Thursday, July 17, 2008

What I'm Not Cutting

Inspired by a CNN/Money article Where Americans Will (and Won't) Cut Back, I decided to take a look at what's on my chopping block.

Consumer confidence is in the gutter, inflation is on the rise and the economy is struggling. But even as consumers cut back on spending, there are some things they refuse to give up.

Nine out of 10 Americans said they are cutting back expenses or discretionary spending at least somewhat because of the current economic conditions; according to a recent study from market research firm GfK Roper Consulting.

And moi? Well, I guess since I'm in the upper coast of Maine, vacation is one category that's not getting cut. But to be fair, M and I save a little every month to be able to go away once a year or so. But flying to dollar depressed countries (ie anywhere in Europe) is going to be put off for a while.

Eating out also isn't on the chopping block, though like eating through the pantry it's one of those theoretical eliminations that never seem to become reality. The reality is that I eat out for less money. No more spontaneous meals at Al di La, it's more like the local taqueria.

Some things are on the chopping block. Driving for the hell of it. Buying new clothes. Buying gadgets. Buying lots of books (though I still buy some, I'm not blowing $100 at the Strand- I'm setting one book limits which for the first time I actually adhere to). And saving.

Yes, saving more money is on the chopping block. Even though I would love to save even more pennies than I already do, and pretty much every year I try to increase it a little, this year I wasn't able to increase it as much as I would have liked to.

And what I'm not doing? I'm not one of the 50% of Americans buying a new HD/flat screen TV within the next year. Other things the article sited as things Americans are loathe to cut right now are cable/satellite TV subscriptions, vacationing and travel. It's alright, I never thought I'd see the day Americans would be conscious of fuel efficiency. Then again, I was just a kid during the last energy crisis.

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