Reshaped by the Recession

The Great Recession has impacted all of us.  For some, the impact has been painful (think job losses).  But the financial downturn also seems to be fostering widespread personal changes that, if they stick, have the potential to improve our lives. U.S. News & World recently summarized some of the key recession-induced changes that researchers and trend watchers have noticed.  Among them:

We’re becoming less reliant on credit. Numerous studies have shown that people who pay with cash tend to spend less than those who use credit.  And it’s never a good idea to carry a balance on credit cards.

We’re becoming more resourceful. More of us are learning how to cook or opting for home-cooked meals over restaurant meals.  We’re spending less on travel overall, but more on camping gear.  We’re going back to school, either to shore up existing skills or to learn new ones.  And we’re taking up gardening.

We’re becoming less brand loyal. In many product categories, our family uses private label products.  However, in some ways the recession has actually made us more loyal to brands whose products hold up over the long haul.

We’re doing less window-shopping and more closet shopping. I recently read a report that said the average person most often wears about 20 percent of the items in their closet.  That sounds about right, which means the next time you think you absolutely need to buy some new article of clothing, it would be wise to first take a good look at what’s already hanging in your closet.

We’re decluttering. For some, it’s about raising funds by selling unneeded stuff.  For others, it’s about simplifying our lives.

We’re redefining success.  The recession has helped many people realize that the thirst for more is unquenchable and often only leaves us with less – less time for our most important relationships, less time to take care of ourselves, and less time to enjoy some of the simpler pleasures of life.

Have you developed any helpful new habits as a result of the recession?

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