Recession 2.0: Reader Laments Losses

Green Panda Treehouse blogger tries to pay off her car loan.

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After my call for essays on how "Recession 2.0" is affecting readers, Laura of the Green Panda Treehouse blog sent in her story:

I checked my retirement the other day, just to see what shape it is in. I knew it was going to be down, but I didn't know the exact number. I check my portfolio in detail about once a quarter. So far this year, my portfolio is down 21.07 percent. I'm not happy about it, but I'm not panicking. My husband and I are trying to keep perspective with the stock market.

We've been paying down my car loan, which is around $1,100. We figure that paying down debts will help reduce our monthly expenses. Pretty much, we've been the same, as we try to be conscious about spending. We're joining Costco because its gas station is 15 cents cheaper than other stations. We usually do a big shopping trip once a month, which fits the store's bulk size products.

Send in your thoughts—either a brief description or essay up to 600 words—to alphaconsumer@usnews.com. Please include your name and location.