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I’m unemployed, sort of. I was laid off from my job about a year ago. Now, I’m self-employed, which sometimes feels like unemployed: having to get my own health insurance, scrap together my own income from freelance projects, create my own “office” at home or at coffee shops. But most of all, it’s outlook and attitude that makes all the difference.

Some folks who have been laid off are bitter towards their former employer, their friends, the world at dumping them out on the street. I don’t blame them for their frustrations. It ain’t easy.

But you don’t turn around an undesirable situation with grumbling, passive aggression, a sense of entitlement, bullying or any other behaviors that, face it, don’t make you feel all that great. (At least, not for more than a few minutes.) Worse, it comes across loud and clear, and makes you even more undesirable…

exercise-man-gym-150Lost your job? Here’s some good news: Mortality rates are going down, since unemployed workers are less likely to catch illnesses from coworkers or be involved in commuter-related car accidents, and more likely to spend time doing healthy things like exercising in the outdoors and eating at home. That’s definitely an upside. Here’s how the recession is good for your health:

1. No more germy coworkers. Office cubicles can be a cesspool for germs, and with cases of H1N1 on the rise, this may not be such a bad time to be unemployed. Not only that, but unemployed and at-home workers are less likely to take public transportation during rush hour, reducing their chances of catching something during cold and flu season even more.

2. More incentive to quit smoking. With less discretionary income to spend on cigarettes, smoking is becoming a luxury not everyone can afford. In Great Britain, 39 percent of smokers polled said they’re planning to cut down on or quit smoking because of the economic downturn. Meanwhile, Washington State’s Tobacco Quit Line says it experienced a spike in calls during April 2009: 4,221 calls compared to 1,231 during the same time last year…

mouse-and-money-150Some of us are starting to spend again (a little), but it’s smart to keep it frugal. So every week, we’re going to post a handful of online deals hand-picked for Recessionwire readers by the nice people over at Savings.com. Feel free to pass them along to your friends. And if there’s something you’d like to see, let us know!

Nothing better than a free weekend at a friend’s country house. But of course, you have to pony up a present. Top wine gifts are 10 percent off at Wine.com. (expires 8/31/09)

Homeworking these days? You need a printer now that you can’t use the jumbo one at the office…take $30 off when you spend at least $150 at HP. (expires 10/31/09)…

band-aid-red-cross-200In a recession, health can become a much bigger issue. We get more stressed out, we have less money to spend on keeping ourselves healthy, some people have lost our healthcare coverage and many of us have more time to obsess about whether that new freckle might in fact be skin cancer.

That’s why we were psyched to find FierceHealthcare’s list of 15 free healthcare iPhone apps. Yes, some should be on a list of Apps Your Hypochondriac Boyfriend Shouldn’t Have…

broken-piggy-bank-money-200When I got laid off last December and had to curb my spending, there were some things that were hard to give up. I bitched about downgrading from a fancy gym to a utilitarian one. (Read Frugal Fitness for other tips.) I tried to convince my hairstylist to come to my house so I wouldn’t have to forego his services. I was sad about not sending my laundry out—and not just because I don’t like doing the wash. (Read I Miss My Dry Cleaner.)

But there were plenty of upsides to my new frugality. It was cozier to invite friends in for drinks than go out to a bar. It was fun and creative to craft a necklace out of a vintage brooch instead of dashing out to buy something new for a formal party. Though I hate negotiating, I convinced the cable and cell phone companies to give me discounts. I’ve always been financially responsible, but I felt especially virtuous in my new restraint and resourcefulness.

The downturn seemed to have a similar impact on society as a whole. It put the brakes on rampant consumerism. In record time, we have become less materialistic, less wasteful, less brand-obsessed. The savings rate has risen from zero to nearly 7 percent, the highest it’s been since the early 1990s. I’ve been hoping that the recession would be short, but have a lasting effect on our spending habits.

A little more than a week ago, I accepted a three-month consulting gig. It inspired a mix of emotions: I was relieved to have a steady flow of income for a while. I wondered what it would be like to work in an office again. I worried about doing a good job.

But mostly what I felt was an urge to spend, spend, spend…

boy-making-muscle-150Our friends at the 405 Club point out that New York Underground Fitness, on West 57th Street, is offering free access to people who can prove they’ve been laid off.

“There’s more to this business than just counting how many memberships you can sell,” said owner Eric Slayton.

According to a Bloomberg story out last week, people are taking advantage of down time by going to the gym…

Frugal Fitness

by Sara Clemence on March 24, 2009 in Lifestyle,Money

weights-150Maybe you’re finding it hard to justify your expensive gym membership. Or maybe, like me, you’ve lost your sweet corporate discount on said expensive gym membership.

Either way, lots of us are looking for less expensive ways to work out. There are some obvious options, like walking or running outside, doing crunches in front of the television, and taking the stairs. But if they were so effective, you probably wouldn’t have joined a gym in the first place, would you?

We’ve found several ways to get a yoga/cardio/muscle-building fix on the cheap. Our promise: None involve using soup cans for bicep curls.