There is no doubt that the latest recession was hard on most people. It was hard on my family too. My husband is in the construction business and had been back and forth from employed to unemployed for 6 years. We are really lucky that we didn’t lose our home. That being said, we have also gained something good: healthier spending habits.
Yes, at the time it seemed like we were paring down to uncomfortable levels of living, but by now, we have gotten accustomed to living within a tight budget. We no longer have cable, no magazine subscriptions, no new cars, no trips out of state but we hardly notice it anymore. We don’t miss the availability of having 1000 cable channels to watch- nothing was ever on anyway- and we have gotten to know our own state better instead of traveling outside of it.
The best thing that has come out of our struggle has been a better, open conversation with our kids about money. Since the recessions easing, I have quit my full time (and horrible) job and gone back to school full time. Our kids have gotten used to living on a tighter budget and have actually started to do jobs for neighbors in order to have spending money of their own (gaining a great work ethic). They have learned the meaning of making choices when making purchases and that you sometimes can’t get everything you want when you want it. They have also learned that their parents work hard for every penny that they make and that there isn’t an endless supply of them. There are choices/sacrifices made but fun still had!
I recently read an article about some people who have to work second jobs “to make ends meet”. In the article, someone making a good wage said that they have to get a second job because of rising food and gas costs. I was so glad to see at the end of the article that an author of a book on the subject points out that part of the problem with these people is their “consumptive appetites”.
Before the recession, society had been trying to “keep up with the Joneses” so to speak. Someone in the article was complaining that his monster SUV was costing $50 per week to fill up with gas. Society has gotten used to driving vehicles that are big and are driving a long distance to work. The average person in MN drives 22.4 minutes to work everyday! MN commute I have pared that down as well. I found a new job that is 10 minutes away from home- and I could ride the bus there as well- to cut back on gas costs and help the environment. I’m so happy to be in the car less every day!
My hope is that society doesn’t bounce back from the recession-and to overspending and living too largely again. I don’t think that we will in my family. Healthy spending habits are good habits to keep…and pass on to the next generation! Maybe, someday, we will all work less and live more!