money

Lately the news has been all doom-and-gloom. You can’t open a newspaper or click to a webpage without hearing about how these “tough economic times” have made life so horribly hard and how we’re all destined for poverty. Those who have been hit hard in the last few years by layoffs or skyrocketing healthcare costs may feel that life is as low as it can get.

Newsflash: the majority of Americans still live like aristocrats, and 99.99% of all humans who ever lived would probably trade places with us right now. We have plentiful resources, from the basic to the luxurious, and America is still the land of opportunity, if you choose to see it that way. Along with disadvantages, the recession has brought many advantages into our lives, but you probably won’t hear about them on the nightly news.

You are better off than you think you are! Here are eight reasons to love the recession.

  1. You’re a smarter consumer. In the past few years you have no doubt grown more intelligent and better informed about where you spend your money. You have renegotiated the interest rate with your credit card company as well as your car and health insurance premiums. And if you haven’t, what are you waiting for? We are now living in a buyer’s market, and consumers have more power than ever to make demands.
  2. You can find great deals like never before. Look around you – there are huge savings everywhere on practically everything, from salon visits and golf clubs to hotel packages in the Cook Islands. New coupon websites like Groupon and Living Social have made saving money a game, and the savvy consumer can find incredible deals on almost anything they need to buy.
  3. You have re-evaluated your career. Without a doubt in the past few years you have taken a long, hard look at your career trajectory and made some big decisions to stay the course or to try something new. Getting laid off from a cushy job seems like a nightmare – until the job loss prompts you to make some much-needed changes in your life. Even if you haven’t made major career changes, you have no doubt done some soul-searching in the past few years and made some tough decisions.
  4. You’re staying at home more. While nights out of the town can be fun and exciting, nothing takes the place of spending the evening in with people you love, indulging in simple pleasures. Romantic dinners at the kitchen table, movie nights with popcorn and evenings spent playing fun games with the family have increased in frequency over the last few years. Simple pleasures, as it turns out, are some of the best things in life.
  5. Your eyes are open and you are more in control of your finances than ever before. To tighten your belt, you have to know when and where your money is coming and going – and you probably have a better handle on your finances than ever before, even if your wallet isn’t quite as thick as you would like it to be. The focus on consumer debt in the media probably has you wondering how to cut yours down, or at the very least paying attention to it. Stay informed, and you will stay on top of your finances.
  6. You are wasting less and “making do” with more. Even if you are trying to save your bank account instead of the planet, the effects are the same. American consumers are wasting less and learning to live within our means. From paper products and toiletries to food and water, we are using our heads and using fewer resources, and making more sustainable choices.
  7. You are spending less on groceries. It might not seem this way, but the price of groceries and other necessities have dropped since their peak in 2008. The cost of building materials has also dropped, and gas prices have fallen off their peak as well.
  8. You have incredible investing opportunities right now! If you are young or otherwise have the chance to invest in your future through IRAs or the stock market, you should do it now! The stock market is down 50% off its highs, and anyone who can invest right now stands to make a pretty penny when the economy rights itself – which it will, of course.

image: c_ambler