain spending, but new numbers show that Americans are saving at the highest rate since March 1995.

A vendor sells candy to fans attending the MLB interleague baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs in Chicago June 27, 2008. In an economic downturn, U.S. fans still go to sports games, partly as an escape from financial woes, but they are saving on the extras, like hot dogs and beer.With gasoline prices topping $4 per gallon, fewer Americans will be hitting the road for holidays. Die-hard sports fans are making sacrifices even as they refuse to give up the luxury of going to the game.

What are you sacrificing to make ends meet?

Caption: A vendor sells candy to fans attending the MLB interleague baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs in Chicago June 27, 2008. REUTERS/Frank Polich


I went back to work three days per week after retiring two years ago! I can’t afford my health insurance payments that have risen dramatically!


I had to give up golf in particular. I can’t afford to pay the greens fees with the rising cost of gas. We have also reduced the amount of eating out – where before we were dining at restaurants 1-2 times per week, now it’s more like 1-2 times per month.

Posted by Justin | Report as abusive

My sacrifice may seem small. I stopped taking those weekend drives to Stuart (about 50 miles north of West Palm Beach) because of the emissions from my car, the gas used, etc. I loved those rides because they cleared my head. I bought a 2006 Honda Civic, 30mpg city/40mpg Highway and I live and drive 6 miles from work. I get gas every 2 weeks at a cost of $40. That is NOT a sacrifice. My car feels like a sportscar and I love to drive it.
When I sold my house in 2004 for 3 times what I paid, I paid off that mortgage and downsized to a condo and paid cash. Now I do not have a mortgage or rent. The sacrifice was denying the urge to spend a lot of money instead of reinvesting into my new property. I do not have any credit card debt. I think I was preparing for these times of a poor economy and did’t realize it!

Posted by Barbara Eberly | Report as abusive

I’m not sacrificing a thing! Everything goes on plastic until it gets maxed out! By that time the tide will be turning. If I live long enuf, maybe I’ll get the bills paid off.

Posted by Richard Maxon | Report as abusive

I am hypermiling in my car. I’ve raised my mileage from 31 mph to 40 mpg. In addition I no longer buy meat or anything “prepackaged” or “convenience boxed”. My teenagers are learning to cook from scratch and enjoying the experience, cookies, pies, vegetable soups and homemade tortilla chips, gauc and salsa, dried fruit. We switched all the light bulbs to “low output”, garden, limit showers and wash only full loads. Our next projects are a solar oven and chicken coop.

Posted by Olivia | Report as abusive

Cutting back on everything a little, but entertainment is about the only option where I can cut back without major disruption and sacrifice … have to drive to work, eat, heat the house, etc. Clipping coupons and only buying foods that are on sale; got oil for my heat/hotwater at $4.35 gal (MORE THAN GAS and gas has huge state and federal taxes… something rots here!!!) and will be keeping the house at 65F rather than the 68F last year (heatng oil was about $2.65 gal) and well below the 70F of years past (when heating oil was under $1.50).

Posted by Otis | Report as abusive

No Doctors or gas except work, we get food on the way home-only.

Posted by brenda | Report as abusive

I’m lucky… my earnings go up with the price of oil. So far I have not restricted myself and the checking account stays near the same as ever. Not making any large progess but not losing ground! Minor credit card debt for a trip to Scotland and the rest is paid as I go.
For folks not getting rid of your credit cards, be advised the banks will screw you badly… almost like an act of rape. Get the debt levels down and withstand this onslaught!

Posted by booby | Report as abusive

Lets talk turkey:

Being fat or resembling a porker is no longer an option. It’s an added expense we cannot afford – getting over-weight costs money – right?

A good healthy diet, no gorging and plenty of exercise is a recipe for tackling the money problem – in more ways than one.

It will also stave off the blues…:-)

Posted by The Truth Is... | Report as abusive

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