But Marcia Barton of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, says she’s not cutting back at all. “Six months ago, we got cable for the first time ever. We bought a new truck and put a pool in this summer,” she says. “We’re progressing, not backing up.”
Barton attributes this to living frugally early on, living on only one income and holding the other in reserve. When she quit working outside the home, “I applied the skills that made me a successful professional to learning to cook from scratch, cut coupons, shop sales, and think carefully about what we wanted for ourselves and what we were buying.”
Barton thinks “materialism” has led to some of the problems people are facing.
“We’ve been erroneously and foolishly treating the non-necessities like Internet, cable, cell phones, Netflix, shopping, SUVs, vacations, designer clothes, and heck, even a morning cup of home-brewed coffee, as necessities.” iReport.com: Read more from Barton
Mary Ann Tuchol of St. Pete Beach, Florida, says Americans are always faced with the question of what they need and what they want. “As Americans, sometimes we want more, which isn’t a bad thing, … It’s just sometimes we have to trend down.”