Tightening a few more notches in the belt


August 24, 2008|By Jay Hancock | Jay Hancock,jay.hancock@baltsun.com

Nationwide consumer spending fell in June, adjusted for inflation. Many economists expect the same for July when the numbers come in. This is the first time consumer spending has fallen since the early 1990s.

Research by Rockville-based ChangeWave gives a vivid look at what's going on. The firm surveyed more than 4,000 people and concluded that Washington's $150 billion fiscal stimulus isn't having the hoped-for effect. Here are a few responses. Maybe you'll get some ideas.

* "I've quit eating steak, lobster, and expensive Tex-Mex. I'm searching out all low-cost options - eating hamburgers, not ordering drinks or other costly extras with meals."

* "Clothing and shoes are now from the discount store."

* "Discontinued $129.00 per month Time Warner digital cable TV service and went back to using a free antenna; changed cell phone plan from $120.00 per month down to $45.00 per month; eliminated storage space rentals."

* "Buying auto parts to repair my car rather than spending money on a newer car."

* "More discount Internet shopping without tax or shipping to replace purchasing from local or national merchants. Shopping more bulk at discount warehouses. Track grocery sales and double/triple coupons."

* "Drink coffee at home."

Jay Hancock's column appears each Wednesday and Saturday.

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