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Economic News That's Not (Too) Depressing!

Ylan Mui

I've started affectionately calling this era my No Depression Recession because I'm tired of feeling financially defeated all the time. Apparently, I'm not alone.

Last night, Discover card released the results of a new poll (PDF) taken last month that showed more Americans feel the economy is improving -- even though the majority still thinks tough times are still ahead.

In February, a record low of 8 percent of adults in the survey felt like things were getting better and 70 percent thought we were still headed down the tube. In March, those figures rose to 15 percent who were optimistic and 61 percent who were skeptical.

Of course, we're still cutting back our spending regardless. About 28 percent of consumers surveyed said they were spending less in March compared to 17 percent who were spending more. (Who are you people and can you adopt me?)

Where do you all stand? My friends and I constantly debate whether we've turned a corner or whether we're still on the expressway to economic calamity. Thoughts?

By Ylan Mui  |  April 9, 2009; 1:12 PM ET
Categories:  Consumer News , Ylan Q. Mui  
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Next: Young Adults Cope with the Recession


See the problem is that people were spending more than they had or not saving when the economic crisis hit. That's why people have cut back - if you have money in the bank, you don't cut back.

I'm probably spending more now than before but that doesn't mean I'm foolishly spending money on crap that I don't use.

Posted by: cmecyclist | April 9, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

A comment from yesterday's morning post (comments were closed): "Of course, the truly frugal option is to just invite your friends over and fry up a few eggs! Actually, the truly frugal option would be to go over to someone else's house and eat their eggs for free. But don't tell them we said that!"

The first option is frugal, the second option is cheap. There is a fine, but important, line between the two. Frugal is a good thing, but cheap is generally rude, tackey, or otherwise taking advantage of people. Simple example - using cloth napkins: frugal. Taking handfuls of napkins from a fast food restruant so you don't have to buy them: cheap.

As far as today's post, my husband works in construction for a small company. Its clear, at least there, that things are not looking up. His job is safe right now, but we are saving up because we have no idea what will happen in 6 weeks when he finishes this project. I also think that the crews on the site (he is a foreman for one trade) are dragging their feet partially for fear of what happens when they finish the building.

Posted by: rubytuesday | April 10, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

@Rubytuesday: Hmmm, I like your distinction between what is frugal and what is cheap. Definitely worth some more thought and discussion. Anyone else have ideas on where the line between frugal and cheap is? (Though I do admit to taking handfuls of napkins from Starbucks, etc., to keep at my desk for lunches spent at the keyboard.)

As for your second comment, it sounds like things are still really tough for you and your hubby. You are smart to start saving now! What are you doing to sock away cash? Have you all been making a financial plan B?

Posted by: ylanmui | April 10, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I do have some Wawa napkins in my desk drawer, too. But I was referring to it more as a substitute for ever buying napkins. Ketchup packets is another example. Or following a tour group by about 15 feet so as to get the narrations for free. All "frugal" tips I've read somewhere or other. I've been a thrifty/frugal person for years. I read the Tightwad Gazette books for fun while in college. She has lots of good tips, but some that are also ridculous!

Posted by: rubytuesday | April 10, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

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