From New York Times Business online:
“Even before the opening bell, Monday looked ugly. But by the time that bell sounded again on the New York Stock Exchange, seven and a half frantic hours later, $1.2 trillion had vanished from the United States stock market.”
And from Money.CNN.com:
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — First, the good news: Even if warnings of economic catastrophe aren’t enough to win approval of a controversial $700 billion Wall Street bailout, the economy is not at risk of falling into a depression, most experts agree.
During the Great Depression, unemployment shot up to as much as 25% in 1933. That came after the gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic activity, plunged 13% the previous year.
Millions of people lost their savings when banks closed without any insurance for its customers’ deposits. Few economists are predicting economic pain of that magnitude.
Now the bad news: Even if the plan to buy up bad mortgage debt from troubled banks and Wall Street firm does pass, it probably won’t be enough to stop the economy from getting worse than it is today.
And if the battered credit markets fail to restart, either because the bailout fails to win Congressional approval or it doesn’t work as planned, the nation could be facing its worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
I admit, I don’t think about the future. I don’t “save for a rainy day”. But as my husband and I sat watching “Heroes” last night, we talked about the economy. I asked him if he thought we were headed for another Depression and he said no, but he said he thought we needed to seriously tighten our financial belts. Because we don’t have any savings, and if he lost his job, we would be screwed.
Starting today, I’m going to be cancelling every expenditure we don’t need. I pay for Weight Watchers Online- don’t need it, there are ways to get Weight Watchers recipes and info for free. If I need a structured plan, there’s always SparkPeople which is miraculously still free to use. I don’t need a monthly membership to Blockbuster Online-I get a lot of new releases free to review, and we rarely use the membership anyway. I already cancelled the “pro” membership I was paying StatCounter, since I can find stats through Woopra and Google Analytics. There’s another $9.00 a month.
I’m not getting any magazines delivered anymore, which for a self-proclaimed magazine junkie like myself is hard to give up, but it all adds up. We aren’t buying any school photos this Fall, what the heck is up with that anyway? Now they want you to buy portrait packages twice a year and pay for a Fall Yearbook? School pictures and yearbooks are for the end of the year. Period. I’m also not buying any cheap wrapping paper or $8.00 boxes of chocolate with 5 pieces inside. I hate school fundraising because the stuff for sale is always such junk.
Ryan’s 12th birthday is Thursday. It’s costing me $30.00 for cider and donuts for him to pass out to his class and teachers that morning, which is a ridiculously large amount of money but that and a trip to play Laser Tag for him and three friends is his gift this year. He wants to buy the new “Fable” game but it’s going to have to wait unless I can get a freelance writing job in the next few days that pays immediately.
Ryan needs jeans and pants. Kaitlyn needs everything because we finally went through all the clothes that my blog friends with older girls sent me. The kids are going to all need snow boots and jackets this year. Which is why there is no money for things like diet plans and magazines. And with as much determination as I can, I have to start putting money in a savings account, at least two months’ worth.
I might be over-reacting, and I hope I am. But having money put aside just in case and learning how to stretch the budget is helpful no matter what’s happening with the economy. I can’t control the economy of the country, but I can control the economy of my family, and that’s better than nothing.