Monday, February 11, 2008

Are you bracing for recession?


Remember last year, all those magazine reports of huge and excessive NY parties that seemed to echo the dot com days, pre-burst? I remember thinking, oh boy... we're just ASKING for karma to kick our asses.

Seems that the recession is here, although depending on how well situated you are this may or not be of concern. However, I don't feel like I am helping the cause. I think I am in an ok spot, but I am starting to pull back on spending. Snapping up a pair of Louboutins was an "investment" in my wardrobe just 3 months ago and now I am like, "Hmm... wonder if 9 West has a version of this." (Another telling sign was that I had been eyeing a gorgeous giant clam shell on ebay for a ridiculous price (let's just say more than the Louboutins I splurged on...yikes.) but I decided to pass. Instead, I bought a much smaller $20 version which I think I might plant with bulbs and moss. This is Decorno's way of cutting back on home splurges. Good, no?)



What about everyone out there? They always say you should have 3 - 6 months in savings in case of emergency. Do you feel ready for 9 - 12 months of a downturn? Do you feel like you have been cutting back? If so, how? Are you skimping on hair cuts & color? Holding off on planned renovation projects?

I am curious to know how everyone else is reacting to the somewhat gloomy headlines.

41 comments:

Linda said...

Todays blog is a kick in my backside. Recession is in the back of my head but, I have been spending too much money on jour new houme. The truth is, the spending could never stop, there is always an upgrade to be found. After the necessary window coverings I need to quit for a while. Although I will cut the food budget to buy for the house. Six months worth of savings - on the wish list.

Decorno said...

It's hard to cut back, esp when living in a house that needs repairs (trust me, I know). And the government would like us to keep spending, for sure. But, now is a good time for all of us, I suppose, to take a good look and decide if maybe we were spending a *wee* bit out of our income ranges and to dial it back. Our homes will still be there - problems and all - when the economy is back in high gear. Might be a good time to cook more, dine out less, and to just live with the old sofa for another year rather than order the $4000 dreamy one we've had our eyes on, right?

It might also be a good year for some hard labor, meaning, doing our own landscaping or painting or whatever, rather than hiring that out, huh?

Good luck, Linda!

LIBERTY POST EDITOR said...

I have completely stopped spending. We (my family) are only buying essentials. There is something to be said about creating/making your own design elements, clothes, art, jewelry, fashion accessories right now. Great things can happen when you are pushed to the wall. Breakthroughs, new ideas plus the added financial security. I hate recessions. Yuck.

Richie Designs said...

going to 4 weeks on my color appts. cancelled a credit card yesterday so I don't keep 3 balances instead of 2 like I should be.

getting there!

JJ said...

Did someone hijack this blog??? Do I need to call in the authorities?

Anonymous said...

I'm filling my hot tub with domestic champagne instead of the usual French. Flying first class instead of chartering. I've had to switch to 850 thread count sheets. It's hard out here for a pimp!

Decorno said...

Don't get ahead of yourself, now... there is no such thing as "domestic" champagne here in the US. :)

Anon - I like how you roll, even in a downturn!

Navy & Gray said...

Dave Ramsey is my best friend. He has the best financial advice (most of which we KNOW we sould do but it is hard to get started). He is mean but I need a good kink in the ass when it comes to money. Yall should really check him out.

Anonymous said...

Instead of champagne, you can mix Sprite and rubbing alcohol. I learned that from Rachael Ray.

Decorno said...

OMG, anon - you kill me. I can totally see her whispering this recipe while trashed at a party. And you KNOW she used to get high on whipped cream "whippets" in high school, probably in the back of someone's Camaro while driving around late at night.

I enjoy that even on a recession post, we have still found ways to sling mud at RR. :)

Anonymous said...

I may be poor, but I can still afford a dictionary.

champagne (lowercase) = white sparkling wine

Decorno said...

true, but you don't often see people labeling sparking white wine as such (upper or lower) unless it's from the proper region. Also, I am none too religious here about punctuation, grammar, or capitalization, so save your red pen for your classroom, friend.

Why so grumpy today, anon? Do you feel better now that you dropped by to spread your joyless wonder? Hope so.

Hope your day gets better soon!

fallen woman said...

just want to say i love this blog, so beautiful!

i am reigning in like mad.

can't help looking back at the last few years and the money i threw around to make the house pretty.

oh well...credit debit but pretty place to rest!

franki durbin said...

You know... I'm a financial optimist so in my opinion any downturn should be blamed on the media constantly claiming the sky is falling. But because I think they have the power to influence consumers I've cut back on my 'handbag intake' of late. Not that I don't do my fair share of damage in terms of shopping (just doing my part to stimulate the economy!) but just to be safe I'd rather have the grand in my bank than living in my closet.

pve design said...

A little turbulence to correct the balance helps to appreciate a smooth landing! Buckle up, and prepare for bumps!

jill said...

i just bought a 6 dollar hair highlighting kit at target to touch up my roots, in lieu of the $80 i normally spend at the salon.

i have to say, not such a good idea. (hello brassy). from now on the salon will not be a splurge, but a necessity.

but otherwise i'm keeping my pocketbook pretty much closed.

Jules said...

Is there a recession or do we just simply spend beyond our means? I keep hearing that the middle class (namely, me) is struggling but when I look at my middle class counterparts I see

1) Enormous McMansions
2) Escalades, Hummers, Mercedes, BMWs, Range Rovers, and a wide assortment of SUVs--all leased, of course.
3) Restaurants filled on a Tuesday night--or the SUVs circling the parking lot waiting for the "Park and Take Out" spaces to empty.
4) SAHMs dressed in $200 sweats, talking on their $300 phones, while their kids roll around in the dirt in $100 outfits from Janie and Jack.

I just think we have become such aggressive consumers. We are glutinous in our pursuit of shiny, new pretties-- And there is always a new pretty around the corner.

I was an overworked attorney who barely saw my kid. My husband and I were in the middle of a home design store ordering $20,000 worth of kitchen cabinets when he handed my son over to me so he could write out a check. My son screamed bloody murder. He simply didn't want me. Why would he? I saw him less than an hour a day. Because I was around him so infrequently, I didn't know how to calm him down and my husband had to hold him. (Turns out those cabinets cost me more than $20k.)

My heart was in a million pieces all over the floor. I quit my job and try not to look back. Every time I want a new, shiny pretty I remember my son screaming and kicking at me like I was a stranger.

It's hard. I want stuff. I like to wear nice things and have a nice house. But, two years ago I chose a different life.

There are a lot of things we "struggling" middle class possess that makes me suspect of the media's classification of our economy. The economy is cyclical, just like everything else. Right now things may be slow, but I don't think this is a true recession. So long as people stand in line overnight to buy $500 phones I take outcries of poverty with a grain of salt.

Sorry this is so long. You just struck so close to home that I couldn't help but respond. It's not witty, or snarky, and probably not remotely interesting, but it's real. I'm a middle class professional staying at home struggling to covet less. It's an excruciating adjustment, for sure.

p.s. I'm not sold on Louboutins as an investment. ;)

: ) said...

Love...your...blog!! Love-it.

The samovars, the snark, the refreshing breaths of dissent; it's all good. I'm working my way through your archives.

:)

S. said...

Recession = great opportunity to pick up some well-priced stocks. Even Warren Buffet agrees with me.

I haven't bought a new (or, even, second-hand) car for more than 15 years; Recession also = lovely chance for those of us who haven't been spending hand over fist during the past decade to pick up a used vehicle, being sold at reasonable cost by someone who overextended herself during the "good times."

Oh, my friend who works for Sotheby's says that now is an ideal time to buy lower-end auction items. Folks who can afford $50K for a dining room table won't change their spending during an economic slow-down, but those of us who would spend $1K will find a lot less competition for the pieces we want.

Anon: thanks for the lesson in Pimpology. I almost always enjoy your pearls of wisdom.

Navy & Gray said...

Well said Jules. I have not even reached 25 years here on this earth and I am well aware of what I WANT may not be worth it. For instance, I was phone shopping the other day and was ready to shell out for the Blackjack II. Then I realized I was paying $200 plus an extra $30 a month in service fees just so I could ocasionally check my Facebook page or shop online when I am not at the computer. Totally not worth it. My best friend has an iPhone (and the trust fund to match), why not just borrow hers when the urge hits to check the weather in the Bahamas. Or China.

Again, do we really NEED a new BMW or shiny new phone with all the bells and whitsles? No, but it can't hurt to want one. Maybe one day I will be able to afford that kind of stuff (even though I have never actually seen a pair of Louboutins in person, I am sure they are everything yall say they are), but not now. Right now, I will wear my $15 Target flats and rock the Old Navy skinny jeans untill they fall apart.

As my Dad always says, "Live today like no one else so that in the future, you can live like no one else."

Lisa & Alfie at The Pickled Hutch said...

Yikes, heart in throat! Yes, I feel the cutbacks but on the other end of it. (I'm pretty modest in personal spending.)
I have an eclectic little antique/collectibles store and have seen a definite upturn in the number of "browsers" and downturn in the number of "shoppers". Consumers need to keep shopping locally even if just smaller purchases to help keep us alive. Neighborhoods have to support their local merchants or it all becomes big box stores.
Sorry for the rant but feeling a bit of a squeeze right now. Ouch!
Lisa & Alfie

Tara said...

I'm not sure.....still seems to me like everyone is still driving gas guzzling cars! When I was a kid in the 70s, we were buying compacts, people do noy do that anymore!

Decorno said...

Jules - - once again you prove (like everyone else here) that I have the best blog readers (and commenters) out there. You are totally right. As long as people are waiting in lines to get their iphones, it's not that bad (although I wonder how many people are buying those on credit).

I knew this would strike a chord with people - - money and our *things* always will.

Navy & Gray - - your dad is a genius! He's got a bumber sticker business in his future. Seriously, that is a great line to remember.

S - - you're smart. And right. Whenever my company's stock falls a bit, I just tell co-workers, "Oh look... it's on sale." It's a much healthier way to look at it. May as well buy more. What goes down.... well, we all know the cliche.

Jill - good reminder that some things (like plumbing and highlights) I guess we just shouldn't take on ourselves. :)

Lisa - - *great* reminder to by local, especially now.

Thanks everyone for the lively comments... I am sure there will be more and I can't wait to hear them.

Linda said...

I am a do it yourselfer. Yard work, house cleaning, pool maintenance. We do it. We are where we are today because most renovations have been our work. We recently relocated and left our completely renovated tri-level MCM home. That was paid for. Starting over, I have no patience. I want it all now.
A great joy in my life has been reading the wonderful decor blogs. I see all of the extraordinarily beautiful interiors and I feel like I need to get busy. This reality check and another recent blog about your pending projects made my perfect fantasy more real. I will work with making what I have the best it can be. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Cheer up everyone... the average length of a recession is 10 months, and it takes 2 fiscal quarters of downturn to be called officially a recession, meaning that once it is realized to be one, it is usually half over! I work for a brokerage firm and we are optimists, basing our optimism on similar times in history. This is a correction, and stocks and mutual funds are now at "on sale" prices, so I'm adding to my investment portfolio in the hope that when the market begins it's upturn I will see a profit.

eeps. said...

i've been in denial about a recession, but now i'm feeling it, especially since my company is expecting a major reorganization in about 9 months to a year. so either way, i'm bracing for something big to change in my financial situation. i've been fighting credit card debt since november, so i've been curbing my spending for months now. but with the news about the recession, i've decided to continue my shopping diet just in case. i was going to buy an iphone in august once my plan runs out just because it looks so purdy, but now i've come to my senses and will be buying a regular ol' cellphone for $99 max. i have a better place to put my money.

Brilliant Asylum said...

This is the kind of thing that makes me happy that I have always been thoughtfully frugal. If the prices fall, I can get even more bang for my buck.

Anonymous said...

I prefer thoughtfully extravagant.

S. said...

Interesting. I've been reading "Richistan" (http://blogs.wsj.com/wealth/2007/06/05/why-richistan-why-now/) and it seems that people who should be extremely comfortable are instead pinched and anxious because they insist on a new BMW every 5 years, holidays to only the trendiest boutique hotels and dining out instead of learning how to use their shiny restaurant-quality stoves.

While I certainly love my luxuries, maybe now is a good time to remind ourselves that it's not necessary to follow the other lemmings all the way into the depths of debt. Now we can learn to can spoil ourselves by splurging on a vintage mercedes instead of the new bimmer, or buying vintage linen sheets and renting a few DVDs instead of jetting to St. Maarten for the weekend.

It demonstrates class, not to mention personal style and smarts, to break away from the pack and live a swell life with swell things on our own terms.

Anonymous said...

This was a dinner party discussion last week. I am very prepared to give up 'things' but not quality of time or experience. The last thing I am going to give up is my cleaning person every other week. The BEST investment I ever made in my mental health.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post! I'm curious if designers are feeling a down turn/pull back from their clients. Seems as though everyone is concentrating on only purchasing the essentials.

Habitually Chic said...

I am trying to cut back in small ways like cancelling my HBO cable package because I never watched anything and it was a waste of $35 a month. But there is so many wealthy people in NYC that it's hard to see too many people cutting back. I do hope that more people will stop buying handbags that cost more than $1000 so companies will finally drop their ridiculous prices.

katiedid said...

Nope. Spring Break, Maui. Bring on the spray tan.

Me, Myself & I said...

Sorry, Navy & White...me & hubby really NEEDED the 2 Bimmers this year (just bought 2 within the last 9 months...the newest about 3 weeks ago). Maybe I should be a little more concerned but I feel were are in a good position to ride out the bumps. I am very fortunate...budget (it's the "B" word in my house) is not in my vocabulary but maybe, after reading this, should be.

Shannon said...

I flippin love this blog. This is the first time I've ever read a design blog that reminded me to go mess with my Roth IRA.

I don't know that an impending recession has much to do with it, or more that I'm a single woman, but I've been feeling very motivated lately to pay my baby mortgage down.

That's not going to keep me from taking a nice trip and buying a new bed, but it's definitely moved ahead of a new couch and an automatic garage door.

Anonymous said...

Shannon and "Me" raise a good question: If you're doing well during a recession, should you (a) hunker down and save as much as you can anyway, or (b) spend as much as comfortably can, doing your part to help the economy?

what's in a name? said...

After reading this post and the comments thus far, some make good points, and some leave me in stitches (which is one of the reasons I love this blog.)

I say, if you are going to color your hair, please leave it to the professionals. If you can afford good housekeepers, that extra time you gain is money. But if you can manage to drive your energy efficient car while it is still under warranty and is paid off - then there is a perfectly sensible way to save money.

House expenditures can wait, but there, at least, you are putting money into an appreciating asset (or eventually appreciating!) But if you are skilled enough to "do it yourself," find the time and do it!

And cheers to Jules for making a very hard decision! And I insist we use real Champagne!

Anonymous said...

If it makes people vote Democrat, I support it.

the waites said...

great post! i really enjoyed reading everyones comments as well. I am always trying to save even before the recession so its not that hard of an adjustment. (husbands in dental school) suneday.blogspot.com

Iheartfashion said...

I'm dealing with the impending (or is it already here?) recession by remaining completely in denial. Lalalalalala...I can't hear you!
Still spending madly...frugality doesn't come naturally to me.

Anonymous said...

This sounds terrible and I know its an old post, but I've been waiting and waiting for a recession so I can get a decent carpenter /electrician
/plumber to do the jobs I've been waiting to do. Now they're calling me anxiously. Its great!