When it comes to spending, weâ€™ve never been a family that goes out to dinner every weekend. But my wife and I are being even more conservative with our spending now. If you just watch CNN — watch the news — youâ€™re going to spend less because the news is all bad.
Iâ€™m hopeful, but the economic situation causes me a lot of concern for my children. My oldest daughter is 24 [and moved back home 18 months ago]. I read somewhere that this is the first generation that is not living better than the generation before them. And she is an example of that. Sheâ€™s starting off with a teacherâ€™s salary. But can she afford to live in the Washington metropolitan area? Not really. Her carâ€™s a 1994 Honda. If she had a car note and an apartment, plus had to pay for laundry and eating, how could she do it? I am very concerned for what will be there for them.
Mark Anthony Benson, 39, Los Angeles California
Iâ€™ve been out of work since October. Iâ€™m a filmmaker, but I was employed in the food industry in the corporate office, in charge of wholesale.
My rent is not as bad as a lot of other peopleâ€™s. My car note is not as bad as a lot of other peopleâ€™s. Unemployment has been able to cover that. Itâ€™s just the extras Iâ€™m used to having. Each year, I go home to Philadelphia in March. This year, I didnâ€™t want to put that on my credit card. So it has affected my spring and summer plans so far. Iâ€™m used to seeing my family by now.
Iâ€™m a little more cautious now when I spend. Before, if I was going out to dinner, there wouldnâ€™t be a second thought. Now Iâ€™m thinking,Â â€˜Iâ€™m not going to go to this restaurant now. Maybe Iâ€™ll go to the one thatâ€™s a little less expensive.â€™ Iâ€™m going to Costco and more wholesale places to get stuff thatâ€™s going to last me a lot longer.
You would always hear that this could happen, but I didnâ€™t believe it with so many people investing and all my friends who were in the real estate industry making money hand over fist. They would go on vacation for a month, and now those same people are like, â€˜I wish I had that money back.â€™ I always knew there would be recessions, but I didnâ€™t know they would affect this many people.
In California, the unemployment rate is [high]. I feel like this is a wake-up call for a lot of people on how they live their lives. Iâ€™ve never been a big saver, but when I get back on my feet, Iâ€™m going to make sure that I have that six months of expenses that people talk about having saved.