When Will the Recession End?
Strategies to stretch your money until 2010…
If you have made it through this winter without losing your job or facing drastic changes in your living arrangements–who wants to move back in with Mom and Dad?–you should feel very lucky. Even so, everyone is wondering, when will the recession end?
The good news, reported by CNN last month, is that if you can just make it through 2009, experts expect the economy to pick up a bit in 2010.
And while there are plenty of folks feeling the pinch–from furloughs, pay cuts, falling home values, and slimmed down part-time work opportunities–there is a certain creativity in the air, too. Everywhere you turn, people are talking about what they are doing to conserve their cash and stretch their savings, new frugalistas swapping tips like new parents do when they have their first child. The message: Small changes add up.
Watch expenses. “Getting laid off recently has forced me to make some lifestyle changes,” says Sam P., who worked for a small ad agency until early winter. She lives with her boyfriend and has some savings, so at least keeping a roof over her head is not a worry. But “my colleagues and I would often have a cocktail or two after work a couple of nights a week and, while I like to be social, I don’t meet up for weeknight drinks anymore. And no more Starbucks lattes-they cost over four bucks. I also got rid of my movie channels and just have basic cable.”
Total denial isn’t the idea, though. “For me, I’d rather save on the little things so that I can still splurge on a great bag or pair shoes when I need a mood lifter,” she admits. “I just try to be more conscious of my daily expenditures in general.”
Kick a habit. Diana A., a single mom in California, drank Diet Coke all day, every day, for years. “It was not good for me,” she says. She decided with this recession it was time to change. “Being the all-or-nothing person I am, I’ve quit drinking soda entirely. It has saved me quite a bit of money,” about $5 a day, over $1,800 in a year.
Stretch out routine upkeep. Until recently, Kristin T. was working in Indonesia and Australia, never having to worry about money. Then, last fall, returned to the U.S., just in time for the job market to sour. “I have been spacing out my haircuts longer,” she says. “Instead of going every two months, I now go every four. In times of recession, my vanity has unfortunately had to take the back seat. No more new shoes, either, boo-hoo!”
Go cheap, but still chic. Shannon F. has to keep up her image as marketing director for a restaurant group in Boston. But she’s making changes in her beauty regimen to save money.
“I learned how to do my own ‘blow-outs’ with a blow dryer, straightening iron and hair product,” she reveals, “and mastered my own manicure using Essie polish (costs a bit more per bottle but still less than $20 manicures). I cancelled my gym membership-I never went anyway. Now my dog gets to enjoy outdoor walks a bit more, too! I don’t waste my makeup on days I’m not seeing anyone worthy of YSL mascara (that sounds kind of bitchy, but it’s true). I take advantage of sample sale sites like RueLaLa.”
And when she goes to a restaurant, she’s learned to say, “Yes, I’ll take this to go!” when she doesn’t finish her dinner. “And I actually eat the leftovers now,” Shannon says, saving the cost of another night’s dinner.
Do you have simple strategies to stretch your money until 2010? Leave a comment below and let us know!
Check out other moneysaving advice on Betty: Can Your Budget Afford Your Friends?…