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Are you affected by the economy?

Social Circle: Has the struggling economy affected your spending?

Welcome to a weekly segment called "Social Circle." It's a group effort between readers, social networkers and the editors. Every Monday, we ask a question via Facebook and Twitter and then post the responses from our Facebook "likers" and Twitter followers in this column. Well-known Milwaukee movers and shakers will contribute, too.

This week's Social Circle question asks whether or not folks have changed their daily life based on the challenges of the recent economy. The responses are from those who, indeed, have been affected by it.

But what about you? Have you modified your spending in the past few years or are you living high on the hog as always? Inquiring minds want to know so please, chime in via the Talkback feature.

Tony DeStefanis: "I have cut spending in luxury areas like concerts and eating out but at same time have increased my giving to needful causes. For me personally this has meant an increase in donations to MADACC and humane society. They are even more in need as the economy tanks and people are forced to surrender or neglect pets."

Emily Dunn: "I no longer own a car, and I haven't spent more than $4.00 on a single item of clothing in more than a year. (Which is why I walk around in public wearing paint-stained cut-off sweat pants.)"

Renne Scherk-Meyer: "I have cut down on travel."

Monica Freitag: "Staying home a lot more. Not as many festivals, no concert tickets and eating at home before we go out."

Goeff Grohowski: "Have done nothing that costs anything. Running on retirement funds."

Phil Kirby: "Travel and luxury items are gone. I shop at Costco now, too."

Mary Fae Lange: "I have cut my going out in half. I eat at home, watch movies at home, drink at home. I have the same job but I had a pay decrease two years ago that really hurt. I had just bought a house and a car in the same month and suddenly, I was making 15 percent less. A part of me doesn't want to complain. Other people in my department lost their jobs altogether. But I still find it hard to swallow that I absorbed their workload and took a pay decrease. I miss the '90s."

Claudine Lienau: "Main grocery shopping at Aldi's! More eating at home, no vacations. :("

"Vegas Nights": "YES! My shift was eliminated to cut costs, and I am now looking for work but it is hard."

Caitlin Zhenotdel: "There are many, many more people who unfortunately count themselves among the un- and under-employed these days. Personally, lack of funds has sent me to more thrift stores, which for others, I understand, is a lifestyle-choice to begin with, but for me it's more political. To choose clothes shopping at Vincent DePaul, Goodwill and Marlene's over Walmart, is both necessary and important. That clothes are 1 to 3 dollars at the first two and an amazing .50 at Marlene's over the price of new but cheaply made at higher cost at Walmart is one thing. But another thing is, and let me be clear, clothes at Walmart are cheaply made in quality, but have an unbearably high human cost associated with them. I actually enjoy re-use and recycle for a number of reasons. It's a great lifestyle change. But to be forced into a new lifestyle is quite another. It should be unacceptable, to all of us, really, but because it isn't yet is why I choose really inexpensive over just plain cheap at Walmart, whose owners are primary contributors to why the economy is struggling and reason for my lifestyle 'choice.' Thank you for asking."


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