From the winner of the Super Bowl to the demand for coupons, financial experts look for quirky indicators to tell them how the economy is going. According to a recent article by Forbes, oddball financial indicators include whether or not men are buying men's underwear. Consumer confidence is higher when men replace their underwear and when more people attend the Napa Valley Wine Auction. When it comes to gauging my own economic stability, I look to some quirky indicators of my own. Although some people believe the recession is history, I am not as convinced.
Losing weight when financially stressed
I tend to lose weight when I am feeling more anxiety about the overall economy. I also find it easier to lose weight when I don't have any consumer debt. During the recession, I slowly started to lose weight, but gained some back when the economy stabilized. In recent months, I find myself losing weight without trying. The company I worked for announced furloughs, which means a temporary pay cut.
Being more of a homebody
When I don't feel as confident about the economy, I tend to go out less frequently. I cancel my gym memberships and exercise at home. I stop going to the movie theaters and watch recorded movies on our DVR. Although my husband and I went out a lot last year, I find myself becoming more of a homebody this year.
Clipping coupons and hunting for deals
I experienced some frugal fatigue after the recession officially ended. For several months, I stopped clipping coupons. According to Forbes, coupon demand decreases when the economy improves. Fewer people are using coupons now than they were in 2010. However, that may change if the country falls into another recession.
Paying off all my debt
When I don't feel good about the economy, I don't want to have any debt. I feel more comfortable knowing my husband and I could make it on one income. After taking a break from paying extra on my mortgage, I'm ready to resume a more aggressive payoff plan. I also pay off my credit card balances every month.
Buying my son new shoes
Even though I don't feel confident about the economy, I noticed other people in my family are less worried about money. My husband is interested in taking more vacations. My Millennial son, who rarely buys anything, recently agreed to purchase new shoes. I had been trying to get him to go shopping for 6 months. He also decided to buy weights for a home gym, which he felt was a better use of money rather than paying a membership to a gym.
When the company I worked for announced people would have to take furloughs so they could balance their budget, I had déjà vu. I am acutely aware of the fact that the job market is still not stable. If we head into a new recession, I plan to be better prepared with more money in an emergency savings account and no debt. Although there are many economy indicators, I choose to look at the ones glaring me in the face. It's always better to be prepared whether the signs point to a good economy or to another bear.
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