Recession Behaviors – Will They Stick?

by Kerry Rivera


Reporters, economists, politicians … even a few businesses are starting to hint that the “Great Recession” might be coming to a close. Alleluia! Sure, unemployment is still at record highs, home prices are in the tank and consumer confidence is shaky, but there just might be a recovery on the horizon.


In another time, we might be whipping out the plastic to celebrate, but research companies like DYG believe the American consumer is forever changed. No more frivolous purchases. Say goodbye to living large. Adios to Barney’s and Niemen Marcus, hello Big Lots and Target.


It’s now chic to be savvy, smart and thrifty. And as someone who has been labeled as “tight” with the funds, I’m ecstatic that my spend-thrift ways are now recognized as “cool.” So what if I brown-bag it everyday? My insulated lunch container is the equivalent to carrying the latest Coach bag in today’s recession era. Who would have thought I could be a fashionista?


Now I am only human. I splurge. I shop. And I sometimes covet what others have. It’s the American way.


But I do hope we’ve turned a corner as a culture and make a greater effort to save … to be grateful for what we have … and to simplify.


In fact, here are a couple of traditions/trends I hope we can say goodbye to forever …


* Over-the-top birthday parties. Enough with everyone trying to throw the most entertaining, swankiest bash for your toddler, pre-schooler, tween… A birthday cake, some balloons, a basic goody bag (wish we could get rid of these, but doubtful) and let’s call it a day.


* Outfitting our kids in high-end, name brand clothes. Now I have young boys, so this really hasn’t been an issue for us. I could care less, and their only request is to have super heroes present on their attire. But I know some other families – those with girls especially – and it just gets insane with the fashion. Going to play dates and school is not a Red Carpet event. Keep it basic. Embrace hand-me-downs. Invest in a few pieces where it makes sense, but otherwise, go for the cheap.


I have always chosen simpler (although, honestly, I didn't ever have the income to do more than that)

I'm happy to see that others are embracing it too; but if it becomes another "chic" thing (like the green movement, and its 5,000-square-foot "eco-friendly" homes), I think I'll puke!

cheesy poof

Nice article Kerry! Scott also takes pride in brown bagging lunch. And now I can admit that I shop at thrift stores, mostly for my kids, but I also find interesting books, cookware and props for my food blog. I get especially tickled to find brand names for a buck or two. Recently found my kid some nice Geox sneakers for $3 and a Columbia snow suit for $5. Nice!