It never fails. Everytime I turn on the TV, I hear more depressing news about how bad the economy is. Much as I try to ignore it, I just can't get away from it. Even when I'm not watching TV, I can see it all around me. Not only is it the rising gas prices and rising prices on food (due to the high gas prices), it's also the numerous foreclosure and "for sale" signs in my neighborhood and my shrinking 401k balance.
I personally feel that things will get worse before they get better. I don't think sending out a few hundred dollars will stimulate the economy. If you are already behind on mortgage payments and barely making ends meet, this money will help but it probably won't turn things around that much.
I can't control the economy, but to an extent, I can control how I handle my finances in a slow economy. I've decided I'm going to make a few changes to things I do and try to save a little extra money just in case. I feel my job is safe but things can change. If my company decides to reduce the workforce, and I am part of that reduction, I want to be prepared.
Some of the changes I am making include:
Extra Money. I posted the other day about Revolution Money Exchange. It's a money transfer service similar to Paypal but without the fees. If you sign up before April 15, 2008, you will get a $25 signup bonus. $25 won't pay the mortgage but it certainly helps. Every little bit helps. If I see a service that offers a signup bonus and I don't have to pay for it, I usually take advantage of it. I also use survey sites like PineCone Research and programs like Mypoints and Upromise to bring in a little extra cash
Putting Off Purchases. There are a couple of minor home improvements that I want to do around my house. They aren't necessary and are wants instead of needs. I've saved the money to make these improvements but I think I will hold off a little while longer to see how things play out in the economy.