'What hast thou in the house?' More than you realize.
Who says we have to have a poorer life? Who says that suddenly the tap gets turned off and we all have to sit in darkened rooms eating crusts?
The current belt-tightening is just another example of how the economy seems to work. First comes the boom, when people spend more than they should on things that don't make them happy. Then comes the bust, when everyone gets scared, stops spending, and believes the world is ending.
And it doesn't have to impress us. We all have more resources than we realize or use. As the Biblical prophet Elijah said to a starving widow, "What hast thou in the house?" We can all create our own micro-economy, irrespective of what is going on in the country, using the proverbial pots of oil we didn't know we had.
For example, do you have a home that is costing you money and, perhaps, reducing in value right now? Make money out of it. Your driveway or garage can be rented out on websites such as Craigslist.org or Parkatmyhouse.com. You can rent a room, or rooms, out to students, visiting professors, or local businesspeople. In cities where space is scarce, you can even rent out your loft or basement for storage.
What are your hobbies? They could make money for you, too. If you can bake, you could sell cakes at local markets or even over the Internet. If you speak a language you could teach it. If you play an instrument well you could perform for money (hey, even busking can be lucrative!). If you're good at a sports you could coach or create a money-making website about it or trade memorabilia.