Sunday, May 17, 2009

Thoughts on the recession and our spending

I know, I'm not usually one to talk about things like this but I just read an article about how the recession is affecting the spending habits of Americans and I thought it was really interesting. It seems that, while retail is down, some manufacturers sales are increasing, companies like Burpee Seeds. Maybe we're finally learning what's good for us and what saves us money. The number of vegetable gardens is predicted to jump 40% this year compared to 2 yrs ago. That's pretty amazing. As I look around our yard it looks like James has increased his garden size about 40% in the past 2 years. I'm guessing that canning supplies will be selling off the shelves this summer.

James and I don't go out to eat very often but we know a lot of people who did. Now it appears that folks are scaling down in the food department too. Where someone may normally choose to go out to a high end restaurant they now have chosen to buy a good steak and prepare it at home. If someone typically bought name brand groceries at the store, they might now be buying the store-named brands. Maybe not a healthier option, but sales are also up on the cheaper foods like Spam, Dinty Moore items and Mac n Cheese. Comfort foods maybe?

Do-it-yourself auto supply store sales are also up. People can't afford a new car and paying to have a car repaired is so expensive. If only James and I knew more about auto mechanics. Our cars are so old and it seems like there's always something wrong with at least one of them.

Condom sales, up. I guess people don't want another mouth to feed? Hmmmm.

Fishing supplies and firearm sales have increased quite a bit too. We rarely eat the fish we catch from the river but maybe we could eat the trout from the creek beside the house. It seems like they should be healthier than the ones in the muddy river. Neither of us thinks we could hunt but we sure appreciate the venison in our freezer given to us by friends.

Sales at Saks 5th Ave. are down 32% but Goodwill sales are up 7%. That's pretty cool. We have many clothes in our closet that came from Goodwill and none that came from Saks. Any clothes we own that came from a high-end store are probably many years old. Okay, I confess, I did buy 2 outfits at a nice dress shop last year before we went to Italy. I will still have these in 10 years though. I can't remember the last time James bought nice clothes. Our family doctor told me last week that, "James is the most normal guy I know". He commented on how James doesn't care how he dresses etc. That made me laugh. It made me wonder what James wore to the doctor a week earlier. Sales at WalMart and Dollar Tree have also gone up.

Most of the stuff mentioned in the article made sense but I guess we still need our special treats because sales of chocolate and wine are still strong, a comfort in hard times, though we're buying cheaper vintages of wine.

Two products and services that are up aren't on the positive side though. Pepto Bismal and visits to the dentist. Money and employment stresses may be causing upset stomachs and grinding of the teeth. James and I have both worn bruxing guards to bed, me for several years, James for 7 years. I've been grinding my teeth since I was a little kid but I'm not sure it has to do with stress more than it's a bad habit.

James and I have definitely changed our spending habits and love the idea of homesteading and self-sufficient living but I don't know how attainable that really is. Others do it so I guess we just have to do it with baby steps as it appears America is doing. Hopefully

No comments:

Post a Comment