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Oct 27, 2011


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Morgan Glover

I thought I'd share my personal experience: My health insurance will go up significantly next year, by the largest amount than any I've experienced over the past few years. So that will definitely cut into my discretionary budget.

I rarely buy new clothes. Probably 90 percent of what I buy is from consignment and thrift stores. Quality is same or better. I pay a few bucks for items that originally came from places like Banana Republic and Express. This will probably be a permanent change, regardless of if/when the recession ends.

For example, a couple years ago I bought a $40 purse from Macy's department store and the strap broke within a year. Now I just get a $3 purse from Goodwill and it lasts the same amount of time or longer.

I still shop at Harris Teeter, Earth Fare, farmers markets, but I now use a lot of coupons and supermarket discounts.

My husband and I rarely buy new furniture; gosh I can't remember the last time we bought new furniture and we purchased a (cheap) house about two years ago. There's a lot of DIY/salvaging/repurposing around our house. A couple years ago I started sewing and crocheting and this year I'm doing homemade gifts for Christmas.

I carry a smart phone but pay per minute and my husband recently bought a used iPad from someone for $200 bucks. My husband also does a lot of his own vehicle maintenance.

Ed Cone

Thanks for the comment, Morgan.

"This will probably be a permanent change, regardless of if/when the recession ends."

I think many of us found things that made us wonder why we ever did it the old way.


I seem to buy a lot of gas. Gas, gas, gas, gas, gas.... which if you think about it is why everything is expensive. I've long held the belief that the only solution out of our "tiny problem" is returning gas prices to around a dollar.

Not doing so (which we won't) means, DOOM!

You can only squeeze so much juice from a lemon, and we've all had too many screwdrivers to expect that the road home is paved with anything less than pain, anguish, and people on the side of the road, out of gas, with no way home.

It's turn and burn time America.

Margaret Banks

Morgan said: "There's a lot of DIY/salvaging/repurposing around our house." and "This will probably be a permanent change, regardless of if/when the recession ends."

People like Morgan and me are also realizing (Morgan much sooner than me, I should add) that it makes good financial AND environmental sense to consume in this manner. The recession has caused me to question how much crap I've put into landfills by being lazy and materialistic and stupid. I certainly hope that when the economy improves, I continue to question how much stuff I'm putting out there in the universe.


Be very very very careful with used furniture. That is an easy way to get bedbugs.

My biggest expense lately seems to be auto repairs. Every trip to the garage I feel like I'm making a house payment.

Billy Jones

The things being talked about in this thread are the way I've lived my entire life. When something is broken, I fix it. Car, house, television, vacuum cleaner, fridge, washing machine, stove, whatever. Last time I borrow money, 1978. Last new car, 1978. Last new motorcycle, 1978.

I build things out of junk. And not just airplanes. My Toyota was built from junk. My brothers and I are building an electric car from junk. Some of my motorcycles were built from junk.

I do buy some new clothes but I have shirts over 20 years old that I still wear. Work boots which used to last several years only last a year nowadays. My mother's Depression Era raising was always drilled into my head.

Cell phone? I got my first cell phone this year-- from Safelink.

Food? I grow most of my food just the way my family has done for hundreds of years and have 3 years of canned goods put back. How many of you know how to can your own food? And I can't eat all the eggs my chickens lay so I trade them for fresh venison.

I have 2200 gallons of water stored for the garden

I just wish I could afford health insurance as I'm never going to live long enough to pay off Cone Hospital. Premiums are more than I can earn in a month working.

I finished building a small foundry today. I can cast parts from aluminum, brass, lead and glass. Next week I start building a forge to make horseshoes for those of you who can't afford gas. Speaking of which, my Toyota gets 50MPG after a few modifications, my motorcycle gets 58MPG and my motorized bicycles get over 150MPH. My Dodge truck gets 8MPG but I only drive it about 8 miles per month.

I recently took up panning for gold. Haven't found much but I am in the black. And I can fish at the same time.

And just for pleasure, I've almost finished welding up a trailer that will haul a canoe behind my motorcycle. From junk, of course. That way I can combine several of my favorite pastimes-- motorcycles- canoeing, camping, fishing and prospecting.

Suddenly it's as if I'm the richest guy in town.

Now if only I could beat this addiction to the Internet...

As for bedbugs-- my grandparents taught us to wash things in kerosene.


About 10-11 years ago, when I got involved with homeless ministry, I started learning so much from my homeless friends about what matters (people) and what doesn't (stuff), what are needs and what are wants, and how to live simply and be content. Those are good lessons for anyone to learn, especially in this economy. It's definitely changed how I live, what I buy, and what I value in life.

Ed Cone

+1 Michele.

That's the valuable stuff no matter how much you make or own.

Billy Jones

But Michele, you're not helping Conservative causes like smaller government, ending welfare, privatizing Social Security, lower taxes, everyone has an equal chance to make it on their own, fewer personal entitlements, more corporate welfare, fewer corporate regulations....

Oh wait, I'm sorry, you're a real conservative, you actually value people over profits. My bad. Keep up the outstanding work. Occupy loves people like you and so do I.


I've shopped at resale shops for years. I'm short, and find that many things are altered already so it saves me the fuss. I've been taking my own lunch to work for eons and I think I've actually changed some of the behaviors of others at my workplace by my example (just so you know it, I never lay a guilt trip on anyone - I enjoy saving money but to each his/her own).
I'm not sorry I dropped out of saving the economy. I believe lives were richer when people tried to "make do" with what they had and didn't give in to materialistic goading. It's nice to hear from some like minded people on this blog!

Mad Dog

Several years ago I had neck surgery and could not drive, even after I was released to go back to work. Spouse & I HAD to car pool. Turned out to be a great lesson. Now, every time we ride together we save 20% on gas & all other associated expenses.

I have to agree with Ishmael. I, too, enjoy saving money.


Billy Jones

On the bright side, we are now putting less stuff in trash cans to be shipped to out of county landfills and are thereby reducing our fuel surcharges.

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