How to survive a recession

Now is a good time to consider “how to protect your family, yourself, and your portfolio from the blahs,” says Linda Stern in Reuters. The signs are “all pointing to the specter of a recession,” but even if its just “slow growth or stagnation,” as some predict, “that’s not much better, is it?” So sock away money in bank CDs and invest in companies that make “toilet paper and the other necessities of life” and those that pay dividends. Pay off your debt, and “diversify your ability to earn money” by taking “that Web design class” or starting “that eBay biz you’ve been thinking about.” As always, “spend less and save more.” And take heart: “you’re not giving up gratification, you’re just deferring it.”

How bad will $100-a-barrel feel?

Oil’s sharp rise hasn’t “significantly impacted consumers’ wallets,” says Aleksandra Todorova in “At least not yet.” But as oil nears $100 a barrel, “consumers worry about what sort of hit” they’re in for. Refiners and gas stations have absorbed most of the increase so far. “But should the current price of oil be maintained—or go higher,” you can expect more than higher gas prices. Heating oil users will see a 25.6 percent annual hike. Airlines will raise fares, if they can. And if you planned “to save on gas by taking to the Internet” for your shopping, higher gas means higher shipping costs. Groceries will go up, too. If there’s a “silver lining,” it’s that merchants have already started cutting prices to stay competitive.