A lot of people can offset higher energy costs by spending less on other things. Foregoing the new iPad 2, for example, would be enough to cover those higher costs for three or four months. The typical family spends about $240 each month on entertainment and recreation, which is easier to cut than food or rent. And some things have been getting cheaper, which gives consumers a break, even though they tend not to notice price declines nearly as much as highly publicized hikes in gasoline prices. Many appliances, for instance, have come down in price over the last few years, especially computers and anything else driven by microprocessors. But you’re not likely to see many breathless headlines about that. Plus, we tend to apply the savings toward more powerful and better machines—like wall-sized flat-screen TVs—instead of pocketing the difference or saving it for contingencies.