Some economists think recession is , others place the chance of a downturn in 2008. We asked readers for their tips on thriving in a recession.
Some readers had a political take on the issue. Some used humor. And more than a few of you took the point of view of David in North Carolina whose two word response was: “What recession?”
Here is a sampling of the responses:
There is no recession
Please repeat after me Mister Overzealous Manipulating Media type! There is no recession... There is no recession... There is no recession! If you and your kind would just stop harping on a non-existing situation just to sell ad space, everyone could be making more money. — Steve, Florida
Simple. Quit buying things that you are unable to afford. — Steve, California
I am a "little" old-fashioned. Develop a six-month plan to reduce any expenses or increase any income. The plan should be implemented immediately so you can realize the results at the end of the six months. Select an expense (or two) that is very realistic. Income may be increased by working part-time almost anywhere for that six-month period. — William, Scotland
What a shame. There is no recession, nor do most economist see one coming. Nevertheless, msnbc.com plays chicken little asking folks how they will survive the coming recession. From Bird Flu to SARS to Global Warming and Recessions, the news media do more harm that stoking fear of things that probably won't ever come to pass. — Joe, Ohio
Eat fewer snacks. Snacks are expensive. Eat lots of potatoes...they are cheap and filling. — Tom, N.Y.
Cut up your credit cards, deal only in cash, and eat at home. — Carol, Wash.
Do not carry a balance on your credit cards, and pay them when due. Do not finance with an adjustable-rate mortgage. When I purchased my house the loan immediately went to 13 percent and I refinanced with a 30-year fixed-rate loan. — Joe, Calif.
Mac and cheese
Get a second job and eat more mac and cheese. — Rockwell, N.Y.
Do not eat out. Sell car if possible. Pay down debt. Work overtime or take second job. — James, S.C.
Just continue on your spending as normal if you are not drastically affected by a recession. This is just a part of the market cycle, booms and busts. Everything is psychologically driven. The more we tighten, jobs are lost and the economy suffers. The more we spend, jobs are created and the economy grows. Money just doesn't disappear, it changes hands. — Adam, Fla.
My tip and it is one that I live buy. Other than the apartment I rent, own everything you possess. Other than a mortgage, try to limit credit purchases of any kind including vehicles. That if the “you know what” hits the fan, at least the banks and credit companies can't take EVERYTHING! — Alex, Fla.
Live within your means
Live and budget within your means. Spend on essentials and start saving. Next year will be a good time to start looking at heavily discounted real estate and never used last year's car models. — Bob, Fla.
Avoid real estate
Pay your house off by whatever means, or rent. Don’t buy real estate. use a wood stove to heat water, cook, heat your house. Change to a meatless diet due to costs. Never eat out. Buy all things used whenever possible. Use a solar oven and solar hot water in summer. Car pool and do numerous errands in one trip. — Dale, Ore.
Instead of a new car take an auto mechanics course at community college and get an older highly reliable model or classic Chevrolet or Ford rear-wheel drive. Gas mileage hit will never offset the 40 to 60 percent hit you get over five years with a new vehicle. Any beater Ford or Chevrolet rear wheel drive is much easier to maintain than any front-wheel drive and the latter will never become a classic that will be an investment. You won't have all the electronic heat etc. but also you won't have to pay to get it fixed when it breaks. — Ed, N.C.
If you buy a home right now, get a locked in mortgage at a fixed rate. Forget the adjustable mortgage. Pay off credit cards. Try to stay out of debt. Get more training and staff development. Technology is hot! Use every option you have! Make sure you have a nest egg set a side for a rainy day or emergency. Don't touch that money unless it is an emergency. — Carolyn, Texas
Old Story about a blind man: He sits on the side of the road selling lots of eggs. His son come home from college and tells Dad there is a recession and you should charge more for his eggs. Son must be smart, he has gone to college! So Dad raises the price of his eggs and thus sells less. Yep, son is smart there is a recession. President Hoover pulled this county out of the Great Depression simply by speaking hope to the masses. We need hope not the gloom the media spreads all the time. — Louise, Texas
Cut out all going out to eat. Also no movies. Instead of making a trip to do one thing save up three or four then do it. Buy what you need when it goes on sale if you can wait that long. Avoid buying any big-ticket items (stoves, refrigerators and a new car). Keep the old car a few more years. New cars are so overpriced it is ridiculous. If you must buy a car, buy a used one so the taxes and insurance won't eat you alive. — John, S.C.
A little effort
Farmers understand how to survive a recession better than most because we survive in a recession every day. I hunt and fish not for sport but to eat. My wife raises a large garden and she cans all of it that we will need through the winter. There is enough left over so our elderly neighbors have fresh vegetables too. I cut and chop wood in the fall to heat our home all winter. About $5 worth of gasoline for my chainsaw is all it costs to heat my 4300 sq. foot home. So as a lesson to the not ambitious, a little effort can save you thousands of dollars a year. — Ken, Mo.
I live frugally but still manage to take very nice vacations each year with my husband and children. I will not do much differently during a recession because there are not many loose ends, if any, to tighten up in my family's financial plan. I do coupons and rebates and structure meals around what is on sale at the grocery store. My family of four eats out usually only once or twice a month. I save regularly but still donate regularly to charity. Right now, my city sets your water rates for the year based on your water usage in November, December and January. During this time, I do fewer loads of dishes, laundry and only flush the toilet when necessary — “If it is yellow, let it mellow. If it is brown, flush is down." My children will get two gifts each from my husband and me for Christmas. One will be from "Santa" and one from Mom and Dad. This is plenty as they get gifts from relatives, also. We have no debt(not even a mortgage) and owe money to no one. — Cindi, Kan.
Max out your credit cards on a bunch of really expensive stuff that you can sell. Then don't make any payments. After a few years, the credit card companies will start giving you more credit cards. — Hugo, Calif.
For the majority of us, the best advice is to do nothing, continue on with your life as usual. For the unfortunate few who may loose their jobs the best advice is to eliminate every discretionary expense possible and develop a strategy to mange your remaining expenses. Not all debts and creditors are equal priority. — Chris, N.Y.
Don't panic! Bankers will tell you that is what causes banks to fail, and ultimately households. Keep a clear head, don't panic buy, or panic sell. In the end it will work out. Assess your situation, then go to work. It might not hurt to have a good counselor standing by. — Vicki, Texas
As the Boy Scouts always say, "Be prepared." In this case, you should be prepared for the worst. We are on the verge of either a steady, unending downturn or a catastrophic collapse. If there were any chance for a future economic upturn, it will be more than obliterated by the adverse effects of global warming, increased population and diminishing oil. My advice is to simplify your economic footprint by selling any assets of value that you might have (including investments), eliminate any avoidable personal debt and plan a lifestyle which is significantly below your means. Most importantly, develop a network of like-thinking friends who will work together to develop a flexible strategy to survive in a more independently sustainable, agrarian way. — Joe, Minn.