05 September 2009

More Recession....

I am so proud of how Americans are learning to watch their pennies. Not all of us. Not the ones still employed with top-dollar paychecks. But lots of people who didn't use to look at their credit card bills are now examining them closely. And people who seemed to think they were too good to ask why they were charged for three cans of soup when they only bought two, are starting to reconnect. They're actually paying attention to grocery prices and watching every move made by the friendly grocery clerk.
Yes, I still have some friends who can't be bothered to return expired dairy products or go over their checking accounts online, but they are further apart and fewer between these days.
The Washington Post this weekend delivers up this article on how to negotiate a severance package. That's what's called being "timely" on the weekend after the government reports the sky-high unemployment rate at 9.7% nationally.
It's time to think thin. Thin income. Thin wallets. Thinning savings accounts, if you are fortunate to have gone into the recession with a nest egg.

I'm sort of proud of the way some people are handling it all. After years of being lazy, snobbish, prissy and proud, they are starting to get it. They've told their kids "no" when they ask for the latest version of "Playstation," and stayed home for dinner more than one night per month. Who knows what's next? Possibly there's a market for classes on reintroducing conversation at American dinnertables.
Anyway, the same weekend editions also point out that nest eggs are taking a hit. Considering that the average American household began the recession with $11,000 in credit card debt (since I don't have any, I'm guessing there's a household in a lot of pain somewhere), these would be the better stories.
They say that signs of the recovery are being seen. But so far, it's a "jobless recovery," where employers aren't starting to hire back furloughed employees. Instead, they are asking the workers they have to do more. Sometimes for the same price; and sometimes, for less.
We're all going to learn to be very grateful for the good parts of our lives during this downturn. We're going to learn to be happy with what we have. That as I said in an earlier post, "three forks are enough." And that more than one, on many things, is just something to stash in the closet or dust down the line.
We will learn. And maybe sometime soon, we'll learn to smile again. Until then, it pays to learn to watch your wallet and negotiate. And to enjoy it.


Jen said...

I am very grateful to my dead dishwasher for choosing to leave me right before the furniture/appliance Labor Day sales events.

Marti said...

And I'm equally grateful that you chose to stimulate the American economy by purchasing a new dishwasher... rather than endless manicures to deal with dishpan hands.