May 9th, 2008
04:56 PM ET

Economy forcing you to cut back on spending?


FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The worsening economy is forcing half of Americans to cut back on spending.

A new Gallup poll shows 51% of those surveyed say they and their family have had to make significant cuts, while 49% say they haven't – yet.

It comes as no surprise that those being squeezed the most are lower income families. 70% of those who live in households earning less than $35,000 a year say they've trimmed their spending. That's compared to 51% of people who make between $35,000 and $75,000 dollars. Only 36% of those making more than $75,000 a year have cut back.

The top way for people to save money is by driving less, or buying less or cheaper gas – no surprise here with the national average now at $3.67 a gallon. Next, people say they're cutting back on travel and vacations, followed by food and groceries. Other ways Americans are saving include spending less on entertainment, eating out less frequently or buying only necessities.

Meanwhile, a separate USA Today-Gallup poll just out shows that record high gas prices are forcing Americans to drive less for the first time in almost three decades. People are making major changes in their driving habits – things like running fewer errands, taking steps to boost gas mileage, or seriously considering getting a more fuel-efficient car.

Here’s my question to you: Is the economy forcing you to cut back on spending?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Courtney from South Windsor, Connecticut writes:
I haven't cut back, yet, but that doesn't mean I won't, even though I'm in that lower income bracket. Fortunately, I have remained relatively unaffected by the slowing economy, but I owe that all to my father who instilled in me a deep compulsion to save and penny-pinch, regardless of what the economy is doing. If things get too tight, the first thing to go will be my credit card!

Linda from California writes:
Carefully watching where I spend money and trying to use coupons more often. I started buying groceries at FoodMaxx, where it's a lot cheaper and you bag it yourself but it does save me money so I'm not too proud to bag my own groceries. I fill up the cars at Costco where it's about the cheapest in the area. We try to eat home-cooked meals more often. I pay extra on the highest interest accounts and loans. I'm hoping to get the car paid off soon and that's gonna save a lot in interest. I even pick up a penny when I see it. It adds up, and I'm not ashamed to do so.

Seth writes:
Absolutely, Jack! I'm a college student on a fixed budget. I've cut down on prescription drugs, driving, eating out, etc. The funny thing is I've never been happier! I think it's past time Americans learn how to live within their means. At the very least this recession may help Americans lose some weight.

Carol from Little River, South Carolina writes:
I coast up to red lights, drive the speed limit or less, and attempt to not drive two or more days a week. Of course, we are retired and it is easier for us. However, we expected to be enjoying these "Golden Years", but it would seem that those "Golden Years" are Exxon's, not ours.

Ryan from Champaign, Illinois writes:
Yes, I have 2 weddings to attend this month, and am trying to figure out how to go without breaking my fragile bank. I'm sure the Bush family friends are finding themselves with a similar dilemma.

Filed under: Economy • Spending
soundoff (219 Responses)
  1. AndyZ; Fairfax, VA

    Not at all, Jack. I spend as much as I ever have. The problem is that I can only bring home one third the groceries. I just feel that this is the Bush administration trying to force Americans in to becoming healthier. I now can eat only once every other day. I am shedding pounds and feeling much better about myself. Thank you, Mr. President!

    May 9, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  2. Marie

    Sure is. Do I cut my cable subscription an go out more, or keep it and stay home?

    May 9, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  3. Ryan, Champaign IL

    Yes, I have 2 weddings to attend this month, and am trying to figure out how to go without breaking my fragile bank. I’m sure the Bush family friends are finding themselves with a simlar dilemma.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  4. Dave Orlando, FL

    I am independently wealthy so it has not affected me so far. However, as soon as the cost of my current $100/per fill-up gets significantly higher, I will no longer be independently wealthy. I will not be wealthy at all – it will be more like impoverished.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  5. Adam Mercer Oshawa, Ontario


    The only people not cutting spending are those who work for government and get to spend other people's money as part of their job. If the economy were as much a concern for the government as it is for the average joe the engagement in Iraq would come to a halt tomorrow, in the name of stopping the waste of money it has become. I say this with the utmost respect for the soldiers fighting there, as it is not their fault that the U.S. government is borrowing tones of money from China to fight the world, or that the Congress has not forced Iraq to spend the winfall they are getting out of $120 a barrel oil prices. There is a thought, if they Iraqis can't defend their own government maybe they should start at least paying some of the bill?

    May 9, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  6. M. Pappas

    Prudent spending, I'd call it. I have a very well paying job, I live 6 miles from work, I have money in the bank ...none of that is by accident, so I don't really feel the need to be taxed to death to bail out those folks who overspent and had no budget

    May 9, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  7. Vincent

    I listerned with amazement about the unfortunate situation in Myanmar. This Government trying to force its way with a good deed of food another aid to that country which is great. But just several months ago we had a situation right at home in New Orleans and this Government still have not really address it.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  8. Terry in Hanover County, VA

    Yes. No frills, no wants, just needs and even the "needs" are being whittled down.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  9. Courtney, South Windsor, CT

    I haven't cut back, yet, but that doesn't mean I won't, even though I'm in that lower income bracket. Fortunately, I have remained relative unaffected by the slowing economy, but I owe that all to my father who instilled in me a deep compulsion to save and penny-pinch, regardless of what the economy is doing. If things get too tight, the first thing to go will be my credit card!

    May 9, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  10. Esther Cuyahoga Falls Ohio

    My My what a wonderful question thanks for asking. I am cutting back on spending.
    I am cutting out everything. I am not eating out. saves me about 300 a month.
    I am not going to the doctors saves me and my insurance company 500 a month.
    I am not taking my perscriptions saving again the insurance company and me about 900 a month.
    I fill my gas tank twice a month only stop taking unnecessary trips to Wal-Mart and spending on all products Protor and Gamble take that.
    I shampoo my hair every other day.
    I am making everything myself, bread, soups almost a vegan life style.
    No extras nothing no movies no Games on the computer nothing that funny or entertaining.I have 2 cats that make me laugh so I am not totally depressed.
    My husband came home sick from Iraq cause he wanted to help our nation and as a result can not work.
    I am the bread winner and I am woman which makes 70% of what a man makes so I rather Thank him for serving my country.
    All manufactures out there its in my hands now thanks for sending our JOBS OVERSEAS PAYBACK IS A B$#@%

    May 9, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  11. Patricia

    Jack, Since I've lived on a fixed income for quite some time, I've always known where my line of expenses began & where the line ends. But, I cut coupons & I take care to keep my important bills paid up. I don't use credit cards & I don't buy anything on time. If you can't figure out how to do it, you'll be sorry forever.
    Palmdale, Ca.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  12. J. Onofre - CA

    We've cut back on a lot of things. We're taking public transportation to go around Los Angeles whenever we want to shop. We've cut back on groceries and even on some utilities.

    It's allowed me to lose some weight, but in the process I've become more resourceful.

    For example, my family boils a big pot of water to take warm showers. Or we boil orange peels when we want to sip tea. Or on a really hot day, the waters from the pipes are warm enough to take a comfortable shower.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  13. Gigi in Alabama

    I am having to cut back in everything. I had planned to visit my son and his family in Upper Michigan this summer but that will not happen. I do not get to see them only once a year so I will have to be content with just talking to them on the phone this year.
    Thank you George Bush and your OPEC buddies!!!!!!

    May 9, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  14. Carmichael

    HI Jack,

    I believe that history will reflect two great candidates, who fought all the way down to the wire, because of their strong beliefs and dedication to the United States. I strongly believe that both Barack and Hillary love the United States, and as a result, their passion for the country showed what we all witnessed.

    Not withstanding the pundits, and other political junkies, but their desire to be president of one of the most powerful countries in the world, was indeed honest, despite their fights and occasionally controversies . Nevertheles, the record turnouts were remarkable, more so, than any other presidential candidates, with more of the credits going to Barack Obama without a doubt.

    San Jose, Ca.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  15. Karen, Idaho Falls Idaho

    Hi Jack,

    I live on Social Security income and have not yet found it necessary to cut back because I never fell into the "have everything now" mentality. My parents taught me to buy only what I could afford and save for the things I really wanted. People don't need the biggest car/truck/SUV on the lot or the biggest house on the block or the most expensive vacation. As prices get higher, I think our "have everything' mentality" will adapt to a smaller and cheaper way to find happiness.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  16. Peter Pan Fairview, Texas

    Jack their is no doubt that some people are hurting financially. It is a shame that it took the economy to convince people to modify their behavior, spending habits and to conserve. We all should have been doing this decades ago.
    We tend to live just at or just beyond our means and when those means diminish trouble is certain to follow.
    This all may be a blessing in disguise. It may make families spend more time with each other doing simple things and cheap or free things for fun instead of cell phones, video games and each family member doing their own thing. Maybe they will talk more and learn as a family how to conserve, recycle and to save. Those lessons will follow them through out life and they will pass those habits on to their children.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  17. Dave

    This household is looking at novel ways to add fuel economy, like not driving! That seems to work particularly as my wife drives a total of seventy-five miles in a day, fuel additives, and my cutting back on driving my LeSabre seems to do the trick. In addition to cooking more at home, less restauranting, and fewer jaunts to the coffee shop, I would say that things appear to be shoip-shape financially for the time being. However, I note that in some circles, the Thresher component or model of a dollar-oil coupling appears to be a bad harbinger on the horizon. The Thresher model to economics suggest a faulty relationship of a doomed coupling that results in disaster. In the case of the USS Thresher, a faulty design in the balalst water allowed for fressing in the water lines to occur just as needed ballast changes to keep the ship from ever deepr depths. The water froze, disengaging teh proper venting of the ballast tanks, and the ship imploded on the bottom of teh ocean off of the coast of New Jersey. The question is: Is the dolar-oil coupling fatal as in the design flaw of the USS Thresher, economically speaking. There is some reason for concern here as more invester money continues the upward oil futures cost! How high can it go until this economy implodes?

    May 9, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  18. R in CA

    My out of pocket medical expenses are now over $1,500 a month, with my expensive junk insurance that is all I can get. Learning to live without food is the only option left if we don't get the Republicans out of the White House.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  19. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    To some extent but not like it will be in another 4 months until just before the election and Bush will release a lot of the oil reserve to drive the price down and they can look like heros. Also, those idiots that control the interest rates will slowly increase the rates to drive the value of the dollar up which will also lower oil prices. Check your history people as this is the way things have been done when there is an election year.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  20. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    I always cut back, recession or not.

    I eat leftovers until they turn green. I drive old cars and do my own repairs. I cut my own grass. I reuse aluminum foil and zip-loc bags. I almost never use my credit cards. I use debit cards instead. And I update my resume every two months.

    You'd be amazed at how much money you can save if you look at the little things.

    Bring it on!

    May 9, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  21. garrick

    Hi Jack
    yes,we dont go to movies or buy cloths like we use to we need to eat,we use to drive two cars now one sits in the yard with a for sale sign because of gas prices,we wish we could use antenna to watch tv but we cant do that so we have cut back on lane line so we can afford cable and now we just sit in the dark and pray by candle light.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  22. Bill, Quarryville, PA

    After having busted up my body in a machine shop for 38 years with multiple knee surgeries and back surgery then developing heart problems I had to go on disability. My wife is still working but with these troubling times we have to save every penny we can to pay for heating fuel, gasoline and food. When we receive our bonus check we will put it in our savings and spend it on the items I have mentioned when needed.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  23. D.J.Lauter

    As a senior citizen on a fixed income, my spending has come to a screeching halt. I only drive when I need groceries, don't ever buy luxury items, never eat out,........just work in my garden or get together with my neighbors , take long walks for entertainment.
    Try it......it's fun!

    May 9, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  24. mark

    yes, I've had to cut back on everything.

    no more $2500 fundraiser dinners for bush cheney.
    only $100 donations to obama.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  25. Kevin - Albany, NY

    Yes, yes, yes. The government wants to bail out home-owners–well what about those of us who aren't fortunate enough to own a home? They want to give relief at the pump, but what about the fact that McCain's gas-tax holiday would unfairly advantage those who drive gas-guzzlers? And he says he wants individuals to decide how to spend our money, not the government–what hypocrisy!

    May 9, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  26. Bruce

    No, but I live an enjoyable frugal lifestyle.

    It may affect my ability to sell my house and move to a place I think would be better for me.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  27. David Bakody

    To-day we are buying what we need, not what we want.


    May 9, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  28. Bob in Traverse City Mi.

    Of course it is Jack! What do you think I am a republican?

    May 9, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  29. shirley thibodeaux


    The economy is really not bothering me at all. I am a single professional who has always lived within her means. It saddens me that people gave Bush 4 additional years to really mess things up. I feel a GREAT deal of sorrow for our men and women who are still on the battlefield and are coming home with missing limbs and scares that most of us will never see . To those who voted for Bush twice, YOU got what you asked for!!!!

    May 9, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  30. ralph butler

    Going to emergency food shelters is fast becoming the trend as of late.among a lot of working families who just can't afford the food and gas prices.

    Miami, Fl.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  31. Ken, St. paul MN

    it's not so much cutting back, its more like re-prioritizing. the leisure time i had plannd this summer will now be spent looking for part time work. sorry high school kids, but you'll be competing against alot more people this summer.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  32. Alan P. Naperviile, IL

    That's for sure, unless I get a raise at work which that won't be the case. As a consumer, I either spend less or spend more for bulk size (ex. Sam's club). People tend to drive less these days, there's nothing wrong with that. Saving a few trips going to places, put less mileage on your cars. Ultimately, it helps to reduce greenhouse gases. Way to go!

    May 9, 2008 at 2:59 pm |
  33. Rick Bettger

    The rising gas and grocery prices definitely have made me cut back on my spending. As a college student, I don't have much income so I have to get as much as I can out of my budget. I buy less and cheaper items at the grocery store and I stay at home more weekends than not because I don't have the money to go out.

    I'm afraid my budget is only going to get tighter, too. A St. Louis native with a Boston girlfriend, I have a lot of traveling plans this summer. Do I not travel this summer, do I go out even less, or do I cut back even more at the grocery store? That's a challenging dilemma. I'm not getting richer any time soon, that's for sure.

    New York

    May 9, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  34. Tom in Galveston, Texas

    George Bush and the Republican Party finally accomplished their goal of getting us back to the good old days of the GOP – the 1950's. As a kid during the 1950's I remember sometimes having to eat beans and rice 2 or 3 times a day towards the end of the month. I am quickly working myself back to that same routine thanks to the George Bush economy.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  35. Carol

    We noticed the end of Jan. Our bank account was lower than usual. Even after we decided that we would not buy each other gifts. In February my husband had to have dental surgery $10,000. so far. That drained nearly all of our savings. We can not afford dental insurance. We are not eating out. Thinking twice before we go to the store. Filling the gas tank once a week watching the expressions on each others face as we look at the bill. Cuting back on meat, bread and milk. Started a garden. NO we are not cutting back we are cutting out.

    Carol in Oregon

    May 9, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  36. Phil

    The current state of the economy has forced me to INCREASE my spending...in order to help my 28 yr old son who has been laid off an automotive production line for months. He is now sick because he cannot afford to turn up the heat, his rent is past due and the utilities company is threatening to turn off his electricity. He has searched far and wide in order to find a way to survive but has turned up nothing...and he can't afford the $3.75/gallon to reach out to more distant places. It looks as though he may have to move in with me, and that is not a happy prospect.
    Wenatchee, WA

    May 9, 2008 at 3:02 pm |
  37. Len of Colfax, Wisconsin

    Jack, not so far. We are some of the fortunate ones. As a family, while still in the middle class, we have always been very conservative in our spending habits. If we were truly forced to cut back on spending, this country would be in an extremely worse situation.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:02 pm |
  38. Angelo


    This is in responce to Ann. Ann you must live in a bubble, You say why can't the media give Hillary a break. Where have you been the last month? In outer space!! Obama has been getting hit from all sides ever since the Penn. primary. The only thing Hillary does is complain. You tell me why the media does not pound on her for claming victories in Mich. and Florida? How can someone claim victory in a state where she was the only one on the ballot? What this tells me abount Hillary is that she is out for herself. Is this who you realy want in the White House? I say Hillary go home and try to mend your marriage.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:02 pm |
  39. nora CC TXAS

    I only go to the store once a week instead of 3 to 4 times. We have not gone out to eat, We use to eat out 2 to 3 times a week. That saves money so we can put gas in our car. Everyone is just looking for ways to cut down on fuel costs. You have to eat, so guess they have us on that one.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:02 pm |
  40. J Atlanta

    You bet. I pay attention to each combustion of each piston these days. The Fed has cost me dearly in lowering the income from savings, leaving anyone who saves to lose currency value at the hands of inflation. Energy, population, and just plain bad politics will keep us down for some time. The next election will prove far more important in terms of real economic solution than most can just now imagine. For now, for future reference I pay attention to the price of canned cat food.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  41. Ken, St. paul MN

    it’s not so much cutting back, its more like re-prioritizing. the leisure time i had plannd this summer will now be spent looking for part time work on top of my full time job. sorry high school kids, but you’ll be competing against alot more people this summer.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  42. Lynn


    I have cut back on both gas and clothing etc. Groceries are about the same. My car is older and I intend on holding onto it until it dies!

    I didn't really receive any education in school on money management and about 6 months ago I began reading alot of investment books and just plain money management advice. I have, in fact, enjoyed the CNN money shows with Ali and Christine. I did not grow up with any money to speak of. $5 a month allowance in the 1980's was not enough to even spend, much less budget......However, I am using this recession as an opportunity to learn alot about finance and budgeting. I am learning alot and I feel very empowered. This recession has been a blessing for me as it has encouraged me to seek out knowledge. I had a 'D' average in math in high school.......but it is the 'A' average in reading that is helping me now!

    I encourage everyone to read as much as they can about money management. There is so much free information out there!

    May 9, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  43. nora CC TXAS

    I only go to the store once a week instead of 3 to 4 times. We have not gone out to eat, We use to eat out 2 to 3 times a week. That saves money so we can put gas in our car. Everyone is just looking for ways to cut down on fuel costs. You have to eat, so guess they have us on that one.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  44. Greg, Hamilton Ontario

    Of coarse it is Jack. You guys are 80% of our economy. When you hurt we hurt.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  45. Erin

    Well, certainly on gas. The old bicycles in the garage are no longer just for recreation. And we don't eat-out as much as we used to.

    Those who bike because they have to and those who make choices between groceries and other necessities are the REAL story here.

    The rest of us can think of this as an opportunity to get fit!

    May 9, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  46. Travis, Los Angeles CA

    I've had to cut back on the escort service. It's getting lonely.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  47. Dave in Astoria

    Jack...Our house is now no warmer than 68 on even the coolest days and our errands to town are usually done on one day, two at the most. I am now in the market for some cheaper guns and I've cut the cable down to the point that only religious channels play for the most part. Seriously, we are trying to arrange financing for college entrance for our 17 year old son and maintain our household on the same income we've had for several years. A tough job for us and others, I'm sure. We can only hope that SOMEBODY can help the middle class. Change is in the wind, I think.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  48. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    No, becausing we aren't walking to work or growing our own food supply and the gas and food prices are increasing over night.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  49. Chris Swansea, MA

    I'm still spending the same amount of money. I'm just not recieving the same goods and or services from that money as before. I blame the people who voted for this Idiot!!!

    May 9, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  50. Leevaughn Brown

    I haven't had an egg in months nows now!

    Cinti, Ohio Indite Rumsfield!

    May 9, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  51. Ann Marie

    I haven't cut back, but I put a lot more thought into each expenditure. Do I really need this? Can it wait? What is the most economical way to accomplish my purpose?

    Our country has been through economic downturns previously in my lifetime. The economy is cyclical, and as much as we would like to blame the government, there is a limit to what it can do. We need patience, not panic, and this too shall pass.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  52. Calvin in Raleigh, NC

    Yes, it has. It will continue to do so as long as gas and inflation keep rising. I can't believe someone would be happy that food prices are forcing others to eat less. We need to invest more into mental therapy for some people in this country.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:12 pm |
  53. Simone from New Jersey

    No Jack, the economy is not forcing me to cut back. In some ways I am lucky, but mostly I'm prepared. Right now, I'm cutting back because in 50 years when I retire, if the economy dips again, I want to be sure I am once again prepared.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:12 pm |
  54. Donna Wisconsin

    Absolutely! Bought a Prius and now fill up for $22. All that money I'm saving will go to save for a new one in five years. Only problem at .13% interest it will probaly take me 10 years to afford a new one. Thanks to a never-ending war and the oil companies we, the middle class are now the new poor. The media keeps telling us that the cost of gas is an issue of supply and demand. Funny! Demand is down because we can't afford it and yet the price keeps going up. They warned us in January that gas would go to $4.00 a gallon by Memorial Day. That's the hype they give so when they do it, we can't be suprised. Thanks to all of you guys out there who voted for 2 terms of this administration. Are you guilty? I'm not. Can't wait til Nov.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  55. Iris in Saugatuck, Michigan

    Dear Jack, You can't make a 5 dollar omelette without breaking a few eggs.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  56. Kathy from Iowa

    I feel for you, Gigi (above poster). If gas prices continue to go up, my brother won't be driving 500 miles to bring my niece for a visit. I also might not make the family reunion which will be about a 600 mile drive for me. Thanks, George Bush.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  57. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    I am retired and disabled. What is this spending that you speak of?

    May 9, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  58. Mike Nunn - Hot Springs, Ar.

    Cuts into our gambling budget. The cost of gas and food gives a little less to gamble. Life is tough, but we old codgers will survive.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  59. KC - Ohio

    Sure has Jack... I retired in December, with the time-worn plan to travel to see our grandkids several times a year.. We are missing them growing up.. They are in Tampa, Virginia Beach, Philadelphia, and Columbus.

    The sudden increase of gas prices, just since December, caused us to cancel our trip to Tampa.. We were able to make a trip to Philadelphia, but our plans, now, are really curtailed... thanks to our self-serving politicians. All of the grandious plans I had for retirement are looking pretty dim.

    At least I can still afford my medications... but just how long will I be able to say that..

    May 9, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  60. alexa, Lovettsville, Va

    We are beginning to cut back on everything. We will vacation a shorter period of time and closer to home this year. I would like to keep what money we do spend in the States and I am urging everyone else to do the same. Look at the labels before you buy. You would be surprised at how many things you can buy that are made in the USA if you just take the time to look at the label, i.e., some of the name brand cat food (which is a several billion dollar a year business) is made out of the country while an equal name brand equivalent is made in the USA.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  61. spencer

    Yes, Thats a dumb question. Arkansas here..

    May 9, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  62. Mike from Syracuse NY

    My ex is getting married again. That means no more alimony! Does that count?

    May 9, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  63. Steve Hayden, Idaho

    Yes, but it's not always a bad thing. This economy has caused me to take a good hard look into a large list of crap that I've been spending my paychecks on. The cell phones, the really bad movies in the theaters, the HDTV with DVR,all of the status junk that has been taking me away from what matters most in life. Spending time with my children, taking walks with my wife, enjoying the fresh air and visiting with friends. The best things in life are still free.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  64. Mike S., New Orleans, Louisiana

    Hey Jack, I'm an American. And just like my President and my Congress, if I want to spend more money, I just borrow more.
    It would be unpatriotic to do otherwise.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  65. JS

    I am cutting back on spending, trying to cut the China imports mainly, and trying to spend at the local farmers market.
    JS North Carolina

    May 9, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  66. dave walker,n. dartmouth,ma.

    Yes. Unless you are a millionaire or a Republican,you have no choice. As us average joes sit back and watch big oil rape the American people and its' economy,our government does absolutely nothing to help us out. Had my last name been Bear or Sterns,I might have had a shot. It is a national disgrace what this terrible administration has let the country fall to.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  67. Curtis, Oxnard CA

    The economy will be a big determinate in the next car I buy. Some two seat thing with an electric lawnmower motor.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  68. Jerry


    My wife was thinking of getting rid of the cable TV but I put an
    end to that and have put her on half rations for the duration.
    How else would I know I'm not doing so well if the media
    couldn't tell me everyday.

    Roselle, Illinois

    May 9, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  69. Annie, Atlanta

    It sure is, but the bigger questions are how many more billions of dollars will the oil companies be making this year than last and how are they getting away with it?

    May 9, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  70. Todd Tschetter

    High gasoline prices, inflation, stagflation, a recession, rising unemployment, turmoil in the middle east. I just wanted to thank president Carter! No wait it is not the 1970's it is the year 2008. I guess I must thank President Bush for never reading a history. It would have given him some insite on how history repeats it self. But I forget that Dick Cheney probably selects his reading material when he tucks the president into bed at night!

    May 9, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  71. Dave (Mueller), Tallhassee

    I think the Pres. or Congress, or presidential candidates should get a BIG RED BOOK , wave it around and write the names of the governments, businesses, banks that are "oil consignment flippers" like people used to flip houses. It is simple speculation driving prices higer, not availability. Then, went a cyclone, earthquake, flood, famine, grave industrial accident hit, we look whose in the book and say "We gave" if their name is in there. We gave many million per day directly from our people when you made money speculating on how high the price of petrol can go.
    However, we can sell you survival supplies. Of course, there is a great demand and it can get a bit pricey.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  72. Jim Burkett

    Cuttin back...you bet. I can't wait though, for all these companies, who decided to leave the country...go bankrupt. since "We" can't buy their goods anymore. So be it. (lets just hope Bush is gone first, since he would bail out the CEO's before us)

    May 9, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  73. Sherif

    I try to ride my motorcycle to work whenever weather permits. That saves me a whole $2 a day. Food is getting outrageous. I can only by steaks when they're on sale now and I have to pay $5.99 a lb. for Rib Eyes. Seriously though, things are tight but I'm not going to whine and gripe and say the government is the cause of all my problems.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  74. ADAM. New York

    Cafferty, as usual you show your ignorance and these sheep who respond are morons. Why no outrage over the increasing property taxes to feed the fat bloated local and state governments. Geez is everyone stupid?

    May 9, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  75. George

    Well when you are on a fixed income you are already as I am in a cut-back mode, but with the economy in the shape it is in today it is beginning to become a drastic situation. When people have to go to the grocery, and only purchase things that are on sale, does not give you much bariety, and just to make ends meet is not a very nice place to be.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  76. Sam Swift

    Maybe people in the past should have not bought that flat screen TV or Florida time share that the really couldn't afford. The people that have always been smart about their money don't have to cut back. It's called savings. Most Americans don't know what that word means (outside of their 401(K)). So maybe this is a lesson they need to be taught!!!

    May 9, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  77. Julie

    We have cut back but only to put more into savings accounts. I really feel for the families that are having a really hard time right now with their mortgages and credit card bills. At the same time, I'm wondering how did these folks think they were going to pay for these items when they were spending more than they make?! I read an article about one family that wanted, and bought, a larger house but didn't realize the taxes, insurance and utilities would be higher than on their previous smaller home. We all have to take responsibility for our own actions and quit blaming corporate America and the President.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  78. will

    I make no cut backs and live the best life ever the economey has no effect on me and yet i hold no f#@%$!& Bush administration office.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  79. Tom from Boston, Mass.

    Yes. I'm not poor, but I am certainly feeling the pinch of ever-increasing fuel and food costs combined with never opening my financial statements when they arrive in the mail. I sold my boat last year intending to buy a new one this year. Not any more.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  80. Fred (Ft Worth)

    Yes it is. I used to have some extra money to go out each week and buy a new pair of shorts or a new pair of shoes and now I cannot afford to go out and grab a burger and fries and a drink. Now it is just a burger and take it home and drink water. Ain't life grand. I thank the Republicans for allowing this to happen to us. I hope you clods are voted out and it will be all democrats in your chair next year.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  81. Michael Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: It has and I'm convinced that all Americans are trying to make the adjustments just to maintain their daily life styles. For some Americans, the adjustments can be executed, for others to cut back more on what little they have is becoming a major burden in just surviving day to day. Corporate America continues to enjoy their all time record profits without even shedding a tear for the average American....that is what it is all about profitability.........at all cost.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  82. Lorenzo, Atlanta, GA


    Groceries, Gas, Unemployment, Foreclosures. What is terrifying is idea of going in my mailbox and getting my heat bill in November. Yes, I am cutting back on EVERYTHING until America can get a handle on the economy. My vacation this year will be me and my family staying home for a week and playing a marathon game of monopoly.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  83. Carol in Durham Maine

    Yes. My husband is retired on a small pension and Social Security.
    My paycheck is modest and we are just scraping by. Defintely brown bagging these days.

    I'm can't retire yet and I'm scared because my 403b ( it is like 401) retirement fund just lost in one quarter what it took me an ENTIRE Year to save.

    We just learned that our 'budgeted' monthly heating oil plan for next year is at the rate of $390.00 per month. We have reduced our themostats to 65 most times and added sweaters of course.

    We are putting off repairs to the car and not buying needed tires that we should because the daily cost of living leaves little room for emergencies.

    We are unable to buy things for the grand kids we love, or help our own kids when they have a need.

    Naturally vacations our of the questions

    May 9, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  84. Catherine Lao

    Yes, I already weight 100 lbs soak and wet, by the time this economy turns itself around, I will have withered away!


    May 9, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  85. Scott L. - Wichita, Kansas

    The only thing I've done is drive differently, and that was just an experiment to see what kind of gas mileage I can stetch out of my vehicle

    May 9, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  86. Chris Colmus


    May 9, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  87. Gary North Carolina

    I make $75K a year. We don't eat out. We cook at home from scratch. We don't go out to watch movies. We wait until they come on TV next year. Both my cars are at least 10 years old. Buying a new fuel efficient car is more expensive than gas. This is not a change it's what we have done all along. I consider myself wealthy and can buy anything I want ... I just don't want. As my brother says " No matter how much money you have you never have enough".

    May 9, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  88. sandy in Ohio

    Jack, My husband and I are retired so I consider us lucky when it comes to buying gas. With no jobs to go to we only have to fill up about every other month. We are cutting back at the grocery store and we very seldom eat out and then only at reasonably priced places. But I lay awake at night and worry about my grown children and their families and the counless others like them. I wonder where all of this is taking us and I see no relief in sight.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  89. Terry, Chandler AZ

    Yes indeed Jack. I'm 60 years old and single with no debt other than a monthly mortgage payment (less than 4 years and it will be paid off) that is under $1,000. I make over $80,000/year. I have a lot in savings too. I've stopped spending on anything that is not necessary (Starbucks, lottery, prime meat....) Even a person in my financial condition should be frugal.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  90. Keith 3.93/gallon, California

    I have made some "cut backs" but I thought the reason for the war was to secure Iraq's oil enriched land for our own u.s. needs. Since we've done that already, Can they pass that discount down to the consumer?

    May 9, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  91. CJ in Roanoke, VA

    Jack, I can think of a way to cut my spending, but I'm really debating if I want to do it. Lately I've had this wild thought of driving my Nissan Pathfinder SUV that gets 18 MPG to my dealer and parking it, tossing them the keys, telling them I've had it, and walking off. I would save myself the burden of fueling it with $3.50 per gallon gas and the monthly payment of $336. If I do that, we'll be a one car family of 4. That one car being a Honda that gets 34 MPG. At this point, I'm not really caring if my credit gets dinged.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  92. James in Cape Coral, FL

    I live in south west Florida and today the temperature reached 92. I know this because I can't afford to turn on my A/C. At least it get's down to 85 at night. Next week I'll most likey have to cut off my cable which simply means no more CNN for me. How are CNN's ratings doing as the economy falls further into poverty?

    May 9, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  93. Rael Mussell

    My wife is a school teacher here in Michigan and I work for Ford. our combined incomes allow us to live a relatively comfortable life style, but we're no longer able to be as adaptive to unexpected expenses as we once were. We're likely going to need IVF to conceive and this will cost us roughly 10,000 once it's all said and done. With this unexpected expense it's really hit us hard. Before these increasing gas and food prices we would have thought nothing much of it and went out and secured a loan for the procedure, but now since we're paying roughly 30% more in fuel costs, 40% more in food costs (Seen the price of a green pepper lately?) our disposable income we could have alloted to that new loan now has to go to basic life necessities. I feel I'm at blame for allowing ourselves to be over extended in the first place, but it would be nice if the simple things in life, such as buying food could be a little easier. We're actually planting a garden this year to offset some of our cost. So, no. We're not cutting back on our spending in the slightest. We just are being forced to reallocate our already finite resources to maintain the basic lifestyle we need to survive.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  94. Ethel

    When times were good, I made it a point to sock away cash in interest-bearing accounts. I still put away a little each month, but it is less than before.
    There is no eating out, movies, book-buying or non-necessary spending. I use coupons at the grocery and look first in the day-old bakery items instead of paying full-price.
    I have started a vegetable garden in the back yard to save on produce costs, and am looking for a rain barrel to catch rain so I don't have to pay for city water.
    I am lucky that I was raised by parents who stressed frugal living and taught me how to save, save, save.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  95. Mohamed Moolji

    Cutting back by joining car pool, brown bag lunch, no more Fri. or Sat night out to eat. This is going to be my life style pretty much from now onwards

    May 9, 2008 at 3:36 pm |
  96. Ann in NY

    We have cut back on driving, I take the bus 3 days a week now...and have found that it is much more relaxing than driving myself!

    For all of you blaming this on the president, I am truly impressed by your belief in George Bush's amazing superpowers – for one individual to slowdown the whole US economy and increase oil prices to $125/barrell is ridiculous. Not a big George Bush fan myself but please, let's try to be logical.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:37 pm |
  97. Charles in Florida

    Jack, so far all the economy has done is make all of my car trips a planned event and dinner leftovers a welcomed thing for lunch.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  98. Giselle, Atlanta

    Well, I haven't been to the mall since Christmas. It's strictly discount stores and Walmart for us...

    May 9, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  99. Terry in Fayetteville, NC

    By increasing the pressure in my bicycle tires, I figure I am only saving the cost of one banana per month. Hardly worth it. If things get really bad I may get a car so I can save as much as the Exxon addicts with their gas guzzlers do and I'll get a spare tire around my waist at no extra charge.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  100. Leah J, Corona CA

    Driving less is an option for those who HAVE the public transportation available to get where they need to go. Southern CA is not mass transit friendly...we drive because that's usually the ONLY way to get "there". So, cuts are made in many other areas; heating, water use, lawn maintenance, food (of course) and on it goes. But, we aren't in a recession..or so I hear.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  101. Jim, Cape Canaveral FL

    I haven't cut back at all. I do now and have always lived within my means. I'm 42 and single. I paid off the mortgage on my manufactured home last year, I paid $2,000 for my car and it gets 35mpg. I make $550-$600 a week delivering pizza. That's for less than 30 hours a week. I have more money than I need to live on and put money in savings and my IRA every month. I believe that the biggest problem with Americans is that we refuse to live within our means. Everyone has to have the biggest house on the block and the most and biggest SUVs. If our economy was based on assets and savings instead of credit and borrowing power we'd all be better off. Conspicuous consumption is killing our economy and world. Some may snicker at me for living in a manufactured home and delivering pizza. Although it's not a mansion or a Hummer, I have money in the bank and no debt. How many others can say that. Oh, and I'm voting for John McCain. Higher taxes from Obama and the Democrats are only going to make this bad situation worse.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  102. Brad, WI

    I just graduated college, thankfully with no student loans, but unable to find work yet. I've had to skip meals to make ends meet right now....

    May 9, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  103. Real Americans


    May 9, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  104. Tom

    I have rode my bicycle to work for the past three weeks saving approximately $5.00 per day. I plan on doing it all summer. Besides the savings, it has been great exercise.
    DuBois, PA

    May 9, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  105. Jessica

    The world has no idea how badly this is affecting college students who see little to no monetary support from their family, yet are forced to claim dependent status. We can only work part-time jobs because of our classes. We're crying out for help but cannot get it as we watch our tuition raise and are denied the stimulus checks that everyone else is getting.

    Lexington, KY

    May 9, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  106. the calm one

    Wow, what anger. The only posts that were not angry were the people that were smart and put themselves on a budget years ago.

    They are Your bills, so it is Your fault if you can't pay them.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  107. Julian, New Orleans

    No one can sugarcoat the economic woes we face. I got to tell you Jack, I have never heard of a Presidential Administration that makes every decision against the greater interest of the American people. Bush has thrown our economy in the toilet. Hooking us to countries such as Russia and Saudi Arabia for oil and China and India for basic consumer goods, all the while spending well over a trillion dollars in Iraq, and getting us into a nine-trillion dollar deficit. Yes Bush has done a fine job destroying our economy, let's just hope Obama can get in there and clean up this mess before it's too late!

    May 9, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  108. Mike

    Are you people really that serious and broke that you need to boil peels for tea or only wash your hair every other day?!?!? If you figure the average American drives 13,000 miles a year and gets 20mpg you are only spending $1,625 more a year now at $4.00/gal than you were at $1.50/gal and that really isn't too much money when when you think it is only $31.25 a week. Come on most people spend that on fancy coffees and other vices like alcohol or cigarettes. Just be smart and quit complaining or you can sit there and whine about the cost of gas while you are listening to your new Ipod, watching movies on your new 50" plasma TV or smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day!!!

    May 9, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  109. Nick Stamford CT

    $75,000 a year isn't even alot of money for one person in the NYC metro area. Gas is near $4.00 a gallon, you cannot find a decent apartment for less than $200,000 let alone a house for less than $500,000. Figure in property taxes, electric rates, insurance, groceries, etc..

    Ex. Cable package is $125 a month for optimum triple play, gas $60 a week, groceries for one (just necessities) are $50 a week, 28% of pay witheld in payroll taxes. Strange that all these 20 somethings can spend hundreds at the bars in Stamford CT and drive BMW's & Porsches to work. Some people must still be doing well but to think you are well off or can afford the cost of living at $75,000 a year is proposterous. Many families making $150,000 – $200,000 can barely afford the total PITI monthly payment on a house.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  110. John (Topock, AZ)

    Jack, my lifestyle today is starting to resemble the lifestyle I had forty-five years ago when I was in the military. Today I don't have a lot of money to spend. I don't spend very much on myself, make every dollar count at the supermarket, and only travel when I have a reason to. When I was in the military years ago I was making $17.50 cash every two weeks. I ate green eggs and fried bologna in the morning and mystery meat in the afternoon, and rarely travelled because I couldn't afford a car, insurance, or gas. And someone was always telling us what to do. Not much change over the years.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  111. Ken Beaverton, MI

    Yup! Here's my one cents worth.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  112. Brad, WI

    I just graduated college, thankfully with no student loans, but unable to find work yet. I’ve had to skip meals to make ends meet right now….and supposedly I don't 'qualify' for a tax rebate. Frustrating!

    May 9, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  113. uamis

    Cut back why? I'm not living on debt. I didn't borrow from my house. A dollar value which is only on paper. I lived in a manner that most people in this country still can't grasp the concept of in my means. That is to say only what I could afford without going int debt. I didn't out and buy a home 10 times my income ie 500k home on 35k income. Now people are facing reality and "cutting back" if you lived in your means in the first place this would not happend. HEY HERE'S AN ANSWER MAYBE YOU CAN BORROW FROM YOUR HOME AGAIN OR BETTER YET GET MORE CREDIT CARDS AND GO SPEND THE MONEY YOU DON'T HAVE!!!!

    May 9, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  114. Jeremy Smith

    The economy isn't the problem it's our freaking leaders who can't agree on which color t-shirt to wear on sunday. It's Amazing to me how our government is quick to send aid to a foriegn country, but don't send anything to New Orleans.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  115. RB - Arizona

    My family is cutting back our driving. Watching our speed, slower starts and stops really has improved our gas mileage. Changing the dirty air filters helped too. I'm eating less fast food. We started a small vegetable garden and get 10% produce savings with that. I am contemplating giving up cable TV as over-the-air HD is fine and doesn't cost $90/month! I'm also fighting the long-term value vs. price fight by trying to buy non-Chinese made goods and patronizing local, small businesses.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  116. Casey

    Are you people really that serious and broke that you need to boil peels for tea or only wash your hair every other day?!?!? If you figure the average American drives 13,000 miles a year and gets 20mpg you are only spending $1,625 more a year now at $4.00/gal than you were at $1.50/gal and that really isn't too much money when when you think it is only $31.25 a week. Come on most people spend that on fancy coffees and other vices like alcohol or cigarettes. Just be smart and quit complaining or you can sit there and whine about the cost of gas while you are listening to your new Ipod, watching movies on your new 50" plasma TV or smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day!!!

    May 9, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  117. Matt

    I'm suprised (well, I shouldn't be) by all the hate and discontent here. It's amazing that everyone wants to blame the government, or the oil companies, or anyone they think is out to get them. How about taking a little personal responsibility for your finances and learn to live within your means!

    May 9, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  118. Chicago Bob from Illinois

    Yes, but It's good for my health, I am walking more and eating less.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  119. Kel from Auburn AL

    Well, I'm cheap by nature, so I haven't been doing much different than I normally would have been, but thanks to the rising costs of everything, it looks like I'll be spending less & less on unnecessary things, so I suppose it could be said that yes, I'm being forced to cut back on spending.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  120. S. L. in California

    I have definitely cut back....on paying interest to banks! While watching the economy falter over this past year, I have diligently paid off ALL of my revolving debt...every penny of it! I'm saving a fortune in interest every month now.

    Meanwhile, I am focusing on eating the food I already had stockpiled in my pantry. Believe it or not, aside from occasional milk, bread, fresh fruit and veggies, I have not gone grocery shopping in more than 3 months! And I still have plenty of food in my pantry to keep me fed for at least another 3-4 months.

    I also completely stopped going out to eat about 3 months, and I rarely drive anywhere other than to/from work (which is less than 7 miles from my home) or to run errands (all the stores I need are conveniently located within 1 mile of my home). Hence, in spite of the increased gas prices, I spend less than $25/week on gas driving a fuel efficient car.

    All the money I am saving is going into a downpayment on a house, which I plan to buy once the market has fully corrected itself.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:52 pm |
  121. Paula in Albuquerque

    What do you think?

    May 9, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  122. Ken

    It's quite simple.........we live on a budget!!! Before the month begins we spend every dollar on paper on purpose. Cash inflow minus cash outflow equals net income. This net income goes to payoff debt. In order to accomplish this you have to LIVE BELOW YOUR MEANS!!
    If your complaining about gas and have a big screen tv, two cell phones, and cable......then you're the problem, not the economy.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  123. Vinnie Vino

    I am forced to cut what I have already cut in my spending, no gas or milk and American Pie. The next American slogan to stop illegal immigrantion...

    C.I., New York

    May 9, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  124. Nancy, Cunningham, TN

    Cut back? The only thing left to cut back at our house is the dog's treats. We already cut everything else. We need some relief and I don't McCain or Obama have anything to offer. One doesn't know any better (due to inexperience) and the other one has forgotten what to do (due to old age).

    May 9, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  125. Bill in St. Cloud, FL

    Not yet, and with the windfall I see coming when I save $.18 per gallon of gas during the "gas tax holiday", I might just retire!

    May 9, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  126. Mike

    We started on January 1st.

    A. We have cut household expenses: food, cable, telephone, etc by 20% by renegotiating, dropping services, buying cheaper foods at discount places. Clothes only at big discounts, no frills, less eating out.

    B. Sold our 2nd home to cut taxes, insurance, maintenance, and interest costs on that loan. We're not going to have a 2nd home again.

    C. We help our kids less. Weaned the last of them of car insurance, health insurance help and don't send extra money anymore.

    All in all, our expenses are now permanently reduced by 25%...that's a part of the economy that's never coming back, Jack.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  127. Sid---Texas

    We are already using both sides of the toilet paper, so cutting back on groceries may make it a little easier.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  128. Diane

    I retired in June 2007. Since then ,my mortgage has increased , gas prices has increased, groceries has increased, and just about everything else has too. Thank goodness for my new part time job that helps take up the slack.

    Springfield, Ohio

    May 9, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  129. HillyJack

    Shoot, weez jus a waitn' for Hillary to give us some free stuff.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  130. Antonio Hallandale FLORIDA

    If breaking my medication in half, not going to the dentist or the hearing doctor when I need help THEN heck yes! Having doctor and hospital bills on 'monthly life-time payment plans seems to me to be spending less. Joining my neighbor in driving to split the gas with a weak a/c in the car can't afford to repair, terminating long distance telephone service, reducing internet speed, limiting number of cable channels, receiving only the Sunday paper instead daily THEN yes Jack! Heck yes! Unplugging the microwave, toaster, coffeemaker, and TV when not in use SURE means I am spending less on what were once the essentials of being an American! I have not been to a movie since last summer and out to eat since Easter Sunday. What was once ordinary has become diffcult for me. You know what I mean Jack?

    May 9, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  131. Trina in Maryland

    Let's see, Yes, I am definitely cutting back! I am one of the lucky people that lost their job due to the mortgage meltdown, was unemployed for 4 months that found a job. I found a position, but took a 33% decrease in salary. I also must commute further. All this just in time to pay more for gas, food, energy and health care. Right now it is all about the necessities for the kids no extras.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  132. Peter-TX

    well Jack, i spend more but get less for my money, if that's not offensive to my wallet, i don't know what else is.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  133. Ann

    I am a single mom with 2 kids.. Make a great living as an IT Professional... well it WAS good living.

    I have a teenager and a almost teenager.

    Were now eating at home more often

    Playing grocery shoppoing games, getting sale ads in the local paper or on-line and buying only the things we use/need that are on sale at 3 different stores, within a few miles of home so not to waste to much gas. Buying things in bulk, cooking in bulk and freezing meals.

    Car pooling more with teenagers friends for activities we used to drive solo to.

    Researching even smaller purchases, like clothes, shopping on-line for bargains for fashion concious teenager.

    It sometimes is honestly a good thing.. You want me to drive you 3 miles to your friends house.. ahh no.. take your bike and get moving!
    and eating at home is much better for our health than eating out.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  134. Steve

    I'm on a fixed income.
    So it's obvious, if I have to spend more on food, gas and utilities, I need to spend less elsewhere like cutting down on my cable tv bill, cutting out my dental insurance and cutting out delivered food.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  135. Ryan

    My wife likes to be the first on Sunday morning to get her car washed. She gets there about twenty minutes before they open to beat the crowd. In the past, getting there late meant a 2-3 hour wait. Last Sunday ,there were only three other cars in front of her and only a handfull trickled in while she was waited. Apparently, a $40 car wash is something that a lot of people have decided they could do without.

    Baton Rouge, LA

    May 9, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  136. Kevin from Webster, MA

    Food, fuel, and goods prices are constantly going up (at a very rapid rate) along with taxes and paycheck stays the same. Gee Jack, You have to ask if I'm cutting back? Uh, YES!!!!!

    May 9, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  137. A Kraft Naples, FL

    everyone....even Bush is having bar b que at the wedding

    May 9, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  138. sarah, Indiana

    good grief, what a bunch of whiners. ya'll should have tried living within you budget in the first place. did you really need that big honkin gas guzzlin 4×4, the flat screen tv, the super expensive game system, or the house with the media room? probably not but who cares, just spend even if you dont have it. in the mean time we who live more frugal lifestyles will be just fine.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  139. Chuck Campbell

    I just saw your commentary on "How will history view the Obama-Clinton race?", and you pretty much captured what I have been thinking about the race.
    My question is this...If Senator Clinton "poorly" planned the Democratic race over the past few months, how can I expect here to properly plan if elected to run our country? My vote is for Obama.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  140. Janice, Aberdeen, SD

    We are cutting back as much as we can. No vacations, very little entertainment (except CNN), more coupon clipping, more buying in bulk, and more shopping at discount stores.

    Can we please have the election today so we can get rid of Bush early?

    May 9, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  141. Tom - Las Vegas, Nevada

    I'm trying to, but my cable company won't let me cut just the Fox News Network from my cable package.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  142. wally rehmann in las Vegas

    iam disabled on ssd got a 2.3 increase in money this year. the so called core inflation increase they give us is a joke. my savings is gone i buy eggs by the half dozen, afraid to turn on the air condishing, i could go on and on there forcing me out, anyone want to by a laptop so i can pay my rent?

    May 9, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  143. Dennis from Phoenix

    Since I'm not a wealthy Republican elitist, an oil barron or a futures trader...the straight answer is yup! That leaves me and my family at the bottom of the food chain and subject to the whims of the rampant greed created by the Bush economy. We saw this kind of greed run wild during the Reagan administraion but Bush Jr has taken this national economic destruction to higher levels and there is no end in sight.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  144. Bev from Texas

    Uh, yeah. Between gas, food, utilities, healthcare and home repairs, we've found ourselves between a rock and a Bush, and that's not a warm and fuzzy place to be.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  145. Jeff - Michigan

    When is everyone going to stop crying about it being the government's fault that they are broke. Stop spending money you don't have, and stop whining about oil prices. If you don't like high gas prices, then drive less. I see a dozen people a day at the post office, etc, who leave their car running while they wait in line for 20 minutes! If you're broke, get a job, it's not that hard if you get your wide rear out of bed each day and try to be a productive member of society. You all blame the government for all the world's problems, but then you want them to pay off your foreclosed house so you don't have to work. Those who are currently 'suffering' are simply not motivated to help themselves.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  146. vernon

    yes we have had to cut back on almost everything due to the large price increases placed on us by this lousy bush adminastration what out there is cheaper than it was before bush took office?,nothing i can think of.


    May 9, 2008 at 4:22 pm |
  147. Rick Medina,OH


    I am in my mid-fifties, and frankly, have lived quite well for a long time. But, I have never been more frightened. Over the last year, I cashed out of a lot of assets, and paid off EVERYTHING other than my house. I re-learned how to cook, and my wife and I have figured out how to live on less than half of what we used to. We've done the economic equivalent of 'digging a fox hole,' and plan to wait out the battle.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  148. Debbie,NJ

    Yes my family has cut back on spending. Normally we take 2-3 short vacations a year. This year we'll be lucky if we can take 1. We usually drive to NY, Maryland, DC or Virgina but at these gas prices and hotel prices we'll be turning our yard into a vacation get away and visit the local amusement park. I'll redecorate my bedroom and send the kids away and pretend I'm in some fancy hotel room.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  149. Gene, Florida

    I've been cutting back since the Bush tax cuts. Tax cuts go to the wealthy, the feds cut state funding, the states cut from local governments yet the state and cities burden the middle class by raising tuition, utility rates and imposes hundreds of other fees to make up for these deficits. Welcome to the age of neo-voo-doo economics.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  150. Darren S.

    Anyone not receiving one of Bush's tax breaks for the rich is feeling the crunch. Hard to believe crude oil prices quintupled during one president's regime, oops term in office.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:27 pm |
  151. Susan

    Only in small ways right now, but I am looking ahead and thinking about ways I can make cuts to maintain the status quo.

    There will be no big vacations for us this summer, and only my husband is going to a family get together in June – the plane fare is just too expensive for all three of us to go.

    I think we are headed for worse times financially, so I am being very careful.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:28 pm |

    its simple the people of the 21st century decided no to the old polics, no more buch/clinton/buch/clinton. we want to be a voice in our future.

    cj ca.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:28 pm |
  153. Joe Akono

    History will remember the race as a contest during which people falsely accused the Clintons of injecting race in the contest. What message do we get when 80 or 90 percent of African Americans vote for a black man?

    May 9, 2008 at 4:30 pm |
  154. Alan, Buxton Maine

    Since I am retired and on a fixed income I have no choice. I am trying to sell my house in New England as I can no longer afford the cost of the oil to heat it next winter. Food costs are getting out of reach and I have to restrict driving to necessity only. If I were not covered by VA medical coverage I would have none at all. I feel sorry for others less fortunate than I who are much worse off and there are many. What has this country come to?

    May 9, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  155. Mark from Atlanta

    No. Although my wife does work a little harder at organizing her daily travels to minimize the impact of higher fuel prices, I can't say that we have been impacted by the economy. In fact, we just boat a new boat and had our back yard leveled and re-landscaped. There are some great deals out there right now for people who can afford to act.
    It is summer time and we are going to spend some quality time enjoying our new boat and our backyard as a family!

    May 9, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  156. Jack

    With all these observations and good ideas being thrown out there, why are'nt these people running for congress. Oh, I forgot, it's eaiser to complain about something than do something about it.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:33 pm |
  157. TJ

    It toooooooo much when i came to CA it Gas was around 2.60 year ago and in one year its all most 1.50cent more ...and you know CA its costly ...cost cutting is every where from food to gas to movie party ....u name it and i am doing it ....illegel immigration is one of the issue which can slove this problem i am waiting till election i am hoping htat things will get change after election, I am only spending for what i have to not for what i want to ...that make lots of diff to my life

    May 9, 2008 at 4:34 pm |
  158. Bethany from Kansas

    As a full time married college student, I have to say no. Inflation is a normal part of society. As is supply and demand. Prices will always be going up. It would be easier if the wages followed suit, but what can you say.

    Then again, being completely frugal doesn't hurt either.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  159. Jeremy

    Jack, My family is actually spending more now that you can find great deals on everything (other than food and gas) and still saving. Me and my wife decided to buy a home on a 30 year fixed mortgage that was only 17% of our monthly income (instead of 40% like some of our friends that now have to watch what they spend). At 27 years old, I can’t believe how my generation believes they are entitled to everything and how bush should bail them out so they can drink their $5 Starbucks and go to the movies/events every weekend. We haven’t had cable for almost a year, by choice. Hopefully this recession will teach people how to save, and get off their butts and go outside and do something free and maybe spend time with their kids instead of letting the TV raise them.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:36 pm |
  160. Sheryl Smith

    Am I cutting back – not really. I have always lived within my means, not spending more than I earn. I carry no charge card debt, drive a small fuel efficient car but do live in an overpriced apartment. My mistake was not buying a home I couldn't afford – who knew. If I had, then at least my tax dollars would go to help me by bailing out the banking industry that most certainly would have loaned me money even if I could't afford to pay it back.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  161. Maggie Georgia

    One thing that has resulted our entire family has lost some unnecessary weight. Only think how much longer there its not too much more we need to lose.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  162. Kevin

    Jack, being a struggling musician I needed a pair of shoes to go with my tuxedo, so I stopped in a Goodwill and all they had were brown ones my size. I was lucky enough to have a can of gloss black spray paint. That left me with enough Franklins to get to my gig.

    Warren, MI

    May 9, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  163. Bob

    I started cutting back 6 months ago. I had 2 vacations planned and I cancelled them. It's not that I can't afford them, I just refuse to pay the cost of the tickets and fees the airlines charge now. It's not going to change anything, these airlines will take advantage of the situation, take your money, then file chapter 11 again and have the govt. bail them out.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  164. Sue from Drums PA


    I've been watching these problems coming toward us for a few years now. We got rid of our credit cards a couple of years ago. We bought a pellet stove last fall to heat our home in winter. I've been buying store brands and inexpensive soaps and cleaning products for a while now. Shopping the farmers markets during the warm months. Yet all the changes Ive made in anticipation of the energy crisis are adding up to zilch now that it's here. Our cost for gasoline WAS at 500.00 a month, and is now rocketing upwards. Soon we will pay more to drive to work than we pay for our home.

    Where I can cut back now:

    Growing my own food. Clothesline drying of clothes, instead of using the dryer. My husband is assembling a solar panel that we can use to run our heater in winter. He is seriously planning to brew biodiesel for driving needs. My greatest fear is the loss of electricity, as the electrical infrastructure is aging and it will take oil energy to rebuild it. My next suggestion to my husband is wind power, something he can also build for our home's energy needs.

    I'm quite certain I won't rest easy until we are as energy self-sufficient as possible.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  165. Bodo from Ann Arbor

    Gas is more expensive now, but everybody still wants to drive those stupid gas-guzzling SUVs. Perhaps it would be a good idea if everybody started cutting back a bit. Americans have actually spent more last year than they were making. It takes no genius to figure out that this can not continue.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:41 pm |
  166. ratan

    Jack we have been cut so badly all the time they are not holding back this time. Thats all i can say.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:41 pm |
  167. Linda, CA

    Carefully watching where I spend $ and trying to use coupons more often. I started buying groceries at FoodMaxx where it's a lot cheaper and you bag it yourself but it does save me $ so I'm not too proud to bag my own groceries.

    I fill up the cars at Costco where it's about the cheapest in the area.
    We try to eat home cooked meals more often.

    I pay extra on the highest interest accounts and loans. I'm hoping to get the car paid off soon and that's gonna save a lot in interest.

    I even pick up a penny when I see it. It adds up, and I'm not ashame to do so.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:41 pm |
  168. Joe Sexton in Amherst, NY

    Hillary Clinton will be seen as the woman who set back the feminist movement by blowing her chances to get nominated. Barack Obama, on the other hand, will be cast as a "hero" on a virtual par with Abraham Lincoln: Lincoln freed the slaves, Obama was the one who finally capitalized on that freedom by overcoming the racism of the Clintons to capture the once "whites-only" House. If he had Hillary's mentality, he would paint it black.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:41 pm |
  169. Don Whitescarver-OHIO

    Everone has cut back on spending...The dollar value is so low right now, It makes no sense to think other wise...

    May 9, 2008 at 4:42 pm |
  170. This side of the Mississippi

    Yes, we've HAD to cut back....sad state our economy.
    Some are saying the dollar is a "worthless piece of trash". what a shame.
    We need a president who can help bridge the divides in our country and regain the national respect America once had. But I believe that the bridges have to be crossed individually and then collectively in order to see a real change.....can we do it?! YES WE CAN!!!!

    May 9, 2008 at 4:42 pm |
  171. Michelle in CA

    I am a public school teacher and am now trying to find ways to limit my gas usage during the week so I can afford the gas needed for the hour drive to work each day. I am also a music/theater teacher in the summer and am very worried student registration will be negatively impacted this summer because parents will be cutting back on their children's summer activities to offset household costs. I am looking for a second summer job so I can insure I will survive financially this summer.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:43 pm |
  172. Lorinda

    In this DEPRESSION? What spending?


    Douglasville, GA

    May 9, 2008 at 4:43 pm |
  173. Anselmo Guibelondo

    Cutting back –
    Driving less, eating out less, staying out of shopping malls.


    May 9, 2008 at 4:43 pm |
  174. Buster in Poughkeepsie, NY

    As someone who is very poor, I find it particularly distressing that the vast majority of wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few priviledged individuals. The time has come for a radical redistribution of money in this nation. On that note Jack, stick em up you old codger, give my your money and nobody gets hurt. Don't get mad, it's only business old buddy.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:44 pm |
  175. ken-tx

    I'm on my way under some bridge in 30 days. Veteran.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:44 pm |
  176. Ryan

    I stopped shopping at Wal Mart to save money. My reason: it is too easy to buy something I don't need. After comparing receipts from a typical shopping experience at both Wal Mart and higher-priced Publix I spent less at the latter because I didn't feel the need to grab an $11 set of bed sheets or $25 car cover.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:47 pm |
  177. Barry, Miami, FL

    I never stopped cutting back because I am still paying for the LAST George Bush recession. My income hasn't increased in eight years, it's dropped. But the price of everything else has gone up so I have had to really squeeze to get buy. Now I'm getting slammed again. Clueless George and the Republicans have been touting "trickle down economics" for years and I can tell you that something is trickling down but it's not money.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:47 pm |
  178. marilyn in harrisburg pa

    definitely using generic products in the market. remember when we used ajax to clean our toilet? well, i'm back to generic cleanser – not the fancy brands that are marketing us into stupidity. Homes are not public bathrooms .

    generic tissues, paper towels, liquid cleaners – all just fine. we've been conned in the cleaning aisle!

    May 9, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  179. dennis north carolina

    yes,prices have gone sky high. we have to cut back on food,gas and medicine. we have no choice, welcome to the american dream????

    May 9, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  180. Nicole, California


    We are not spending less, we are wasting less. We don't drive once a week. We limit our errands. We go to the library not the bookstore. We buy household items that don't come to us via boat or airplane. We buy clothes made in democratic countries at stores that give money back to the community or participate in scrip. We are trying to make our limited income work as much as possible to affect the community we live in. We now have farmers whom we can buy our meat direct from right here in our county. So we don't have to worry about inhumane treatment and contaminated meat. It is the power of the pocketbook, Jack.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  181. nan

    Defintely cut back on one tank of gas been buying for a year now to less than half tank – going out maybe to buy a few groceries to 2 times a month – thinking about cutting cable so I can't watch 24/7 broadcast telling me how bad the economy is -If electricty keeps going up I soon want have to make decision about cable because I haven't found tvs running on candle light, oh I almost forgot thanks to the government next year unless we have a new tv or box we can't even use an antenna any more -CUT BACKs THAT IS A JOKE RIGHT!

    May 9, 2008 at 4:50 pm |
  182. Mark from Yuba City, CA

    I joined a ride pool. I am evaluating every trip to make sure I can get the most out of it. I'm investing in energy reduction around the home. I think I am spending differently than before, not necessarily less.

    Maybe the high costs of food and fuel will cause us to "waste less and want not". Might be a good thing to happen. Maybe long overdue.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:51 pm |
  183. philip w cochran

    dear jack yes it is true that i have cut back on my spending because the economy has raised their prices,because i am a single man i am not forced to purchase a lot,all i have to do is watch what i am buying,and make the most of what i have.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:53 pm |
  184. MikeW

    We are selling our house we bought 2 years ago (bought it for $103.000) and are going to remodel a rental we own (we owe $16.000.00 on it) We are taking our tax rebate check and putting it on our auto loan (we owe $2500.00) We are committed to becoming debt free....We are not going into debt for anything new!

    May 9, 2008 at 4:54 pm |
  185. Chris

    Maybe we should make Iraq and all other oil producing countries pay us in oil for all the aid we are giving them 🙂 If you look at the cost of gas in those countries you will see a SIGNIFICANT difference. They get their gas at .83 cents for a gallon yet we are helping them to "repair" everything.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:55 pm |
  186. Tabitha from Minneapolis, MN

    Cutting back? How can you cut back when you are barely making ends meet? I am currently an unemployed student and single mother. I have worked two or three jobs for most of my adult life. Now at 37, I am trying to get my Bachelor's degree. I am tired of working for pennies and not being able to provide for my child. Oh...and health insurance.....what health insurance? The elite in Washington have no idea what ordinary Americans struggle with on a daily basis and they do not care!! Barack Obama has brought hope to many people and if the nomination is stolen from him by a power hungry elitist, then how can we believe in our government or their claims that they "care" about us?

    May 9, 2008 at 4:55 pm |
  187. Don Blue Springs, Missouri

    I haven't cut back any yet. I can't wait till Obama gives us more money to spend. After the war is over we probabably wont even have to pay any taxes. I have decided to quit working, wages are not worth working for anymore.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:55 pm |
  188. Jim A in Vancouver, WA

    Being in the group that makes less then $35K I am feeling the pinch. I have had to cut back. I choose to dine out less often. We have always been coupon clippers but we do have to shop a little more closely. I can find a gallon of milk all the way normally from $2.68 to over $4. At Fred Meyer they had 5 half gallons of milk for $5 this week. Eggs are up but they are about $3 for 2 dozen jumbo eggs at Costco. So if you don’t make a separate trip to each store you can still keep your food bill down. I still buy Angus beef hamburger because a half lb. doesn’t become a quarter lb. when cooked. Gas is the one that is the hardest one to get used to. Prices will come down it the interest rate goes up. Every ting imported costs more when the dollar is down including gas. Higher interest rates will increase the value of the dollar on the world market. If I could afford it, this would be a great time to travel over seas.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  189. Ralph in New York

    Jack, unless you are independently wealthy, you better be concerned. Prices on all items, including food and fuel for herating, for medical care, and for our automobiles are rising, and those with mortgages are finding it harder and harder to keep their homes. Even if one with more foresight who promises change and help with our economic woes is elected President, there is the rest of the Government who must agree and it will be time before any changes enacted do in fact take effect.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:58 pm |
  190. Donna Johansen

    What I want to know is how can you justify editing the entries to your blogs????
    I send them, and they are not very nice to you, but they don't show up.
    Is this vanity or downright dirty journalism?

    Donna Johansen
    Vancouver BC

    May 9, 2008 at 5:03 pm |
  191. Melanie, Lake Wales, FL

    It's very simple Jack : I am putting my pets before myself to eat. I have to buy food for my dog and rabbits. I feel my stomach growling right now because it's hungry. But that's the price to pay when you make less than $20,000/year.

    May 9, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  192. Bekah

    Growing up I watched my parents work themselves into the ground and declaring bankrupcy twice because they lacked the ablity to balance a budget. I swore that I would never allow myself to do that. I have no credit cards, no car loans, no school loans. I own a house and have a wonderful 15 year old son understands what it is like to be raised with the word, no. We clip coupons every week and only shop when things go on sale. We have always lived within a budget and we do not feel as though we are missing out on life. If I don't have the money to pay for it in my wallet, we don't buy.

    May 9, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  193. Ann, Newton, New Jersey

    What a question to ask a senior citizen (71) and still working because they are unable to survive on Social Security. Cutback years ago by making meals that last more than one day, bringing lunch to work, buying in bulk at BJ's, etc... I was prepared to what is unfortunately happening now.

    May 9, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  194. Lyn Kenley


    Everyone is cutting back whether they realize it or not. Some people are just cutting deeper than others. For now, some are only nicking the skin while others are to the bone.

    May 9, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  195. George in Milwaukee

    No, I haven't had to make SIGNIFICANT cuts in spending due to the current economy. Why? Because I live below my means. That said, inflation affects everybody.

    Most of the inflation woes we are experiencing nowadays can be attributed to the two wars we are fighting (Afghanistan and Iraq) and tax cuts (for the wealthy).

    May 9, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  196. Travis Canada

    This question should be asked to the Gov't....they don't seem to have slowed down.

    May 9, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  197. jose, stamford, ct

    My wife and I have made some cut backs but everytime we do...gas goes up...heating oil goes up...we do not spend much in terms of quantity but our spending has increase tremenduosly especially during the winter. From a $600 heating bill to $1500...should we just freeze?

    May 9, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  198. Deborah from Sausalito, CA

    We've been paying $4+ per gallon out here in the Bay Area for a while now. And, yes, most of us began changing our driving habits a few years ago – planning trips and errands more efficiently. A few years ago we were short on electricity (thanks very much, Enron Execs!) and we learned new habits then, like CFL bulbs and the like. Back in the 70s when we were having a serious drought, we all changed our water habits too, and, for the most part, we have kept our improved habits. So, Jack, there CAN be an up side to the painful part of price hikes and shortages –being driven to become more green . . .

    May 9, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  199. ray

    Mr Cafferty would u pls quit knocking hillary who the hell are u a nobody and if i was in front of u and u did that i would punch u in the mouth no body likes u u are ugly boring and a nobody why do u hate her so much and love obama is it because u are a nobody and she is a famous world figure go get lost or else--rc

    May 9, 2008 at 5:07 pm |
  200. Ronald Texas

    Of cores not Jack I am bying less geroceries because My entire Famley its on a diet ,We do not drive as much Because We have seen evetything there Is to see .And closthe We have decisede to be Nudests So no Why would you say or ask if the economy would make us cut back on any thing ?


    May 9, 2008 at 5:07 pm |
  201. Mac from Dallas

    The days of relatively cheap gas are over. Oil production may have peaked a year or so ago, so get used to it. What you need to listen to from here on out is how the candidates are going to solve the post peak production world and implement alternative sources of energy. And yes, we do need to revisit using nuclear and coal to gas technologies. And yes, that includes being conscious of how much you are driving.

    May 9, 2008 at 5:07 pm |
  202. Dan from Santa Barbara

    Yeah, losing my job to interferon treatments doesn't help either. A month ago all was goodI thought all was good. I had a good job and health insurance and after 20 years finally felt secure enough to address my hepatitis C. The treatments made me lethargic and resulted in my losing my job. Now I can't finish my treatments and I am stuck at a hotel making $11.00 (that will not even cover rent in Santa Barbara). Economy, jobs, healthcare, price of gas... It's all related.

    On the upside the 3 months of treatment did eliminate the Hep C from my bloodsystem. What a trade off. You dedicate your entire life to making money for your employer and the reward is that you are spit out the moment you can't "keep up". I guess I'm supposed to live out the rest of my life happy to be alive and disregard that knot in my stomach.

    May 9, 2008 at 5:07 pm |
  203. Jay, Denver CO

    Yes. Significantly.

    May 9, 2008 at 5:07 pm |
  204. Jack, Phoenix

    We have always lived on one income and saved the other. Now we do not feel the pinch , but save a little less. Too many young people live WAY beyond their means. Homes should all be under $200000, even for one 3500 sq. ft. Smaller size , smaller energy footprint. Too many have place their life's savings into a home. I FIRMly believe incomes allocate 1/3 to cost of home, 1/3 to bank savings/ retirement , 1/3 to live on day to day.

    May 9, 2008 at 5:08 pm |
  205. Mary, Casa Grande, AZ

    OH!...and one more thing, Jack...we are looking at every purchase for the "Made in the USA" label.

    May 9, 2008 at 5:08 pm |
  206. Mari, Salt Lake City, Utah

    No, we have always been careful and we do not have credit card debt. We use our American Express card for all our purchases and promptly pay our bill. We have learned in our 35 years of marriage to be good stewards of our money. And have taught our children to do the same.

    By the way, we live in Utah but we are Roman Catholic, Cuban-Americans, registered Independents supporting Senator Obama!

    OBAMA 08 & 12!

    May 9, 2008 at 5:09 pm |
  207. Anthony Gomes

    My stimulus check was spent before it even got here, but not on shopping, but catching up on bills...Shopping? Vacation? What country do people do people that do those things live in?

    Anthony Gomes
    Miami, Fl

    May 9, 2008 at 5:09 pm |
  208. john marlton, nj

    No, I am spending the same. I might be getting a little less gas or fewer postage stamps, but that is no worse than paying more in taxes so that others can spend it.

    May 9, 2008 at 5:09 pm |
  209. Felipe

    When America sneezes, we catch a cold in Europe ! So, if you have to cut back on spending, imagine what we need to do here in Europe! Stay all day in bed is the ideal solution for europeans right now! The doctors say!

    Felipe, Lisbon, Portugal

    May 9, 2008 at 5:09 pm |
  210. jan-Alabama


    Yes, I cut back on spending by not donating any more money to the Democratic Party.


    May 9, 2008 at 5:10 pm |
  211. Robyn

    I think the economy is forcing us to cut back but I also think that is a good idea, driving less, driving slower, buying better cars. Buying less consumer goods that end up in landfills and contribute to global climate change. It is high time that Americans think more about their spending habits and its effect on their personal welfare and the welfare of the planet as a whole. So if it takes a recession to help us change our ways, I'm all for it.

    May 9, 2008 at 5:10 pm |
  212. Michael, Atlanta GA

    I can't believe that people would cut back on groceries before cutting back on eating out... I also noted that they are driving less while still eating out... How do they plan on getting to the restaurant, walking? Cutting back on eating out should have been top on the list. It goes to show that we still love feeding our faces...

    May 9, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  213. John, West Palm Beach, FL

    It has been a learning experience. So far, I have dropped everything that is not essential, such as Netflix, On-Star, home phone, traveling, eating out, etc. End of the month, the 2006 Impala will be returned to GMAC, as I can't afford to fuel and pay for it at the same time. Hello, used Ford Escort. I have learned to buy in bulk, clip coupons, forego new clothes and shop for cheaper everything. It is obvious our illustrious "Commander and Cheat" could care less about us. There is NO reason for $4.00 gas.

    May 9, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  214. Donna in ID

    With a social Security income of $800 a month and am 68 yrs old and disabled, There really isn't much I can cut back on. I have a P O Box and only go and check it 2 times a week instead of daily. I drive an 85 Subaru with 300,000 mi and it gets about 23 mpg. I just put $20 gas in today at $3.60 and got just over 5 gal. That has to last at least 10 days. I live 12 miles from the closest grocery store. I can't quit my cancer meds
    So to take up some of my time that I can't go and visit friends or play cards I have really started writing people like you, Jack. Sure have gotten my feelings and frustrations known around.
    I know the way to get oil prices down but no one wants to discuss it.
    Your Idaho Friend,

    May 9, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  215. pat

    not me, i have no credit card debt, my home and car all paid for, never did overspend in my lifetime, so i really dont pity those people who seem to have more, no envy here. the ones on welfare dont buy and make their own stews and dinners, buy all the junk foods and are all overweight.

    May 9, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  216. Roger in TX

    I'm still eating steak, Jack, but just the tougher cuts, smaller portions, nothing else with it and much less often...

    Pull your empty pockets out of your pants and fly your duh-bya flags with pride!

    May 9, 2008 at 6:05 pm |
  217. Sandra

    I think the lines are not just Conservative and Liberal, but Wealthy or Middle Class and Poor, I think the differences come in how each group experiences the effects of what happens in the world. Conservative or Middle Class people who have better jobs and more education may be happier, they are not experiencing the negative effects of decisions as much. Liberal, Lower Middle Class or Poor people really feel the effects of the decisions made, the economy, their jobs, their money and don't have safety nets to protect them, which lead to more unhappiness.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  218. Tony Benitez

    Yeah, I'm eating more beans and tortillas.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:32 pm |
  219. Rob, Arvada, CO

    Yes Jack, I've cut back big time. I don't shop at the mall or Best Buy anymore. I only go to the grocery store, and try not to drive unless it is absolutlely necessary. I've cut down my visits to my parents' house to bikeekly from weekly. If gas prices get much worse, it will have to be monthly. May have to cut off the cable soon and I will be sad because then I won't be able to watch CNN. Hopefully the democratic party can turn it around so that people can enjoy life again.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:33 pm |