Every day it seems there is some headline telling me that the economic world is coming to an end. I am no economist, so I honestly have no idea what the signs are for a true economic crisis. But I do know that I feel unsettled and nervous about what is going on. Although some prices seem to keep rising (like items at the grocery store) others seem to now be falling (like gasoline) and I’m not really sure what that means. Milk seems at least a nickel more expensive every week I shop, while gasoline was over $4.00 a gallon only a few months ago here and now is coming ever closer to dipping to the $2.00 a gallon price point.
So I’m not sure what to think. The stock market fluctuates wildly, the words “recession” and “depression” are everywhere, and although our specific and personal economic position continues to improve due to paying down debt, I’m increasingly unsettled about what the state of the nation might do to our position. We haven’t been personally affected by the credit crunch, just rising prices, and our exposure to the stock market is limited to our retirement funds which I try to ignore right now as much as possible. But I know there is a distinct possibility we’ll feel real effects of a recession or depression or whatever this is. I’m just not sure when or how.
I’ve started to have a noticeable reaction to the economic news. The long and the short of it is that I’ve gone back to my packrat mentality and have started stockpiling items in case they get much more expensive in the near future. I’m doing it smarter now than in the past, for I’ve put more time and effort into educating myself about what a good price is, how to match coupons and sales and get good deals, and the cyclical nature of sales at the grocery store. So I’ve been able to stockpile items at rock-bottom prices and I don’t feel like I’ve gone crazy spending money to save money. But I am stockpiling, and that in itself is starting to make me a little edgy. Why is it so important to me to have two more boxes of Raisin Bran in the cupboard just in case? Why do I get all excited when I can get toothpaste free?
This is apparently my reaction to the idea of a recession. I hoard stuff so that if prices skyrocket, I am already covered. But my extreme personality has taken that to an extreme as well. I think it is time for me to start living off what I have and stop stockpiling so much stuff. I think I might need to stockpile some money instead.
Are you reacting to the idea of a recession? Has your financial behavior changed?