What has the economy forced you to give up?
June 20th, 2012
05:00 PM ET

What has the economy forced you to give up?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Growing signs that the troubled economy keeps taking its toll on Americans in ways both big and small.

Nearly 7 million homes gave up cable or satellite TV last year - mostly due to the lingering recession.

A survey by GFK media shows that younger Americans, minorities and poor people dropped cable TV in the highest numbers - opting for broadcast or free TV only.

Industry insiders had worried people would dump cable TV in favor of online TV options but according to this survey, most people are cutting the cord because they need to cut costs.

Of course millions of Americans have been forced to cut much more than cable - including their homes, cars, vacations, grocery bills and medical care.

It's no surprise when you consider the drastic collapse in Americans' net worth.

A CNN/Money analysis of Census Bureau data shows that without including home equity, median household net worth fell by 25% from 2005 to 2010. When you include housing, the loss was 35%.

The great recession has wiped out nearly 30 years of net worth gains for the typical household. 30 years.

Once again, some groups are hit harder than others. Asian, black and Hispanic households lost about 60% of their net worth compared to 30% for whites. Young Americans also lost a bigger share of their wealth than their parents.

Lastly, more bad news for the struggling job market.

A Labor Department report shows the number of job openings fell in April.

The drop means there are 3.7 unemployed people looking for jobs for each opening.

Hereโ€™s my question to you: What has the economy forced you to give up?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Eating out, weekends at the beach, steak, hair color, expensive cosmetics, name brand dog and cat food. (We cut back, they can too.) Actually if we don't really need it, I don't buy it.

A job.


Ruth in Indianapolis:
Hope for the future and a belief in anything. It's all downhill now.

Allen in Houston:
The bad economy has hurt many people just like me. My house now holds 7 people, before it was just me and my wife. Vacations are now a fantasy. No more luxuries, just the basics. A new car will have to wait several more years.

Richard in Rapid City, South Dakota:
Since my income barely covers my bills, food and obligations, and leaves nothing for recreation and luxury items, I consider myself to be a slave. The economy has cost me freedom.

Dale in New Mexico:
It's put a crimp in just about everything: restaurants I like to go to, things I like to eat, and places I like to go to. I can't even go on short road trips anymore; things have gotten really bad these days.

Gary in San Jose, California:
The poor economy has encouraged me to give up the wasteful things that I didn't need like overpriced food, wine, cars and toys. I find myself wanting to do things with the stuff I already have instead of wanting something new and I think that's a good thing. Happiness doesn't cost too much.

Posted by
Filed under: Economy
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    We do not eat out as much. We only buy things that are on sale at the supermarket. We shortened vacations and the distance it takes to drive to them. It also made us turn against voting Republican.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  2. Dave, Orlando, FL

    Almost everything. (You canโ€™t imagine how glad I am that air is still free!)

    June 20, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  3. Oliver El Paso, TX

    I am saving and not spending as much.
    Jack I am more worried that the tea party GOP is going to drive us off the cliff. John Boedner and Erick Cantor think this will be good thing for America, and do nothing to fixes the physical crisis at end the year. Jack you as reporter should be on then. I know they want to blame Obama, But it will be the American people, banks, department of defends. Their actions should be consider treason to their country.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  4. Bill of New Mexico

    More than giving up things like eating out less, it is fear as we see our social securty not receiving "cost of living adjustments" while medicare pays less on medical procedures.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  5. John from Alabama

    Jack: Two years ago, I would have said, eating out for supper, vacations, gifts cheap or otherwise, and events locally like concerts, but that was two years an things are much better today. I still watch my money, and I try to use only cash or debit cards to pay for things. But I am eating out more, and going out to movies and concerts more. My wife and I went on a vacation this past May, and it was the first in along time. Plus the beach was full of early vacationers.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  6. toogie

    Absolutely nothing. However, what the economy has done is made all of us in our family more mindful of what we're doing and how we're spending our money, not only for our household, but with our small business as well. For example, we needed vehicles for the business, but instead of buying big (V-8 engines, etc.) we opted for slightly older, smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles. At home, we continue to eat organic produce... but grow more of it ourselves. We now have backyard chickens, support CSA programs and volunteer at the local community college horticulture department, the latter of which also allows us to have a plot, a small Victory Garden, if you will, to grow our own produce. We've also built or expanded collaborations with other entities and partners that has helped sustain our business, etc. Oddly enough, being creative, we've not lost or given up anything, and instead our business continues to flourish and our lifestyle remains constant, despite the economic downturn. AND we've been able to be completely environment friendly in the process.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  7. Allan Hanson Placerville, ca

    A little driving because of the gouging of big oil and the " regulaters" that allow it.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  8. 1grasshopper

    It has forced me to spend more money on medicine that I need, forced me to loose freedom of travel, the gas prices, I don't eat as wellcan't mow the lawn that often or run the gardening tools, and can't run the air the way I would like.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  9. Martha Brooks

    Just about everything except keeping the wolf from the door, and paying for the door.

    Martha, Rew, PA

    June 20, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  10. Peg in NY

    We have given up vacations, a new car, dentist, ability to fix & repair our home, credit cards, gifts for any occasion, dining out, shopping for basic clothing & shoes, visiting family and the list goes on.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  11. Wilhelm in Las Vegas

    travel, Jack. the Mrs and I figured once I retired we could see the places we always wanted to BUT with gas prices near $4 and the cost of everything related to travel from hotel rooms to airline tickets sky high, we just can't afford it.

    Oh and it doesn't help that the airline I retired from used a phony bankrupcy to steal my pension. I'm now in the government PBGC pension program and that's one third of what I used to get monthly. they also stole our retiree travel benefit.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  12. Steve, Clifton, Virginia

    The economy has forced me to give up the belief that the current people in Congress are really working to ensure that the policy/ phase "Liberty and Justice for All" does in fact apply to all. All as in Middle Class.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  13. Jenna Roseville CA

    What has the economy forced you to give up?


    And as the economy has recovered under Obama I am actually shopping more than I did under GW Bsuh.

    Roseville CA

    June 20, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  14. Riley ODay

    I gave up car trips, and dinner out. I price shop almost all purchases but really dont buy much anymore.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  15. Brad, Portland, OR

    Vacations. Anything new.

    I'm pretty much just paying bills like the mortgage and utilities. Not much left over after that.

    Thanks, Republicans! If you hadn't crashed the economy, we wouldn't get to "enjoy" the moral cleansing of poverty.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  16. Pete in Florida

    It has forced me to give up politics. It seems like every word out of the mouths of politicians, their supporters and their pet pundits is misleading, incorrect, and/or a straight-up lie...especially if they're talking about the economy, what ruined it and/or how to fix it. So it has forced me to stop listening. When a politician comes on the air, I change the channel or turn the TV off. I don't listen to talk radio. I no longer listen to FOX because they are the most dishonest. When CNN or MSNBC turns to politics, I turn them off, too. There is no problem that our politicians cannot make worse...especially the economy, so I've given up on them. I'll listen to none of them, and will vote agaainst ALL incumbents in November.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  17. Pam

    The high cost of food has forced me to start my own organic garden

    June 20, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  18. Paul From Round Rock, Texas

    Drinking and things don't seem to be much fun anymore.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  19. George in PA

    Jack, I'm a retiree who used to pay a brokerage firm to manage my investment portfolio (pension). When the economy tanked in 2008 I lost about 27%. After that I pulled the money out of their control and have been handling my own investments. I am more conservative and still haven't made up what was lost. It's been a white knuckled ride!

    June 20, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  20. Ruth in Indianapolis

    Hope for the future and a belief in anything. It's all downhill now.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  21. Gurgyl

    Nothing, jack. We are not driving that much either, it is good for our nation, and my wallet too....

    June 20, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  22. Randy

    A job.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  23. Michael Bindner, Alexandria VA

    New job, new car, Catholic school for my daughter, vacation days at the shore (or paid vacation at all), health insurance, doctor visits, chiropractic, accupuncture, cranio-sacral therapy, massage therapy on occassion. The little things, Jack.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  24. Dale N.M.

    It's put a crimp in just about everything, restaurants I like to go to, things I like to eat, and places I like to go, I can't even go on short road trips anymore, things have gotten really bad these todays.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  25. Lisa in Denver

    Sanity, Jack. it has forced me to give up on sanity. That this Congress will ever get anything done or ever really work for the people that elected them.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  26. Mr. D

    How about being forced to give up hope that the current Congress and president can lead this country out of its funk? Talk about Greece, if and when the pressure is put on to finally get our house in order, we will see what we are really made of. We have had too much for too long to go down quietly. Where's the nearest bunker?

    June 20, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  27. Gigi Oregon

    Actually we are giving up spending, more out of not trusting corporate America than a drop in our income. The poor quality of products and clothing is our number one complaint. I have started sewing again for my family because of the poor quality of clothing in he major department stores. Coffee and other beverages has kept us home from our favorite restaurants. We did cut back on watching TV because reality shows are not our thing. We entertain at home more where we can hear each others conversation. Again it's not so much the economy...its the quality of life we get for the dollar that has changed our spending habits.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  28. BILL, WI

    Lottery tickets.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  29. r.landschoot

    living within my own means, hamburg for steak, soda for beer, cutting power usage for starters

    June 20, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  30. pam, NYC


    June 20, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  31. Rick, Medina, OH


    My wife and I love a great meal, and used to dine at good restaurants about twice each week. We've become 'foodies,' and now prepare many of those meals ourselves. A good restaurant meal is now a once a month treat.

    Medina, OH

    June 20, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  32. Mycroft Lake Travis Texas

    Mainly faith Jack, Faith, that White Collar Crime will ever be punished. Faith, that man will wise up enough to save the planet before they completely destroy it. Faith, that the War Criminals who took us to War with Iraq on Lies will ever be brought to Justice. The News Story" the Economy" is sucking the air out of the room for issues that are much more important for mankind. My faith in my fellow my fellow man is dwindling and I wonder what future generations(if there are any) will reflect on how stupidly, the greed of man, destroyed the planet. I'm ready to go fishing now, before it's to late.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  33. Johnny C (from Los Angeles)

    Hi Jack –

    Interstate travel ... with gas hovering around $4/gallon ... it breaks the bank to even go a few hundred miles. The geography of the US is amazing ... too bad that the local and state governments keep adding tax increases to gasoline. This issue alone is killing the Tourism industry.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  34. thom richer

    Travel and family visits are very limited by high gas costs and auto prices. Food budget has been dramatically cut and dinner out is rare at any decent restaurant. Less money to help out the kids and unable to help to any degree of difference with their higher education costs. Tuition, loans, housing, etc.. Personal endeavors such as hobbies, entertainment, etc. are on the back burner. However, the greatest impact the economy or lack of, is high gas prices, ever rising food costs, and taxes that fund wars and Wall Street instead of people's needs.

    Negaunee, MI

    June 20, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  35. Brian in IL

    For me it is many things, but mostly have had to give up the majority of the social life I used to have. This includes going to hear live music(big names have been out of the question for years), theatre outings and restaurants priced mid-level and up unless I can get a low-ball deal. Only get to hear music during outdoor mostly free shows during summer months or when I can win something from a local radio station.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  36. Gary in San Jose, California

    The poor economy has encouraged me to give up the wasteful things that I didn't need like overpriced food, wine, cars, and toys. I find myself wanting to do things with the stuff I already have instead of wanting something new and I think that's a good thing. Happiness doesn't cost too much.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  37. Baby in Florida

    Hope...and change.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  38. Nina Fox

    Jack, I can answer this question in two simple words...

    (( My Sanity ))

    June 20, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  39. Larry

    ITs not so much giving up its changing up. Cable, not all the premium channels, hold back on all shopping, clothing, etc. Vacations closer to home, cut back air travel. Haircuts go to the cheaper places, grocery buy non branded. The list is long, but it has not changed in 4 years. Anyone listening?

    June 20, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  40. Loren, Chicago

    I have been fortunate that I have not been a recent victim of the economy, but understand the pain of my fellow Americans, having spent the five years in the last decade either unemployed or underemployed and was forced to cut back and borrow against savings. While I learned to live without, I also am striving to save more during my current job so if things take a change for the worse, I will have a better cushion than last time.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  41. Kevin in CA

    My sense of optimism.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  42. David, California

    My peace of mind.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  43. Liz.

    Eating out, weekends at the beach, steak, hair color, expensive cosmetics, name brand dog & cat food (we cut back they can too). Actually if we don't really need it don't by it.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  44. Susan from Ca

    Grocery shopping without checking the price first. Now when you look at the price there's a note that says " no we aren't kidding you".

    June 20, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  45. William

    I know this isn't the question but, in regards to cable, I believe the reason why so many Americans are giving up cable has little to do with the recession and everything to do with the fact that cable companies charge consumers $1,000 for 5 channels (hyperbole of course, but you get the point.) My cable, internet and cell phone bills are ridiculous, but modern day society forces me to be dependent on them.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  46. Kim, Dodge City, Kansas

    Although the economy has forced me to give up things like a retirement, or travel, it has given me a deep sense of absolute loathing for the Republican party, their policies, their candidates, and the soul-less puppet masters they serve.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  47. Cee.La

    I havent given up anything because of the economy, we are farly conservative and dont live like "rock starts" anyway......I still have Cable, Internet, Phone, Cell phone, heating and cooling. food, and a well stocked local Library where we get Books, Movies, free......2 autos.....

    June 20, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  48. Jake in Omaha

    What has the economy forced you to give up?

    I know in this house beef is off the menu. We get along with chicken and turkey. We seem to be losing weight so maybe thats not too bad.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  49. David - Georgia

    The economy forced me to lose hope in Congress. It is seems that America is a big money bag that never runs out, but if the politicians in Washington keep it up, we will all be in the poor house.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  50. Rebecca, Wisconsin


    June 20, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  51. Glenda Czerwinski Kent


    Glenda Czerwinski Kent
    Nashville, Tennessee

    June 20, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  52. KC

    This economy has kept me in a job I'd love to leave. A job with benefits, decent pay, and some stability is a valuable gem I can't afford to give up in this economy. Even if I'm exasperated, bored, and demoralized because of it.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  53. Twila / Austin, TX

    Our dream of moving out of Texas!!

    We built a home in Austin for $165,000. in 2007. Per our 2012 Tax Appaisal it it now worth $86,000.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  54. Byron Ware

    Jack I had to give up my vacations because gas is too expensive and Doctor appointments>

    June 20, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  55. Michael-Chapel Hill

    My sanity...

    June 20, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  56. Daniel, from Waterbury CT

    The obvious thing that comes to mind is my health insurance. It had gone up 100% in two years. Eating out? Vacations? I don't even remember when I stopped doing those things... ๐Ÿ™ Oh! and I gave up on the hope this two parties system would ever work again!

    June 20, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  57. New Jersey Harry

    The economy is bad. So What!!. Maybe it's time to have fun and get tough. If we all got a lot tougher, we could run these corrupt politicians and greedy businessmen out of power. I think the question should be, what have you gained? A lot of people are getting stronger in these tough times and good fro them. I am one of them. This downturn in the economy is a opportunity to those who rise to the occasion.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  58. Michael in Albuquerque, NM

    All hope

    June 20, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  59. Dale

    I have given up nothing. I have not been living above my means. I purchased a home I can afford and which wasnt close to the maximum I could have afforded. I drive a vehicle that is 6 years old and paid off.

    People need to stop blaming the economy or politics for their house not being in order.

    If you are living within your means, saving for a rainy day, have food storage which is again saving for a rainy day, keep out of the race for the biggest or newest car, keep out of the race for the nicest house, biggest TV etc... You dont need to max out your credits cards. Try saving credit for only the emergencies. Then you will be able to weather the ups and downs of life with a lot less stress.

    Let me give people who are having issues some tips: you dont need the $100+ cable plan, you dont need the most expensive cell phone, you dont need the fastest expensive internet, you dont need to smoke and you dont need to drink, you also dont need to eat out or drink soda. Try cutting all the luxuries that people now consider needs and you can save a lot of money. Then when you get your finances changed around to living within your means, you can add some of the luxuries you want back in.

    Losing your job sucks, I know personally, but if you are planning ahead then things will not be as bad as if you are maxed out with debt.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  60. Kay Travis

    We're retired people, so we haven't had to give up much - since we didn't have much to start with! ๐Ÿ™‚ We love our president, and think he's doing the best job possible, given the circumstances he was faced with - especially including an incredibly obstructionist congress. What we're really afraid of, is that the state of the economy, even though it's improving, will sink our chances of a second Obama term, which we the people REALLY TRULY need to happen! We don't trust Mitt as far as we can throw him, and being 70+ that's not very far at all.... ๐Ÿ™‚

    June 20, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  61. Basil Cooper

    What have I had to give up? Nothing, Jack. You see, I'm in the top five percent. I've just retired, have plenty of money, and the tax cuts are just icing on the cake.

    Huntsville, Alabama

    June 20, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  62. John, Temecula CA

    The biggest thing I have had to give up is driving. The cost of fuel, coupled with having a 20 year old car, constitutes crippling gas mileage. Being a 21 year old college student, how am I to pay for a new gas friendly car when the price tag is equal to a semesters tuition to a major university? I'll just have to get a dead end retail job just to pay for the gas to get to the job. Fantastic.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  63. John from Santa Maria, CA

    I got layed-off in 2009, this economy has forced me to quit looking for a job!!!! There are none.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  64. Cheryl Lake Tahoe

    My cell phone. My bill has 10 add-on charges totalling 14.7% or 176% annualized. The gov't is teaching us not to own anything because they'll just tax it to death.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  65. tom jacksonville fla.

    Jack I'm giving up the stock market. Who created this mess.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  66. Stephen

    Stephen in Lindon, Utah: "The economy has forced me to give up hope but not change. I hope November brings change."

    June 20, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  67. Susan from Boston

    After experiencing job insecurity in 2009, I started my own company, which is doing well, and haven't had any free time since and the same goes for my family members and friends given the uncertainty in the economy.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:31 pm |