In the last month or so, it has become much harder to take out our wallets without feeling guilty.
No one in authority has told us not to spend. But people are scared, and that fear is showing up in lower sales on all sorts of big-ticket items, from cars to electronics to boats.
Home owners had already been feeling poorer, and devastating investment losses have made thrift a necessity for many people. The banking situation continues to erode confidence. The budget did not help. Many of us have had to take difficult decisions, cutting back on expenditure and laying off staff.
Saving every extra euro now seems the most sensible course of action, given predictions of rising unemployment and daily mentions of the 1980s.
It's a back drop that makes staging a boat show in little over ten weeks time a daunting prospect but it's easy to forget a few important things.
First of all, the vast majority of people are not going to lose their jobs.
Second, most of us work not merely for subsistence but so we can spend money on things and experiences that bring some form of contentment.
Thirdly, we have come a long way since the 1980s when interest rates were 19% compared to 4% today. Unemployment then was 22% compared to 5% today. VAT in 1983 was 35%, today we protest that the 21% rate is 4% more than our nearest neighbour.
So let this serve as a reminder that there is still plenty of good reasons for people to spend what they earn. There is therefore still a market for boating products in Ireland. This is why 4,500 sq. metres of exhibition space for February's 25th IMF Boat Show has already been sold, 40% of it to IMF members.
In the weeks ahead the IMF will be entirely focussed on doing what it can to fill the RDS with boat buyers. We would like your input. If you have any ideas, please get in touch. It is the boating communities job to sell boating next February.