How are you making it through this economy?

Double-digit unemployment. Record foreclosures. Lower incomes.

This economy has been real tough to negotiate.

Lawrenceville mortgage broker Stuart Landman is clipping coupons, AJC reporters Katie Leslie and Craig Schneider write.

Rick Hawkins, a Riverdale cabinet maker, laid off most of his workers — and sold off nearly all of his vintage cars.

And when John Veal, an IT manager from Cherokee County, lost his job, he cashed out his 401(k) plan to pay bills, the reporters write. Some financial planners might frown, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

What have you been doing to survive?

Got a good idea for others?

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115 comments Add your comment

Vince

August 12th, 2010
7:08 am

As a school principal I am taking a $540 hit each month this year. Combine that with other cuts over the last three years and I am about 15,000 lower than I was in 2007. We clip coupons, never eat out, haven’t been on a vacation in a while and shop really smart and carefully. Ours savings account is a thing of the past.

A.S.Mathew

August 12th, 2010
7:08 am

Now 60% of the economists are of the opinion that it will take three more years to catch up with the
level of 2006. How many people can hold on to that long? How many new graduates from
high school and college are going to be in the job line?

Now, all are cutting corners in eveything possible. Less usuage of car, less cars, less
electricity, less clothings, less eating out, less giving to Church ———-so the less consumption
cycle will go around and make the economy into stagnation or worse than that. .

Mike Jones

August 12th, 2010
7:09 am

I’ve started growing a nice garden, heating my home with firewood and bought some chickens and started trading the eggs and vegetables to my neighbors for what ever they have. I also buy my weekend (work)clothes from the Goodwill and drive a car with over 260,000 miles on it.

Mike's wifey

August 12th, 2010
7:14 am

We combined households. My husband (who has been out of work for a year) and I moved in with my stepdad who is retired with a pension (but little savings) and my disabled sister (who is on disability but it barely covers her medical co-pays). Between my salary and dad’s pension we pay the mortgage and the bills and eat. It’s tight but we are making it. We have a big freezer so I take advantage of meat sales. We don’t eat out much, and our vacation this year was 2 days in Chattanooga with a deep discount my brother was able to get us since he works for the chain. All of our vehicles are 5 years old or older, but we keep them maintained, no car payments. Anything extra we use to pay down on the mortgage, we hope to have the house paid off in 2 years.

Mike's wifey

August 12th, 2010
7:15 am

Goodwill is a great place to shop for clothes. I have bought all my clothes there for the past 2 years. It was a big savings, as we have a dress code at work.

shaggy

August 12th, 2010
7:16 am

Me, I’m gonna get one of those Section 8 vouchers, so’s I can buy me a shiny grill, some low slung designer jeans, ans get me some o’ those expensive hair extensions. Then, I be gettin me a thumpin car system for me an my crew to chill in. Later, we be headin to the club for some action.
Yeah, the guv’ment be takin care o’ me 4-ever.

CFAYE

August 12th, 2010
7:22 am

In 2005, I took the last of three pay cuts that ended up totaling 30%. My husband worked for the same company so that was 60% or $1500 a month. We have forclosed on our home and now rent a small home from my Grandparents. We only eat out on special occasions, buy the simple things from the grocery store (Milk, Bread, etc), cut out trips to the movie theater and other places. I have made those cuts to still be able to put our children in private school. Their education is more important to me than how big out home is or how nice a car we drive. Live simple and happy that is our goal.

catlady

August 12th, 2010
7:24 am

Well, I have to laugh at some of these stories. As a PhD level teacher, I am taking a $5000 hit this year on salary alone. But so many of the things these people say to do, I have been doing all my adult life. All my stuff is paid off (except my student loans!) but I still struggle. I grow and can my own food (200 qts last year and this year), have a dozen chickens,my backup heat is wood, and I live very simply, but it is still very tough. Vacation? What is that? Eating out? You’ve got to be kidding. So tales of selling collectable cars and other tales of misery don’t go too far.

I had planned to retire by now (38 years of work) but cannot do it for 4 more years, at best. I need to keep my insurance due to several serious health issues, so I must work.

As a single parent I put 3 kids through college so I have no savings. What else can be done? Hope you get some suggestions from some average people using creative ways of getting by.

tim snyder

August 12th, 2010
7:26 am

I’m livin under a bridge with Shaggy.

light

August 12th, 2010
7:28 am

Let God will be done thru this blog http://lightoftheearth.blogspot.com/

Don

August 12th, 2010
7:37 am

Time to think locally not globally. Collaborate with others to start small businesses thast porvide all types of services to homeowners and small businesses, and market door to door and possibly by Google Adwords. Many businesses like window cleaning require little capital. Historically the majority of small businesses are started during economic downturns. Also time to grow some of our veggies and fruits in our yards or start some community farms. I have started a community farm with friends and the collaboration is fun and helps build friendships and start new ones.

shaggy

August 12th, 2010
7:41 am

tim, I don’t be livin under no bridges. I be watchin American Idol on my big screen. Dis Section 8 be da best thing that be happenin to my economy. De guv-ment be footin my bills, so I be furst in de line to vote dem fine folks back in.
Gotta go. I be meetin a cool dude dat want to sell me a pit bull that has a bad rep.

TnGelding

August 12th, 2010
7:46 am

catlady

August 12th, 2010
7:24 am

Get those student loans paid off! I apologize for a society that required you to take them out Did you put your kids through college or did they have to take out loans as well? No excuse for no savings. You have to pay yourself first, but you can save some over the next 4 years. Keep that car parked, the thermostat on 79 and eat what the grocery stores have on sale. Do that canning early in the morning.

Being retired, we’ve been trying to help our neighbors and acquaintances over the last 2 1/2 years. At least they’re on food stamps now and we don’t have to feed them. But I’ve overdone it over the last month and we’re going to have to cut back our support or look for jobs ourselves.

Don

August 12th, 2010
8:11 am

Article should have added that we’re still getting hit with upsized taxes! Why is it government can’t bear it’s share of the pain but wants to lessen theirs by increasing ours???!?!?!?!

Surviving

August 12th, 2010
8:13 am

In 2008 I was laid off for a few months and later received a job paying $20,000 less. I had to learn to cut back on expenses, stopped dining out at my usual hot expensive spots,started using coupons, buying generic brands or store brands, shopping for sales only, etc..My mindset is, “if I have to charge it then I don’t need it, If it’s not on sale then I don’t need it, If you’re not buying it, then I don’t need it.” I also had to learn that I have to realize the salary that I’m making is not the salary that I once had. It’s a struggle but I’m surviving.

Byron

August 12th, 2010
8:21 am

I’ve been making ends meet in this rough economy under Obama’s regime by working as a bounty hunter in the areas of town south of I-20 by picking up bail-jumping thugs, hoodlums and deadbeat fathers for the government. Thankfully, it is like shooting fish in a barrel in those areas, and it makes for a relatively steady income at times.

Dave

August 12th, 2010
8:34 am

I started working at 13 during summer’s when we were out of school and have held jobs all my life. No matter what they were to survive, I have a BA degree from collage but that is not a meal ticket. At times I held down several jobs to make ends meet. The last thing I want is unemployment checks or Obama hand outs. People like myself see’s Obama for what he is and that’s a man with no substance but all mouth. A man who has taken more vacations in the past 18 months than Bush did in four. ( At our tax dollars! ) The man does not care and is arrogant with powers of the office, while millions are trying to find work or feed their children each day.

bigD

August 12th, 2010
8:36 am

Will work for insurance

shaggy

August 12th, 2010
8:44 am

Folks, I be tellin you, Section 8 is the way to go. Hang out wit your friens all day, in a cool guv-ment paid crib, an party at the club all night. I got mine. It will be takin a prybar to get me up out of it. I be set for life. free shots for them sex diseases, get dem stamps for food, guv-ment paid crib. I be livin it up.

ya mama

August 12th, 2010
8:45 am

shaggy…..LOL!!!!!!

Non-Renewed Educator

August 12th, 2010
8:48 am

Vince,
No offense but at least as a school principal you still have a job. I’m curious to know how many non-renewals you handed out last school year?

Chains

August 12th, 2010
8:48 am

Lets just say…tommorrow is payday and my checking account is $600 overdrawn…….

jmh

August 12th, 2010
8:50 am

Doesnt it piss some of you off that half the people in this country dont pay any federal income taxes! The others who actually pay for all this government waste are probably going to get hit with more taxes in the coming years. Some days i wonder why i work so hard! I guess so i can pay for all the lowlifes standing in line for hours for a section 8 application instead of out looking for a job! What a country!

NeedALoan

August 12th, 2010
8:53 am

Don’t worry if you need money just go to United Community Bank..if you know the right person they will give you a jumbo loan…they did it for someone I know who doesn’t even have a JOB!!!..they should be investigated to see how many loans they turned down for less qualifications compared to some of the person they “gave” a loan to..

StartWithDebt

August 12th, 2010
8:59 am

My favorite is the friends I know who are struggling but still want the bragging rights of sending their “child off to college.” Of course they have student loan the kid to death..

Good luck..my son is staying local and I just PAID, no credit card, no financing for his first semester and plan and doing so for the next four years. He is has a p/t job for his spending cash…so to my friends, “What are you going to do with your boomerang kid in four years, when they are saddled with student loans and no job giving them enough money to live on their own?”

What bragging right will you have then? Just love the sheep in this country!…congrats to my son who had the “brains” to figure that out on his own!

Ditto!

August 12th, 2010
9:15 am

Start With Debt good job! It is irresponsible of parents to saddle their kids with student loan debt! Most 18 year olds have no idea how these loans will impact them for a good chunk of their lives!

shaggy

August 12th, 2010
9:16 am

Don’t need no job. I gets assistance that makes every nite friday nite an every day satiday. My doc cleans my fections from runnin wit de ladies an charges de guv-ment. I gives some stamps to get me sum ribs and sells me sum stamps to get me some licker. I stay in a guv-ment paid crib usin my section 8, dey approved me an my wemen, even gonna make a few more babys, so’s my girls can get more money.
Life is good. thanx to de duv-ment, I ain’t needin no job.

Kim

August 12th, 2010
9:17 am

First off, the cabinet maker who “sold off his vintage car collection” gets no empathy from me. He turned down the smaller, $5K jobs in the past for the better paying $20k jobs. Now he’s lucky to get the $5K jobs. Good! Let him eat his crow.

Secondly, the IT guy who could no longer afford his daughter’s Pre-K gets no empathy from me. He should have sent her to a free public Pre-K, as I did my daughter.

I do not feel sorry for people that are having to give up luxuries in life to survive. The era of irrational exhuberance is over people! If AJC wanted to see how the economy has affected “real” people, they should have found better candidates for the interview. The stories here do not invoke my sympahties but makes me wonder why AJC would write such crap.

joann

August 12th, 2010
9:23 am

Shaggy you are too stupid. These people are serious about these hard times and all you can do is make fun at their expense. Get a life. There are more than black people on section 8. Just ask yo sista with the kid by yo brotha.

shaggy

August 12th, 2010
9:27 am

joann, you be wantin to step out an party? I gots sum money, cause section 8 puts green in my pocket. I wants to call you, soon as I gets back from buyin a bad rep pit bull named “ripper”.

Deedee

August 12th, 2010
9:30 am

I hear it every day and I think that it is wrong and immoral to make fun of people who need help.

I hear the conservative political pundits and Shaggy everyday blame people for having “hard economic times.” It’s your fault if you’re unemployed or in foreclosure. That’s not true and even if it was true, so what?

If food stamps keep your children or yourself from starving, then by God get some. If getting Section 8 housing keeps you from sleeping outdoors, get some housing. Hunger and homelessness can lead to an early death.

I would rather my tax dollars go to helping my neighbors than spending billions of dollars on war in Iraq and Aghanistan.

All of us need to show more compassion for those who are struggling. I remember being hungry and homeless as a child with my single mom and it wasn’t fun at all.

jmh

August 12th, 2010
9:42 am

Kim, you sound like the typical left wing class envy type! In this country we are lucky enough to be able to be the best we can be and everyone has that opportunity. You only have compassion for people you feel aren’t as lucky as the rest. Some people in this country actually work hard to for a better life for themselves and their family and you should begrudge those who have more than you. Sounds like a little bit of jealousy to me!

TnGelding

August 12th, 2010
9:43 am

Dave

August 12th, 2010
8:34 am

Duhbya was on vacation for 8 years! And we’ll pay for it for all eternity!

TnGelding

August 12th, 2010
9:46 am

…and wash clothes with cold water. Don’t forget to hang them out to dry!

shaggy

August 12th, 2010
9:52 am

TnGelding,
I be on section 8 vacation. did that dubya character get approved for sum free money?

Kim

August 12th, 2010
9:58 am

Absolutely wrong my friend! A registered Republican am I. And no jealously, whatsoever. I just don’t have compassion for those who were living beyond all means and now crying “oh woe me” because they had to give up a stupid car collection, which, is a very frivolous thing. I think the cabinet maker should take a Dave Ramsey class.

KJ

August 12th, 2010
10:03 am

“He turned down the smaller, $5K jobs in the past for the better paying $20k jobs.”

Um, who wouldn’t do this?

Erica

August 12th, 2010
10:04 am

I have seen very few tangible suggestions about how people are getting by in this tough economy on this board thus far, only a lot of cynicsm and venom. So here are some real tips from a family whosee income took a significant hit due to DH’s business taking a nose dive due to clients who couldn’t/wouldn’t pay. First, we cut our grocery bill by using coupons, shopping with a strict list and setting a drop dead budget prior to grocery shopping. Next, we are down to eating out once or twice per month (MAX) if that much. No trips to the movies. No summer vacation. We are truly learning to enjoy family time at home. We have a 2 paid for cars, one of which is 14 years old and runs like a top. Yes, it has now become almost impossible to save like we used to, but we are really appreciating having the basics, like employment, insurance, a home, cars to drive to and from work and school and health.

Posters, I thought this article was a way for folks to share about how they are conserving and cutting back to weather this tough economy, not a bashing session. C’mon….

Kim

August 12th, 2010
10:04 am

Not me, I would have taken them all on! ha ha ha

TnGelding

August 12th, 2010
10:05 am

No, Shaggy, just his government pension, but his mom is drawing Social Security. And his pappy is drawing SS plus a huge government pension. But then, McCain and Biden are drawing SS and big government checks. Patriots all! Free traders all! Capitalists all! Small government advocates all! Except Biden, of course.

TnGelding

August 12th, 2010
10:10 am

Erica

August 12th, 2010
10:04 am

Good advice. It amazes me that people continue to eat out and leave their thermostats on 72 when they don’t have a dime in their pockets.

Kim

August 12th, 2010
10:12 am

I bet cabinet maker isn’t growing a garden. He’s just lamenting on selling his car collection. Poor fella…

Section 8 = Entitlemant

August 12th, 2010
10:14 am

Enter your comments here

Deedee

August 12th, 2010
10:19 am

I doubt if people would wait in line in 90+ degree heat for three days for Section 8 housing if it wasn’t something that was desperately needed. Remember, that was just to get on the “waiting list.” The waiting list is probably several years long.

Being a lifelong cheapskate, many of my tips would gross most people out………so I’ll keep them to myself. LOL!!

Saw it coming

August 12th, 2010
10:26 am

Frankly, I saw this coming a little more than four years ago and began to plan for it then. I lowered my debt ratio, kept my basic expenses the same, and hung on to a large bonus that I got in 2008 that has helped to fill the gaps when paying bills. I don’t live the high life, but I never have. If I need clothes I get them from consignment stores, I buy or repairs things as needed, and I remember that this too shall pass.

Bobsyouruncle

August 12th, 2010
10:37 am

Living modestly and attempting to live within my means, which is difficult to say the least. No credit card debt, ten year old vehicle, shopping at Aldi’s and buying anything “used” instead of new. This to shall pass, God willing.

Hate unemployment

August 12th, 2010
10:43 am

A friend mentioned the other day how they like to take an afternoon nap with the air set at 65. I’ve had my air set at 80 for the last 2 summers (maybe 76 before that); I would freeze at 65 and then have a heart attack when I received the electric bill!

My last frivolous expense I have is my basic expanded cable bill. I would be fine catching up on shows online, but I keep this for my son. He’s a straight A junior that has been a trooper going through this unemployment with me. So, I let Comcast screw me with their overpriced cable. I hear you can get great (free) reception with an HD receiver and an HD tv, but my tv is 10 yrs old – not HD.

My 12 yr old car is paid off, I have no credit card bills, I keep our utility bills low (fluorescent bulbs, air set high, cook on grill vs heating up the inside). As soon as I lost my job we moved within a month to a house that cost $400 less per month. I clip coupons and also hit Kroger mid week and look for the manager markdowns – able to buy organic food cheaper than regular food with the markdowns they give. Shop the thrift store or clearance racks. (I’ve always been a cheap shopper tho.)

With no insurance, I try to make sure we eat as healthy as possible so we won’t have to pay full price for a doctor visit. I had insurance for 30 years, now when I need it, it’s gone. I skipped paying COBRA so that I could make the rent and utility pymts. It’s all a juggling act; I can’t wait to be employed again.

Section 8 = Entitlemant

August 12th, 2010
10:48 am

This is a free ride that only breeds entitlement mentality. These people don’t have to work or make better choices. They just perpetuate it to the many children they always seem to have. The apple most always falls close to the tree.
Many hard working people have to pay for the freeloading frauds that infest these kind of entitlement programs. Mostly, they are tired of it.

Section 8 = Entitlemant

August 12th, 2010
10:51 am

DeeDee,

Do you honestly think these “applicants” are, right now, living in a box? Look at the pictures of the mob. They look pretty fat and happy to me, and where did they go after mobbing, back to the homeless shelter? No, they went home, and that’s where they should stay.

FMX

August 12th, 2010
10:56 am

I agree that under no circumstances shuld we turn away people who need help but how come the government never tries to understand the reason why people need “assistance” to begin with. If I make X amount of dollars or no dollars then I have no business having children. The problem I have is that when they do get section 8, food stamps, medicaid, day care, welfare, etc they have more children. I feel that you should lose the right to have children when you are living off the government. Where is the personal responsibility? We are enabling bad life style choices!!

The rules need to change:

1. All of the benefits should be time limited.
2. Your assistance/benefits don’t increase when you have more children.
3. You should be able to get everything at one time-between section 8, section 8 voucher, food stamps, medicare, day care–what reason is there to work?

Can you really blame these people. Just like illegal immigrants these people are just doing what they are being allowed to do. We should place our anger with the government that is allowing all of this to take place.

Please note that people do fall on hard times and need help from the government but too many folk are just living off the system and never have worked consistently.