Still Working, but Making Do With Less

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Ferrells have cut back on dance lessons for their twin daughters. Vaccinations for the family’s two cats and two dogs are out. Haircuts have become a luxury.

And before heading out recently to the discount grocery store that has become the family’s new lifeline, Sharon Ferrell checked her bank account balance one more time, dialing the toll-free number from memory.

“Your available balance for withdrawal is, $490.40,” the disembodied electronic voice informed her.

At the store, with that number firmly in mind, she punched the price of each item into a calculator as she dropped it into her cart, making sure she stayed under her limit. It was all part of a new regimen of fiscal restraint for the Ferrells, begun in January, when state workers, including Mrs. Ferrell’s husband, Jeff, were forced to accept two-day-a-month furloughs.

For millions of families, this is the recession: not a layoff, or a drastic reduction in income, but a pay cut that has forced them to thrash through daily calculations similar to the Ferrells’.

Read the whole piece from the front page of Friday's New York Times.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Posted May 30, 2009 at 3:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Words Matter wrote:

I don’t mean to sound unsympathetic, because heaven knows I’m have a few financial problems of my own, but this sounds like I remember things being in the supposedly prosperous 50s. It seems to me that things today are probably more “normal” than the wild and woolly free-spending of the last 20-30 years.

June 1, 2:03 am | [comment link]
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