May 1st, 2009
06:00 PM ET

What makes you happy during the recession?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As the recession drags on, many Americans feel they've been dragged down with it. A new Washington Post-ABC News Poll shows 56 percent of those polled say the recession has caused them to make significant changes in their lifestyle; and a quarter are angry or upset about having to do so.

Exercise can reduce symptoms of depression, particularly during these trying economic times.

According to the survey, 66 percent of Americans have lost a job or seen it happen to someone close to them; while 71 percent have either had their wages or hours cut or seen it happen to a friend or relative. Not to mention the values of their 401(k)s and homes tanking.

So how can people stay positive with all this depressing stuff going on? U.S. News and World Report talked to experts for tips on how to stay happy during the recession.

Some of their suggestions include:

– Spending money on an experience, show tickets or dining out, rather than an item - new clothes, a cell phone or jewelry

– Working on meaningful relationships - especially with cheerful people

– Being grateful for what you've got - spending time with those less fortunate, like at a soup kitchen or hospital, can do wonders for that

– Exercising - which can reduce symptoms of depression

– Practicing acts of kindness like donating blood or feeding a friend's pet

Here’s my question to you: In light of the recession, what makes you happy?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Oliver writes:
Well, Jack, it's simple really. Good weather has been doing the trick. It's funny how being able to wear shorts in Chicago really cheers up the whole campus.

Nic writes:
I've been spending a lot of time outdoors. I go for walks, hiking, biking and just enjoy the simple things. I don't need to go out and spend money like I used to. It's been a real eye-opener for me.

Ko writes:
What makes me happy is that I hope the age of excess, the "Me" decade, and the rampant materialism that has defined our society since the 1980s will stop, or at least be substantially reduced. We need to define success based on what we do, not on what we have.

Nancy writes:
My health. Everything else pales in comparison.

Jeffrey writes:

Arthur from Chicago writes:
Peanut butter and jelly, the smell of good barbecue, fresh sheets on the bed, and a play at the plate in baseball.

Connie writes:
I'm happy that I have my health and my job. I've been unemployed twice in my life, and I know how difficult it can be.

Bob writes:
Jack, During these trying times it makes me happy to hear stories and see Americans helping each other and their communities that are struggling. All politics aside, this giving instead of taking brings me real joy!

Parker from Covington, Kentucky writes:
Friday makes me happy.

Steve writes:
Knowing that if Jack Cafferty can hold a job, most Americans shouldn't be too worried about the overall employment situation.

Filed under: Recession
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. mike ca

    Being able to meet my obligations.
    Mike CA

    May 1, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  2. Adam Thousand Oaks, CA

    What makes me happy is I appreciate more how fortunate my family is. I am glad to still have my job, and feel very lucky to be able to provide for my family. My only hope is the "higher powers" make decisions that give Americans a reason to be optimistic in the future, and not take away our liberty.

    May 1, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  3. Sandi Schmidt

    All the same things that always made us happy.

    Our grandchildren, our garden, our bird feeders, the SIMPLE life. A little trip to our cabin in the woods now and then.

    My big worry today is how to separate the squash plants so they do not cross pollinate. Tough, I tell you it is really tough!

    May 1, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  4. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    The exact same things that made me happy before the recession. If you always live within your means, a recession is no differant than an expansion.

    May 1, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  5. dave

    Probably the same thing that kept most people happy during the great depression a good movie.

    May 1, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  6. Russ in PA

    What makes me happy? I'll be happy to know that Putz's like Krugman and the rest of the Keynesian mob will be proven wrong once again: government can't "save" economies by continuing to overspend. I'll be happy to know that our founding fathers had more sense than the average joke of a politician of today. I'll be happy to know that Ron Paul was more right than those around him.

    I won't be happy to know that the government will continue it's spending and meddling, and ruin what hope I have of retirement.

    May 1, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  7. David in San Diego

    The same things that were sources of happiness in the "good" times: physical activity, dining out, visiting interesting places, and being a liberal Democrat.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:02 pm |
  8. Mark, Bradenton,FL

    That people that used to live high are coming down real hard. I was made fun of for driving my 7 year old, 178 000 mile car or for not going out to eat all the time. I have a car and can go out to eat if I want while the high flyers are homeless.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  9. Michael, Cleveland

    Being able to pay my bills on time!

    May 1, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  10. Ken in NC

    Seeing that light at the end of the tunnel and knowing it is not a train.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  11. Jeff in E. Lyme, CT

    What really floats my boat during the recession is watching the GOP squirm & try to weasel out of culpability.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  12. Donna Colorado Springs,Co

    Being with my husband and being greeted by my dachshund at the door when I come home!

    May 1, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  13. Fitzroy

    The fact that I am still employed makes me real happy. I would not want to be out there looking for a job. No sir.

    Orange City, Florida.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  14. Greg in Cabot Arkansas

    How about my son's safe return from Iraq, my kids and grand kids being healthy and happy, having a job to go to every day, a wife that loves me, Bernie Madoff in an orange jump-suit, investment bankers crying about not getting their bonuses and republican lawmakers whining about getting their way, just to name a few...

    May 1, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  15. Greg in Cabot Arkansas

    How about my son’s safe return from Iraq, my kids and grand kids being healthy and happy, having a job to go to every day, a wife that loves me, Bernie Madoff in an orange jump-suit, investment bankers crying about not getting their bonuses and republican lawmakers whining about NOT getting their way, just to name a few…

    May 1, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  16. Burt in Arizona

    That I still have my Social Security check coming in.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  17. Chuck Smith

    A job would make me happy Jack. Also maybe everyone could stop beating up the corporate jets. Some of us have (or had) jobs working on them.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  18. AndyZ Lynn, MA

    Watching the who's who of the republican party try to deny that the policies of the party or of a republican president caused the recession/depression we are currently in.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  19. Tina, St. Paul, MN

    Free/Cheap Entertainment: parks, reading a good book, school theater productions, crafts (making gifts), local and town sports events and BBQing with friends.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  20. Dale Castle

    Jack, my family makes me happy, my church makes me happy, my faith makes me happy. Reading Coach Calipari's tweets makes me happy too. As a Kentucky Wildcat fan, I am happy that we have Coach Cal as our new coach! Thanks for asking!

    Dale Castle
    Louisa, KY

    May 1, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  21. cyril andrews

    Jack, the answer is hidden in your question.
    Regardless of the prevalent economic circumstance; I'm real happy to see light each morning.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  22. Denny from Tacoma, WA

    Family and friends make us the happiest. For some reason the recession seems to promote more bonding and making us aware of other peoples needs. The Joneses with the big new house and shiny car are in trouble too.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  23. Mareike Kuypers

    Los Angeles,
    What makes me happy in light of the recession are the same things that have always made me happy. My kids and my dogs. I've never cared about "stuff" so not being able to afford it doesn't bother me much.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  24. Joe CE

    The same things that make me happy other times. I have never felt happy about money – recession or not there is never enough.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  25. Tina Tx

    This is an easy one. Just being alive makes me happy. I could be pushing up daisies somewhere and miss all the whinning from the Grasping Old Party and the crumbling of my fellow Americans who cannot find jobs.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  26. Dean from Modesto

    Food on the table.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  27. Terry from North Carolina

    When I get my social security check and I am able to pick up my medications for the month I am overjoyed.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  28. Bill, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    I enjoy hearing the wealthy complain about losing money when they still have plenty of money left to support their lifestyle without having to give anything up. They don't know the first thing of what it means to be thrown out on the street with just the cloths on your back. I also enjoy seeing the look on a politician's face when asked by reporter what a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk cost in their local supermarket.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  29. Simpliticus

    Right now, my family can weather the downturn. Others cannot!

    May 1, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  30. Jay

    Jack, what makes me happy is that after years of writing to you, on March 16th and April 27th you finally read my letters on the air. It sounds corny, but that really made my day. Thank you very much.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  31. Chryssa

    Landing a new client at work. In this market, everyone goes after every available account, so a win is that much sweeter.

    Boise, ID

    May 1, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  32. John from Alabama

    Jack: This is an easy question to answer. During a recession we poor people meet new people who have joined our ranks. Its not so lonely out there anymore. We can all network together to hunt for the same jobs and the nearest food pantry. Ah! The spirit of competition and comradery is not dead.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  33. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    Several things, helping someone else and not telling anyone about it, seeing our grandkids, calling a friend who is not feeling well or sending them a "Thinking of You" card, taking a walk with my wife and last but not least, turning off the TV and taking a nap.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  34. Conor in Chicago

    The same thing that makes me happy at any other time: Music (I'm a muscian), my girlfriend, beer, Chicago sports, good food, and intelligent discussions with good people.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  35. Paula in Albuquerque

    Every day that I awaken to sound health, a fighting spirit, and what I laughingly call "my wits" about me! I am grateful for the things that I have, and realize...and, remind others, too...that things could be a LOT worse, than they are...

    May 1, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  36. Jessica

    McDonald's Dollar Menu. 🙂

    May 1, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  37. John - Houston, TX

    1º) The believe that, no matter how bad everything appears, God is the Lord and everything is in His control. And he takes care of the people who love Him and trust on Him. 2º) My two beautiful little daughters and my wife. 3º) Your jokes and your acidic comments... What else do I need, Jack ???

    May 1, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  38. Scott - San Diego

    Finding good deals on anything you want to buy. With the recession it is deflation and our money is worth more. Within a couple of years inflation is going to hit hard and everything will become more expensive.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  39. Geri - Mead, OK

    Looking out my front and back windows to the park like setting we have on our 3 acres. Birds flying and singing, squirrels running and climbing, dogs and cats playing, all of my three children and their families are doing really well, we are doing well. And just like every67 year I'll be enjoying the watching of the 135th "Running of the Roses" tomorrow. All is right with my world Jack.

    Then looking forward, for the first time in recorded human history on August 27th I'll get to see Mars look as large as the Moon. Wow Jack! You can't beat that with a stick.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  40. Dan from Alliance, OH

    Being with family and friends while I consume a good glass of wine. Red please!

    May 1, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  41. David Alexandria, VA

    I enjoy watching the economy recover - little by little, day-by-day, as I knew it would. This gives me a sense of hope that life will get better for all of us.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  42. Larry, Ohio

    Jack,All I have to do is think back to the Jimmy "Peanut Brain" Carter years and I'm happy as hell that we are no way near that fiasco!!!!

    May 1, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  43. David Gerstenfeld

    Reflecting on what I have, not what I don't have. My wife recently had surgery and all of her friends have called, sent cards, brought food and have lifted her spirits while she heals. They make me happy & I appreciate them more then money.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  44. Tom Mytoocents Fort Lauderdale Florida


    I get all of my enjoyment of late watching the folks who reposses cars and foreclose housing beg for undeserved leinancy in congress. The arstocrats that prove the two party system is theirs and then ours and how the rules are so dramatcally different !!!!!!!!!!!

    May 1, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  45. Tom from Philly

    I guess you want the answer you can read on the air......

    What makes me happy is buying stock for a pennies to a few dollars, that people lost fortunes on, in hopes they return to even a fraction of their value. And the eventuality that even the most scared financially hurt person will eventually start pouring money into the market again and drive stocks back up to 100 $ per share..

    May 1, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  46. John in Virginia

    Staying out of the shopping malls and doing things at home with my kids – bike riding, kite flying, gardening, reading. None of these cost money and are good for you!

    May 1, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  47. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    Seeing members of my family and friends not working, I am greatful I still am employed, even if only part-time.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  48. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    Knowing I never purchased stuff thinking stuff will make me happy. We have no debt other than household expenses. I drive a 1985 Mercedes, my wife's is newer, there are no DVD's in either, we have a large screen HDTV but not one in every room. We've been in a cash position for over a year expecting the bottom to fall out. We are debt free and delighted. Bush didn't doom us.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  49. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    I am so grateful for my family, my home, food on the table, some money in the bank. I have a good life and I really appreciate it during these tough times.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  50. Marie Ontario

    For me it is seeing people paying more attention to what is happening around them and in the world which of course has resulted in those who identify with the Republicans being reduced to only 21% of the population which is a clear indication Americans have finally come back to reality.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  51. Michael H., Albuquerque, NM

    Going for a ride on my maxi-scooter always makes me happy.
    It's a Suzuki Burgman 650. A smooth sweet ride.
    Leaning it over on a twisty road is always good for a grin.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:00 pm |

    My two Bichons bouncing on their hind legs to greet me when I come home. The sound of my children's voices on the phone. Letting my wife sleep late on Saturday.Listening to good music. Barbecued ribs. A book that keeps me up at night. (just bought Now or Never). The most fun might be spouting off about progressive issues on websites, newspapers, and blogs.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  53. Ron K.

    Hi Jack:

    The lower price of gasoline.....!!!!!.....!!!!!

    Ron K Temecula CA

    May 1, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  54. Penny from Delaware, Ohio

    Simple...the 3 Fs!! Food, family and friends...and in order of priority that would be Family, friends and food. The basics of life!!

    May 1, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  55. Steven from NJ

    Hugging my friends and family.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  56. Brandon

    Opportunities to make good investments for a long-term profit.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  57. Bob

    Cheap stocks, then watch them rise with the economy.....just don't pick a dud!!.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  58. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    What makes me happy during this recession is when companies who charge too much for consumer goods go out of business.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  59. Kelby, In Houston Texas

    Love. Love makes me happy during these tough times. Love of my country, my fellow man, my woman, my life. During these dark days of recession, love is what lifts me.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  60. William

    Spending quality time with my wife, family, friends, and pet.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  61. Mark C. Seattle, WA

    Simple things and the opportunities that present themselves can be happy for those that look, Jack. Those are the things I take pleasure in. Yes, the economy is serious and it is definitely hard to lose a job, I've been laid off in the past. But we all have to remember that any day above ground here where we're not constantly in a combat zone is a good day.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  62. jay Noyd

    Every suggestion mentioned in the article is a very positive step in attitude and life style changes needed for a higher level of spirituality. We came into the world with nothing, we die with nothing. I like buying cheap stocks on a budget.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  63. Dave Smith, Oklahoma

    my wife & kids

    May 1, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  64. Frank Bonet

    Jack, I really can't say I am happy during this time. I actually think I am more depressed now than I have ever been in my entire life. But one thing that really puts a smile on my face is listening to you read all those emails during your segments. There are truly interesting and some even funny.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  65. Melissa Laing

    This recession has left me browsing garage sales for things I don't necessarily need as new. My happiness in this recession is finding those "little gems" at garage sales (toys for the kids, household goods...especially the As Seen on TV stuff)

    May 1, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  66. Stu G

    Nothing like a great Rock concert form a favorite band, exercise and cheap chocolat

    May 1, 2009 at 3:17 pm |

    Jack, about the only thing that makes me happy during this recession is that a lot of wrong doing is being flushed out and hopefully, I say hopefully, will be corrected. I am talking about the banks, credit card companies, the stock market, and also lobbyists. Ah... the magic word in the Capitol... Lobbyists! They need to be stopped no matter who they represent. At any rate, why should they yield such power with the Congress? It's got to be stopped.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  68. Chris

    Several things make me happy in the recession.
    1. I still have a job.
    2. I still have a place to live.
    3. I still have my health.
    4. Watching the Republican party fall apart and Republicans running around like chickens with its head cut off.
    5. Watching our new president do a great job!

    May 1, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  69. Mary Margaret

    A lack of traffic. Empty stores – fast service. Pleasant personnel willing to go out of their way. Yes, I know it is horrid of me, but you asked.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  70. Lee

    You may think me simple, but the thing I like best in almost the whole world is just to sit with my dogs. I am then engaged in and surrounded by total and complete acceptance and love. I could have given my kid a Ferari and she'd not have fully appreciated it. All my dogs want is a little tummy rubbing and cuddles, which I provide in abundance. It's a perfect esteem builder and blood-pressure medication. Oh, by the way. The dogs are poodles. Soft and cuddly poodles.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  71. rubens kim

    Rubens from Flushing, NY my healthy family, 3 dogs, church every sunday, funny e-mails, good music on the radio and red wine every night ; )

    May 1, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  72. James


    May 1, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  73. Bob

    Knowing that the evil corporate types who caused this mess have lost a lot of money.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  74. M. Klein

    Read! Go to your local library and check out all the books that you did not have time to read before.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  75. Ken

    When our favorite baseball team wins. Remember, one of the things that President Bush did after 9/11 was to get professional baseball started again.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  76. john landberg

    I lost my job, house, 401K and savings in 2008. What keeps me happy? Spending more time with my wife and friends. Good home made coffee, reading a good book and watching movies and shows on my computor ( got rid of cable).

    I have a new job, with 40%less money, no medical, no 401k but I have a job that just pays the bills. One more things that makes me happy? Bush is gone and Obama is my president.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  77. Mike

    Working on a better understanding and a closer relationship with GOD. This fact gives me the security of knowing that whatever happens he is in control and that I'll be taken care of.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  78. Francisco Oms from Puerto Rico

    Makes me happy that we are learning a hard lesson on how to live under our means, not beyond. The really important things about our responsibility in creating a World for our children are finally getting a primary role in our society.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  79. Jennifer Falco

    That I am a Special Education Teacher and for the time being, my job is recession proof!

    May 1, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  80. Liz Hughes

    Focusing on my baby makes me forget how hard times are today and gets me to look through his eyes into the future. I remember some bad times when I was younger, and those turned into boom times. I feel things will be like that for my child.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  81. Jennifer

    The little things with my 2 year old daughter make me especially happy right now. Her loves are pure, simple and not materialistic. For instance, she loves airplanes so I drive her to the airport to see the planes take off and land. It is amazing to see her sweet face light up when she say "Where? Where? Where did they go"?

    May 1, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  82. schwab from toronto, canada

    Perspective Jack. It's all a matter of perspective and hope.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  83. David Toraya

    Less time wasted going after material things that I didn't really want or need leaves me more time for living.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  84. Jamey in VA

    Jack, I grew up dirt poor, and in my adulthood I found great enjoyment in purchasing new items, especially cars. Now I find great enjoyment driving my Paid-off Pick-up, and find paying off bills more enjoyable than chocolate!

    May 1, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  85. RP McKinney texas

    Being able to eat something with meat in it once a week. Before this recession I could afford to buy meat for my family 3 or 4 times a week and it was good meat too. Now a bologna sandwich is a feast at our table and the heels of bread never tasted so good.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  86. Michelle

    Spending time with my dog and my boyfriend in the outdoors, particularly camping has made me very happy and also grateful to have them in my lives.
    Savannah, Georgia

    May 1, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  87. Sylvain

    Thank god, the NHL Playoffs are here! I'd be pretty depressed watching American Idol with my 6 pack of beers....

    May 1, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  88. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    Nothing. What’s to be happy about? Are you saying that I should be happy about having lost fully half of my net worth with no chance of recovering it?

    Giving blood and random acts of senseless kindness will always transcend this situation and bring the giver satisfaction that words can not describe, but it is on a completely different plane and very private.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  89. LBretired

    Jack, I think it's caused all of us to pause and re-examine what's turned out to be selfish ideals. I had far more than I needed but didn't realize how much I had and how grateful I should be until this crisis hit and I saw how bad off many, many others were as a result. I hope I never forget and that I'm able to maintain a simpler more grateful life style going forward.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  90. Michelle

    Going for walks in the river valley with my dog. It is free and it gets me back to nature.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  91. Jeff

    Not pay too much attention to the news. Cut off reading the paper, any magazine or watching TV. News can only be repeating so many ways. Report something worthwhile once in a while.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  92. Bill....Michigan

    Having a warm bed, a good meal, faith and hope.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  93. Matt - Phoenix, AZ

    I go play with my kids and pets. No matter what is going on in the world, my kids are always ready to prove to me that a pine cone, rubber band, and some glue can be more fun than a Mercedes.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  94. Scott

    I like to spend time outside in the sunshine. It's easy to remain inside or in your car when you're depressed, and forget about the necessity of getting sunshine to remain happy. With all the work demands and a typically busy schedule, sometimes I realize I really haven't been outside for more than a few minutes in three or four days, and I have to stop and force myself on a nice long walk or hike.

    Sunshine is necessary for plants and flowers to thrive and grow robust and healthy. In tough economic times like this, it's good to remember the sun does the same thing for us as well.

    Scott Benton
    Los Angeles

    May 1, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  95. David

    Hi Jack,
    With less money and tightening of the wallet. I find that the little things that I did to win my wife's heart when I didn't have a lot of money still work (snuggling up, renting a movie and drinking cheap bottle of wine). We never fought about money and 20 years later we still don't. The only thing that we've been fighting about for 20 years is, the constant moving of the furniture off and on the walls...She thinks the walls will fall I guess.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  96. Wreford

    A nice refreshing cold beer at a late Friday afternoon barbeque after a busy work week.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  97. Maggi Clark

    I love to crochet. Whenever I think of something I cannot possibly afford, I just sit on the couch, crochet and of course watch CNN, my two favorite things. After about 5 minutes I am totally into what I am making and who I am making it for, and how happy they will be when they receive it! 🙂

    May 1, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  98. happy jack


    May 1, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  99. Robert Kennedy

    LIfe seems a lot more simple and a lot more fun. Its amazing how little I really need to live and be happy. What was I thinking?

    May 1, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  100. Bert

    It makes me happy and proud that america has taken a turn for the best.The fact that we have a leader now that is on top of our best interest in this country.
    The time of depressed moods and disgust for the last 8 years are long gone.So smile and have confidence that things will take a while but we are on the upswing in America!

    May 1, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  101. Stewart in Portland, OR

    Hearing my kids laugh and learn new things. Helping them grow, and recognizing that an education is one thing we can give our kids that can never be taken away...

    May 1, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  102. sam adams from ga

    my wife and daughter; what makes me content and able to function? beer and cannabis – i wouldn't recommend the drinking...

    May 1, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  103. Jonathan Schauer

    Do you remember eating your mom's & dad's vegetables fresh out of the ground when you were a kid??? I started a fruit & vegetable garden this year as a new hobby ... It gets me outside (away from the TV) almost every day to enjoy the weather while it's warm up here in Minnesota, gives me some limited exercise, and eventually leads to healthier eating in late summer and fall as we reap the rewards. All-in-all, a simple hobby to help drive towards a longer, healthier lifestyle.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  104. simon

    Our area of the country never felt the extreme highs of the last decade, so we haven't felt the lows either. What makes me happy? A paid-up house, paid-up credit cards, and spending time with my spouse. We go for a long walk every morning & have never felt more relaxed.

    Western New York State

    May 1, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  105. NYmike

    The mere fact that we weren't stupid in the first place with our money or our credit, and have no compassion for those that were – that makes me happy, satisfied, and proud to be American.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  106. Judy, Exeter, Calif,

    What makes me happiest is knowing we did things right. Didn't pay too much for our house, bought in the right place at the right time, so the house is still worth more than we paid for it, but most of all, we have planned for the worst, and are still ok for now. We had our retirement money in the most conservative plan, so we still have most of it. We will be even happier if he can keep his job long enough to retire, if not it's plan B for us – Not as much fun, but we'll still be ok.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  107. Sara in North Dakota

    Listening to people who still have more damned money than they can possibly spend whine about what they've lost. It cheers me up while I'm trying to figure out how long I'm going to be able to keep my bills current on a third of the money I was making a year ago. You know, shared sacrifice and all. Absolutely inspirational.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  108. Andrew Owen

    I think the thing that has kept me bright over these last months is a few of the things you have already mentioned. I like spending time with my family, girlfriend, and pets. They seem to bring to light the meaning that my life has taken, and keep my perspective on what really matters, not mention put me in a better frame of mind. I also enjoy the things that I purchased when times were not as tough. Knowing that I worked and was able to purchase the things I wanted lets me know that I am fortunate to have what I have. Also with the weather becoming warmer and the sunshine being out, it is a great time to get outside and go for a walk. Nothing cheers you up then taking a stroll in perfect weather.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  109. Jim

    Money. Since it's so rare, seeing it makes me happy.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  110. Kriz

    What makes me happy during this difficult time ? Planning my wedding ! At least thats something cheerfull to keep me busy and not dwell on all this stuff going on in the world ! And working out of course to get fit ! My wedding is in October –

    Tijuana, Baja California Mexico –

    May 1, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  111. Mary Lou

    Comfort Food like Yosties Handmade Cinnamon Buns

    May 1, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  112. Skuller

    I like to watch rich people complain about having to cut back on the essentials. The rest of us have been systematically cutting back on essential for 20 years now as we watched the true cost of living outpace our wage increase – thanks in large part to the rich.

    Justice Baby !!!!! (almost)

    May 1, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  113. Corwin7

    Jack I own my own home, and car, have no credit cards nor stocks, bonds nor money in the bank. I have spent the last six years living on my mothers social security and providing the care she needs but wouldn't accept from a stranger. Shes gone now and I'm starting my won business but what makes me happy is listening to all the former securly wealthy crying about how they might now have to live like I do!

    Corwin Lakeland Florida

    May 1, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  114. Gina

    What makes me happy Jack is to have a job and to have one I actually like that pays well. Imagine that. I am also smart enough to know that I could be a short step away from being like so many others that are out of work. So I count my blessings every day.


    May 1, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  115. christina

    Right now what makes me happy is being with family and friends. it doesn't take money to have a good time and i've been trying to focus on that. my boyfriend and i take nightly walks in the neighborhood and have gotten to know a few of our neighbors just getting out and about. it makes us both feel better at the end of the day and it doesn't cost a thing.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  116. Brad, West Lafayette, IN

    The same things make me happy now that made me happy before the recession. The light in my son's eye when he does something for the first time, the smile on my daughter's face when she finds out a new boy "likes" her, or the look on my wife's face when I tell her how much I love her.

    Jack, the trick is to remember what is really important to us no matter the circumstances.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  117. Eddie D

    Hello Jack ,
    Getting away alone for a 3 hour Major League Baseball game .Casually speaking with others about baseball but basically just following the game and keeping score . I recommend it to anyone .

    May 1, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  118. John

    Macaroni and Cheese.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  119. ryan


    May 1, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  120. A.J.

    Having less forces you to re-asses what's important. To me it's family, health, and life in general. It's amazing how a simpler lifestyle can make things that were once common feel like delicacies. Everyone just enjoy the ones you love and keep in mind what's really important. We in the US all probably needed to trim a little "fat" to get back in touch with our core values.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  121. richard miller

    Watching all the Republicans squirm for it was they who allowed this country to go into the toilet. I would also be much happier if the Media, including CNN and the Wolfman, would stop multiple analyzing every single moment that our President takes a breath. There is other news that needs to be reported too.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  122. spiritbutterflygirl

    My relationship with God


    May 1, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  123. Tom, Virginia

    Coaching my son's Special Olympic swim team. Watching all the swimmers doing their best and improving their times. Helping coach the high school students who volunteer as they learn how to coach these individuals with special needs. One hour a week away from all the stresses of life. Would not trade it for anything.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  124. Philip

    Spending time with my wife. She is from VietNam, and is used to living on MUCH less than Americans. Small, little things make her happy like buying her some strawberries on my way home from work, or a hand written love note.

    Definitely helps me to keep perspective.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  125. eric

    my wife, my kids, snickers bars, peanut m&ms, backrubs and my dogs..not necessarily in that order!!

    May 1, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  126. Sheri in Tennessee

    Jack, people's idiosynchrasies make me happy, recession or no recession. And my two cats. Can't forget them!

    May 1, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  127. John in Columbus Ohio

    My dog. He doesn't care how much money you make.

    John in Columbus, Ohio

    May 1, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  128. Jack C

    What would make me happy is to see the Congess, Pres and Whitehouse "show they care about America", along with so called excutives by cutting their annual pay in half......show us guys/girls that you are not self serving?
    Jack Carlson

    May 1, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  129. Greg Ontario

    So how can people stay positive with all this depressing stuff going on?...Don't watch the news!

    Talking to my son (who is looking at a trip to Afhganistan) makes me happy. Planning fishing trips with my better half and spending time with my parents.

    There is so much that can be taken from us in a blink of an eye I find it hard to dwell on cyclic things like the recession. This isn't the first and it won't be the last. So why worry about it?

    May 1, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  130. Jane

    The same things that made me happy before: my husband, my dogs, and sunny days.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  131. Bilal

    Absolutely nothing, Jack. It's a snowball effect that leads from one bad thing to another. I'm getting by, but there's really nothing that makes me happy right now.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  132. Joyce

    Now that my teenage daughter has less babysitiing jobs, she has more time to stay home with me and her younger sister, in the evenings. Renting movies and watching them with my kids makes me happy.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  133. Tanya

    Kihei, Maui - Hawaii: Introducing my children to the simple and inexpensive pleasures of growing up in Hawaii like going to the beach, hiking in the valleys and on the mountain side, playing kickball in the park - all of which are free! No expensive amusement parks and no expensive gym memberships!

    May 1, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  134. Priscilla Campbell

    It is the simple things, I think, that make most people the happiest.

    Working in my flower gardens makes me very happy. There is something about the early morning sunshine and the aroma of the roses that relieves all kinds of stress.

    In a more practical manner, helping someone else makes me happy. And it doesn't have to be a major undertaking. For example, we've started a "food bank bag". We are fortunate to be working, with a stable income, so have decided that each time we go to the grocery store, we'll pick up one item – a can of vegetables, a bag of rice, salt, flour, whatever. That goes into the food bank bag. It doesn't take long at all to fill the grocery bag, and dropping it off at the food bank truly makes us realize how very lucky we are.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  135. Julie Gertenrich

    What always made me happy anyway – having a fantastic husband and family, a few very profound friendships, a place in our serving our community, and over all love which binds these all together.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  136. Lance Coardill

    Spending time with my beautiful daugthers, wife and Labrador and attending church regularly. As an orthopedic surgeon I volunteer my services at an area charity hospital and give thanks for my God given and arduously acquired skills and talents. Service to others is perhaps the most rewarding of all endeavors.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  137. Don Nelson


    I have plenty to be happy about, my family, great friends, loyal customers, supportive suppliers, and finally Cable TV.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  138. Tucker Pearce

    Spending more time with family. The recession is frustrating but it forces many of us to find inexpensive ways to pass the time and spending time with family is a positive thing and pretty cheap to do!


    May 1, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  139. Jeff Andes


    We all need to have a good rant now and then to exorcise the demons brought on by our economic woes. But I find one of the best cures for fighting back is to slap a pair of hockey skates on this 55 year old body and go up and down the ice with the boys for a few hours a couple of times each week. That and the locker room humor and a few beers have a way of keeping life in its proper perspective.


    May 1, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  140. Suzanne

    I find happiness in volunteering – it's free, and it helps people who REALLY have it tough.

    Suzanne S., Newark, DE

    May 1, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  141. Ariana

    Being married.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  142. Troy Garrett

    My friends...I am getting laid off the fifteenth of this month, and I am not worried in the slightest, instead of investing in the market, I invested in my friendships, and I know that all of this will pass but my friends will last a lifetime, and thats the greatest return I can get.

    Benjamin Troy Garrett
    Blacksburg, Virginia

    May 1, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  143. John

    I really try not to think about the recession at all. It took years to get into the mess, it sure won't fix itself over night. Having said that, the fact that I have a job, can pay my school loans and other bills on time, save money AND still do the things I enjoy makes me feel good. Ofcourse, when you live a simple life, it doesn't take much to make you happy.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  144. mary ann cross

    I feel happy because my husband and I are in good health and have no debts. Our income is sufficient although meals out, entertainment and unnecessary purchases have been curtailed. We live in a beautiful area and are content with our lives and each other.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  145. Kevin

    The recession has afforded me the time and the motivation to spend more time in Bible study, particularly on end-times prophecy. This study has helped me to put these troubled times into perspective, and has encouraged me to look forward to escaping the coming Great Tribulation via the rapture of the church, and to the final solution to all of the world's problems at the return of Christ and the establishment of HIs millennial kingdom.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  146. Deb in Lancaster, PA

    My hubby and I have lost money in our businesses two years in a row and exhausted our savings. But we had savings to exhaust, our relationship is rock solid, our kids are healthy and beautiful, and we have a home. And now, business is looking up for both of us. We have plenty to eat, and we haven't missed a mortgage payment.
    I have so much that makes me happy, and I'm very grateful.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  147. Melanie in rural IA

    Sunday afternoons is family day at our place, my mother, daughter, grandsons and father in law sit on our porch, play cards or games, ride horses and four wheelers then have dinner together. Its a lazy relaxing day talking politics or weather, we LOVE it!!

    May 1, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  148. Nazli

    Two words: My family.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  149. carolyn

    Each time predatory financial practices are exposed bring me pure joy. Each time a greedy banker is humiliated its uplifting.
    It isn't the side of me that I am most proud of, but you asked.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  150. Robert Middleton

    Just knowing that G. Bush is no longer president brings me enough comfort to survive just about anything.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  151. immererin

    What makes me happy? My husband and I were both laid off a few weeks after bringing our newborn twins home from the hospital. Although we need the financial part of a job, the stress and time away from family that comes with it has been a welcome break. We've spent the last 6 months with our new babies and 20 month old toddler – getting to know them so well and not having to rely on day care or a sitter. We've also been able to start and finish quite a few home improvement projects that otherwise would have sat idle (extra bonus: if we end up selling our house, it looks better). I am happy that I have children to snuggle with a time to do it, I am happy that spring is here and we can all walk for hours and hours around the neighborhood, and I am happy that my husband and I can share all of this time together.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  152. Doug - Dallas, TX

    The fact that my 401k, which became a 101k, may be able to get back to 401k status.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  153. Diann Smith

    I believe this is good for us. It will return people back to what is important, family, friends and neighbors and away from things.

    Carmichael CA

    May 1, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  154. KC - Ohio

    The realitization that we can go back to the basics, and enjoy the simple pleasures of yesteryear. We don't need all of those stenking expensive, and hollow pleasures. There are many things that we can do for enjoyment that cost little or nothing.

    Stop and smell the roses, and realize what really has value in today's world.... We've lost sight of that the last 20 years.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  155. Michael

    "Spending money on an experience, show tickets or dining out, rather than an item — new clothes, a cell phone or jewelry."

    More of what got us into this mess. Spending money and having nothing to show for it? It may make you happier temporarily but it's not sound financial advice by any means.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  156. Pamela from DC

    Brake for a turtle trying to cross the road or plant some flowers in your mulch bed and see how many humming birds and butterflies show up.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  157. Chris Schneider

    My girlfriend. She's the one thing that I can always escape to when the bills add up, or work is slow

    May 1, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  158. dawn

    In these trying times it is so wonderful to see people helping neighbors, friends and strangers in their time of need. Wish we could PAY IT FORWARD and be more compassionate to one another all of the time!

    May 1, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  159. Scott in Canada

    Writing, playing video games with my gf (there are so many games that you can dig up from years ago and enjoy for hours on end), watching TV, working on wikis, programming.......

    May 1, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  160. Jenifer

    It makes me very happy to just go to work on Monday. My days end in happiness when my year-old kitty comes to my bedroom and curls up at my feet for the night!

    May 1, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  161. Mac

    The one person I wish I could be with right now makes me happy. Being over 500 miles away makes it tough, but being able to talk to her every day makes life that much better. The day I am with her, will truly be, the happiest day of my life.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  162. Brian -Tampa, Fl

    Definitely working out, focusing on boosting the good in your relationship with spouse etc . And as always – lots of hot sex! If you're in a good relationship it doesn't cost anything ( I know you could agrue this but) and it makes you feel close and happy! Also relieves stress and boosts your immune system! =)

    May 1, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  163. Michael Pounders

    Squeezing off a few rounds at the rifle range.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  164. Sara

    I am getting happiness just looking at my daughter and husband that they are happy when playing together with cards or teasing me.
    I don't worry about the home although I don't have a secure job because I know I am not going to take with me when I die and so worry about it now.
    I try to live in the present although that is hard to follow than done, but if I keep reminding these things which matter to me then I am fine.
    I have enough experience to conclude that Happiness is achieved from things or oppertunities or people which have been offered free to you like nature, kids, family.............

    May 1, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  165. Dick in Minnesota


    May 1, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  166. Chris

    Hi Jack,
    Once, while doing laundry, I found a $10.00 bill in my pocket. This was a particularly happy moment during the recession.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  167. Ken Tripp


    Being employed keeps me happy. I see reductions in the food chain above me and below me. Having a job makes me happy. Who could have ever figured!

    Keep up your excellent segment. It is one of the few that asks viewers to think through tough issues.

    Very best,


    May 1, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  168. Neil in New York, NY

    Relishing all of the blame finally being heaped upon George Bush for getting us here. Better late than never!

    May 1, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  169. Amanda


    What makes me happy is all the really good travel deals I am getting because no one wants to travel. Added bonus, fewer screaming brats on the planes – yay!

    May 1, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  170. Sandy Doren

    Walking early in the morning, enjoying the air, the birds, the sunrise, the fresh newness of each day.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  171. Jason from Los Angeles!!

    What's up Jack,

    I work out alot!!
    Before the Recession I was at 155 lbs. (out of shape)
    Now, i'm at 183 lbs and SOLID AS A ROCK!! The ladies love me!! 😉

    May 1, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  172. Pugas-AZ

    Seeing my grandchildren, hopefully, observing that times are not always great and you can't always have what you want. This is one aspect of character building. Sometimes less is more.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  173. Diana (New York)

    Realizing how important it is to be thankful, at all times, that I am employed and healthy. And I actually enjoy being frugal. Being raised in NH, I am by nature a penny-pinching-who turned the heat up-Yankee. But lately, it's even more rewarding knowing I saved a few dollars here and there by cutting back on things I want but don't need. Does the heart and wallet good.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  174. Matt Warner

    I go out rock climbing as much as possible. I travel too. So, when I travel now-a-days, I travel to go rock climbing. Yangshuo, China here I come!

    May 1, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  175. Pat from Florida

    Foresight. The fact that I understand the business cycle created by the Federal Reserve system. Now I'm enjoying the current deflation and preparing for the coming inflation.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  176. Jake Hildreth

    Music gets me through the recession. Playing my guitar costs me nothing and distracts from the worries of the world for at least a short while. And when my girlfriend joins me on piano, I completely forget about the fact that she can't find a job... yet.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  177. Ed from Tallahassee Florida

    I don't think that the economy really has anything to do with it, but whenever I have money in my bank account I get a happy warm feeling, although that does happen that often anymore.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  178. Bob

    Dayton, Ohio

    Watching the Republicans response to every economic related issue. All you ever hear from them is lower all taxes, especially capital gains, estate and income tax for the elites. Eric Cantor and his cronies, especially John Boehner are nothing but a bunch of cry babies. They created this mess through "Reagonics" and now all they can say is do it again! They say every dog has its day, well they have had theirs and look what its done to the country.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  179. Pioneer

    It makes me happy that my money was in land on the river in Texas and the value jumped 300%. Time to sell.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  180. Oilengineer

    Not giving in to fear. Continuing to fund small businesses that offer unique beneficial services at a competitive price. Buying American products.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  181. Shaun

    What makes me happy is to know that we have a man of inttelligence at the helm who sincerely has our best at heart and will do all that's within his power to restore the US to their once great status.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  182. kim cook

    Mucking around in the garden works for me, Jack. My stress level drops remarkably while I'm out there planting, pulling weeds or just thinking. Even my Labrador Retriever seems to find it therapeutic; she's right there in the dirt with me. Not only does it cost very little, but we've got something beautiful to show for it.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  183. jennifer longview tx

    I try to take each day as it comes... every day that I have gas in my car, a roof over my head and adequate food for my household is a good day. Now if my son could just stay out of the principal's office....

    I stress to my son that we are lucky and he should be thankful for what he has... hard lessons for an 11 yr old. He is slowly getting it- and I think that this experience will make him a better person.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  184. jack

    A round of golf.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  185. Andrew Chicago, IL

    I love when the food I enjoy is on sale at the supermarket. I need it anyways, so if it's really cheap, I feel every dollar I earn is well spent.
    Boring, but it makes me happy!

    May 1, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  186. Eric

    I am grateful and happy that I still have a job. A roof over my head for my family. I can still provide food for the table, and pay the bills. Not much left after, but, I can't complain. Alot of others have it worse. And we should pray for them as well.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  187. Dan

    Making treats for the special needs children, planning meals for the elderly and passing them out just to get that endearing look and peck on the cheek, preparing meals for larger corporate groups that give to the community just to lift up their spirits to carry on, dropping off goodies to the local vendors for helping out, giving a little extra to the church for blessing our home, doing fund raisers for the Katrina victims as well as people who have lost their homes to fire because it was a cold winter and fuel was high so they were forced to use the old wood stove. Jack, what makes me happy during times like this is seeing that I can make someone else smile. I am on this earth for one purpose that I am sure of. That is to be with all of you….

    May 1, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  188. Bonnie Dunne

    Same things that make me happy during the best of times: my family, my pets, neighbors in both Florida and Virginia, good health, the beauty of nature, concern to help others who need it more than me, and faith in our new president. Life is truly wonderful – even when you are older and during hardship times. Every lifetime has hardship times.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  189. BetGR - Boston, MA

    First and foremost – chocolate. Then being with my grown children and wonderful husband. Enjoying what I do have, going for a walk with nature, sitting in my back yard and read – with the dog noisily chewing on a favorite stick. Being reflective and thankful for what I do have and how lucky I am to be alive and healthy and being an American. But I could use a free vacation....

    May 1, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  190. Michelle in Gwinnett

    I just got my first dog 2 years ago and she is the love of my life. She cheers me up and give me unconditional love. There are times when firends have their own thing going on and I feel lonely, but my dog Cashmere cheers me up. We go to dog parks and for walks, shopping, whatever! She is 4.8lbs of pure joy!

    May 1, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  191. Jesse

    What makes me happy is the smile on my kids faces when I come home after a long hard day at the job i GET to go to everyday. It breaks my heart to hear about all these job loses. I never thought I would appreciate my 9-5 the way I do today.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  192. Liz, Windsor, Ontario, Canada

    Just doing things for my family, and being with my furry family ( my 4 kitties, who are my 4 human children) makes me happy. And also being grateful for what I still have.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  193. Christine, Fair Lawn, NJ

    I especially enjoy walking to the library with my four year old son, borrowing books and spending time reading to him. I appreciate and find happiness in having dinner with my older daughters around our own table, rather than out at a noisy restaurant and I am greatly looking forward to this year's vacation at the Jersey Shore, which my mother won in a raffle. There is nothing better than spending time with family – without the pressure of having to be someplace at a certain time. Since I work full time, I especially cherish acting like a stay at home mom for a week – cooking almost every meal and cleaning up after everyone.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  194. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    I still try to get out to my local golf course at least once a week.....that is my therapy session and it keeps me sane. Golf is like a little 4 hour "get-away" or mini vacation. It's just you, the ball, the grass, and the hole......nothing else exists during that 4 hours (except maybe a tree or two and a ball snatching pond).

    May 1, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  195. Mary, Texas


    My husband and I have stayed home more and done more chores we needed to do around our house. Things are looking good
    at home!! We are not out and about spending money we don't have.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  196. CRS

    As I enter my third month of unemployment, this thing that makes me happiest is that I still have the things that matter to me: my husband, my cats, my books, and my brains. I'm starting my own business because I always wanted to and now there's nothing to stop me. So while it's scary, I'm lucky and I'm taking advantage of that.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  197. Brian Welch

    The same things that make you happy out of a recession should make you happy in a recession. If your happiness is based on material things you will ultimately wind up disappointed and feeling empty.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  198. Dylan

    I've still got a job, and my bicycle... Nothing could make me happier.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  199. Samir from Florida

    Going to work! I know I'll be able to pay the bills and maintain my lifestyle. It makes me work harder. I don't complain that I have too much work, because it's a blessing.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  200. Carol from San Diego, CA

    What makes me happy during the recession is keeping my job, being able to pay my bills and if I am lucky , I have a little left over to save. I have noticed that this is a big preoccupation for me now–saving instead of spending a bunch.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  201. Jay in Texas

    The recession, as you call it (depression as I call it), has made no significant changes in my lifestyle. I never fell for the 401K scam and have never bought a stock in my life. What makes me happy, though, is seeing it work as a motivator for people to change their lives and do things that I have been doing for many years including exercising, loving and caring for animals and other people, and starting and building strong friendships with others. Oh yeah, last but not least, is that I am happy that I can still afford a computer and Internet access so I can read and comment on your blog nearly every day.
    Brownwood, Texas

    May 1, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  202. Mike in SA

    Buying at bargain prices.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  203. Heather Connolly

    It makes me happy to know that I am more than my material things, and that I am healthy with the strength of spirit and mind to teach my child to value people rather than things. I have been blessed with many material things and opportunities during my lifetime, but the opportunity to teach Oliver that he is worthy no matter how much money he has will be my greatest accomplishment and my most valuable asset. It makes me happy to see the joy in his eyes...he's 8 months old, and he smiles no matter how much money we have in the bank.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  204. Tiff

    Going to Church and praying makes me happy, helping others in times of need, exercising, shopping and of course reading Jack's blog. 🙂

    May 1, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  205. Brian Figliacconi

    The things that should, friends, family ,good health, and sunshine!

    May 1, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  206. Susan Knaack

    I love that the recession has reminded me to spend less on things I want, but don't need, and has re-enforced my efforts to pay things off.
    My credit cards are now paid off, my car soon will be, and my mortgage is getting smaller at a faster rate. That feels better than any new pair of shoes ever could.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  207. Moe-C

    Atlanta, Ga

    Hi J.C. love the show, recently loss my job in the 1st week in April, haven't felt the sadness or panic yet because of my ordeal. I recently have had surgery and look at the loss of my job as a blessing to get healthy. I've also will be attending college this summer, so I can put a positive spin on the hand that I have been dealt. And look to a more prosperous and healthy 2010 and beyond......I hope everyone out their keeps their head up!!!!!!!

    May 1, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  208. Mary Meyer

    WeI have plenty to be happy about, Jack, my children are healthy, my husband and I still have our home, our dog, food in our stomachs. Money, no, job security, no, but we wake up every morning and appreciate that we live in this great USA, and we get to see and listen to you, Jack. What a great life. Thanks.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  209. PAT California

    I am happy when I tell my kids, "We're here, if you need us". They are all suffering from the recession. We were unable to provide anything but necessities for them growing up. But now, even though we're far from rich, we are ready and willing to help them if they need it. (Of course they'll never ask, but the offer is out there)

    May 1, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  210. Andrea M, Denver CO

    It's easy! I have an amazing boyfriend who makes me happy all the time and is there no matter what. I have incredible friends who I can talk to about anything and always have my back. I also have great connections for getting into clubs for free and there's nothing like night of friends, great music, dancing, and a couple drinks!

    May 1, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  211. Samuel

    In light of the recession I find much more time to spend with friends and family. Doing things that are memorable such as fishing watching movies at home, playing board games, and having cookouts. America needs to finally come to the conclusion its not what you have or what you do. Life is about making every moment count!

    May 1, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  212. Mark in OKC

    Spending time with the only being that I know who loves me unconditionally.....my little mini-dachshund, Angel.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  213. John Webster, Aldergrove BC Canada

    Jack, as always and still now, a tall cold one and the smell of steaks smoking on the barbeque. Watching the greedy and smarmy who cheated and lied all these years and whose actions precipitated the recession get their just deserts just adds to my happiness.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  214. ann sandberg

    spending time with our our 3 children who are adults. All three are challenged by the economy, but making it and thankful for that.

    When we get together we watch old family movies, remembering all the "good times" growing up. We all are Democrats, so we are enjoying the changes we see in our country and feel optimistic for the first time in many years.

    One son is a second year medical student, and will owe about $250,000 when he graduates in two years. In spite of interest rates being at all time low, he is still paying 7-8% on his medical school loans. And his attitude, is "I am doing what I love, so why worry about it."

    Our other son works in a bookstore. He barely makes enough to get by, as matter of fact has lost some weight. When I commented on how good he looked, he laughed and said he wasn't eating as much with money being so tight.

    Our daughter is married with 3 children. A couple of years ago, they did what seemed to be the smart thing, and her husband went back to finish his degree, she is working, and they live with her father-in-law. Her husband graduated December 2008, and hasn't even had a single interview.

    I am amazed all three stay in good spirits, are basically happy people, and thankful to have roofs over their heads.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  215. Molly

    Put on some music. If you still have records play them. If you have CD's play those. Tune in some fun sing along music and remember what you were doing when it was popular. Do it with friends and you will have a blast. Everyone can participate in this one and it will make you forget your problems.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  216. Andrew Lovely

    Lately I feel like I am happy because of the recession and not in spite of it. The hard economic times have forced people to depend on each other, and I'm optimistic that meaningful relationships are being discovered and/or enhanced as a result of the ol' tight wallet. I don't have a dollar to my name right now and I feel great. "I get by with a little help from my friends" 🙂
    Somehow I feel the depression will lead to a real sense of community.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  217. Gordon Myers

    Spending time with my family and friends does the trick for me. We spend alot of time outdoors together fishing, camping, and boating. It's rather inexpensive and it tends to be great quality time!

    May 1, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  218. Vera - York PA

    My husband and I, along with friends, started going to some of the York Revolution minor league baseball games. It is very affordable compared to a major league game and we get a “night out”.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:09 pm |

    What makes me happy is that I still have my health, my job and I no longer have to buy those expensive pizzas from the pizza shop, one of the things we had to cut back on.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  220. Jack Flannigan

    I am writing from Lewis Center, Ohio to say that there really should be no difference in what makes a person happy in a recession or during good times. Any external element should not determine one's internal "Happy Factor". Not happy with the current situation? – roll up your sleves and do something positive about it. Count your blessings and press on with leaving this world a better place on you departure than what you found it on your arrival.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  221. Laura, Boston


    I just found out that my cancer has come back after 8 years being cancer free yet I am happy that I have a good strong support group who will see me (I hope) get through another 8 years.

    I will live to see the recession end and prosperity abound and then hopefully I will be here to see another recession hit us again. After all, recession does come every few years and I hope to be here for the next and the following and the one after that.

    Laura, Boston

    May 1, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  222. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    Jack I tell you, tonight it is dinner cooked on the open fire (illeaglly) in my back yard, looking at the heavens with a glass of red wine that is so dry when I blow across the glass dust rises. Holding my wife close as we gaze into the flames and unwind from another long week. We call it a unplugged time, no TV, no computers, no cell phones, just the parents of six re-connecting their love. priceless....

    May 1, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  223. Edward

    Making sure my community does not fall into disrepair by picking up trash, covering graffiti, and creating and participating in a community watch program. Additionally, planted a vegetable garden and provided potted tomatoe plants to fixed income relatives. Growing palnts with a purpose makes them feel productive and in control.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  224. Katrina

    Being around flowers. Planting annuals, or being in a garden is calming.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  225. A. Miller

    My 2 dogs make me happy. They are thrilled at the simplest things. We could learn a lot from that.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  226. Carole

    I'm LOVING all the deals I'm finding right now. Coupons, sales, lower prices - at retail and online - as businesses look to entice customers. Also, refinancing our home loan and savings hundreds each month. These kinds of savings make me happy!

    May 1, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  227. Gina Dyer

    I am spending more time with my husband and friends. I am gardening and have been working on finishing my unfinished craft projects. Some will make great Christmas gifts and are already paid for. When I start feeling worried about the financial situation, I make a mental list of all the blessings in my life. Seeing a beautiful sunrise on my way to work is a great way to start the day.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  228. Brian, San Francisco

    The same things that make me happy during times of expansion, Jack. Good friends, loving family and enjoying life while I can. People need to just appreciate what they have, not what they would like to have. In a recession, or even a depression, we are still quite lucky to live in this country. Let's start acting like it.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  229. Geoff

    Relearning the simple joys of life in a technologically advanced and high-paced society.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  230. Taylor

    My friends and I have taken to doing dinner once a week. We decide on a meal to make, and everyone pitches in a few bucks for the ingredients, and we take turns cooking. Not only is it a fun social experience, but when you distribute the cost, a nice dinner can only set you back two or three bucks! Way cheaper (and more fun!) than going out to eat, for sure!

    May 1, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  231. Linda, Papillion NE

    A cold glass of wine and a good book.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  232. OG (Alaska)

    Spending time in the natural world, or with animals - gives me a break from the seemingly unending social drama.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  233. Mike Flounlacker

    Coaching T-ball at my local YMCA. Nothings better than talking with a child about fielding a grounder while they are digging around in their nostril, or chasing a grasshopper.

    Life is good if you know where to look. Hang in there folks!!

    May 1, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  234. JR, San Diego

    I survived open heart surgery 2 moths ago so recession or no recession, I'm plain happy to be here.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  235. Dennis

    What makes me happy is knowing that we have an intelligent President who is doing all he can to turn this recession around.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  236. ann

    Our group of family and friends have been getting together more often to share laughs, closeness and, of course, great food. We trade off who is hosting so no one feels burdened financially. It has actually brought us all much closer together and reminded us that stuff is not important, healthy, happy relationships are. I'm oddly happier now then I have been in years, nothing like financial hardship to remind you of the good things in life.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  237. Keith in Rhode Island

    Music! Go out and see some real live humans playing real live music. Still cheaper than a movie at most bars/clubs and it will make you feel great! Music flourished during the Great Depression, and it is doing so again....go see for yourself.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  238. Melissa - Pennsylvania

    honestly, for me it's just spending time with my husband and son. Whenever your down, there's nothing better than playing games together to make you laugh and lighten all moods. Rock Band 2 is our personal favorite to play, followed closely by monopoly or Uno.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  239. Karen, Seattle

    Spending money on my Grand children to help out their parents. I have all the gadgets I need, and I would rather see my children and grandchildren enjoy a few things they cannot afford.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  240. Gail

    Working in my vegetable garden, planting all sorts of heirloom vegetables seems to help around my home. I hated being forced to grow vegetables when I was younger, but my parents had us do that and it also provided us with food to eat. Now..... my 9 and 6 year old daughters each have their own rows of vegetables they planted and tend to, as well as helping out with our larger garden. It's great exercise for us, they plant heirloom veggies and learn about vegetables from other countries that they can grow and it makes for great family time together. Now I understand my parents were really smarter than I thought..... but then again, they were of the depression era generation.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  241. bob brost from owen sound ontario

    The sunshine !
    when the sun is shining, it leaves me feeling good knowing that the damn politicians didn't have anything to do with it!

    May 1, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  242. Michael

    The great prices on merchandise! I am relatively young with a high disposeable income and one of the perks that i find in this recessions is getting more for your buck with everything!

    May 1, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  243. Jennifer

    In these times I am happy to have a loving and healthy family. I have been fortunate enough to not be effected by the recession on the scale some people have, but I use it as an exercise in discretion. I try to find good deals and not spend more than necessary. I have learned to live on less while actually doing more. I have found that at this time it is more important than ever to know the true value of a dollar and the rewards of saving. The sky may not be falling, but it doesn't hurt to have an umbrella nearby.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  244. Connie

    I 'm happy that I have my health and my job. I've been unemployed twice in my lifetime, and I know how difficult it can be. Hang in there!!

    May 1, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  245. Tony

    Tossing back a couple of cold ones.

    Allentown, PA

    May 1, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  246. Nic Ledoux

    I've been spending a lot of time outdoors. I go for walks, hiking, biking and just enjoy the simple things. I don't need to go out and spend money like I used to. It's been a real eye opener for me.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  247. jessy sugarland

    hmm...let me see...i am alive..my kids are healthy......and there is still hope for something better..it could be worse?!

    May 1, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  248. Bobby

    Photography. Cheap, fun, just travel to a new place or find something interesting nearby.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  249. Shannon

    I'm in Orlando, FL. I like to spend time with my family and boyfriend. I also enjoy reading, so I've been frequenting the local libraries instead of buying books.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  250. Michael Gaw

    Get in touch with nature. Instead of an expensive outing, have a picnic at your nearest park, or for a real adventure, the nearest State Reserve parks and protected locations. Instead of pricey vacations, take a pack of allergy medicine and go camping!

    May 1, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  251. Terre. San diego

    I live in San diego. There is alot of things to do here that are free! My favorites: kayaking & watching you.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  252. Terry

    Community service is the way to go, so we can feel useful and revive that sentiment of doing something good not just for others but ourselves

    May 1, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  253. Paul In Dallas, TX

    Having a job, being in good health and having great friends and family.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  254. John P Cooney

    Lets face it we need the break! We forgot our values in promoting materialism. Everything else in life became second. The recession is actually a celebration and re-calibration of values.
    PS Thank you for your books

    May 1, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  255. Loreta

    Having the job, spending time with my family doing simple projects like drawing with my 6 years old daughter or reading stories, going for a walk, visiting or having people over for simple meals.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  256. Shari Spence

    That I finally realized what is truly important, and it is not things and accumulating stuff, it is faith, family & friends and having financial peace of mind.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  257. Heidi

    I am happy having a roof over my head, a wonderful family and group of friends, being healthy, and having enough food to eat. I realize even more during this recession not everyone can be so fortunate, so I am just thankful for what I do have, and do not lust for more.

    –Heidi (Newport, OR)

    May 1, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  258. Tye Roy

    I like the challenges to my creativity–figuring out how to recycle jeans into tote bags & baskets, thinking up new ways to use old t-shirts & linens, learning to knit my own dishcloths.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  259. Ray in Nashville

    The simple things, Jack. A good book, good friends, watching the conservative movement implode!

    May 1, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  260. David Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    Buying cheap stocks then kicking back and wait for the market to come back.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  261. Carol

    The suggestions that you listed should be things that make us happy all of the time. It's too bad that it takes a recession for us to reexamine our lifestyles. We can only hope that once the recession has subsided we continue these more meaningful pursuits and do not go back to our wasteful and materialistic ways.

    Bartlett, TN

    May 1, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  262. Joanie

    No lines at Macy's.

    Miami, Florida

    May 1, 2009 at 4:32 pm |

    what makes me happy jack?? the fact that the recession has showed my wife and i how much money we were wasting every month...
    stephen postullo
    new york city

    May 1, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  264. Marisa in Twin Falls, ID


    The toddlers in my life are full of energy, spunk, optimism, and happiness on a daily basis. Their joy in little things, like going outside to play or a trip to the candy store reminds me of all the little things in my life that can take my mind off of the panicpanicpanic of our time. I also like to watch the birds. Nature can be a great calming force! Sigh.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  265. Ed North Carolina

    What always has, my family. Nothing has changed. At my age I have been a lot of places and had a lot of "stuff". All such are nothing more than passing fancies when it comes right down to it.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  266. Tsakonas

    I lost my consulting job that provided about 80% of my income, but thankfully I have a failing Architectural business to fall back on. The recession has given me more time to spend with my wife who has suffered from an ongoing health condition that prevents her from working. She is doing a little better now and that has brought me more happiness than anything in decades. It's funny how the important things in life become much more apparent when money is removed from the equation.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  267. Alex

    I have begun to reach out to friends I haven’t spoken to in a while. I pick up the phone and call them. I don't have facebook or any of those online social networks, except LinkedIn. I feel this medium is diluting the essence of friendship, but I am afraid that soon I won't have any other choice.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  268. Sean

    Hard times have always drawn my family closer to each other by reminding us that "no man is an island". With that in mind, I am happy I have a loving and supporting family that watches out for each other.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  269. Jane, Dallas TX

    I enjoy finding new ways to do fun things for cheap. As an example, there's a resteraunt 2 blocks away from my house that has free poker tournaments and free chips and salsa. As the saying goes: "Just add water"

    May 1, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  270. Diane Dagenais Turbide


    what makes me happy in life is surrounding myself always with positive family and friends...I do not know if there is a happiness gene...but I (most of the time) getup on the right side of the bed and always go to bed satisfied of my day!

    May 1, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  271. Fred

    Video game and time with Family.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  272. Amy in Chicago

    Three things Jack.
    1. Hanging out with a good influence, our dog, who is clueless about the recession and could care less.
    2. Community service.
    3. And best of all, afternoon hanky panky with my husband who was laid off from a job where he worked like a mule for 29 years!

    May 1, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  273. Lisa Batvia, New York

    Spending time with my 6 year-old daughter Claire and three year-old son Jacob. They are my joy!

    May 1, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  274. Lisa

    My kids and my family make me happy. We've been playing more board games, video games and going to the park. We even put up a volley ball net in the yard.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  275. curt gobbell

    What makes me happy?

    Learning how to live with less!

    Our nation is obsessed with money. We want newer cars, bigger houses, nicer clothes. Everybody wants to improve themselves, but when it becomes an obsession, you lose focus on the truly important things in life.

    Some of the happiest most content people I know are leaving on meager means!

    May 1, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  276. Gail- NYC

    What makes me happy? That's easy. I still have a job and health insurance and I can still pay my monthly expenses.

    Other than that...... why be greedy?

    May 1, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  277. Dan

    what makes me happy is the same thing in good times or bad times. it is living life as simple as possible, within my financial means, and being around positive, fun, smart friends and family. balance of work, exercise, eating properly and spending time with people who i care about.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  278. Deanna in Fayetteville NC

    Being able to pay our bills and have enough left over for tuition and petcare

    May 1, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  279. Robbie Taylor

    Since it's spring, I look at the flowers and green things growing outside and concentrate on just feeling alive. There's a big drought going on here, so Green is Good. Hopefully we can all have a new beginning as a result of this mess of a recession. I feel lucky that my husband and children are healthy and happy. I watch my dogs and see they they could care less about dollars in the bank, but are still crazy happy ALL the time. As a result I feel better, then I am nicer and smile more at others, which hopefully makes them feel good and they smile more at others too-sort of like a good chain letter!

    Austin, TX

    May 1, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  280. Marceita in Atlanta, GA

    Listening to Billy Joel as high as the volume on the Bose will go!

    May 1, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  281. Beth

    My garden makes me inordinately happy-I can transplant seedlings from established bushes, divide & replant large clumps of flowers, ferns, hostas all without spending a dime. Great exercise for body and mind! Rewarding to watch plants grow & flourish; they don't know there's a recession.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  282. Sam Sherman, philadelphia

    A couple of stiff Martinis. At least prohibition was repealed.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  283. Shawn in Nashville TN

    Ice cream always makes me happy.... but otherwise, just the fact that I am still working and can pay my bills makes me happy. I'm happy that none of my family have lost their homes or vehicles due to unemployment.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  284. Sue

    The same things that make me happy during other times.
    The rich and loving experiences I get to have with family and friends.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  285. Sherri Illinois

    I'm happy I have my health, sound mind, to continue my job search in this economic meltdown this country is in AND I'm happy for the extended unemployment benefits that President Obama's Stimulus package provided.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  286. Larry, South Euclid, OH

    Knowing that by living within my means, not buying too big of a house, not borrowing more than I can manage....it confirms that I am a responsible consumer. That makes me happy.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  287. Linda in Arizona

    The same things that made me happy before the recession make me happy now: staying home with my dog, my computer, and my tv. I am the spokesperson for the easily amused.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  288. Barbara Brooks

    In light of the recession, what makes me happy. I spend more time at home with my family. We have family game night on the weekends I cook the best meals and love seeing my family enjoy them. One great thing that may be coming out of this recession is that many families are now spending more time together.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  289. Bobbie Wood

    What makes me happy in this recession? Waking up and counting my Blessings. Being able to watch C-span and C-span2. Adopting a new dog. Reading non-fiction. The ending of a 30 year career by a company downsize has given me back my Life!

    Bobbie/Mission Viejo,Ca

    May 1, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  290. Valarie

    What makes me happy is .....That as an American, I still have my freedom.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  291. jarred

    A walk to the store

    May 1, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  292. Paige Burris

    Training dogs. Just being around them...They are just such great comedic relief, they bring joy to my life every day and they make me realize there's a reason to go on. In these difficult economic times, it would be easy to get depressed about things; I say if you can't afford to get a dog of your own, do some good for yourself and your community by volunteering at your local shelter. Your spirits will be lifted, the dogs will make everything that was worrying you seem a little less important, and the world will be a better place. 🙂

    May 1, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  293. Brian

    I'm happy knowing that I can at least live another day. People always find so many things to complain about, but many times we take the small things for granted. Things could always be worse!

    May 1, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  294. BILL, WI

    Fishing and beer.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  295. Jason

    Buying stocks at 1992 prices.

    Being forced into understanding economics and personal finance.

    Not having a credit card for 10+ years and counting.

    I was already at the bottom of the foodchain, it just closed the distance a little bit.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  296. Deb Knox

    Being able to laugh. Things are tough to be sure but I take great joy in doing a good job, spending time with my family and friends and keeping my head above water ... even though it is difficult. I am one of those hopeful Americans. Still the greatest country in the world!

    May 1, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  297. Michelle, Madison, Wi.

    Jack, If I can manage to pay my monthly household bills, put food on the table for my family and gas in the car for my daughter to attend her college courses then I'm happy.
    Funny... before, I was happy to have a little extra in the bank and happy that I had the ability to take my family on outings or trips... but those days or on hold for now.
    I'm just happy we're making it month to month, even if we're only barely making it.

    Michelle – Madison, Wi.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  298. Toni

    Since we no longer have so much money to go out and spend what my husband and I spend more time together watching tv or walking the dogs and talk. We go out and sit and have coffee and talk – I have been reintroduced to the man I married 21 years ago. This makes me very happy

    Toni Kapudija
    Elmhurst IL

    May 1, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  299. Terry B.

    It makes me happy to spend time playing with my kids at the playground, park or at home (cost $0). They truly enjoy and appreciate me. The memories we are making together are priceless!

    May 1, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  300. Barbara

    Quiet time spent listening to classical music, reading, or sitting outdoors observing nature.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:06 pm |