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The Sacramento Press is all about providing an outlet for everyone in the community. We recently hit the street to get people's comments on how they're coping with the recession.
This week's question: How has the continued recession affected your spending habits? What are you buying and what are you not buying right now?
Regina LaFitte, 45
Analyst, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Elk Grove Resident
"We're not going out as much. Most days, I bring my lunch. We get the essentials -- that's about it. I have a daughter who's in college. With the (student aid) cuts in education, I'm really feeling that one. As a state worker, we're doing a two-day furlough each month, and they're talking about an extra 5 percent (pay cut) across the board. My husband's not working right now. So overall, it's really touched my family. We really don't do a lot of extra stuff."
Sean Nichols, 41
"I'm still keeping my gym membership. I'm still making money to be able to go to the movies twice a month and modest luxuries like that. I used to buy a shirt or a pair of pants a paycheck. I've cut back on restoration of my car -- a '68 Beetle. I've cut way back on the sports supplements. I used to spend $150 to $200 a month; now I'm spending $50 a month. I don't take as much protein. I'm less likely to be experimental. I've changed my exercise plan to supplement that."
Christine Apostol, 46
Elk Grove Resident
"We're trying to be reasonable. We're trying to look for sales, taking advantage of the discounts, out-of-business stores -- 'Hello!' I try to make sure the kids are (taken care of). Today's my son's graduation, so whatever his little heart desires -- within reason. The plan is to feed him and take him to his favorite spot. He wanted an earring. We also got him a hat with his name on it."
Cliff Watson, 51
General Contractor, Soon-To-Be website Publisher
"Construction's completely stopped. That's why I'm shopping instead of working. I like Macy's; I bought underwear today. I started my cuts (in expenses) last fall. I eliminated cable TV. Extra landline phones: gone. Fax line: gone. I stopped barbecuing and eating meat for the most part, because it's expensive and fattening. So now I eat rice and beans and turkey spam, instead of steak and fettucine alfredo. I'm one of those people who prepares for emergencies. I'm watching the dollar; I think the U.S. currency is going to collapse, and California is going to default and the United States is going to follow suit. So I bought an eight-month supply of rice and canned meat, and backup water filters, containers for water, and a supply of (nutritional) supplements to last for months. I stocked up on things I can use a long time -- except fresh juice, vegetables and fruit. I'll never go back to eating the way I did. Now I'm losing weight and getting more fit."
Elicia Allen, 28
Rancho Cordova Resident
"Our grocery bill has gone up due to the increase in the cost of groceries. My brother moved in with us. That also impacted our grocery bills. I don't usually sale-shop. Now I'm going to Food Source; I'd never gone there before. They have good sales on meat and produce. I got engaged in October. With the way the economy is right now, both myself and my fiancé didn't get our raises this year. Times are tough, and we're both lucky to have our jobs. Unfortunately, it's kind of extended the date of our wedding due to not having enough finances. Instead of having a 75-person wedding, we're going to 50. We're also not going to have a wedding cake. It (the cake) doesn't seem that important when other people don't have homes."
Suzanne Hurt is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. We welcome your suggestions for future "Street Interview" questions. She can be reached at email@example.com or 804-2856.