The Upside of a Bad Economy

   By daringfemale  Jun 18, 2009

It’s gotten to the point where I hesitate before checking out any news sites in the morning because the endless barrage of bad economic news doesn’t seem to stop. Homeowners continue to lose their homes, job losses aren’t slowing down and gas prices are on their way back up. What I feel like doing is just hiding out from this crisis ? pretending that I am not the main breadwinner who is running a start-up and raising money for it right now ? but I know I can’t. So I have this mantra I keep repeating to myself, something about how we’re still (relatively) young, the economy always goes in cycles (I am still  feeling the bruises from the internet bubble one), and our family and our country will come out fine.

I can’t say that this works 100% but it does help me maintain some sanity and perspective for the longer term. But I feel like I need something for right this minute, some upside, however slim, of living through this economic crisis. So I came up with a few ideas and I’m hoping that you will add yours in the comments. (Consider this our economic downturn therapy session ? and it’s free!)

We’re putting more effort into making our family meals at home a little more special. We cut down on going out to eat when I left my cushy job to start Work It, Mom! but we’re being even more careful now. Sure, I miss the nice meals and no clean-up, but it’s also been fun to find new dishes to make and cooking more with my daughter “helping” me in the kitchen.

I’ve learned to make a mean espresso. Truly, I’ve never enjoyed coffee we make at home as much as a latte I get at Starbucks or some other coffee shop. But I decided to put an end to buying coffee on most days and as the result ? and after many failed attempts ? have become pretty darn great at making a nice latte at home.

My closet is less cluttered. I cleaned out my warm weather clothes (nooooo!) a few weeks back and got my spring/summer stuff organized in my closet. I knew that my new clothes budget would be much more limited so I actually followed some fashion advice and focused on my few favorite pieces and outfits I could create around them. You know what? I have less stuff but I am spending less time wondering what to wear.

OK, your turn: Have you found any upsides or silver linings to the tough economic times?

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mmi284 by mmi284 | NEW BRIGHTON, PA
Feb 17, 2011

I no longer care if the kids are clothed from the local good will store. I have found all their school clothes therir the last 2 years. We only shop at Aldi and a local save a lot store for out food. It saves us time and we don't spend the extra money at the "big" store by buying what we don't need.

Apr 26, 2010

We enjoy the park so much more now! we have ventured to almost every park in our town and have to brag that we now know the best parks to hang out in; We are meeting with friends for picnics or just hanging out with the kids to practice soccer. I have even taken up walking on the beautiful paths that a couple of our parks have! So not only are we saving money on those extra cariculars, i'm losing some excess weight as well.

basilandcatnip by basilandcatnip | GARLAND, TX
Oct 31, 2009

Our libraries are packed now. So many programs to help with homework, job searches, free computer time and lessons, general activities, even a crafting group, and the local hospital puts on a once a month educational health seminar there too. I've noticed more people doing their own yard work instead of using landscaping crews like they used to, it's made our neighborhood closer since people are outside, saying hello, and meeting their neighbors.

Paxygirl by Paxygirl | CHULA VISTA, CA
Oct 29, 2009

Frugal, I am becoming the Queen of Cheap! Cut out the cable and go rent free videos at the library. Apparently I'm not the only one because the library is PACKED every day! I have returned to reading great books and I feel so much better with less stress. Our library cards are used more than our credit card now! DH and I love taking walks, play board games and actually speak to each other. The bad economy saved my marriage :)

windlaughter by windlaughter | valdese, NC
Oct 23, 2009

i would like to say that i have been really broke in cause the bad economy is the same as its allways been for me i was a single mom with 5 kids and i had to learn how to cut corners on everything on the the week end me and my kids would spend time outside explorering i allways cooked at home my kids didnt go to a drive threw untill they got grown and payed for it i really enjoyed my kids and got to know them really well when they were young we cooked and played together so i believe the bad economy is what its gonna take to bring familys together at the dinner table my kids loved to fold clothes when they were little lol

momagarry by momagarry | MILWAUKEE, WI
Oct 14, 2009

I am just greatful everyday for life health and strength.

rbarker by rbarker | Meridian, TX
Sep 17, 2009

Well the economy has caused us to be even more frugal than I was before. I have taught my kids to be economical because the less you spend for something... the more money in your pocket. I live in the country... so this helps us in some ways. We butcher a cow and a hog every year which provides a years worth of meat at an economical price . Plus it taste better! We grow a small garden. That helps some. I use coupons and before grocery shopping go to the retailers web site to see if there are any coupons on the things I need. I sign up for free samples , coupon sites etc. I have started buying dishwasher detergent and putting it in a container and using one tablespoon. Surprisingly one tablespoon will do it. Think of all the times you just pour it in there. Instead of buying spraying wash I buy Zote soap for $1.00 and it gets stains out better than anything I have tried. I cook homecooked meals and ebay off stuff we don't use. You can be frugal but it does take time and effort.

julia9874 by julia9874 | grantham, NH
Sep 17, 2009

having always been frugal and basically cheap, it is nice to see that I am no longer "weird" or 'odd" for shopping at thrift stores, and looking in the clearance bins. Only problem though is the deals are harder to come by because there are so many people out there doing the same thing :)

melsplace by melsplace | Oak Park, IL
Sep 08, 2009

I've always been a person compares price and look for the best value for my money. So, this really it's much difference as to how or what I do. With being blessed to have the things I do. I don't shop alot or spend just because. If, you have clothes you can't fit try selling them, or a talent you can use to make money like sewing, singing, cleaning, etc.

jami78 by jami78 | RACINE, WI
Sep 06, 2009

I am the COUPON QUEEN, love EBAY, and shop sales! Oh wait, I was doing that even BEFORE the economy got bad! We've always saved money because that is my goal in life! lol

monicalaughs by monicalaughs | miami, FL
Sep 06, 2009

Really nice article! :) stores like TJ MAXX and Marshalls have become my best friend for cute clothing for ANYONE at any age, just look a little deeper and you will come out winning.

jackson96 by jackson96 | Moro, AR
Aug 29, 2009

To make extra money, I have cleaned out my closets & took my unwanted items to a resale shop. All you have to do is contact a resale shop, see if their taking clothes. Some ask that they're clean & ironed if needed. And then the 1st of every month I get a check. Less clutter for me, & money in my pocket. And whatever is left of my clothes is donated to a charity. For those of you who are on a tight budget...I always shop the clearance rack...there's nothing wrong with saving a bunch on clothes, for you, your spouse, & your kids. I recommend you also go to the resale shop. we have one & everything is clean & most of the clothes look new. Yard sales are also a neat way to make money & buy things.

samiam54 by samiam54 | CASSELBERRY, FL
Aug 24, 2009

I plan all my errands so as to save gas.

Kimberlee81 by Kimberlee81 | Hayward, CA
Aug 20, 2009

Try picnic lunches int he park with your family, its a great way to save money, spend time together and enjoy the great outdoors. Take a baseball or football and have fun with the kids.

msharl01 by msharl01 | Jackson, MI
Aug 15, 2009

My family has trouble with the gas prices the most. We really miss our long Sunday drives and our fising trips. But I have to say we have it better then a lot of folks.