November 21st, 2008
02:35 PM GMT
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Ever wondered why we are so worried about falling prices? And how worrying about them can become part of the problem?

Can a simple sofa lead to bigger problems?
Can a simple sofa lead to bigger problems?

Let me offer my own, real experience: I was going to buy a new sofa this month. I have found the one I like in the color I want

I suddenly realized: Hey, prices are falling. I can make do with my old one until the replacement becomes cheaper, or I will buy it in the January sales, when I might get a bargain.

So this month I haven't bought the sofa. The shop didn't get the sale. The factory didn't get the order.

The same may happen next month, and the month after. Certainly I want a new sofa, but I don't want to find the same chair cheaper in a month or two's time.

Of course, by this time the economy will have worsened and I may be more concerned about saving for even worse times ahead - at this rate, the dratted sofa may not get bought until next summer.

Multiply my decision by everyone else and you see how the economic crises - coupled with falling prices - is disastrous.

Now tell me, what changes in shopping or economc decisions have YOU made that, if multiplied, will have a major effect? What purchases are you putting off? What vacations are you not taking, and what home improvements have you delayed?

Let me know, so we can truly see the size and scale of this problem. Watch Jasmine Birtles of Money answer your questions and comments.

soundoff (60 Responses)




    November 21, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  2. Chad

    I'm putting off moving my family of five back to the US–forever. In the country I live, I can get a loan for a new house. In the States, I can't–despite good credit and money for a downpayment.

    November 21, 2008 at 3:36 pm |
  3. Keith Hatcher, La Rioja, Spain

    Absolutely right, Mr. Quest.
    It is not just the crisis per se – financial institutions breaking down – but ordinary people in the street who generate their own crisis from fear of the "big" crisis.
    Here in rural Spain people are holding back and not spending; toys sales are going to plummet at Christmas; small businessmen are afraid to launch out into new business: they bide their time waiting for things to pick up.
    Meanwhile we have generated our own "local" crisis, and as a result the queues in the local unemployment office have grown, people aren't dining out so much, things like that. Catastrophic.

    November 21, 2008 at 4:36 pm |
  4. LeePsycho

    Well I have not purchased those new shoes, nor have I purchased that new shirt or pair of trousers. Sorry Tie manufacturers you probably will never see me, because I never wear them.

    Dinners out have gone on the old back burner too!

    November 21, 2008 at 5:07 pm |
  5. d. griffith

    I'm a baby boomer(50 yrs.). At this time in my life I don't have many wants. I'm smelling the roses and tasting the coffee. I don't have any clocks ticking. I feel like I been there done that. Being in the largest consumer group I guess this could have a major effect on the economy.

    November 21, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
  6. Pantelis

    I was going to buy an appartment in Berlin last Christmas, but I thought I'd wait and see the trend for a few months. I have been getting lower and lower offers now from apparently desparate British firms who have rennovated buildings that no one is buying now.

    So a Cypriot living in Cyprus is waiting for the extra pressure to make a British who invested in Germany, drop the prices for property in Berlin.

    Next, I am getting a Toyota Tundra truck as soon as things get tighter in the US.

    By the way, if they bail out the US auto makers, will those firms then start producing cars and sell them for profit? So, if I understand, the US citizens will give money to the auto industry to build cars and sell them back to them for a profit. Hmmm....

    November 21, 2008 at 7:36 pm |
  7. Jerry Muse

    What can anyone due but put off all the extra curricular activities, that would involve expending money, I'm a Plumbing Contractor and haven't been with out work since 1970, now with the housing disaster, that has all but completely shut down the Construction Industry, I haven't worked in 9 months, and surely can't afford to spend on anything but the basic's of life. My fear is if the financial situation this Country is facing dosen't turn around soon, we won't even be able to afford those.
    I'm sure that my fears are shared by many, and the ansewers we are recieving from those in Government are really not all that comforting.
    Hopefully the tide will turn soon, and the Citizens of this Country can again Prosper, its a scary situation for all of us

    November 21, 2008 at 8:18 pm |
  8. nathan

    i dont know why bush sign the unemployment bill exstention people that where allready laid off cant receive it till next year what about know and im fed up with the nj courior post its races atitude about camden nj calling people coollaid drinking criminals they dont know but 80 percent of the drug buyers plus 90percent dop yousers in camden nj are white people most black people i know smoke weed are drink so to all courior post readers dont waste your money on there lies they didnot seport obama so we should not seport them with there races views.

    November 21, 2008 at 8:27 pm |
  9. Uma in Liverpool, UK

    Why yes, Mr Quest, I'm sitting quite uncomfortably, thank you for asking. I'm actually sitting on a dirt-cheap foam-thingy from Argos' Clearance section. It's ugly as sin, but it's a thingy that works as both a chair and a bed.

    It is much less like camping, than sleeping on an air-mattress.

    I have postponed and postponed buying white goods (large kitchen appliances, like a 'fridge, or a washer-dryer – to those in the USA). My flat did not come with them - unlike flats in the States - and after nearly three years, I have yet to buy anything bigger than a microwave.

    I am hoping to find sales on energy-efficient (which means expensive, new) white goods, come January sales. Perhaps the prices will have come down, by then.

    I have no choice but to purchase more carpet, but I am waiting again, for the January sales.

    I've been doing my wash in the bath for nearly three years. I can continue doing it in the bath if need be. It's not agreeable, but I don't consider myself 'poor'. I have seen real poverty. My mother is from India. I have seen how people there lived, in the street. I have hot water and enough to eat. I am not in a position to complain.

    By January, the world economy could have been decimated, by the impact of the US' Big Three auto-makers, liquidating and making like an enormous lava-spewing crater.

    Those 'Country First' Republicans in the US Congress might want to start thinking about their country, instead of their personal peeves!

    If my Benefits are cut, then, I will be in a position to complain. Of course, I shan't have an Internet connection, because that is my big, expensive luxury, so I shan't be complaining here.

    November 22, 2008 at 12:03 am |
  10. Randy Berry

    I understand the problem completly or I would not have built a spec house during the worst real estate market since the Great depression. I have told all my friends to go out and buy like always to help speed up americas recovery but everyone is afraid of doing anything. I think that this tyhe besty time anyone alive will ever have to buy real estate this cheap. I have tried to explain that the people that lived in the foreclosed homes are still alive meaning that they still need a home they just lost the one they were in. I don't see how buying real estate now could be anything but smart with the woprlds population doubling buy the year 2025 the law of economics will have to take home prices back up. I don't think our government needs to help the banks or the big 3 auto makers because it is not fair to help them while all the small business struggle during this recession we are in.[ yes I said it the R WORD because we are in one] The small business's didn't cause the problem but they are hurting just the same but no one is giving them a handout. The mortage brokers that didn't care about the consumer and gave them any kind of interest rate they could get them to accept need to be held accountable for their actions with fines and jail time. We have got start making those stealing from our poorer citizens 401k or any other way big business has robbed the working class. When we start punishing companies that do these dispicable thing then perhaps we want have these problems again. Thank you for allowing me to vent CNN Iove you guys keep our government in check you are our last protection from them

    November 22, 2008 at 5:51 am |
  11. Great Chinese

    I will have to put the Nintendo Wii game set off my wish list for now, or for as long as the recession lasts.

    New clothes ? Nah
    New shoes ? Until my old ones go beyond repair
    Movies ? Once in a while
    Pop-corn ? Nope Nope !
    Transport ? Metro and Buses
    Food ? Cheap and filling choices, no more restaurants
    Savings ? Convert my Singapore Dollars to Chinese RMB

    Fear ? Big Time !

    My simple joy in life now is really to stay home, watch CNN and be charmed by Richard Quest's heartrob sunshine smile !

    Ching, from Singapore

    November 22, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  12. Darwin

    It seems like just five minutes ago we were all bamboozled with threats of hyper-inflation, now the flavour of the month is deflation.

    Can the central banks around the globe be blamed for not acting quickly enough or for not having the necessary forsight? I think so, particularly in the case of Mr. Trichet and his chums at the ECB (and he still rants on about "inflationary threats").

    As regards to spending; I mentioned on this site some weeks ago that, despite my financial position not changing for the worse, and not likely to, I find myself drawn into this cyclonic whirl of cutting back. I use the car a lot less, have started buying supermarket own brands, think twice before making even the smallest of 'non essential' purchases. What my behaviour depicts really boils down to lack of confidence; no matter how much I tell myself that I'm doing ok and will probably continue doing so in the forseeable future, I can't shake off this remote sensation of impending doom. Yes, I have been sucked in.

    So now we can begin to get a picture of the whole situation, that is assuming that my behavioural patterns are being duplicated by people in similar circumstances; if the 'don't need to cut back' crowd are cutting back, then what the hell are the 'do need to cut back' crowd doing?

    It is a grim situation that needs but mere patience for those interest rate cuts to filter through, as well as capital injections etc, and let's not forget the all important property valuations – they're a real confidence booster, as our cousins in the US know only too well. However, we have all been dealt a severe blow, some have been wounded more deeply than others and this will leave a scar for some time to come. This, we assume, means that those few extra shekles in our pockets as a result of those interest rate cuts probably won't see the light of day untill we get clear messages that normal service has resumed.


    November 22, 2008 at 6:06 pm |
  13. reader

    I have made no change,nor it is probable with any in the future.However I have been living frugally for years,walking and cycling more often than driving,buying only neceessities etc.Surely there is something wrong with economies built on producing and buying things we don`t really need.

    November 22, 2008 at 8:54 pm |
  14. Robert McIntyre

    I guess I'm just too undereducated to understand the logic behind giving all the financial "aid" to the very people who put us in this position. They have built their empires on the backs of those who actually produce something. They produce nothing of value without the "producers" accomplish their work FIRST. Maybe we need to invest in the infrastructure first.
    With very little imagination one should be able to see many of the ramifications of that approach. Just keep the "bankers" out!!

    November 22, 2008 at 11:07 pm |
  15. aman rai

    your entry addresses a very small part of a very large problem. in fact, you don't even touch on the core issue.

    1. if you _really needed_ the sofa, you'd have bought it this month. the fact that you didn't means that you can and have postponed making the decision to purchase, which is wise, because you've saved some money. you probably _want_ a new sofa, but you can live just as well without one.

    2. true, the decision to not buy the sofa impacts the manufacturer and everyone on his supply chain. and true, everyone postponing their decisions will have a huge impact. but think of it this way, if the entire economy is based on people buying things they _dont_ need, then are you really preserving something worthwhile by asking people to spend?

    3. if _all_ people stopped buying things they don't _need_, they may have money for the things they do actually need. also, your not buying a sofa today does impact in another way too... through simple supply and demand. if demand comes down and supply is high, prices will come down. this doesn't occur only at the retailers end... it has an impact on the whole economy. (think of how the price of oil has been impacted by a reduction in the manufacture of cars, and the perceived lack of demand for excess energy for all those SUV's that are quickly going out of style.)

    i think not buying that sofa was a wise decision.

    November 22, 2008 at 11:19 pm |
  16. A

    I lost my job recently, but even before then, I stopped shopping for clothes or shoes at all because shopping will lead to buying. I buy only the basics at the grocery store. I planned to get a dog this year, but that will have to wait as well. I also set the thermostat about 3 degrees lower than I would normally set it. NO entertainment (no movies, no restaurants) and NO unnecessary car trips!

    November 24, 2008 at 3:04 am |
  17. Rafael

    Richard, I'm in the same situation. I want to buy a new car since mine is more than 5 years old but I'm waiting for January so I can get some bargain after xmas sale. But, since I got hit but the downturn in Bovespa (Brazil's stock exchange), why should I behave different? Why should you?



    November 24, 2008 at 10:38 am |
  18. Peter

    If you really needed that Sofa you would have bought it by now – never mind if it will be cheaper in 1 or 2 months. What will happen if people think this way collectively is that the factory manufacturing that Sofa will close, and then the sofa will be gone. Yes, someone else will eventually take their place – but you will pay dearly for it next time.
    My advice – buy the Sofa today – and stop adding to the worries.

    November 24, 2008 at 12:59 pm |
  19. Uma in Liverpool, UK

    @ Rafael

    Your car is five years old so you want a new one? Is it one of those disposable, American cars? Or are you rich? Or do you just have a habit of changing cars every few years? This is a concept I don't grasp.

    I lived with someone, in the early '90s, who drove a 1978 Toyota pickup, that was twenty-four years old. The odometer had ticked over four times. There were well over 400,000 miles on that truck. During our four years together, we added another 100,000. By then, it was a twenty-eight year old truck.

    It was not a 'vintage' vehicle. Just a well-made, serviceable, old, Japanese, small pickup-truck. I'd say very well-made, but that's been my experience with Japanese and German vehicles from the 1970s.

    An example of needIing a new vehicle: I had a Datsun, that was worn-out. It was badly rusted, so I tried to remove the rust, with 'Naval Jelly' - looks like strawberry ice-cream - eats rust. 'Orrible stuff. The entire body of the car crumbled into chunks! That one needed replacement. Nightmare hunk of junk, but it did what I bought it to do.

    Nearly ALL the time, the question 'do I actually need Thingy?' can be answered with a 'No', because if you did, you'd have got it, as several people correctly pointed out.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:03 pm |
  20. Leedox

    Putting off buying a new washer and dryer. Old washer is shredding my clothes.
    I lived on a kibbutz for 3 years and I was amazed at how little I needed to be happy. When I returned home I was shocked at how much 'stuff' was in the stores and how much choice there was. I recently felt the same way when I went back to Canada for the first time in seven years from Australia. I was amazed at how much choice and stuff there was in all the stores. Not that there isn't any choice in Aussie stores but the sheer volume of items is considerably lower. Overconsumption is a habit for most people and I think most people will actually find the habit easier to break than they thought.

    November 25, 2008 at 10:34 pm |
  21. H in USA

    Does no one understand that we have created a totally unsustainable world economy? Production and consumption must grow exponentially each year or the whole house of cards collapses. There are more cars on the road in the US than there are licensed drivers to use them. Many homes have a television set in every room. There are people with multiple cell phones. Economists have said for decades that Americans must consume less and save more, but when consumption fails to rise 3 or 4 percent per year, civilization as we know it seems threatened with collapse. Once, we produced goods and services to meet the needs and desires of people couid actually use or enjoy them. Now, we must consume an ever-growing supply of goods and services simply to keep the world as we know it from collapsing into ruin. Now, how long can this go on?

    As for myself, I haven't put off purchasing any thing I need or want; there just isn't anything I need or want right now. I am perfectly content with my 6 year old car. I can only watch one television at a time, so the one I have is just fine. I have all the clothes I need, and I have plenty of ways to entertain myself without rushing out to buy the latest toy.

    November 25, 2008 at 11:34 pm |
  22. Asbjorn Hansen

    Dear Richard,

    I have done two things that, if multiplied, will affect the future, One is being strictly in cash. A dangerous tendency not to be copied on a grand scale.

    But my other act has been to invest in people rather than instruments to get us all out of the mess created by haughty financiers. Through Grameen Micro Finance, and although I will never receive my money back I have contributed to something with a real multiplication factor.

    It took four years to bring Dow Jones from 1000 to 14000, and just one year to bring it down to 8000. It would be fair to assume that profits came only to promoters, investment advisers, builders. And that millions will face lost savings or homes. Consumers, however, who have everything, fluous as well as superfluous, are induced to spend evermore. Yet a promise of 800 billion in consumer finance took barely 3 days for optimisme to vanish again.

    Consider for a moment the considerable potential of repeating the recent changes from poverty and indolence to wealth and dynamisme of some countries, take Spain, Russia, Poland... there are numerous examples... in Africa, Banghla Desh, Palestine, etc. By investing in people rather than financial instruments.

    I would suggest that the investment of 75$ in a poor but enterprising third world inhabitant multiplies faster than most financial instruments. And that is exactly what Grameen Foundation Micro Finance does. How much to eradicate hunger? Maybe more than 800 billions, but better spent, and with a more promising chain reaction. Money begets money...and many undesireable changes as well, but when we talk of billions of people being under-utilised potential, then the point would be worth making on a grand scale: Throw money at problems and it multiplies.

    November 26, 2008 at 5:48 pm |
  23. patricia dimmick

    my home is need of foundation repair and i can't afford to fix this problem why haven't the food prices and energy prices gone down they plamed the increase on transportation cost well wake up people the price of gas has come down deasel included so why not bring the prices back down so people can afford to live and pay there bills or maybe Obama can give us help instead of giving up another 700 billion make everyone a millionare they pay taxes on that it would only cost about 400 billion and the govt would get the taxes costing even less oh yea keep the poor poorer not everyone is equal

    November 27, 2008 at 2:41 am |
  24. Kelly

    yes, our household is putting off buying some new furniture and a car we're definately waiting. Why buy something today when the price will be lower next month. I listen to my broker to buy a on sale stock only to have the value drop to an even better sale. I'm paying down my debt as the only thing that hasn't dropped is our interest rates on our debt. Yet the banks are getting all this help, why can't they help main street with our debt?

    November 27, 2008 at 5:33 am |
  25. Volney Hildreth

    Due to economic conditions, ie stock market, housing prices and business outlook have reduced expenses in areas that hopefully have least inçmpact on quality of life. Reductions have ocured in gas consumption, eating out, downgrading in clothing purchases as to both quality and quantity and only buying when on sale from reputable retailers. Have also reduced houshold staff and atempted to control household expenses by being less demanding in what is served.

    November 27, 2008 at 12:05 pm |
  26. dion2007

    As long as we don't see people cueing for food hand outs, we're fine and this whole thing is blown out of proportion, hence it will pass without major consequences.

    November 27, 2008 at 1:20 pm |
  27. Cathy

    Sittin' pretty? No, but 2 yrs ago ...pretty much .... it's lookin' more and more like the very extremist greed that has devastated capitalism (the wolves ate themselves) and now the "rush" to "save us all" cry from Washington will be borne completely by the middle middle class and upper middle class and I don't think it'll take more than a yr to 18 mo to break their backs and then what? We need to all pray for our country right alongside ourselves and ours .... no bandaids indeed!

    Oh, and let's not even consider whether our generous friend, China, is willing to buy our "new money" ...without this, oh my ...rampant inflation, deflation of the # and more ...ask economists what this would mean for the USA

    November 29, 2008 at 8:19 am |
  28. JM

    I'm not waiting for a lower price- I'm waiting to exhale.

    The auto manufacturers weren't the only companies that failed to save for a rainy day. Employers (and not only mine) are tightening their belts. By tightening their belts I mean they have a new-found ability to find faultswhere none existed (or were mentioned) before (such faults leading to being fired rather than being warned) – that or if an exployer needs to cull a significant number of people they'll go the honest route and admitting the coffers are simply empty. Either way, I'm not thinking about a new couch or new coat or anything else other than paying for food and rent right now, no matter how low the prices go. If I am let go from my job– *in this job market*- I'll need every penny I have saved.

    single, 35yrs old – and at least at the moment, earning 6 figures...

    November 29, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  29. deepak

    Hi Richard

    US economic crisis affected all over the world, but thank god my country is out of it..but not 100%. my country economist think this crisis may affected tourism & remittance sector. we nepali can sit in sofa without country is developing nation & there is no such big big companies investment here as well as our investments in this crisis bring headache for many americans & made to think about there future & nation they will not think of buying sofa....

    November 29, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  30. chaup

    I believe this so-called recession is over exagerated. I went to the malls and the restaurants I frequented (not those highend ones, mind you) and they are as crowded as ever. The planes are all full and the freeways are as crowded as ever. So I don't beleive there is a downturn in our economy. But take advantage of the lower prices. Once people find out our economy is as strong as ever, the price will go back up.

    November 29, 2008 at 5:42 pm |
  31. Michael Tye

    Hi Richard, I now will not pay the asking price for large items without a lot of haggling and then only if I really need them, so I too am adding to the recession. Regards Mike.

    November 29, 2008 at 9:17 pm |
  32. Chamara

    I think it's valuable to look what the richest people do in this economic situation as well as the normal average people do. I think it is very important to see what they are buying and how they are shopping....I think comparing average person they are not contributing to the market enough. I think it's time to them to be patriotic and buy some Rolls-Royce, Porsches and contribute, like they want that bail-outs. And put some gas into the economy.

    December 1, 2008 at 9:05 am |
  33. Laura, Geneva

    I am not working right now (not by choice), so what's the point of buying lots of clothing that I won't wear anyway? And the clothes I WOULD wear–it's so much of a problem for me to find stuff I can fit into here that it's not worth the bother. I have decided instead to spend my money where it really counts–on making myself better. I try to buy more fresh–whatever is in season–fruits and vegetables, less meat, more whole grains and fewer sweets. I am working out at least 3 times a week. And I am considering taking some courses on-line to beef up my skills while I am looking for work.

    But I have decided that I will buy a Christmas tree this year. I need a little holiday joy...

    December 1, 2008 at 9:24 am |
  34. Kirk

    Oh, get real, Quest. Like you can't afford a new couch with what you make? You're the kind of people who are making the economic situation worse: you can afford to spend but you won't. I'm a mere middle-classer, but I just bought a new car (October) and a TV (November). I can afford them, and I needed them, so why wait? (And I got good deals on them: 10% off sticker on the car, and 0% financing, and a 10% rebate in vouchers for the TV.)

    December 2, 2008 at 9:25 am |
  35. Sam in Spain

    You ask very simple questions that will of course bear on the recovery of the financial system. Being a Pensioner, I can inform you that I am not planning to spend any money on anything but food, gas, electricity and water. Of course, I also have to spend on housing BUT THAT'S THE LOT.

    Living in Spain, I am being hit in two ways, 1) The poor increase in Pension rises but mainly the fall in the value of the £ against the euro.
    Last year at this time the exchange rate was approx. 0.68 and to-day it is now 0.85 so the pension increase is already gone. Bank intereswt base as you know 3% but I expect at the next meeting for it to drop by 1%.

    That of course means that what funds I have in savings will further go down following interest rates.

    I have had a holiday recently to Paris (first in 4 years) so no further holidays are planned. The main object is to live within my income, have no debts, no credit or debit cards that can not be paid off FULLY
    on a monthly basis.

    At the present time things are under control, however I expect my situation to depreciate as the economies in the world fall further with
    no return to normal until at least 2011. I also expect the FTSE to hit a low of 3500.

    In the meantime it is just Eat, sleep, walk and maintain my spending less than my income.

    Go and buy your sofa if you can afford it, I'm sure that it will not affect your funds.

    December 2, 2008 at 9:38 am |
  36. Marc

    I would like a new sofa too, But because i make so little per hour that i would have to take out a loan to buy it.
    My company gave the top executives a raise and the stock holders. But us, the workers, cant get a raise in pay, because of a pay freeze.
    And that has been for the last five years that i have been here.

    December 2, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  37. Nisha Rawat

    Absolutely right Mr. Quest, I did postpone my plan to learn Guitar. Don't have excess money for recreation.

    December 2, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  38. Nimal F

    If every body delays purchases like the couple referred in the article it invariably will result in deepening of the recession
    But some who will loose their jobs will have to delay their purchases
    Fortunately In Sri lanka where I live the situation is not as bad as some of the developed countries There will be some secondary impact but there will be a positive side too.
    I was planning to make use of the oppotunity to travel to neighbouring countries but what happened in Mumbai has made me think twice.
    The demand for foreign travel from the developed world will decrease
    and foreign travel should become cheaper over the next few months. Hopefully Petroleum prices will remain at these levels
    as apart of the adjustment process there will also be some shift in economic activity towards developing countries with comparative advantage for producing some goods and services .

    December 2, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  39. sandeep murarka,nepal

    i planned to marry my daughter till december, but as there is a period of recession and prices are falling i thought its not the right time to marry her.
    i planned to marry her mid 2009 as the expences are going to be lower

    December 2, 2008 at 4:53 pm |
  40. carolina girl

    I'm a US citizen living in South Korea, Last year it was a great deal to live here.The exchange rate was ok and I was able to live better then I was in the USA off of the same salary.

    But now with the money crisis, the exchange rate is outrageous! If I keep my money in Korean won I'm ok but changing it to dollars I lose out big time! For example 2,100,000.00 KRW = 1,429.059 USD . Last year the amounts were almost 2,100,000.00=2200 usd.

    So now I am wondering should I come home and face making about the same money but having higher expenses, or should I stay and sit things out?

    Please advise!

    December 3, 2008 at 11:45 am |
  41. Gina

    I bought a GPS last month it now costs $100 less. I remodeled my home but my home had gone down in value for about 35%. The scariest is that I'm in real-estate related business and I had not income for almost a year now. All my savings and cash are about to be gone. And I am not alone.

    So, how is the economy going to recover?? How soon can I recover?? How can I keep on paying interests on things, including my house, that 's already deflated and will continue dropping?? You're not alone, I will not buy sofa. Probably just cushions for sitting on the floor. I will not buy a car in 5-10 years, so, how the car makers going to survive without customers??? More than 1 out 5 homeowners are in financial trouble.

    The goverment should discount all homes in the US instead of giving tax payers' hard-earned money to Biggies. We all know that they never will give back. It should be, for the people, of the people and by the people, in that order.

    Confucius said something like: if your people are OK you governors are OK. No politicians will admit at least that's a good PHYLOSOPHY.

    December 3, 2008 at 1:51 pm |
  42. Gina

    I bought a GPS last month it now costs $100 less. I remodeled my home but my home had gond down in value for about 35%. The scariest is that I'm in real-estate related business and I had not income for almost a year now. All my savings and cash are about to be gone. And I am not alone.

    So, how is the economy going to recover?? How soon can I recover?? How can I keep on paying interests on things, including my house, that 's already deflated and will continue dropping?? You're not alone, I will not buy sofa. Prabably just cushions for sitting on the floor. I will not buy a car in 5-10 years, so, how the car makers going to survive without customers??? More than 1 out 5 homeowners are in financial trouble.

    The goverment should discount all homes in the US instead of giving tax payers' hard-earned money to Biggies. We all know that they never will give back. It should be, for the peole, of the people and by the people, in that order.

    Confucious said something like: if your people are OK you governors are OK. No politicians will admit at least that's a good PHYLOSOPHY.

    December 3, 2008 at 1:52 pm |
  43. RL

    Everyone loves a good deal. During inflation, we buy today to save money because price will go up tomorrow. Now with deflation, it is human nature to do the reverse. Go out and spend more now is not a very good proposal as most of us see our wealth disappeared during the past few months, and our debts remain very high.

    December 3, 2008 at 7:33 pm |
  44. Farhat Haniff

    I never bought anything online for cheaper price, but i think with the current creddit crunch, i think ebay would be a good start. But on the other hand, the price of postage and transport will add up more, so i guess i just have to be patient and wait till im only left with one pixel on the TV.

    December 3, 2008 at 8:00 pm |
  45. Hans

    I have simply stopped any shopping. Of course I enjoy healthy organic local food- Besides that there is no need for luxury items – happy life needs to money nor luxury items – just love and a bunch of really nice people and best friends !

    Besides my luxury item stop – I have invested in my job to stabilize and further improve my work success and work efficiency. My freelance work is UP despite the crisis, mostly thanks to decades-long wise approach, living free of credits and very restrictive expense policy.

    Many items we bought in the past have been but a substitute for true love, true friends and a family like environment.

    The less we spend, the less we have to earn for living happily and the more time we have for our family and true friends ...

    as a side effect – the less our planet suffers because with less consumption also comes less production resulting in far less environment pollution. Hence the current economy crisis is a huge blessing for the entire planet. People just have to understand and learn to live the new situation.

    December 3, 2008 at 8:11 pm |
  46. Mr. Optimistic

    Am I waiting to make purchases right now? No. I have saved well, and I have no worries right now. Prices reflect supply & demand, and thus aren't fixed. "Waiting" for the right moment to buy is the most hokey, superstitious thing I have ever heard of. How will you know when it is "time"? It's just not possible. So just go for it! Decide if you can afford to make the purchase at the existing price, and do it!

    Then again, I dont play the lottery, and I don't believe in beating the odds in a game of chance with skill, in the long run. Someone always wins, but it was still a million to one odds that person defied.

    Is it a surprise that people are now saving though? No. Is it going to help the economy? Not in the short term. But, somehow, at some time, we have to stop the cycle of living beyond our means. Most people already have too much stuff anyway.

    December 3, 2008 at 9:26 pm |
  47. Uma in Liverpool, UK

    It's a wee chilly, here in England. My boiler isn't making central heat. I have seized the moment, and caught 'flu! Staying in bed is nice and warm.

    Curiously, I did just buy a 'sofa'. Well, all right. It's a very large bean-bag. I needed it. I am underfurnished.

    No heating means I'm not spending any money on gas. I must get that fixed. It's not going to be this month. For some reason, my hot water works. Just no central heat. I'm not bothered. It's usually above 10 degrees, indoors. I have microwavable booties, and can always put on more layers.

    People survived British Winters before central heat was invented. It's all very bracing, what?

    BTW, I thoroughly agree with someone above, who said recreation was seeing your striking face on the telly! You really missed your calling as a character actor! You, and another presenter, whom I quite fancy, make me not even notice the lack of central heat! ;-)

    Honnient soient, qui mal-y-pensent LOL

    December 3, 2008 at 10:29 pm |
  48. Jessica Glz.

    Well i understand the whole sofa delay thing, i mean were all delaying on stuff of our own. i try not to spend as much as i used to on things that i dont need. for example fast foods, things here n there, etc. now i want to save the money for a later use, maybe i'll need it later on. based on what the U.S. is going through at this time, our economy is worse than ever. this affects everyone by the minute.

    December 4, 2008 at 7:00 am |
  49. Mary Syme

    What about the car companies that are not in Washington begging for money?!! Maybe their CEO's had foresight. This energy crisis was predicted back in the 60's but did the big 3 get it? Just like Wall Street and Big Banking, millions of $'s were paid to people who falsely assumed that money made them smarter than everyone else. Common sense is innate and Congress should see through their sham! Not good thinking when they arrived in corporate jets to ask Congress for bailout money the first time. Big buckaroos with no commonsense and they're about to get paid at the expense of workers. Without workers, who would they be? I'll betcha if someone talks to someone on the assemly line the big three wouldn't be in this predicament.. Next is the predatory credit card industry!

    December 4, 2008 at 7:08 am |
  50. G. Green

    the major problem being missed to help boost the economy falls with one group and one area: the middle class mortgage rate.
    Conforming loan limits are too low and rates are too high to impact mortgage holders in major cities. For Example: In Atlanta, the conforming loan max limit is $417,000. The average middle class home is $500k-$700k. The current interest rates for these loans are 7-7.5%. Not attarctive! Move the conforming Max to $650k or $700k with the interest rates around 5.5-6.2% and watch the Economy go crazy recovering. The Real Estate Industry impacts almost every industry. Wood, Steel, Concrete, Plastics, Brick, Stone, Landscape, Fabrics, etc. Mortgage rates are going down, but they are not in the $500-$750k area. Offer these Re-fi and Purchase rates and see what happens!!! Glenn Green

    December 4, 2008 at 10:32 pm |
  51. frans

    If you lived a couple of decades ago (when things were better) you would go buy some tools and make your own sofa. That way you would invest in your own future (and your childrens) as you (and your) kids, could re-use the tools to make other items you needed or wanted. This also enabled you to feel good about what you were doing. By using this method the first item would probably be more expensive (than if purchased), but cheaper for the next and so on. Anyways that did not matter then.The idea was more important than the cost.

    Nowadays people spend their (less) money in investing in other people's tools and ability, just to realise one day they are incapable of making their own goods. No more good feelings no matter how much money. Go figure...

    December 5, 2008 at 7:17 am |
  52. Stephanie

    I am an American living in Germany.

    I had been in the market to lease a new car. I went to a few dealerships and test drove a couple of them. The problem is that the money I had to put the 20% down was in the American stock market.

    Not only do I not want to sell anything in order to pay this, but I doubt now that I will be able to get any type of decent financing for the lease. So that is definitely being put off until the market calms down. It has helped that the dollar is getting stronger, but more needs to happen before I sign on the dotted line!

    December 5, 2008 at 8:56 am |
  53. JRM

    My husband and I - we live in Switzerland - wanted to go to Disneyland Paris this Christmas. But the recent economic crisis made us think twice about our holiday plans.

    December 5, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  54. Joey

    Extremly uncomfortably, thanks to the mess America has created. I think from this experience Americas status of world economic leader will be seriosly erroded. I think Nations will position themselves on the defensive from now on. America may think itself as a Economic power but that will be only in their minds.

    December 6, 2008 at 3:03 am |
  55. Jennifer Medeiros

    There are many items I would love to buy right now and was planning to buy in the future such as energy efficient heating and appliances for my home before my retirement plans were wiped out. But now even if prices were cut 50% on everything I will never come close to making up what I have lost for my retirement fund. My main concern now is keeping my job, paying my mortgage and putting money aside for a 1 year emergency fund. I did not buy into a bad mortgage and I am a frugal shopper with a good paying job. But if I were to lose my job now at age 55 without the retirement savings, I would probably become homeless and bankrupt. That means Santa is not coming this year or next. And I will only be purchasing what I need to keep my job and home.

    December 6, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  56. DENNIS

    I am sorry that you didn't get the new sofa...Richard!

    December 9, 2008 at 6:26 am |
  57. ben

    I love recessions cause this is the best time to buy . Ive gone through 3 recessions and have always gained in every way from it. Recessions always see arrogant companies and those who take good times for granted brought down to their knees. Prices slashed etc....Unfortunatedly some do suffer but the majority still survive.

    December 9, 2008 at 9:54 pm |
  58. Charly

    I retired after I unexpectedly inherited one million dollars a few years ago. I invested the money in (very) conservative stocks, income-producing real estate, a supposedly recession-proof business, very modest houses for myself and for my daughter and also upgraded my car, etc. I also travelled (one to two trips a year) but inexpensively as I enjoy bargain-hunting and have no desire to mix with rich people. I buy clothes from llbean (upgrade from Walmart), eat out (not expensive food) several times a week, and order more books from than I used to (about $ 100 a month). So, all in all, I have been very sensible.

    With the economic collapse, my stocks have lost about half their value and the business is not doing well. In fact, it is sucking up nearly $ 5,000 a month to stay afloat. It made money in the first year but the past six months have been dismal. I will continue to try to increase sales for a few more months, then I'll try to sell, but chances are good I will lose about $ 200,000. So my one million may soon be down to about $ 400,000, realistically.

    If my tenants start moving out (likely, if the economy doesn't pick up soon) I'll soon have $ 30, 000 a year in taxes, maintenance and insurance to pay on buildings that are not producing income and probably can't be sold. Very quickly, I could be broke with no income beyond a government pension if that still exists which I don't suppose it will with all the baby boomers trying to retire.

    I see desperate times ahead but am not much worried for myself because I am old. I am more concerned for young people because I know what it is like struggle with poverty, even in a rich country, when you have kids to feed. Real poverty, as in India for example, I don't think most Westerners could adjust to because we are so spoiled. I am afraid the result may be chaos and the loss of civilization.

    I am being alarmist but think about it - civilizations do end. I would say this one is collapsing and there is little or nothing that can be done about it. If I have any advice for young people it is to become more spiritual - meditation, yoga, Buddhism and the mysticism of all religions are good ways to become content with the human condition. The Baha'is, for example, believe that, in the long run, a better world will emerge.

    No matter what lies ahead, it is certainly better to have hope for the future and courage in the present. Extreme fear leading to extreme measures of self-protection will only lead to misery.

    December 11, 2008 at 4:58 pm |
  59. June -- southern U.S.

    The question is, Are you sitting uncomfortably, and this may be true of more women than men. Because–guess what–Obama's jobs program seems aimed at helping MEN. Yes, men–men only; construction jobs to improve infrastructure, and that's fine, but how many women work in construction, for heavens sakes. Are there no plans for creating jobs suitable for women? This is truly unjust. Mr. Obama, create an equal number of jobs that women are capable of doing because many-many women are head of household and the household's only wage-earner.

    December 11, 2008 at 6:09 pm |

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