Some people seem to be surprised that middle class Americans have been reining in their discretionary spending and keeping a close eye on the cost of essentials.
Speaking as one of those middle class Americans, I can tell you I'm not surprised at all.
Even though both my wife and I have jobs, we understand that the economy is still shaky and that either of our jobs could go away tomorrow. We've reduced our spending to essentials, including repairs to The Manse. Eating out now means a quick stop at the local Wendy's, if that. Even essential purchases are scrutinized to see if we can find less expensive goods that will do the job. There are no plans to go out and buy that neato 48” Sharp Aquos LCD TV we've been eying for over a year now or to spend a few hundred dollars for repairs to The Boat that we can handle ourselves for a fraction of the cost. We're trying to pay down our debt as much as possible in as short a period of time as we can. We've even been refinancing The Manse to lower our monthly payment and shorten the term of our mortgage in an effort to make sure we'll have a little more cash in our pockets at the end of each month.
Our anxiety over the continuing recession is the same as millions of other Americans in the same situation. We don't want to spend money we may need later if things get any worse. We want to pay down what debt we do have if things get any worse. And from what we've seen of economic numbers, including the unemployment for September, things aren't getting better despite what the White House and the Congressional Democrat leadership may claim.