Count yourself lucky that only half of your check goes to bills. I have direct deposit and online bill paying, and I pretty much never see my money. I think we are definitely going into something, whether depression or not, but I think we need to look to other causes than global outsourcing. We as Americans live to consume, and even us frugal folk tend to follow that path at times. Those people in other countries who are doing our work so cheaply would probably faint at the chance to eat out, while we get grumpy if we can’t eat out whenever we want (for me, that’s everyday ;D). I am trying to incorporate ideas of simple living into my frugality, because much of what drives Americans into debt is the mindset that we “need” certain luxuries. Having filed bankruptcy over these luxuries, I can speak from experience. Try to focus on what you have, not what you can’t have and keep those spirits high!