Why is it common practice that training gets cut when things get tight? I have never understood this logic. As business slows companies try to rein in costs by cutting training and process improvements. I agree that profligate spending should be eliminated, but training is not wasteful. Knowing more than you did yesterday is never wrong. Training is the key to pull out of any slowdown. Getting the competitive edge over your competition is key to success. To steal from a famous saying, Your company will be the same as it is today three years from now except for your skills and the talents of your employees.
Even if a class is too expensive do something. Read books, podcasts, magazines, audiobooks, write articles, etc. Just do something to expand your knowledgebase. If you do that it doesn’t really matter what the economy does, you will figure a way around it.
One quick book recommendation, pick up Outstanding! By Dan Miller. Great quick read with things a lot of companies overlook.