Part of that unwritten agreement we call the social contract calls for Americans to spend their money. By putting their disposable income to work, citizens are doing their part to support the nation’s economy, which in turn is going to mean higher stock prices.
But it isn’t always that easy. When economic times get tough, as they did in 2008, many American consumers find that they have to cut back on their spending. That pragmatic belt-tightening may have a ripple effect out to the economy, but those consumers are in a position of not having much of a choice. Many of them turn to several tried-and-true strategies they hope will keep them afloat until the economy begins to come back.
One of the most important things that consumers can do is to not buy the things they can’t really afford. Some consumer goods may simply be too expensive, at least for now. Not buying the stuff you can’t afford is an easy point to understand, but it can be a case of easier said than done when attractive new merchandise comes on the market.
A similar notion is, if you can’t pay cash for something then you probably can’t afford it. You may already be carrying a car payment or a hosue payment, so the last thing you want to do when money is tight is add to your debt. Just because it seems like everyone else is amassing debt doesn’t mean it’s a good strategy. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Clayton Perlman works hard to survive in tough economic times. He is currently a real estate developer in New Jersey operating under several LLCs.