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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Sorry, I Just Fell Asleep

The relief from tension regarding the Chief is so great that I am just reeling on my feet.

We are in a recession. When all the fast food chains have one dollar burgers, the recession is here:
In a statement, Wendy's said the new "Stack Attack" burger would help reel in cash-strapped consumers struggling with rising gas prices and other "financial pressures."

The move comes as Burger King plans to test a $1 double cheeseburger that is larger than McDonald's comparable product in several markets next year. Both Wendy's and Burger King hope to steal market share from McDonald's, whose $1 double cheeseburger is its most popular menu item.
In the comments on the post below, Vader, who lost his job in this downturn already, made a comment about firing his Dad's caretaker and taking over the job himself, and wrote "Survival wages in the race for the bottom." Well, there are a lot of those jobs out there, and that is why McDonald's $1 double cheeseburger is its most popular single item.

There is a lesson here for all of us. When you can sell one dollar cheeseburgers, that's what you sell, and this is why and how the fast food retailers stay in business in recessions. One Coke and a one dollar burger gets them through. :

Likewise, when an individual or family only has a very limited amount of money to spend and little savings, the most important thing to do is unload debt ASAP, and get down to the level of spending commensurate to your reduced income immediately.

Teri's advice is good too "
you need to cut back to absolutely bare bones, starting right now. Turn off your cable, yes shut it down now. Cut back to a single phone. Get rid of any other things that you thought you absolutely had to have. If you get a severance, my advice (and I wish I'd done it at the time) is stock up on bulk food. You can stretch your unemployment a lot farther if you have just buy a few things fresh to supplement.

In fact, it's not a bad idea for most folks to think in terms of downsizing their lifestyle, unless they've been frugal and have money socked away.Downsize your life quickly if you have to, and that does include cable and the rest. The most important thing is to be around friends and family, and cable TV is not a life necessity."

I have laughed myself silly about the downright innocence of those who think the household survey is representative this year. Most of the young/marginal and almost all of the recent immigrants don't have phone service, and are not being sampled. This is where they are missing a lot of unemployed people. We have lost at least a million jobs in 2007. This is just one of the reasons why having an illegal, shadow population of 18 million or so is a bad idea. The Fed is clueless about what has been happening.

I hope that anyone unemployed reading this blog will be able to find a job, but I graduated from college in 1982, and I remember very well how bad it was. Don't assume anything this time around.

I am glad you got some sleep.As far as frugality and savings...well my divorce took the savings and My big discretionary expense is taking my 6 year old for pizza once or twice a week(I don't eat pizza).I am seriously considering hunting again since I live in an area with abundant game.Not deer though,the deer are full of ticks,and the ticks are full of lyme disease.Sonoma County is in recession and has been for several months,people discuss it in the checkout lines at safeway.

Thanks for the post.

Ya job loss sucks. Know the gig myself though as a self-employed I never lose my job, just my salary.

Vader and I go back quite a ways to dot.bomb on Monster Tech Forum... we've always thought a good service for a blog/forum would be how-to advice for folks experiencing job loss & recession for the first time. Everything from recipes to how to have fun for *FREE* - it is possible.

If this thing hardens and it could - you might consider throwing in pieces on it... sort of like a public service.

BTW bulk food really is a big part of the way you can get by... I used to buy rice from Asian groceries in 50 lb bags... that and beans from the Mexican groceries carried me through college. Probably healthier than I eat now.

Take care.
Great post Mama! I am also so glad that the Chief is okay and that you are able to take a breather again. So sorry you all had to go through this.

My husband works for a very stable and strong oil company. It is easy to fall into a false security. Both of us realize that such times can never be taken for granted. We both have been on the other end of that stick as well. Financial issues take such a toll on people and I agree, that the smartest thing to do is to downsize and to be frugal even when one prospers. Too many people spread themselves to thin and then they loose everything when hard times come.

Later, I'll take the time to read your recommendations here. Thank you again!
Tom - this is a country area in the NE where I am staying with the Chief right now. In back there is a big tract of woods and field. All I hear is shooting, even out of season. It's not just you.

Dryfly - not a bad idea! Buying bulk and cooking at home cuts so much in spending that it's unbelievable. I've been saying for some months that Americans are going to have to learn how to cook again.

Viola, I couldn't agree more about putting some away for a rainy day. Sooner or later it always does rain. However, the CW in the US has lately been for everyone to leverage themselves up to the hilt. I think this is going to be a much worse downturn precisely because of that. Probably about 30% of the population with auto debt is underwater just on the loan. What a statement about the consumer!
Hey! I graduated colleg in 1982 as well.

At least one of learned something.
Since you have the jet....
PS: That's collej, isn't it?
Let's not confuse being smart with making money. The past year has proven that one.
I did a post on my notsothoreau blog, where I said that folks basically want someone to tell them that things are okay and they will be out of work for just a few weeks. And really, that would be great if that happened. But somehow along the way, we've lost the ability to prepare for hard times. We get overconfident in our abilities, thinking that a high salary at one job means that we can always find a job at similar pay. I was certainly guilty of thinking that. I suspect that the most difficult thing for most people will be that they do not have a strong support system of friends and family close by. It's part of the reason we moved out to the boonies.

I can remember a post on the netslaves site at the height of the dot.com bust, that there was a poster who was eating out of fast food restaurants because he didn't know how to cook. People had to tell him how to do the simplest stuff, like get a crock pot and buy rice and such. It just amazed me.
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