A few years ago, a special section in TIME suggested that we as consumers will carry the memory and habits of this lingering recession into our future, that this economy may have permanently changed the way we spend. We may still buy small luxuries (such as the ‘fourbucks’ latte), but less often, supplemented by thriftier options. We think twice about major purchases and need. Buying used is feel-good recycling. A growing savings account provides at least a semblance of security. It may be true that our Pavlov dog days are over: we are not as easily mesmerized by clever marketing and the pleasure of purchasing, which may be part of what’s throwing a wrench in the economic recovery.
Think about how you’ve changed from wherever you were before 2007. Having gone through a period of working part-time while completing a degree, I’ve carried the habit of making do forward, even though I could return to my former spending practices. A $2000 professional conference? No thanks; free webinars, local seminars and e-books provide a good alternative. A new suit for work? Maybe – if it’s a great consignment find or thrift shop buy. My favorite fruits out of season? Weekend excursions? Occasionally, but not as often as we used to.
I still have a few vices but given the option I can and do say no, more often than I did in my pre recession days. A friend recently posted on Facebook she’s even started giving things away. The truth is that many of us already have more than we need. Giving some of it away is a win-win.
What do you think: Is dear prudence is back in style?