Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Signs, Signs, Everywhere There's Signs

If you've picked up a paper, turned on the radio, or browsed a news organization's website lately, you know that the recession is on everybody's mind. You can't get away from it. There are insurance companies touting their recession proof history in commercials, financial analysts telling you what to do with your money now- if you have any, (Although, aren't they part of the original problem?), and even Jon Stewart has his ClusterF@#K to the Poorhouse segments.

Of course what's often missing from these places is the reality- how the recession is affecting you, your neighbor, or your business. I was listening to This American Life on Friday evening. Ira Glass was spouting off some interesting and indirect effects of the current economy. Like these.

  • The amount of shark attacks is at its lowest in 5 years. People just aren't vacationing.
  • Dentists are seeing more and more cracked teeth. People are taking their stress out on their teeth.
  • Vasectomies are on the rise. Who can afford more kids?
Our little family of three has been fairly lucky (and I won't say responsible because it goes beyond that now) to not have suffered any major effects of the recession. However, we are still seeing evidence of it all around us and even in our home.

Though my husband is still employed at his company despite recent lay-offs, he will have to start footing his own internet bill. Nevermind the fact that he couldn't do his job without internet, it seems the company feels he'd have it anyway. There's another bill we have to start budgeting for.

My brother-in-law and his wife lived with us last summer while he sought employment, not an easy thing in the slow market. Thankfully, he is employed, though sadly we lost our perma-sitters.

Of course, there's also the nearby mall that was struggling to stay afoot before the slowdown. Now, it is becoming a barren wasteland of storefronts, a half finished remodel, and strange fillers (inflatable jumphouse anyone?).

Of course, there's also a silver lining. All the neighborhood sidewalks just received a remodel to include ramps (a requirement of ADA). This makes getting my stroller down to the park a lot easier and safer. Thank you, stimulus plan.

It's kind of strange though. I remember back in high school history class, my dad telling us (yes, he was my teacher) that he was pretty sure our generation would find ourselves struggling through the next Depression. He told us that history is cyclical, things always swing back and forth, and that we were due. Seriously, if my dad could see it coming then why couldn't our government? They're the ones that went to Yale and Harvard. My dad was an Oklahoma State Cowboy, yet he saw it coming. I guess, wisdom doesn't always come at a high price tag. A good lesson to know as our economy continues its downward spiral.

What are some the signs of recession your family is seeing? In what ways have you tightened your belt or changed your habits to adapt? I want to know (like many an NPR reporter), how's the economy affecting you?


Chelsea + Jonathan said...

Personally, it has made it darn near impossible to find a summer job to supplement the short-term, part-time stint I have lined up. After finding out today that I will not be teaching a course this summer (due to the recession and university budget cuts, they're not offering as many summer sections of courses), I'm peddling my skills here:


Suzi said...

I hear all about how crappy the economy is but have you been to Southpoint lately? It certainly hasn't gotten easier to find a parking place there. Maybe people aren't buying as much but they sure are spending beautiful days there!

nikki said...

Well, technically, I lost my job because my nonprofit lost a huge grant and let go over half the management. But I already knew I wanted to be at home with A. Apart from my sad little 401k becoming even sadder, we have not been so affected since I lost my job. That's because we had nothing to start with, really; we're in this weird in-between phase because Dan is in grad school. We have one vehicle, we scrimp and save a lot, we don't vacation or splurge, but we never did that before, kwim? I expect he may have a harder time finding a job in this economy when he graduates next year, but we'll see.

Mostly I have been extremely grateful we live in a place with a low cost of living, which has allowed me to stay home with Abby. We are living on Dan's grad stipend - it's tight, but we're managing, and hopefully can make it through till he finishes his program.

Out-Numbered said...

Love your blog. Sounds like you're a fan of "this american life" podcast. Thanks for the Out Numbered visit. You Rock!

Coco said...

check my blog today. We are refinancing our debt and hopefully saving a few pennies.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I admit we are SO lucky in our household, D's job is very secure and his company is doing great. That said, we've decided to save and stay the course--but we've always done that. I see our neighbors feeling the strain, though, and my response will be lots of invites this summer to backyard parties (free and fun!).

Miche said...

Bill got a huge pay cut and there have been a lot of layoffs in his company, but at least he still has a job. We have cut out budget a lot, but thankfully, we dont have debt and follow Dave Ramsey money advice-he is a genius-so whatever comes we are good. Plus I have my job, which is going well, so our emergency fund can go even further. You Dad sure is wise, and I have always thought most of the people in our government were rich, stupid heads. Some poor, wise people need to be able to run for election. :)