Candy in a Sour Economy

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There certainly are some dark clouds hanging over our struggling economy. And that depressing economic news has Americans cutting spending and agonizing about the future. But it may be time to take in a strong dose of positive thinking and look for the silver lining.

For example, one major impact of the global economic slowdown is the dramatic drop in the price of oil—bringing you lower gas prices. Home values have plummeted. But that means you can ask for a re-assessment to pay lower property taxes. Also people, who were priced out of a home in the boom years, can now buy at a price they can afford.

For discretionary spending, retail shoppers are finding bargains everywhere. Retailers are slashing prices on almost everything to get you in their stores. My wife was at high end retailer Neiman-Marcus in San Francisco last weekend, and reports discounts from 20 to 70 percent. That fancy pocketbook or briefcase you’ve always wanted may now be in your price range.

From small ticket items such as clothing and groceries to big ticket items such as cars and home remodels, prices are dropping dramatically. Travel agencies say great deals abound on travel to destinations around the world. Las Vegas is reporting its lowest room rates and travel packages in a decade. Flying to Europe has never been cheaper, so long as you book early and avoid those nasty fees.

No one likes to see the economy in such bad shape. But there will always be winners, even in the worst of times. With an optimistic attitude, you could be one of them.

(Brian Banmiller is a national Business Correspondent for CBS News Radio, free lance writer and public speaker. The former television business news anchor in San Francisco can be reached at brian@banmilleronbusiness.com .)