December 2010 marks the three-year anniversary of the Great Recession. We’ve spent the past three years hearing so many stories about what went wrong. People got laid off unexpectedly, couldn’t find another job, and ended up losing their homes. And others had to go from a typical middle-class income to unemployment literally overnight.
What we overlooked, however, are the positives that came out of this rough economic time. Here are five good things that came out of the Great Recession.
People learned how (and why) to save
With the threat of being laid off at any time looming, people stopped spending freely and started tracking where their money was going. Families started cooking more instead of eating out, and some even started growing food in their backyard to cut grocery costs. Another change brought on by the recession? People cut up their credit cards and worked on a cash-only policy. They also added more to their retirement savings and started itemizing their deductable tax expenses (http://goo.gl/6xH3D).
While consumers were forced to make cuts, companies had to think of more creative ways to market their products and services. Since sales are harder to get and budgets are slashed sometimes by 50% or more, workers had to get to their bottom-line more creatively than ever before. (http://goo.gl/ft9z5) And this went beyond the workplace. Slashed personal budgets meant keeping refurbishing older clothes, doing home renovations by hand and getting creative in the kitchen.
…As well as small businesses
Did you know that college students can rent textbooks now instead of buying them? Where was that when I was in school! Websites offering this are everywhere, and a lot of students are taking advantage of it. Other businesses are profiting from the recession as well. Pawn shops and thrift stores are “reporting higher volumes of business and even a broadening of their customer bases.” (http://goo.gl/TuaWb).
People began to pursue their true passions
A while back, I read an article about a man who got laid off from a management job. Instead of searching for another similar position, temping or getting part-time work, he decided to intern for a politician. At 42, he was the oldest intern in the building. I found this so inspiring. He turned his recession layoff into an exciting opportunity for himself. And there are thousands of others who took the same path that he did.
We started to value what’s truly important
And it’s not money or a bunch of stuff, either. Your health, your family, and your children – they’re all priceless. And the recession reminded us of that. Sure, less money meant more stress. But it also meant more time with your kids, and pursing that career you always wanted to but never got around to. This recession forced us to re-evaluate our relationship with money, and that newfound stability has set a great foundation for the future.
Tags: recession, great recession, the great recession, recession anniversary, Julie Murphy Casserly, unemployment, saving money, emotion behind the money, emotion and money