Uncertain Stock Market Adds To Public Fears

January 22, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Before making their purchases people seem to be asking themselves 'Is it a necessity or an extravagance?'Financial experts can't say if we're in a recession just yet but the signs are there.

A budget battle's brewing over that morning cup of coffee. Many aren't ready to give up their caffeine fix on the go.

Emad Adi-Rached, Clovis, says "I'm afraid Starbucks does get a big share of my money."

Many now have a cup at home like Lacey Shaw of Fresno. "I tried to do Starbucks but just cut back. I buy my own coffee now because it's way too expensive to go drive to get coffee," she says.

High gas prices have forced people to change their driving habits.

Karen Garren, Fresno, says "I don't drive anywhere to get lunch anymore from work. I don't travel quite as much. Not eating out as much."

And everyone's a bargain hunter now. Tony Brogdon, business owner, says "I'm more interested in the dollar store values. I never thought I would. I go look at the dollar stores before I look at the regular stores because it's really amazing what you find."

Financial Consultant Tom Weil keeps close tabs on the stock market struggles but says it's impossible to pin-point the start of a recession.

"There's no official point. We only see it in retrospect looking back." Weil says, "The signs would be when you see the local economy start to slow down. Where you don't see as much people in the stores and people are being more conservative and they're thinking twice about making a purchase."

Many shoppers we spoke with came for the bare essentials. Edgar Franco, Fresno, says "Right now I just bought lunch for today. Not snacks for later on midnight and stuff. Skip all that."

Movies have long provided the great escape. But for those pinching pennies the matinee price of $7 doesn't seem like such a bargain.

The federal reserve cut short-term interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point Monday. It is hoped the move will help some homeowners re-finance their adjustable-rate mortgages.


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