Recession Proof Your Life

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Today's economic reality is forcing many Americans to change the way they live. 

Some have traded their cars for bicycles for the work day commute.  Bike commuter Dan Burton said cycling to work has its benefits. "No extra car payment, no two car insurance, we must be saving a lot," he explained.

Some people are even turning to food banks to help feed their families.  A worker at a local food bank described the types of food they give away.

"You get all this extra food today, frying chicken tenders, wings, fillets and nuggets," the worker said.

Some have even begun to limit how often they do household chores.

"I limit myself to doing only one load of laundry a day," said Tracy Vasques of Chicago, Illinois.

Tight economic times have led to a lot of talk about recession.  As economists work the numbers and try to forecast the future, consumers can and should take measures to plan ahead.

First, financial experts recommend boosting emergency savings. A good rule of thumb is to keep three months of expenses in a high interest savings or money market account just in case of the loss of your job.

But for many cash strapped consumers, saving that kind of money seems impossible.

Experts suggest consumers take baby steps like cancelling subscriptions and limiting trips to the mall. They say these things tend to make consumers feel like they need things.

They also recommend that if you're going to eat out, try doing so only one a month, instead of once a week.

They add that it is vital to cut back on personal spending, which means saying "no" to items that are not absolutely necessary.

For example:

Ladies, if you already have enough pairs of shoes, ask yourself, do you really need another pair?

And guys, consider using your stimulus rebate check on something more important than purchasing a big screen TV.

Also, experts say while it may sound like a great idea to downsize to a smaller, more fuel efficient car like the Ford Focus, it's not a good idea if it means taking on a new car payment.

Next, experts can't emphasize enough that your best investment in tough economic times is to pay down credit cards and other high interest debt.

And finally, experts say don't forget to have some "free fun". They suggest trading a trip to the theater for a movie night at home, or enjoying a picnic in the park with your kids, which are all ways to "spend less" money while "spending more" time with those you love.

Click the player to watch CBN News' Charlene Israel's report and Pat Robertson's comments about the increasing price of gasoline and the economy.

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Charlene Israel

Charlene Israel

CBN News

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