• By the end of 2007, 36 percent of consumers' disposable income went to food, energy and medical care, a bigger chunk of income than at any time since records were first kept in 1960, according to Merrill Lynch.

• People are treating themselves less often. The National Restaurant Association says 54 percent of restaurants reported declining traffic in January, and the government says eating at home increased last year for the first time since 2001.

• Financial planners say that more than ever, parents are calling for advice on how to deal with grown children who have moved back in with Mom and Dad after losing a job or just to save money.