Lynn Parramore looks back on the Great Depression to see the path ahead.


How do consumers save when they make less than ever before?

Sometimes, they take their business underground. Call it the Downturn Hustle. As folks tighten their belts on just about everything, certain bootleg activities are on the rise.

That’s nothing new. When Prohibition went into effect in 1920, bootleggers got busy providing alcohol to speakeasies and thirsty consumers. By 1929, the year of the Great Crash, a vast underground industry of black market booze had arisen, an illegal trade unlike any the US had ever seen. Gangsters got rich, grew violent and became celebrities as newspaper stories and movies covered their exploits…

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.

Stylist Julie Greene offers expert advice on looking fierce in a financial crisis.

face-150It’s been said many times, many ways—it’s all in the details. You put thought into the layout of your resume, and wouldn’t send it out with a typo. Maybe you pair your wine carefully with your food. Consider applying the same principles to the way you dress.

Seemingly small things can create harmony in your look and add a subtle—but very real—polish. They show the world that you are thorough and always on the ball. During a time of uncertainty, that is the perfect message to be sending out.

Here are eight surprising concepts that will create balance and give your look a little lift, without spending big bucks on a personal stylist. The best part? Most are just using what nature gave you…

Recession Dictionary Entry 150Recession Lexicon: Canniversary

A year from the date when you got canned from your job.

This term, especially popular in the UK, takes a celebratory stance towards what could otherwise be a downer (shout out to our friend London Jack for the suggestion). If your canniversary is coming up, we suggest rewarding yourself for surviving with a night on the town. If you were laid off in a group, why not get the whole gang together for festivities? You’ve earned it.

Ex. Should we do our canniversary at Raoul’s?

homeMoney’s tight. So every penny counts when you’re on the road…

Maybe the Recession has given you more time to travel, but less cash. How does a rent-free vacay sound? Swap your pad for another in a destination you want to visit and enjoy potentially unlimited savings. Home swapping allows you to travel further and longer than you ever thought possible: We’re talking Italian villas, mountain retreats, and beach bungalows. Plus, you get more space than a hotel could ever offer. It’s even possible to swap vehicles and pet care. The best part is that you get to live like a local and receive tips on what to do and see from your “host”. For a $100 annual membership fee, will guarantee you a swap partner, or you get a year for free…

aa-book-150Lynn Parramore looks back at the Great Depression to see the path ahead.

Can we help ourselves out of the downturn?

Help, I need somebody,
Help, not just anybody,
Help, you know I need someone, help.

~The Beatles

Self-improvement is in the American cultural DNA. After all, the pursuit of happiness is one of our inalienable rights. From the get-go, American society was relatively fluid in its class structure compared to European counterparts. This dynamic situation encouraged people to believe that perseverance and hard work could bring the bluebird of happiness flapping to their door. Founding Father Ben Franklin was a self-improvement guru, outlining strategies for attaining moral perfection and improving body and mind. Franklin, was a pragmatist, too. He didn’t shy away from investigating the most orderly, self-disciplined path for the accumulation of wealth…

handoutLunch in Tribeca with a friend and former colleague, an Ivy Leaguer who still has his media job. He looks at me over the comfort food that he will very kindly expense and asks, casually: “So are you eligible for food stamps?”

I think he is joking. Then I realize he isn’t.

“No! Of course not.” I pause. “Wait, am I?”

I can’t remember that last time I was so taken aback by a question—much less confronted with big questions about identity, need, and most of all, my own prejudices.

london-flagLONDON, UK: For Londoners like me old enough to remember the last recession, the signs are all too familiar: two-for-one offers at restaurants; forests of To Let (for rent) signs lining the city’s residential streets; familiar bars and shops closing down by the day (where to buy a reasonably-priced brown earthenware teapot now that Woolworth’s has gone out of business?); less of a fight to get a seat on the tube in the morning; and ridiculous recession-busting tips in the newspapers.

The home gym is my favorite so far: Why sign up to a costly health club when you can use your garden and substitute sandbags for weights?, asked the (clearly barmy) writer. Because I don’t have a garden or sandbags is why. And because the cute receptionist at my gym smiles at me, sometimes…

tomatoWhile the Recession has a lot of businesses trending down, organic farmers like Patrick Horan say their debt-driven business is riding a contrarian wave. Horan’s farm, Waldingfield, specializes in heirloom tomatoes, which he uses to produce a special heirloom sauce. His Connecticut farm has been in the family since the 18th century and is now one of the largest certified organic operations in Connecticut. Horan talks to RW about weathering the downturn and America’s shifting attitudes towards organic food.

RW: How has the Recession affected you?

PH: As a farmer, I’m used to dealing with constraints. A lot of the farming business is debt-driven. If you’re in the northeast where you have a smaller growing season, you have to plan carefully. So far, I haven’t seen a downturn in my business, but that is partly because of something called CSA (community supported agriculture). In this system, people buy a share and get a box of vegetables every week. It’s a shared risk, and the system offers protection to the grower.

Stylist Julie Greene offers expert advice on looking dashing in a downturn.

people silhouettes 150Right now, many of us are dealing with big transitions. Some of us are unemployed for the first time, others are having to shift the focus of their business, and still others are concerned about whether they’ll be able to move ahead. In short, everyone’s questioning their identity.

As I’ve said before, your clothes can help shape your future. Whether it’s a full style overhaul or just some refining, there are ways to approach how you dress that will reflect a new attitude towards your career and life—and managing your image and your message might help you land the next opportunity. Last week you started getting to know your unique sense of style. Now we’ll more firmly define it. Consider which of these 10 style identities best fits you—or who you want to be.