Patti Mulvihill is faring better financially than she was several months ago, after losing her job of 27 years when Teel Middle School in Empire closed.
But Mulvihill said she likely will keep the frugal spending habits she's acquired since then, getting her clothes from thrift stores rather than department stores, buying bread at discount outlets and making careful use of coupons and promotions.
"I just know how to keep my lifestyle but just go at it a different way," Mulvihill said.
It remains to be seen if the recession will have the same long-term effects as the Great Depression, which yielded a generation of people who pinched pennies and reused everything from glass jars to nails. But it seems likely, especially in the Northern San Joaquin Valley, where recovery takes longer and unemployment could reach 20 percent this winter.
In general, experts say, recessions end as people start spending money. But with so many people bringing in less money and lines of credit harder to come by, few people have returned to their old financial habits.
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