We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Tuesday, August 10. 2010
I read that America's saving rate is rising, and that people are paying off their personal debt - and that retail business is terrible.
Are you buying stuff and spending money, or restraining yourself these days?
Let us know, in the comments.
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Surpisingly restrained, given the apparent roadblocks to prosperity euphemistically referred to as Hope and Change.
I might buy a car, to replace my 22 year old model. Or might not. A bicycle has been the conveyance of choice.
All the new cars are ugly, not that style matters, but it seems like they've gone out of their way.
I buy a scratch'n'dent dell laptop if a suitable model comes up for a cheap enough price, now and then, to replace more resistive winter heating with useful math work before everything turns to heat.
I am buying, with one exception, only things that I really need, and usually just when an essential item breaks or wears out. Gifts for friends and family are discreet and useful, and only on the most special occasions. Restaurant dining is confined to vacation, so the Cape Cod dining last month will be the last until probably after year end.
The one exception is food, I will spend a bit more for great stuff at the local farmers markets, from local sustainable farmers, my favorite Amish bakery, Wegmans for most groceries, and an occasional shipment of cheese from DiBruno Brothers. Life is short and getting no longer, so I will eat well at home.
Life is good with good eats (and a little wine or beer with supper), and unencumbered by a lot of other material possessions that need cleaning and maintenance. Any spare money is better saved or used to help out some folks I know who have greater needs than I do.
I'm spending a lot less than I used to. Two examples: I have been wanting a Lotus Elan S4 Sprint for a long time (certainly a luxury and frivolous purchase). Finally one came up on Ebay and it was close enough that I could take a day trip to check it out, but in the end, I figured I didn't really need it and the money would be better spent elsewhere. Also at last weekend's gun show, I really liked the price on a used Bersa .380. but I figured that I could do without that, too. I could afford both.
Not all of my reticence to spend money is related to the present economy (though that is a substantial part). With retirement starting to loom (hopefully it isn't forced), I need to pay more attention to my spending.
On the other hand, I still take my wife out to dinner every Saturday. That is not something I ever plan on stopping.
Just traded in my Camry hybrid on a 2010 Dodge Challenger R/T. If I'm gonna die poor, might as well die happy.
I'm going to buy a video camera as soon as I figure out exactly what I need, but I'm only doing that to start a business. I'm spending a little money here and there, mostly for my garden, but not much.
Buying some home (plumbing) and auto maintenance and some odds and ends to help a brat ease into new digs. Doing that about as frugally as possible.
Gonna need some new clothes soon, bummer.
All in all we're paying down debt, collecting some cash, and not spending any more than we deem necessary. We could and will cut back more if needed. We've done it before and we'll do it again if that's what it takes.
The potential HUGE problem with this is that "clear of debt with cash on hand" is NOT the best situation to be in when these yahoos start trying to inflate our way out of this deficit and national debt situation. They don't believe in the private sector so they won't do what is necessary to try and grow our way out.
We're in for tough seas ahead and, as always, those of us who actually pay our way will get the bills for those who don't. The thieves running our various governments, like Willy Sutton, will go where the money is to steal it. If you have no debt and some savings you we) are where the money is.
We are about to be played for the rubes we are.
I've upgraded from Taco Bell/McD to Quiznos/Subways for lunch. I am holding off on clothes, etc. though.
Saving. Bracing myself for a possible move if I have to chase employment.
Spending our retirement savings on kids' college tuition (we don't qualify for aid because we own our house and don't belong to oppressed groups).
Then half my salary goes on medical care for sick family members. Rest on good food, books,paper and electronic, and planting fruit trees, vegetables (probably cost more in the end than buying, but taste better).
We only eat out if the birthday person wants to. Usually they choose eating at home. Husband bought a DR something (brush cutter?) and power tools for property last year, but nothing this year.
I have spent a lot on camera gear and computers in the last couple of years with a small inheritance, but am on austerity now.
Unlike Michelle Antoinette, haven't been on a foreign trip (except to see sick or dying relatives) in 23 years.
I would like to buy another car, and would like to buy American but there isn't one with over 40 mpg, affordable, built by legal US workers, a hatchback, station wagon. Would have considered the Fiesta, but it's built in Mexico.
We have almost everything we need. For the rest, we buy almost everything at the thrift store, yard sales or at the outlet sales up in NH.
I am so angry about the proposed mortgage bailout that I could HOWL. It's bad enough that my kid can't get a scholarship because we paid off our mortgage, but to think that now we will be taxed to pay off those profligates...GRRRRAnd my kid will be paying it off.
Even kids of Rich Folk can get college assistance:
I'd recommend the first two for wimps.
I earned my college money in the Marines because my parents also owned their own home and weren't an oppressed minority.
My oldest daughter is paying her way through her first two years in community college without joining the military. I have a LOT of respect for that. I send her a bit of cash every month, but she works for most of it.
We specialize in tuition, restaurants, and travel, as always.
The latter is surely a better value for mind, body, soul, and spirit.
In the spirit of the times, we have cut back on plenty of expenses though. There was a lot of rat-hole money around here that we did not realize.
I avoid buying toys and cars like the plague. Everything new gets old quickly.
I haven't spent much on myself, but the Grandkids - heh, man they are living the life. :>)
I did entertain selling my '70 Corvette w/LS5 454 and buying a '63 ZO6 Corvette, but decided that owning a one owner (me) Corvette was the better decision. Preparing to move South, I sold my IH Super A demonstrator tractor (a real white one) with implements, the IH Cub, a few older shotguns I hadn't used in years, my complete (up to 1996) baseball card collection and put the money into the boats - updated electronics, couple of new electric down riggers for the Grady and some other stuff.
Various little things - couple of new rods, Penn 450 SSg reels, new Lowrance side scanning sonar for the Ranger, swapped the three blade stainless props on the Grady for for four blade props.
Other than that, my spending was pretty much a wash with what I sold off.
However, there is this that I saw on my last trip down South. :>)
I have discovered how to look really well dressed at work (female executive look) for very little money. I buy the basics (skirt/blouse or simple dress) at JCPenneys, very reasonable and pretty good quality, and then I buy a smashing jacket at the local consignment store. I get super brand names for under $50. I pair the super-chic jacket w/ the basic dress or skirt/blouse, and I am utterly well dressed. I used to drop $3000 in a store when I was shopping. Now its under $100. And I am more fashion-forward than I used to be.
We're not buying new cars either -- my lovely 20 year old Volvo station wagon still starts on the first turn of the key, and Downs' Honda sedan is now three or four years old. Our sole indulgence in the last eight months has been our purchase of a whole house generator, just like Bird Dog. Since our betrayal by our electric utility during Hurricane Ike, we can no longer trust that living 40 miles inland of the Gulf can protect us from the vagaries of Mother Nature. Installation of the new generator is now complete, after two months of hiver-havering around by the SmartGenerator folks. Now it only needs to be tested and put online -- and they better do it soon, because we have a tropical storm in the Gulf already, and more making up in the Atlantic.
If it works, it's better than owning a mink coat.
Buying? With my wife just now joining me in retirement and with her mama now living with us, we are saving every dime and selling off all the junk we don't need or want any more. Cash is going to be emperor in the next years.
My '48 DeSoto is for sale, too. Toys don't help with bad times coming.
We are being VERY restrained in our spending given the fact that my husband is retired and I got a 20% pay cut (in lieu of a layoff) in February. I don't even spend $20 without thinking carefully about it and we refinanced in May to give us a little more cushion if things get worse...
I purchased a new ( 0 miles) 2008 Honda Goldwing motorcycle on June 21 of this year, saving about $5000 over a similarly equipped 2010. Other than that, though, and the 7500 miles I've put on the bike since the purchase, I am mostly succeeding in my efforts to be frugal!
We have been very restrained in our spending. Have spent the last two years concentrating on retiring debt, and as of last month are debt-free. Drive a nine-year-old car which runs just fine.
Definitely living the minimalist lifestyle, and are quite happy to boot !
I splurged and bought four new Hyde Park dress shirts from Lands' End because I'm expecting to start a trial on Tuesday. That's been my largest non-essential purchase of 2010.
On the consumer side of spending the economy would be in depression long before now if everyone was like me.
Haven't paid to see a movie since 1984, newest vehicle is a 1991, and my house is decorated in a mid 1970s college student motif.
On the business side, ALL my money and all I can borrow is in circulation. Seems to be helping everyone but me.
I spend several months a year in America and I shop as much as possible ( American manufacture if possible ) ...always ready to do my bit!
"...I'm expecting to start a trial on Tuesday..."
Do they have much evidence against you?
Nahh, I'll beat the rap, just like I did last time. No sweat, especially since some of the witnesses went on vacation.
Spending now, getting bargains after saving.
We took a cruise to Alaska...after not having a vacation for 3 years, and getting a bonus last Dec.
Getting things for the house. Again, looking for bargains on decor, flowers and furniture. Call it whimsical, but a tastefully staged/decorated house sells faster if you're in a pinch.
Prepping. Nothing in this economy will end well...putting away for the really lean years.
Food, seeds, guns, ammo, silver coins...Just the necessities.
My spending habits haven't changed much because of the economy, I've always leaned to the frugal/practical side with occasional splurges. Breaking up a LTR did cause a slight uptick in spending earlier this year as I had to aquire some furnishings for my home (and a few toys) but that's been balanced by a definite reduction in spending for entertainment and dining out.
Depending on my situation in early 2011 I'm likely to start spending more for travel and enterainment. If things go reasonably well for me I should have no debt other than my mortgage, and I'll be doing some bargain hunting. So long as the stock market doesn't totally tank my retirement looks secure (and if it does, I'll likely have bigger problems to deal with)
Seeds and Betty Crocker instant mashed potatoes in the foil pouch. Oh, and an iPad. Just necessities.
Trying to prepare for the storm ahead.
Spending as little as possible, but ambivalent because I'm expecting hyperinflation to kick-in in the next couple of years when they quit pegging the price of a barrel of oil in dollars. So I really ought to be "investing" in stockpiled food, tools, and ammo. Maybe Silver Eagle dollars. Maybe a 50 BMG rifle. Chainsaw bar oil.
Looking for deals at local farm auctions ... need a good used round baler, and a no-till drill. Though when diesel goes through the roof, it may be nothing but an expensive pile of iron.
Decided to quit contributing to the 401K's this year- not sure if it's going to be INflation or DEflation... SO, have a lot of Cash right now. Needed an "investment" to spend it on, SO
-bought a new car (before the VAT comes online);
-painted the house (hope to have reduced heating bills this winter since it's all tightened up) and relandscaped;
-purchased another Stickley piece (my heirs can sell it "later");
all good investments in something other than "Markets", which I don't particularly trust right now.
We're both of retirement age but still working. We're getting rid of "stuff" for cash and considering buying a boat to cruise in after I retire. Leatherness can continue working via the internet. College for five Grandsons is what we're looking at now. Have mortgages on two houses but are not underwater, and will sell one as the market dictates. Meanwhile, working.
Bought a 2007 Focus, it know has 30,000. Im not living any different that I did 15 years ago. Excellent blog. thanks
I bought two self winding watches. One for my left hand, the other for my right. Buddy eat your heart out, and thank for the advice.
Hubby only got out of college three years ago and we're paying down debt and running a tight ship. On the flip side, I'm spending all our savings on a set of braces for one of the kids and labor and delivery for the next bun in the oven right now, due in November.
I retired after 35 years with the railroad as a track inspector. the pension for my wife and I is sufficent to live on. My house is paid for. both cars are paid for. My son is thru college with no loans he is going to grad school at no cost to him or to us. I have paid for a new floor in the kitchen, a new chain link fence around the yard, and for two old dead cotton wood trees to come down. I have bought an ipad and an Iphone 4. My total savings is probably less than average around 40K. My total railroad retirement monthly pension payment is greater than what it costs us to live here in the boonies. the goal is to save half and spend half beyond what we ned to live and operate the household. Hope I can stay healthy.....
Only spending on productive capacity. The old meth lab was getting pretty worn out, so we upgraded to a slightly used but pretty sturdy one. Bought about a dozen or so new reloading dies and a couple of crates of brass with primers and powder. Got a lightly used Bobcat at the auction, a beauty of a Stihl chainsaw, and reinforced the guard tower. We canceled the satellite TV service and sold the dirt track car.
I bought some TCS Jerky online tonite, first online purchase in months. Haven't bought any guns in a couple years, though. Just food and covering the bills. Hopefully a new contract is coming on line in the next month or so.
Restraint where it is possible. Had to repair the wifes car, my '85 CJ and my motorcycle this last six months, but at least we had the cash. Putting it away at a good rate every week, after the few bills we have. Thank the Gods I have a job.
Buying only the essentials - food, fuel, utilities, some clothing, and ammo.
Just bought a 2010 Ford Escape and have spent a couple grand getting some things done around yard. Most the money has gone to building raised gardens, blackberry and Raspberry posts and wires and expanding the blueberry patch plus some work on increasing the energy efficiency of the Tralfaz Manor House.
Had hoped this would be the year I could save. But then diagnosed with prostate cancer and had a small tumor removed from my bladder. So medical bills are hammering me good; just scraping by on the co-pay end. May turn the corner next year when I hit 66 and begin withdrawing Social Security at 100%. Can't come too soon.
Buying less. The shopping we do is at Goodwill or Walmart on sale. We homeschool and get textbooks used from Amazon. We're also working very hard to pay off debt and save, save, save.
Just bought myself a few hundred rounds of handgun ammo and a bottle of Talisker for my birthday. When I quit smoking cigarettes I promised myself I'd put the cigarette money in a pile and buy guns/ammo/liquor. Sort of an ATF without the T. 9 years later, I still pile that money aside, have some nice whiskey and some dandy guns. Otherwise I pay down debts.