With our tough economy leading people to eat out less often, switch from SUVs to gas sippers, and generally spend less, an MSN columnist recently wondered what would happen if we all suddenly got and stayed money-smart? That is, what if we paid our credit cards in full each month (46 percent of households carry a balance), drove cars at least until we paid them off (24 percent of new car buyers still owe on their trade-in), and maintained an emergency fund (28 percent of households live paycheck to paycheck)? In an economy that’s heavily dependent on consumer spending, the answer, unfortunately, is a recession–at least for the short-term.
As for the long-term, the article painted a compelling vision of what’s possible should enough people make the changes mentioned above: more affordable homes, a lower retirement age, and an improved ability for people to weather the financial storms that blow through most of our lives at one time or another.
Think of any money-saving moves you’ve made in response to the economy. Are you driving less? Shopping at different types of grocery or clothing stores? Dining in more often? Which changes do you believe will be permanent? And which ones are you hoping will be so very temporary? Please let me know.