Friday, May 07, 2010

Is Frugality the New "Normal"

I was reading this article today about consumer reaction to the supposedly improving recession. The upshot is that even though the U.S. economy is improving in very small measures, and consumer spending has recently gone up a bit, that the average American still is holding onto a much more guarded attitude toward consumerism.

Many researchers agree that they may continue to save more, spend less, and be more cautious about impulse purchases. They are gravitating towards smaller, more affordable houses and they say that even if their income rises again in light of a brighter economy, they will still remain careful about jumping into major purchases. They are either cutting back, or reevaluating, what they consider necessary in their budget. Things that were previously taken for granted, such as premium cable stations and so forth, are often being cut - and new clothing and other expenditures may be put off or delayed instead of being purchased impulsively.

One 60 year old lady who was quoted in the article says, "I don't think it will ever get back to where it was before," she says of her nest egg. "I won't spend money the way I used to."

For those of us at the tail end of the Baby Boom generation - those of us approaching or in our 50's - it's too early for us to retire - and yet things are changing so rapidly and permanently, that it feels as if we need to shift our whole working/lifestyle way of thinking and everything is on the table for reconsideration. Something in my mind/heart and spirit has fundamentally shifted.

I know that this particular recession has hit us here in my family. Bob has been laid off for 6 months now - and although we've been through this before, somehow this time it feels different. Once he finally gets another job - we will look at our future with more caution - less relief, and more strategizing.

1 comment:

Elysbeth said...

I don't know if you read "Ask the Bellwether" by Amelia; but I particularly thought you would enjoy this post:

The book set she refers to is pricey, but might be worth tracking through your library system.