Monday, February 16, 2009

Recession Hits Home

From the time when media people and politicos started talking about a recession, Chuck and I balked. Really? A recession. Whatever. We were still making the same amount of money and were still living within our means. It had zero effect on us. But more recently, we have started feeling it.

We have our jobs and thankfully, since we both have fairly-stable government jobs, we have no fear about losing our own either. And we know no one who has lost theirs. Embarrassingly enough though, I got the largest cost-of-living raise I've ever had since working for the feds in January. However, I did not get my yearly bonus. Mind you, this bonus is not a $50 check; it's actually quite a large chunk of change. And every other organization got their bonus in the department in which I work; needless to say, employees in my organization were not happy. But I won't complain. (See first three sentences of this paragraph.)

As for Chuck, his raises take place in September with the new school year. While this coming September he'll see his usual step increase, he will not see the union-negotiated 5% increase. (I had no idea that the county could even do this as it had already promised the union that it would give it to employees!) This is really disheartening, but again, see sentences 1-3 in paragraph 2.

Finally, the one that affects us in hopefully a good way, are foreclosures. While we did not buy a home that had been foreclosed on, we live in a neighborhood FULL of them. The house next door and the house across the street are both empty. These empty homes obviously bring down property values, whether or not I can make my mortgage. We recently pulled a list of 15 recently-sold homes in my neighborhood, and I think 12 of them were short sales or bank-owned properties. 80%! That's a big percentage. What this means for us is that homes are worth less than they were (duh). And since our home was assessed when values were still increasing, this July's tax assessed value is approximately $100,000 more than the average selling price of homes in my neighborhood, and $70,000 more than we paid for the home. I love my house; I know it's in better shape than 95% of homes in my neighborhood (Thanks Larsons!) but I also know I'd be laughed to the moon if I tried to sell it at $100,000 more than the neighbor's home. Hopefully the tax assessors agree.

Other than that, nothing for us has changed. We still make more than we spend. We still are able to do the fun things we want and buy treats when we want them. We're lucky. And grateful.

Anyone else feeling effects of the recession? Have you made any changes in your lifestyle because of it?


  1. well you saw my post about the "tender merices." it's weird because with ben's new job, we are basically feeling the opposite effects of the recession. more money. but when we move into our new home, we'll have just about as much "free money" as we do now.

    but our good friend has lost his job and i know a few other folks out of jobs, too. so i have seen its effects elsewhere - even the school districts will be hurt by this.

    so were you able to refinance, then, with all the lowered prices in your area?

  2. we're still waiting on the re-fi. the papers are in, we just want the rate to drop a bit. but hopefully, yes.

  3. This post has like a million too many numbers for my feeble brain! Luckily, I haven't been feeling the effects yet. But I've stopped shopping and started saving more because I'm sure at some point things will trickle down to my level. And then I'll be sad (but prepared).

  4. We felt it...Al's business completely dropped off in January; only repeat clients and those who had to have work done. And since the housing market is so bad, no one is doing improvements to sell homes since there are so many trashed foreclosures on the market and it's iffy to make the investment for upgrades just to sell at a higher price.

    We have definitely cut back in our purchases and thinking about more long-term budget alterations. I don't think we'll feel the effects like the Great Depression, but I hope to come out with a more conservative financial view like many survivors of the Great Depression.

  5. Ummmmm..............YES, P is in sales, so I'm back at work, which really is okay and luckily he provides most of our day care, but hello, I wanted to have kids to be WITH them, not leave them everyday, that part I HATE. BUT, like you said, we both have jobs and with that continue to make more than we spend, HALLELUJAH!!!!! I KNOW it could be SOO much worse, Oprah is NOT likely to call me for my story! ;)