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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Americans may finally be learning how to tighten their financial belts. But it's not by choice.
The U.S. economy is in trouble, and people are feeling it. They're seeing the number of jobs shrink, housing prices fall while their debt continues to grow. The New York Times reports that what this means for more and more of us is we're being forced to live within our means. Imagine that.
Some experts are convinced that most Americans, especially baby boomers, will never stop living on credit. But the fact of the matter is that millions of families already have been left with very little choice.
And, it's starting to show. Some have stopped using credit cards, or going to the movies and restaurants. There are also clues at malls and shopping centers across the country, where people are heading to discounters instead of higher-end stores. Business at stores like Wal-Mart and TJ Maxx is booming, while places like Coach, Tiffany and Williams-Sonoma are seeing a slow-down.
Remember that consumer spending is two thirds of our economy, and if people are starting to spend less, it will only make any recession worse.
And then there's this: economists say people are going to have start saving the old-fashioned way – instead of relying on the stock market and rising home values. Statistics show that in 1984, Americans were saving more than one-tenth of their income. Today, the savings rate is actually slightly negative.
Here’s my question to you: In today's uncertain economic times, are Americans finally learning how to live within their means?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
David from Vernon Hills, Illinois writes:
Americans save, are you kidding? What would our economy be if Americans didn't spend all their money plus money they don't have? Just ask my 27-year-old daughter who makes over $60K and spends it all no matter what I say to her about saving. Spending and debt is today’s American and the Chinese appreciate it.
Jeffrey from Boston writes:
Americans will likely never learn to live within their means with the entire system working against us. Politicians and corporations work hand-in-hand to make sure that every American outspends his or her means in the name of continued economic growth.
Michael from Houston, Texas writes:
My wife and I are almost debt-free with the exception of our mortgage. Americans could buy stuff ‘till they turn blue and the only economies we will be helping are China, India, Mexico and places like that - because all our jobs have been shipped over there so these greedy companies can get even richer.
Allen from Coon Rapids, Minnesota writes:
Yes, we may be finally getting it. But the problem is that we've all made our credit card charged bed, and now we've got to sleep in it... and pay for it. The recession is here, and it is a necessary correction. Admit it, already... and start working through it!
Jack from Chattanooga, Tennessee writes:
Jack, I have stopped spending and started saving my money. I stopped smoking, quit drinking (unless someone else is buying), stopped chasing women. I am now a reclusive, frugal hermit, going to work every day, staying home at night, and just buying what I need and nothing else. I have even cut down on my food purchases, making it easy to lose some of that needed weight. I have stockpiled several thousand dollars with my lifestyle change, and may need it with the way our country is going.