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February 24th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

How has economic crisis changed your daily life?

From CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As President Obama gets ready to address a joint session of congress tonight - he'll also be talking to a nation that's pretty uncomfortable about where we're headed.

How has economic crisis changed your daily life?

Piggy banks and money boxes are gaining popularity as people are starting to save their money at home.

A new CNN-Opinion Research Corporation poll shows 71% of Americans are angry about where we're headed. And 73% are scared. These are not encouraging numbers. Also – 79% of those surveyed think things in the U.S. are going badly.

The silver lining is that most people are still upbeat about their own personal situation - with 77% saying things are going well for them.

Nevertheless, we're being warned that these rough economic times are far from over. Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke says he hopes the recession will end later this year - but a full economic recovery could take two or three more years.

And many Americans are reshaping their lifestyles to adjust to these shaky circumstances. They're downsizing and actually trying to live within their means – instead of the culture of credit that was the rule of the land for too many years. Many are saving more. Others are trying to figure out how to get by on one less salary while trying to pay rising bills for things like health care and education. All the while sitting on a home that's lost much of its value.

Here’s my question to you: How has your daily life changed because of the economic crisis?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Ann in New Hampshire writes:
Jack, We are doing okay for now. We are young enough to wait for the market to come back and replenish our 401ks but we are definitely spending less. My mother lost her job, she is 63, and we are looking at what we will need to do to help with her meds now that she has no insurance and possibly housing, etc. We worry though for our jobs, etc. And how much worse things get for the country.

Craig writes:
I have stopped using credit cards and have started debt management. I got cheaper car insurance. I started doing more freelance work on the side in addition to my day job.

Steve in California writes:
The current economic crisis is proving to be the most effective contraceptive for us. The decision to have or not have kids has become a point of daily discussion.

Kim writes:
Not much because we've always lived within our means. Always needs first and wants if we have a lot of extra. Still I'm more afraid to do any wants because you don't know what's going to be hiding in the corner. Save, save, save.

Paul from Columbia, S.C.
I became a hermit 4 years ago when I got rid of a gold digger girlfriend, my car, my home, retired after 50 years, and now live within my meager means. It's great to be out of the rat race.

Jonathan writes:
Since being laid off last month, I've spent a lot of time getting to know the delightful banter that you and Mr. Blitzer share each evening. It took a while to get the hang of, but you guys may be onto a dialogue style which might fill the void of the network news anchor.


Filed under: US Economy
soundoff (141 Responses)
  1. Bruce from florida

    This Economic crises has changed my life. Everynight night now I am glued to Wolf Blitzer and CNN's the situation room listening to Politicians push their Pork and claim it will create jobs. The stock Market is crashing, the sky is falling and every fat cat is holding out for a bail-out. The middle class is stuck footing a bill wich will put them in the poor house while we listen to Bernake tell us it is all going to be okay....good Grief Jack, where were all the experts and regulators while Bernie was making off with our hard earned money?

    February 24, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  2. samir from florida

    CNN.com is now bookmarked in my favorites. And I actually now know who Jack Cafferty is and can sound intelligent at a dinner party conversation.

    February 24, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  3. Simpliticus

    No major changes as of yet!

    February 24, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  4. Karen

    Hi Jack,

    For the first time in 67 years, I cannot pay my bills. The cost of everything from basic food to electricity has increased to such an extent that my social security check will not cover it all. There will be no more doctor and dentist appointments, no "brand name" food purchases, no unnecessary car trips, and, probably no more YOU, Jack, if I have to cancel my cable TV.

    February 24, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  5. Darin in Denver

    We watch every penny, and are saving like never before. Our lifestyles have really taken a turn. Layoffs are still taking place, and for us that's scary because I could be next. Jack, we are living in fear, which is something new to my whole family. I never thought the economy would be the reason for that.

    February 24, 2009 at 1:29 pm |
  6. Paula in Albuquerque

    My 16 year-old "rattle-trap" finally breathed her last...when EVERYTHING failed, at once, including her heater...her horn...and, two of my power-windows!! I had to buy a car...a beauty...but at a substantial reduction to what I might have paid, due to the economy. She is my only debt, but having it has caused me to be VERY scrupulous with money, where I haven't had to until now. I am retired, and most if my income is Social Security. I am confortable. If Social Security takes a hit, because of the economy, I shall be living in my new car...

    February 24, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  7. Terry from North Carolina

    Jack
    Turning the thermostat down, driving less, no more going out to dinner and more peanut butter and jelly. How much more can we cut back ? Pretty soon I will have to start cutting my pills in half.

    February 24, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  8. Donna Colorado Springs,Co

    Luckily, it hasn't changed my familys life too much. We always tighten our belts this time of years because of April 15, but so far, so good!

    February 24, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  9. David of Alexandria VA

    I worry about the future more - I mean really worry. Like 97% of the people, I am not in danger of foreclosure, and 93% of the workforce, I have a job, and 80% of the people have (and pay for) my own health insurance. But, like 65% of the people, I have seen my savings crushed and sense that new tax laws, revamped health care system, and re-distributive stimulous measures will never let me recover financially. So, a life-time of doing the right thing will lead to a retirement of merely "getting by."

    Funny how a few people and a few banks can make the rest of us pay so dearly. I really worry about that.

    February 24, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  10. Ed Reed

    I've planted a garden and I'm not upset when moles and gophers get into it as they will add protein to our diet.

    Ed Reed
    Hooverville, TX

    February 24, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  11. Harold from Anchorage,AK

    I put up with more crap at work from my bosses than I normally would

    February 24, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  12. Jim Bailey

    It hasn't yet but I'm building an insulated camper for my old truck and fattening up my dogs.
    Just in case.
    Jim Bailey
    Cripple Creek CO

    February 24, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  13. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    When America gets a cold the world catches pneumonia. I keep a closer eye on the developing world and lobby more frequently for the bottom billion to keep getting the crumbs rather than nothing at all.

    February 24, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  14. J Kay - PCMO

    Like so many Americans in this country who are retired, we're now at the point of which we will have to TRY and sell our home this Spring. We've lost our long term income source to stay in our home, so we will have to no doubt rent something. That is the scarey part. What will be that something be. Perhaps even more scarey is that we might just have to die sooner than we'd hoped. I realize one can't plan such things, but it is depressing. Going to work at our age seems futile when you see so many families desparate for jobs as well. So Jack, any suggestions are welcome.

    Oh, may I add..................I thank God every day President Obama is our leader.

    February 24, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  15. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Yes, I've been putting off a car purchase just in case.

    February 24, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  16. tom, madison, wi

    I retired. Nobody seemed to care about my career in manufacturing anyway. Oh, the rest of you, not in manufacturing, should not be surprised with how little I care when your job is gone.

    February 24, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  17. Arlene, Illinois

    Eating out less and using more store coupons when buying food,
    but most people in Congress and Wall Street don't know what
    food coupons are.

    February 24, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
  18. Mark in OKC

    I have stopped "super-sizing" my meals at McDonald's.

    February 24, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  19. Paul Austin,Texas

    More stops at the local cantina on the way home to watch you Jack and Wolf. Yes they have you on at the cantina!

    February 24, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  20. Ron from Chicago

    Jack, I'm holding on to some of my money . Financially it's bad but I pray I'll weather the storm. I'm a 23 year old college graduate and I feel pretty bad for some of the college graduates coming out of school this spring.

    February 24, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  21. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    I instantly went from a high "good" credit score to a "fair" score when companies I had done business with for years and never missed a payment decided to reduce my available credit to just above the current balance (giving the impression I had maxed out the card when I had not) and at the same time raised my interest rates through the roof. I am changing the way I pay for things, and will certainly never do business with those companies again after the balance has been paid off.

    February 24, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  22. Bruce

    from: Baltimore, MD.

    answer: not one bit

    February 24, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  23. Kim in Dodge City, KS

    After being retired for 4 years, I've had to go back to work. I better just leave it at that.

    February 24, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  24. Joan B

    None ! I have foresight and can see what is coming and thus make moves to protect ourselves.
    Indeed, if we could bring some real Leaders back such as Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Truman we'd have some vision.
    Joan B
    Minnesota

    February 24, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  25. Kevin from Montebello CA

    I no longer have a job.

    February 24, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  26. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Comapred to other Americans-–I still have a job--I still have a mortgage--I still pay taxes-–and I'm still above the ground--but all of that is subject to change--I wish I knew which one will occur first and when. It is not the fear of loosing all that I'm concerned with--but even more the "anticipation of waiting for it to happen."-I have made it this far--so I guess I will just have to wait like so many others.

    February 24, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  27. John in Atlanta, GA

    I can't DO anything. I did everything right, so I thought. College, Military, Job, raised my family, now I'm worried about my job, my mortgage, it's enought to make you scream.

    I can't "date" my wife like I used too, we're always worried that if we buy that, what if one of us loses our job. It's a mess. I never thought our country would be in such horrible shape.

    February 24, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  28. Joe from MO

    We pray more for those we love, for our leaders and for the nation.

    February 24, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  29. bessie

    I was poor before the crisis ,and I shall remain poor after ,and no matter how poor you are ,poor is poor!

    February 24, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  30. Griff...... The Truth

    None, for me. I have always been poor.. Thrifty.

    February 24, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  31. L.M.,Arizona

    Eating out,TV programming,movies,and all forms of entertainment has been cut way back. You're safe until next summer Jack then we will reassess.

    L.M.,Arizona

    February 24, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  32. David in San Diego

    I watch CNBC and CNN more, and we try harder to support local (i.e., neighborhood) restaurants and businesses. If we want them to survive, we need to step up and help them be profitable.

    February 24, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  33. Chad Jarman--Los Angeles

    I have given up looking for better employment since no legitimate jobs are available these days. Its just sad!

    February 24, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  34. John from Alabama

    Jack: My wife and I are retired. Our retirement funds outside of social security have been weakened. We do not travel, go to movies or concerts. We go to the really high end resturants like Sonic, Captain D's, and Long John Silvers. AARP is our friend and coupon hunting is our treasure. But Jack, there are bright spots, we both have health insurance, and our son was just hired full time at a job he likes to do.
    The best treasure is the 60 years we have both spend living in the greatest nation on this earth.

    John from Alabama

    February 24, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  35. Bob D, Morrisown, NJ

    Right now I think a little harder before reaching for my wallet, and some iffy items no longer make it over the spending threshold. I'm also reconsidering my retirement age, instead of the 66 I was planning on, I'm hopeful I can retire by 85.

    February 24, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  36. Tiffany, Philadelphia, PA

    It hasn't that much. I graduated in May 2008, just before the economy really started to unraveal. I simply went from a broke college student to a broke college grad.

    February 24, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  37. Jenna Wade

    How has your daily life changed because of the economic crisis?

    Well Jack, I have been unemployed for 2+ years now and my husband was just informed that he is getting a pay cut so now we are going from bad to worse.

    Not only that, our daughter is on the verge of losing her job in TX. This will impact her family since our son-in-law has just obtained a job paying half of what he was making and lucky to find that..

    Even though we are suffering we count ourselves lucky.

    No more dinners out, that includes "fast food", no more video rentals, no more shopping for cloths or shoes – just have to make due and repair, no more driving everywhere.. I just hope things are better by Christmas for the kids..

    We have HOPE

    Things wll get better under Obama.

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    February 24, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  38. Kyle Irvine,CA

    Jack,
    The economic downturn has made me cut out some extra spending. For starters, I take my lunch to work now, I pay cash for everything, and its made me look at the good in my life. If I were to lose my job, at least I would still have my family, health and friends.

    February 24, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  39. Paul S. Columbia, SC

    I became a hermit 4 years ago when I got rid of a gold digger girlfriend, my car, my home, retired after 50 years, and now live within my meager means. It's great to be out of the rat race.

    February 24, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  40. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    Jack–
    I find myself weighing every expenditure no matter how small, before I make it. I want to make sure that I keep as much money as possible, because I have no assurance that I could get a loan if I needed one. I don't think that there is any financial help out there. My IRA is on the point of bottoming out–and I'm not sure it will every come back. I don't have any faith in our financial institutions.

    February 24, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  41. Leo in Oakland

    No more eating out, going to movies, or generally purchasing anything other than food and gas. If I don't need it, I won't buy it.

    February 24, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  42. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    Not much. I still sit in front of the TV and watch Wolf and Jack.

    February 24, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  43. Deb in Lancaster, PA

    Let's see, Jack...my house is colder, my pots and pans are getting more of a workout, my car is in the garage more...a lot more. I'm following my 13-year-old around turning off the lights she leaves on, and her dad leaves on as well.
    My clothing purchases for the past four months for myself have been limited to underwear. I'm going to the doctor less, for fear my insurance will cancel me, because I have a chronic illness.
    And worst of all, I'm getting my hair cut less, and letting the gray grow out rather than color it. That, my friend, is a huge bummer.
    Did you guess that I'm a Realtor?

    February 24, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  44. Greg, Ontario

    The buisness I'm in has been decimated. Customers that usually contract out to me are making their own people do the work (knowing it's sub par) trying to keep things together through the recession.

    February 24, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  45. Lenny

    I've done away with many things I can make do without. Even if I can afford them now, I have to be cautious about the economic situation. If I'm wrong to be cautious–no big deal, if I'm right I'll at least have enough money to cryogenically freeze myself until trouble subsides.

    February 24, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  46. Pablo in Tejas

    Jack
    around our house we think longer and harder before we spend and we try to spend as little as possible... and there is an increased temptation to buy a lottery ticket; we don't buy it of course, but the temptation is greater.

    Pablo in Arlington Texas

    February 24, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  47. Andrew, Los Angeles, CA

    I'm just finishing up college and am lucky enough to have an actual job for now. It doesn't pay as much as my degree is worth, but I feel fortunate compared to so many others. I found an apartment at half the going rate in the city, collected secondhand furniture, and I learned simplify my diet. My new commute takes my through skid row every morning, so I get to see the lines at the soup kitchen growing a little bit longer each day. At that sight, I've learned to appreciate everything I have so much more.

    February 24, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  48. Doris/St. Louis

    It hasn't, I'm just as poor as I was before the crisis began.

    February 24, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  49. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    All I buy is food, medicine and medical supplies. Eveything else goes to bills. And I no longer use my credit cards.

    February 24, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  50. John, Fort Collins, CO

    Once I quit watching my 401k tank, things perked up and my life returned to normal - such as it is. I'm back in the rut and really don't miss the excitement.

    February 24, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  51. Linda in Arizona

    It hasn't changed at all. I was poor before the current crisis, and I'm still poor. I've gotten used to it.

    February 24, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  52. Gus

    Yes. I bought an AR-15 and a 7-shot 12 gauge shotgun.

    February 24, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  53. vern-t anaheim,ca

    yes,as i believe it has affected most americans lives.my wife and i cannot save any money and just get by on a shoestring,we cannot plan to take a vacation as no money can be spared,we do not eat out occasionaly as we used to and do not go to entertainment events such as movies,concerts and sporting events as we used to.we cannot plan ahead for the future as we don't know what the future holds.

    February 24, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  54. Jay in Texas

    I've cut my driving by two-thirds. That's it.
    Brownwood, Texas

    February 24, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  55. David in Natchez,MS

    Even though nothing has changed for me personally in my finances, all the doom and gloom talk keep me from having the confidence to spend.

    February 24, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  56. Purnell Kankakee lL.

    That eveyone in that served in the Bush administrtion is going to stay at Guantanamo Bay for a few years, for their crimes!

    February 24, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  57. Jim Wren

    Unfortunately, I am writing you from home, not from work...

    February 24, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  58. Betty, San Diego, Ca.

    What living? I only have day-by-day, minute-by-minute, and second-by-second of pure unadulterated anxiety. We are now in survival mode.

    February 24, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  59. Mike out West

    Shown me the change of American slogans to "Screw up and get bailed out, do it right and get stuck with the bill." (Stimulus bill that is, corporate bailouts, golden parachutes.)

    February 24, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  60. Diane N

    Less groceries, no extras (movies, dinners out), just enough to get by on. No savings, no credit card debt. Absolutely no frills.

    CNN and Jack Cafferty, Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper get me through each day!

    February 24, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  61. Steve - Michigan

    I was indefinitely laid off my job of 8.5 years working for a software company.

    This when we have to find a new place to rent in 4 months, and i have 5 children and were on just my own income. Unemployment doesnt cut it and few jobs are available that pay more than that if you dont have a 4 yr degree or higher with specialized experience.

    February 24, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  62. Liz in Los Angeles, CA

    My natural (make that genetic) frugality has served me well. But "daily life" for most people involves a job, something I don't have and can't get.

    February 24, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  63. Marjorie Lominy

    I am not working...is that a big enough change....
    Marjorie
    NY

    February 24, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  64. Abbie Herrick

    It stopped me from caring what other people think–especially if they're republicans.

    Abbie
    Manchester, NH

    February 24, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  65. Dave in Saint Louis!

    Yes! Unfortunately I will not be able to retire. EVER!

    February 24, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  66. lisa

    well i quit my job believing i was moving , that didnt happen. cant get my job back, ive been denied for unemployment and there is nothing out there. we are renters and thankfully our landlords been cool. were current right now, but who knows for how long. we have 0 chance of buying a home now. our dream is dead. weve cut corners at every opportunity. no more name brand anything.oil changes tuneups forget it. we are squeaking by. that last two years have been the worse in my life and i still dont see a light at the end of the tunnel. im not a firefighter a cop or a construction worker. stimulas did nothing for me. without a job i cant get a loan, not that i'd want one. but if i needed it i couldnt get it. i feel very strongly that the lower middle class are being forgotten. we make too much for govt. benefits and too little to save a nickel. i love when susie orman comes on and advises us where to put our savings. lmao whats a savings. clueless clueless clueless. we out here jack can you give US a voice?

    February 24, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  67. Sammy in Conroe, Texas

    I'm a country boy Jack, the corn's growing just fine.

    February 24, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  68. Nancy, Grand Ledge,MI

    Not much has changed so far, but in April, when I get an extra $7.69 per week ($400 divided by 52), I'll be living high on the hog!

    February 24, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  69. Jetta

    Oh yeah, sure Jack. Try, I lost my job. What's even worse is I'm not even apart of the problem. I don't own a house, have stocks, or any major things on credit, but I will eventually have to pay for bailouts just like everyone else. Everyday I have to scrape change to pay for gas to get to school, look for a job or get my child to school. Becuase the people with degrees have gotten layed off of their jobs I'm now competing with them for $7 an hour jobs. I think what makes me most upset is that illegal immigrants can still live their "American dream", but I'm having major problems living mine, and this is my HOME. Yeah, I'm ticked Jack, but you would be too if your apartment cost more than your unemployment check.

    February 24, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  70. Steve From Phillips WI.

    In our home we have a new list of reasons to curse the republicans, You know Jack, For a party that is as much a "Dead Man Walking " as City bank and alike , they are sure trying hard to keep Obama from being the one who fixes the 8 long years of destruction left in the wake of Bush's Regime! I for one cant wait for the mid term elections, I hope and PRAY that every Republican and every Democrat who failed to keep their promise to Impeach Bush and Crooked dick or stop the war in Iraq are voted out and replaced with fresh young Obama Jr's.!
    Steven WI.

    February 24, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  71. Sue -Idaho

    Jack, I've stocked up on more vitamans since my Retirement is nearly gone and my house isn't worth much anymore, I figure the government will want me to work until I drop or reach 100 whichever comes first. I'm so close to retirement, but alas it's all a pipe dream now, hope my kids can hang onto their homes, I'm probably going to need a room!

    February 24, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  72. Susan Frost

    I'm in a service profession (private law practice) so my income is down due to the economic situation. Many people around here work for the non-union, foreign owned car manufacturers and suppliers, and their hours have been cut. Our GOPelected officials ( Bob R

    February 24, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  73. Jeff in Glen Carbon IL

    My firends are all scared of layoffs, my business is crippled by the effect on the pension plan, my sanity is being sapped by a negatively obsessed media that won't stop asking questions about the economic crises (present company excepted)..

    Jack, I see that the new, dare I say, handsome, version of you that was taken for the new book is also the masthead of this blog, but someone needs to update the graphics on the TV screen.

    February 24, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  74. Bruce

    Yes, No more overtime. And I am slashing service contracts such as trash and heater insurance as fast as I can. To hell with all the corporations.

    February 24, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  75. Ronald Holst

    Jack Let Me put It this way ,WHAT LIFE !!
    Ronald Holst
    SAN ANTONIO

    February 24, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  76. Randy from Salt Lake City

    I've got rid of my cell phone, I'm not going out anymore, I'm not buying anything except food and I've gotten rid of my cable and newpaper delivery to save some money and so I'm not bombarded with corporate lies.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  77. Scott in Canada

    No,

    But then my job is one of the few that I feel confident is secure.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  78. Jeani, Central UT

    I lost my job on Feb. 29. 2008. Since then I drive my car only twice a week, I buy my clothes only at the thrift store where I volumteer, I grocery shop only with the store ads and my coupons in hand, and I watch a lot more CNN than I'd like to admit. My husband and I have discussed what kind of vegetable garden we'll have so we can eat this summer.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  79. Chris Baratta

    Well all I have to eat for dinner tonight is rice and 2 eggs. Let's just say it's not by choice.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  80. Cless55

    Unlike all of you guys, I have a real problem; I'm unable to buy as many toys anymore... 😦

    February 24, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  81. DeWayne

    My life has definitely changed due to the economic crisis. My job that was once secure is secured no more. I think that President Obama needs to think more in the mode of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. People complain about the massive government spending that is now taking place. If we do not act boldly at this moment, the stock market will lose much more value that the cost of adequately stimulating our economy. The President must act and act boldly.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  82. kevin hopkins

    To be honest, this "crisis" hasnt effected me in any way, but that might be because i'm only 19. So the economy can't be that bad if not everyone is effected.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  83. Jared M

    It hasn't really changed much because my and I lived within our means unlike so many other people our age. (25 years old)'

    February 24, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  84. Ray Bell

    I am trying to pay a lot more attention to what is going on. I watch CNN a lot more.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  85. Craig

    Less food, worse food, less leisure, worse leisure, more worry, more stepping on egg-shells, and too much time to think about it all.

    Franklin, MA

    February 24, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  86. craig Eller

    I have stopped using credit cards and have started debt management. I got cheaper car insurance by switching to e surance. I started doing more freelance work on the side in addition to my day job.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  87. steve, ca

    The current economic crisis is proving to be the most effective contraceptive for us...The decision to have or not have kids has become a point of daily discussion

    February 24, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  88. Janette

    I lost my job in August of 2008, my family is surviving on one salary (my husband's). Everyday, I worry that I won't find a job before my unemployment runs out. Therefore, every penny that comes into the house is to pay bills and what every is left over (not much) is put into our savings account. I used to love going shopping and eating out; however, that has stopped. This crisis has turned my life upside down in that I live in fear that my husband will lose his job and we would lose our home. So far, we have been paying all of our bills on time including our mortgage, but I have never felt more scared in my entire life.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  89. Roman Deutsch, Butler, PA

    Well, for starters, I'm about three months behind on my mortgage, I'm pass my grace period for my truck and I won't be able to pay for my health care.
    And I'm a man with two spinal fusions. So my life has changed dramatically, Jack along with millions of other people maybe even billions of other people. But, I have gain something that know one else has, that is my FAITH. I have all the faith in the world that God's Word is at hand.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  90. Lisa, Dublin, Ohio

    You learn the difference between what you want and what you need. Buying something merely because we like it has gone out the window. We limit ourselves to smaller treats, like the book fair at school and a movie once a month. It's giving me the opportunity to teach my daughter in a real time environment what 'want ' and 'need' mean. Hopefully, she's listening.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  91. Buddy Milo

    I lost half my IRA, my employer wants money back to keep me employed, I need a car but can't afford one, I can't keep up with rising prices... what's all the fuss? Something similar to this has been happening every 8 years or so for the last 40 years! It's all about greed, Jack.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  92. Monique

    I'm downgrading my apartment from a 2 bedroom to a 1 bedroom. I drive less, eat less, and exercise more and NY state still wants to raise taxes on electricity, food, and gym membership...I can't win for losing.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  93. john malahowski

    cafferty the banks are smarter than the government who else can get them to rob us and have the money given to them. who tells you what to say any way.
    how do you keep from throwing up night after night? i know pay check.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  94. John

    Hi Jack,

    I am a self employed psychotherapist working within a large medical practice. I see people everyday hurt by this economic downturn, either because they've lost their job, are struggling with a meager income, are hit with high health care costs, or are seeing their investments, mostly their home dwindle. To say that people are anxious or depressed only goes so far to describe what people are feeling. I identify with what my patients are going through because my family and I are experiencing some of the same. I am about to pay for my own health insurance and we are living on my unsteady income and my wife's Social Security. Thank goodness we know how to save and live frugally. Not so with many of the people I treat.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  95. Keith - St. George, Utah

    Thanks to the tanking stock market, I go to city golf courses now instead of the resort courses (I'm retired), I eat at home now instead of going out for dinner, and I've given up on taking my prescription medications because they are too costly.

    Other than that, "the lights are still on and I still have a home".

    February 24, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  96. Tanya Stokes

    I would catergorize my feelings as scared. My husband had to settle for a paycut rather than a raise, which is well over due. And my position in retail cosmetics is making me more scared. I work part time because I can't afford daycare as it is and everything that rises seems to go against us not for us. I feel that everything is outragiously too high. Our family is facing government assistance.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  97. Rashid, Oakland Ca

    Well....Jack i'm taking Chinese classes...I don't think this goverment cant do much....China here I come !

    February 24, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  98. Jean-Michel

    No more movies, dining out...no vacation this year and no more extended social life. We even count our dimes. Financially responsibility is the way to go...

    February 24, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  99. Eileen

    My husband and I are very fortunate to still have our jobs. (Cardiologist, nurse.) I was staying at home with our 2 year old, and have gone back to working as needed on nights my husband can go in at 8 am and is not on call. For certain we are not living paycheck to paycheck, but I've had to return to ease concerns about not being able to pay 2 mortgages. We used to have a babysitter every Saturday evening; we now only go out once, maybe twice, a month. I used to buy chlorine free diapers, now I'm shopping @ Wal-Mart and Target. We used to travel freely, even with our daughter; now we're cutting back on traveling. We were going to send our daughter to a private, international preschool next fall; we're not planning on doing that at this time.

    Another thing that has changed drastically is that my husbands father and one of his brothers either lost their jobs, or lost their life savings. Both want to move here from chicago to have us take care of them. If we are forced to do that, we're going to be forced to sell one of our properties for a major loss.

    So, that's what's going on here.

    Eileen
    Tucson, AZ.

    One wouldn't think a cardiologist and a nurse would be wanting/needing to cut corners on finances, bu

    February 24, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  100. Sharon, Bourbonnais, IL

    I lost my job of 11 years in August. My life has changed considerably. Instead of going to work every day, I sit home and worry how we will get by and if or when, I'll be able to get another job. We have more foreclosre notices in our paper than jobs. My husband works for a contractor to Ford, so he has lost a lot of work, too. I feel like I'm being punished when I haven't done anything wrong. We paid off our house and cars. We have no credit card debt. We saved for retirement. I worked hard and did a good job, but my job was eliminated anyway. Now our retirement is half gone and we can't replace it. I wish someone would give me a Golden Parachute.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  101. freedom

    As a vet, i use to go to private doctors for my illnesses because the VA was so horrible. I am now considering going back to save some money. I had to drop out of college, because i was so stressed about paying my bills i could not focus. I lost my job 7 months ago, and have 12 offers, that only fell through once i got my hopes up. Despite an offer letter 2 jobs lost funding, 3 jobs lost funding while i was interviewing and became final candidate, the other ones were lost because they decided to take a internal candidate who applied at the last minute. Well i dont drive unless i have mass things to do, i try to have interviews on same day, I still loose money due to parking lot fees, but that happens. I can not get heavy groceries, and HSBC bank wants me to have all my other bill collectors help me pay them appose to them work with me on my past due credit card bill. Most of my creditors have worked with me to lower my cost, but HSBC calls every week to tell me how to manage my other bills... I have grown a thicker hide, laugh more, and realize that i wont be finishing college as fast as I like. GI bill does not cover cost or the degree i am seeking and has expired. International Relations/Foreign Affairs is not recognized as a degree in other Military paid programs.

    so wolf... i am laughing my way to eventual Doom...

    February 24, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  102. B. Griffith

    Today is my 50th Birthday and my significant other's is on Friday. For the first time ever, we won't be giving each other gifts. Funds are just too tight. Yesterday I was told by my employer that they could no longer pay me my salary because business is so slow. I will now punch a clock and only be paid for the hours I actually work. With our work load right now (or lack thereof), this will have the net affect of cutting my pay in half. Happy Birthday, indeed!

    B. Griffith
    Lewisville, TX

    February 24, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  103. Dean in Pa

    Jack,
    It doesn't matter what Obama says the Dems will eat it up and the Repubs will wait till Rush translates and put his spin on it, so they now what to complain about it.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  104. Michael Boykin

    Hi Jack. I watch your show almost everyday and decided to participate on your blog today.

    Honestly, I have been preaching to family members for the last year and a half to save save save. People are in bad shape because they do not have money saved for those "Rainy Days". What happened to paying cash for all of your purchases. Why do so many people fall prey to the banks tactics of credit-credit-credit when common sense says pay cash? When times are good in life, those are the moments when you become debt free. When times are bad, you travel and buy because things are cheap. I am not impacted by the recent downturn. I enjoy it because airline tickets are cheap, hotels are cheap, the stores have great discounts, and you can buy an SUV next to nothing.

    Thanks,
    Mike

    February 24, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  105. Ed from Montana

    Fortunately, we live in Montana and have a little bit of ground. For several years we lived on store-bought food, but now we have a garden, raise some animals, and do more hunting. We've invested in a wind generator and some solar panels and actually reduced our energy consuption. We're healthier and happier, so in a way I guess the economic downturn has been a good thing for us.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  106. freedom

    Can you add people cant get jobs with clearances because they have been unemployed so long their bills affect their credit.....

    So i have lost hundreds of job opportunities because i am unemployed...

    THE IRONY ...

    February 24, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  107. Howard Cutler

    Several morgage brokers advertised on the internet "$500,000. morgage for $800. month or other amounts for a crazy amount listed
    as monthly payment...no money down...no SS # needed....low or O
    closing cost etc. These are the company's who packaged these
    morgage & sold them to investers. You are again seeing similar ads
    starting to appear on the internet...."Government is not going to help
    you re-finnce your morgage...call us we are....$133,000. morgage
    for under $600. month etc. These should be policed or analized
    for "Truth in Advertising".

    February 24, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  108. Windsway

    I used to spend much of my day worrying about Republican screw ups. Now I spend my day worrying about Democrat screw ups. I've finally realized they are equally screw ups.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  109. Dustin Cornett

    We eat out less. Learning more ways to cook chicken. Planning trips to gas station. Learning to speak some type of asian language so I can beg for a job directly to CEO. Watching you Jack and splitting a beer. A cheap beer.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  110. MAX,NY

    Our lives have not changed at all. We still have food on the table, we still went on our Caribbean vacation and we still live in our home. We are being very vigilant about how we spend our money due to the continuing bad news and the down market. My husband is a financial advisor and not one of his clients has bailed. He is trying desperately to keep his small staff employed and not fire anyoneand he will certainlly earn less money than ever before, but our lives have not changed as far as having what we need.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  111. Michael

    Jack,

    You just said that over 70% of Americans feel good about their personal situation. Isn't that good news? Isn't this finding in conflict with everything else that we are bombarded with?

    Why you may ask? because the vast majority of Americans are not really invested in the stock market and in the rest of the exotic investment vehicles that have colapsed.

    Why are they negative about the future of America by an overwhelming percentage? Because though they were not invited to the party and did not share in the good times, they know they will eventually have to pay the bill.

    What else does this show? A great deal of maturity; the American people know that they share responsibility for this mess, because of the choices they made in selecting the leaders of this country.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  112. Katia

    Although my personal situation is going well so far, it is not guaranteed in the long run. I have taken this time as an opportunity to reflect on some of my past unresolved financial issues and try to do some last minute savings and tightening of the budget just in case my situation changes in the future. I am trying not to buy into the mass paranoia, however I see that it is not as easy to spend a penny as it was in the past. Each dollar put towards things like entertainment are now offset by two dollars put into the piggy bank. This will not however change me into a frugal, I will continue saving until I have a buffer for 3-6 months 'just in case' funds after which I will hopefully keep this habit for life. It also made me reflect on how I spends things, not how much. I see myself making decisions that are sustainable, choosing more quality products that will last longer rather than paying less for disposable things that have been a recurring expense in my budget.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  113. Steve L

    Well Jack. for one thing, I get to watch you in the afternoon...

    February 24, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  114. Jay

    My life has barely changed a bit, Jack, but not because I'm wealthy or have been unaffected. I inherited my parents' depression-era habit of living within my means and focusing on the things that really matter rather than conspicuous consumption. The housing bust probably means I'll have to postpone retirement for a year or two, but at least I can still maintain the same lifestyle. I may not have contributed much to the boom, but now I'm able to contribute to the recovery more than the folks who went for instant gratification

    February 24, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  115. Buster in Poughkeepsie, NY

    The economy hasn’t changed my life at all, and that’s the point. My life is boring. When the economy was going gangbusters, my life didn’t change at all either. I kinda feel like the turtle in that story about the tortoise and the hare. Jack, if I were rich like you, I’d take advantage of the situation, buy Michael Jackson’s sparkling glove, get hair plugs and change my name to Flash. Can you moonwalk across the Situation Room for me Flash?

    February 24, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  116. Judy White

    The economy has affected my husband's and my life when it comes to our children and grandchildren. Because of their financial stress, we try to help as much as we can. That along with current and predicted more inflation has left us doubtful and fearful in our retirement causing us to think twice about our spending habits.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  117. joEllen Meek

    I've changed how I spend. I'm a lot more careful and consider every purchase. I expect we will have to have at least two years of belt tightening before our economy is out of the DEPRESSION we are in. We were dug into a giant hole, thanks George W., and it will take Obama a while to get us out of it but I think he will dig us out. I finally have hope that we have someone, as president, who really gets us. Keep up the good work and the dialog that you've initiated.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  118. Robert Landschoot

    this isn't new in boonie city. NAFTA took jobs from i, moved it south or out of country. Didnt matter, trouble is Media and government people don't know people's backbone and bellybutton are getting closer together, and they don't care!

    February 24, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  119. dani in iowa

    I' ve decided to work from home to save money on gas and clothes. I quit smoking and I turn thermostat down. I haven't been to a movie in 3 years and I haven't had a steak in a year. My home is dropping in value. I am hoping my leaking roof holds out for a couple years.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  120. Julie

    We hear every day how bad the economy is so we have cut back just in case. It has made us realize how much money we waste and how many things we really do not need.

    Julie
    Austin, TX

    February 24, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  121. Charlotte

    The economic crisis has made me realize that keeping my head down is not such a bad thing any more. I may find a few pennies to help boost up my savings a little. If the media had kelp a close watch on the former Pres. as well as they are doing with Pres. Obama we may not be in this mess. I dont just blame the media. I blame my State as well. If we would have counted right in the beautiful State of Fl four years ago, things would probably look better now too. Give our new President a chance.

    Charlotte
    Gainesville, FL

    February 24, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  122. Gail

    This recession has caused me to be almost paralyzed with fear. I am a 54 year old widow who thought I could make it to retirement living on life insurance and part-time teaching. My investments have almost disappeared, I have already sold my house to pay off the bills. I want to get a better job, but I don't see much hope when healthier, younger people can't find jobs. We were always a middle to upper-middle class family, now I don't know how much longer I will be able to pay the rent. My twice weekly $100 dollar shopping trips have turned into one $30 trip to WalMart. I never expected to end up like this.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  123. ineedmychange

    Single & 61 Laid off 2nd time Worked 31 years company (insurance) went bust) left me with a 401k that looked like swiss cheese; 2nd job 7 years laid off again new 401k looks like swiss cheese.
    Buy 1 new car every 10-12 YRs(TOY. COROLLA). & Drive til the wheels fall off; cook in large portions & freezer bag; go to Thrift Stores near rich neighborhoods & find excellent buys, While out looking for work enjoy watching the illegal moms without a care in the world shoving the baby carriages down the sidewalk, while just given an extra dose of taxes by Gov Arnold.& the socialist in Sacramento. Trying to figure out how to get out of California. Too old to have eggs implanted.............and make tons of money from the gov and the media. I know our President is trying and we need to give him our support because he did inherit a mess that will take a lot of time to clean up. Spend nights e mailing to Congress to get off their what and work together.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  124. Christy

    The economic crisis has affected my daily life as follows:
    *Requiring me to ask myself "Do I really NEED this?" before buying ANYTHING
    *Spending $2 on Starbucks instead of $5. Caffeine, at some level, is still deemed essential due to lack of sleep worrying about economy, job security and home value.
    *Eating out less. Crock pot being used on a more frequent basis.
    *Ceased work on all home improvement projects needed contractor/handyman assistance. Nonessential items not working will go unfixed temporarily; unless able to repair on my own.
    *Canceled pending travel/vacation plans. Wanting to save vacation hours if terminated (will get paid for unused vacation time).

    My list isn't as grim as others affected. I understand and appreciate that I am doing better than most, while not taking that blessing for granted since nothing is guaranteed. I am seriously considering paying neighbor (whose salary was reduced along with mine due to budget cuts) for assistance in repair projects. We all have to work together to weather this storm.

    I just hope the light at the end of the tunnel isn't turned off (due to budget cuts) before making it out.

    Christy
    Phoenix, AZ

    February 24, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  125. Ellie

    Jack,

    If every American who was able to invest $100 would do so tomorrow, it would surely cause an economic surge. The stock market would love the show of faith. If people would do it once a month, it would be even better. Just like small donations helped in the presidential campaign, we can all be part of helping the sagging economy and get us back on track.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  126. Steve Wyse

    The poor economy has been affecting my daily life for the last 6 months. The company that I worked for in Lansing MI went out of business. Unable to find work in my home state, I was forced to move to Wisconsin to find work. My wife remains in Michigan until she can find work here in Wisconsin. The economy has torn apart our family, forcing us to live separate lives for the last 6 months.
    Additionally, my wife and I spent 3 hard years building our new home – doing all the work ourselves. I finished the house one week before I had to move away, and was never able to live there. Last week an appraisal on the property showed that my house was worth less than the cost of the land and the materials that I spent to build it.
    I was always told that if you work hard, you can get ahead in this country, that this is the "American Dream"...well for us, the "American Dream" is nothing more than a nightmare!

    February 24, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  127. Brett in Toledo

    My life changed several years ago when I stopped appraising real estate, and moved into healthcare. I was constantly frustrated as a real estate appraiser when lenders were pressuring me for inflated values to make their deals. I have even fielded these calls from angry home buyers. Huh? I came to realize that home buyers didn't care about the price/value of the property they were buying- only the monthly payment. All in all, I believe this will recession be a positive experience for many people- on the other side that is. It is a wake up call. Americans need to get our financial houses in order. We won't do it without a crisis like this. Our lack of savings and totally glutinous consumer mentallity have gotten us here. Time to live within your means folks. I am, and sleep fine. Wish I could say the same for my neighbors.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  128. Brad

    As a retired Navy veteran I personally am enjoying the situation. Suddenly I get to see a lot more of my friends, Without having a job to go to, we have much more time to do the things we want, and we're all getting paid at the same time from the same place! What more could I want?!

    February 24, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  129. Ralph Nelson

    My cable bill went up $5.00. They took Mariner Baseball off the cable though $5.00 increase. I found it well be difficult to cancel because they ignore such requests and use monopolists practices because only one competitor. The best sports page in the Northwest, The Seattle PI, is going out of business. My bank went belly up. The cable is full of Republican traitors lying again. George Bush does not deserve a job as a store greeter.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  130. Veta Gardner

    Dear Jack:

    My question. I am 77 and my husband is 80 we do not have steady income except for social security and a small pension. We sometimes receive royalty from my husbands record sales from the 50's music which is not much. We pay a mortgage of $1,400 monthly and so far we are a month ahead. I have cut down on lawn service and on my TV programs. I am worried that if things does not improve I may not be able to pay my mortgage. Will I be benefit from the stimulus bill?

    Thank you

    February 24, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  131. Larry Coryell

    Jack, I've decided to drink more and so far I've been successful.
    Troy, Montana

    February 24, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  132. James Conn

    Things are Great! All my problems and worry at my job are over. Plant closed. I'm reading more, mostly written by cooks. My ambitions were set to high, it's easier to wait for everybody else to come down to my level. I thought I was just a number, but now people call me and ask me by name. I can't believe the alarm clock had so much control of my life. Best of all Jack, a national commentater is willing to listen to my babble.(read). Think Congress next stimulus, can help me keep my cable?

    February 24, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  133. Marie

    The change from having nothing (before) to zilch these days!

    February 24, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  134. Brad Kansas

    As a retired Navy veteran I personally am enjoying the situation. Suddenly I get to see a lot more of my friends, Without having a job to go to, we have much more time to do the things we want, and we're all getting paid at the same time from the same place! What more could a guy ask for?!

    February 24, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  135. Calvin Hunter

    I am lookin forward to the speech tonight. There are a lot of worries about long term downfall on the stimulas package. Is this a great plan or approach to boost up the economic? I cannot answer that question myself. I have no idea what this is leading to, but to hope we are back on track with the economic. Seeing some incredibly, and beneficial changes that will enable our next generation for better future.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  136. Dena

    It's personally been a real wake up call. Since I have been out of work, it has made me more proactive in reminding those who are supposed to represent us "the people," instead of the idiotic lobbyists. While I don't think we live way beyond our means, there seems to be more factors against us, than for us.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  137. Michelle

    Well Jack,

    I drive a total of about fifteen hours a week to get to work and back, because the only job that called after I got laid off last Summer is in another city, in customer service, and requires a high school diploma. I also moved back into my childhood home until I "get on my feet."

    But, I'm a lot more grateful for what I have now that I have less, than I did when I was working in my field and had more material things. I am grateful I'm working again, even if my college degree is collecting dust. I sit in traffic on my way to work and I find it hard to complain when I think about other people on the road... the person in the next car who for all I know just lost their job and may not have a family to go to, no savings to fall back on, and children to feed. Who would trade places with me in a second.

    Michelle,
    San Diego, CA

    February 24, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  138. Matt

    My days have changed but for the better. Time for graduate school, low paying odd jobs, and student housing. Hell, it beats working for the financing arm of one american autos for three years (and one that needs a substantial amount of money to survive). At least after spending the next three years in graduate school I know ill have a better future than I did during the 3 previous years of my career.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  139. Karl from SF, CA

    I never could afford to live beyond my means so I haven’t. Being retired now, I watch what I spend, but I don’t get ridiculous about it. Those that spent like drunken sailors are the ones that are really affected today. I’m anxious to hear what the prospects are for the near future from our President tonight. I know it will be as good of news as we can get right now, though not really all that good, yet.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  140. Frost

    We saw it coming couple of years ago( Bush years) and started cutting back, we eat meals as a family and join more community events, we have friends over for dinner at least once a week all bringing a dish and fun. We rent movies and have popcorn and travel has been cut to the yearly vacation. We cut our cable and phones down to the minimum and tightened our spending. It's brought us closer and more caring for our fellow neighbors. We became more aware of saving the planet at the same time saving our wallet.We make sure our child has everything she needs. We love more and care more. We believe in our President. We believe in our country.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  141. roger in ga

    It went from 8 years of “BAD” to an unknown length of “WORSE” but now I have some HOPE. I see a light at the end of the tunnel and I HOPE it’s not a freight train.

    February 24, 2009 at 6:41 pm |