Share your stories about how the economy has affected your lives Around Town, posted by doglover, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 15, 2009 at 10:31 am doglover is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
When I tell people outside of Pleasanton that I live here, there seems to be this attitude that everyone in Pleasanton is wealthy, and that we're not affected by the economic turmoil that non-Pleasanton residents are experiencing.
But when I talk to friends and neighbors, everyone is very nervous about what the future holds, and most of them have already experienced a drop in income either through pay cuts or job loss.
They're worried about rising prices and rising taxes. They're trying to find ways to cut their household expenses.
A lot of people don't want to admit that their financial situation is not what it was a year ago, or even six months ago.
Many seem relieved when I tell them that our household income has been cut substantially due to a pay cut....not because they're happy that I have less now than I did, but because it frees them to be honest about their own situation. They don't have to pretend all is well, and it eases their minds to talk to others in the same situation.
So I thought maybe we could all share our stories here - get a bit of a release, and maybe realize we're not alone in worrying. Also, we might be able to share some tips on how we're cutting back.
My tip - I still enjoy going out to dinner and supporting Pleasanton businesses, but I use restaurant coupons!
Posted by Jill, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Apr 15, 2009 at 12:20 pm
You forgot that the sales tax went up and that CA teachers want to tack on another penny (WOW almost 11 cents). DMV tags went up, summer is coming and you know the price of gas is sure to rise,and all bank/savings interest rates have dropped on all deposits/CDs.
Ihtink we will be able to spend our way out of this recession.
Posted by Lee, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 15, 2009 at 1:34 pm
Joe and others: Yes, sales tax, water, garbage and other expenses are going up. We can't change that. Gas will go up and down some. What we can do is look for places in our monthly budget that we can change. And take advantage of any opportunities to make a little extra money. What we are doing: clean the house yourself, wash the car, do the yardwork. Stop paying for services. Also use coupons for groceries and going out to eat. Stop going to movies, rent them for $1 from Redbox. Set a budget for new clothes or shoes. Adults can supplement their wardrobe with changes in only a few items.
With some thought about where we spend it, we can cut our expenses. But it takes effort and teamwork to make it happen. And don't forget to help your community, either with volunteer work or donations to food banks and community health centers!
Posted by Our changes, a resident of the Pleasanton Valley neighborhood, on Apr 16, 2009 at 12:18 am
Our household is fortunate that income hasn't changed.But output has changed.
The money we set aside to help (only help a little) with college expenses is down 40%. Now that portion will need to come from our household budget.
Expenses are increasing.
We will probably have to give more to our school programs to help out with school supplies and those little extras that are cut from the budget.
We are giving more to friends, families, and local charities that are having a tougher time than us.
We are all paying 1% more on almost everything thanks to the sales tax increases.
This is a good read (check it out for free at the library) about why people keep up different appearances than their true financial situation:
Green With Envy: A Whole New Way to Look at Financial (Un)Happiness
From Publishers Weekly
Freelance journalist Boss performs a real service by putting some of America's financial hangups on trial, charging that "the money taboo"—our good-manners reluctance to discuss what we earn and spend—is "destructive nonsense" that leads to debt and despair. Boss argues that envy ("the only vice warned against in both the Ten Commandments and the Seven Deadly Sins") can be good for the economy, but our drive to keep up with our neighbors can be unhealthy. In five case studies, she shows the consequences of maintaining appearances when we can't afford it; the highlight is a chapter in which Boss lives a fantasy by interrogating her seemingly well-off next-door neighbors and getting the real scoop on their savings, income and credit card bills. The scope of the author's reporting is a bit limited—except for one billionaire, her subjects aren't especially socioeconomically diverse—and we never learn whether non-U.S. cultures suffer the same pangs of envy. Worse, her soft concluding chapter tacks toward self-help, offering counsel that's surprisingly platitudinous ("The universe will provide"). Even so, Boss's case for candor is valuable.
Posted by PTOWN RESIDENT, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 16, 2009 at 8:45 am
Life is getting harder and harder no matter where you live.. I am sure there are those who are more fortunate than others and we should not blame them for that... Our family is feeling the crunch and it is our responsibility to ourselves to try to make ends meet and not blame others for their good fortune...it is hard not too believe me.. when I see neighbors coming home with new cars for their kids etc it blows me away but then again I look at the situation and say good for them...and hope they can sustain that way of life.we have changed the way we live our daily lives by doing what most are doing...enjoying family time in our own backyard...watching old DVD's that we bought year ago and remember the first time we watched it ... I feel that although life is touch our family is back to actual family bonding.
Posted by Michelle, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 16, 2009 at 8:58 am
We haven't seen our income drop, and hope that it does not. I've seen people all around me lose their jobs, including people who've been laid off at my company. We've made changes in our home. We disconnected our land line & internet, since 1. our computer is not working, so why pay internet when we can't afford a new computer yet, and 2. we rarely use the landline. That saves quite a bit there. We stopped using Comcast cable and went with Dish since they are much cheaper and their rates don't increase every few months like Comcast. Instead of purchasing new games/toys for the kids, they're trading in old games & consoles for new ones. There are ways to save money out there, and I think we're all strapped and/or worried. As with everything, this too will pass. I'm just trying to stay positive, even though I worry about being laid off all the time.
Posted by Jon, a resident of the Foothill Farms neighborhood, on Apr 16, 2009 at 11:18 am
Well, I do not think there is an easy way out of this for anyone. My families income has been cut dramatically. My wife worked in the mortgage industry and first lost her bonus, then I lost my bonus, then she lost her job. In all we lost about $5000.00 per month. Now she is working again but is only making about $2500 a month. We are still in the hole about $2500 a month. Very hard to make that work with three kids from high school to first grade.
We have had to do some things (like everyone else) to cut from us so our kids do not feel it as much. I know that everyone still wants to eat out and I wish that the downtown restaurants would do a "Pleasanton" night where residence would get a bigger discount. I think things like that would help everyone right now.
Lots of people I know have had their homes go into foreclosure and have lost their jobs. Your Zip code will not protect you from the state of the economy.