What's the silver lining in this recession? Share your answer to win $10

By Greg Go on 14 May 2009 (Updated 30 June 2009) 113 comments

UPDATE:

The drawing is over.  The winners are:

Winner #1 - Commenter #104 Guest, who said:

Time for the important things in life

We just had a baby so the shortage of work feels like a blessing. We may not have money to go out to eat but we have time with our daughter. Waking up in the morning with her without rushing off to work is priceless.

Winner #2 - Tweet #10 by @frugalfinesser, who said:

People are increasingly focusing less on material objects and more on what really matters like family, friends and community.

Congratulations to the winners!

h3>Responses from Twitter

  1. doctor_s: @wisebread at least we r buying investment products at cheaper prices every 2 weeks when my retirement account purchases shares?? maaaybe?
  2. The_Weakonomist: @wisebread personal savings rate nearing 5% for the first time since 1995.
  3. brokeinthecity: @wisebread I guess being able to take a break. I was pretty lucky to save a bundle of cash in a short amount of time before it crashed.
  4. katemtsui: @wisebread Silver lining to the recession is that thrift and discount shopping is en vogue.
  5. ncheapskate: @wisebread The silver lining to the recession is that I was able to refinance my house! Saved $200+ a month!
  6. joverto3: @wisebread people form better spending habits bc they don't have as much.
  7. collegemoneygal: @wisebread silver lining of the recession is that people are finally showing financial responsibility and have started to save money.
  8. creditgoddess: @wisebread Spotlight has been put on predatory credit lending, which is spurring govt to actually do something about it.
  9. savingforhome: @wisebread Silver lining=People are more friendly to people commuting by bike. I used to get honked at...now people smile and let me go :)
  10. frugalfinesser: @wisebread People are increasingly focusing less on material objects and more on what really matters like family, friends and community.
  11. Mmmeg: @wisebread The silver lining to the recession is that people are wasting less energy & less stuff is ending up in landfills.
  12. Laffertron: @wisebread People have a new appreciation of what they really value. You only know what is really valuable when you lose the stuff that isnt
  13. jjlonsdale: @wisebread I'm finally learning how to cook at home, and to my great astonishment and delight I'm actually enjoying it!
  14. k3ri: @wisebread Airline tickets are discounted. Mothers Day gift: her other son and his new wife that she hasn't seen for a few years!
  15. AmyKlingensmith: @wisebread spending more time with family while finding cool free stuff to do around town
  16. justanna: @wisebread - bad housing market meant husband and I could purchase our first home at a great interest rate, and still continue saving!
  17. DerekDuff: @wisebread Since I am young & have limited investments, any money I put in now will grow in my 401k or individual investments.
  18. whatevrittakes: @wisebread The silver lining is more folks are becoming aware of there debt problem and working toward debt free living. Saving more.
  19. dualicious: @wisebread people are learning financial responsibility thank to the recession! finally!
  20. chrisric2: @wisebread the silver lining to the recession is that after being laid off from a career that I love, I get to spend all my time w/ my kids.
  21. PenelopePince@wisebread What's the silver lining in this recession?http://bit.ly/tfx9r
  22. MyLifeROI: @wisebread Responsible people are finding a lot of great deals on houses and cars.

Don't forget to follow @wisebread!

______________________

All we hear these days are doom and gloom news about layoffs, bankruptcies and stock market dips.  But it can't be all bad out there.  So we're asking you:

Where's the silver lining of this recession?

There's no right or wrong answer.

It can be a tangible benefit ("I got a stimulus check to buy a TV") or an intangible one ("I've gotten to spend more time with family").  What aspect of your life is better because of the recession? Maybe this economic climate forced you to make a change that turned out to be a blessing in disguise.   The silver lining of this recession could apply to you personally ("Forced to look at my budget, I'm now saving over $500 a month") or it could apply to everyone ("The stock market is full of bargains now!").

Share your silver linings, and be entered to win one of two $10 Amazon gift certificates.

Win a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate

We're doing two giveaways -- one $10 Amazon gift certificate for a random comment, and another one for a random tweet.

How to Enter:

  1. Post your answer in the comments below, or
  2. Tweet your answer.  Include "@wisebread" in your tweet so we'll see it and count it.

If you're inspired to write a whole blog post, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

At the end of the drawing, we'll update this post to include (and link to) all of your helpful responses.

Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends next Wednesday, May 20 at 11:59pm PDT. Winners announced May 21.
  • You can enter both drawings -- once by leaving a comment and once by tweeting.
  • Only tweets with "@wisebread" will be entered. (Otherwise, we won't see it.)

 

 

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Guest's picture
K

After seversl months of popping in on a volvo dealer once in a while and looking at cars.... my patience paid off.

drove out of there last week with a $31,800 car for .... wait for it..... $23,200. Thats out the door with taxes and everything.

never could ahve gotten that without the economy tanking.

Guest's picture
Kathryn

Wow, awesome deal on a car make you'll never regret.

Guest's picture
Curt

With a shortage of work, I've been able to spend more time outdoors. I've been hiking every morning, and I've lost about 12 pounds in the past few months. I even used some of my free time to build a web application to keep track of my weight loss. I've also had more time to focus on eating healthier, and my headaches have gone away!

Guest's picture
Kate

1) Shopping a thrift, secondhand, and secondhand stores.

2) Being more green, since it reduces cost as well. My BF and I have put many of our electronics on X10 units and shut everything off when we leave the house. We've also switched 90% of our incandescent light bulbs to CFLs. Recycling is cropping up everywhere. Plus our apartment complex has a free-cycle area.

Will Chen's picture

I used to spend $5 for a breakfast burrito every morning.  Don't get me wrong, this burrito is awesome, but it is also incredibly bad for my health.  Now I make a nice oatmeal and scrambled eggs every morning.  It is free and I think the oat meal gives me sustained energy throughout the morning.

But still, if you ever stop by the MOCA in Downtown LA in the mornings, go to the street vendor that sets up shop in front of the California Pizza Kitchen.  That guy makes the best burritos in town.

Guest's picture
Lissa

The silver lining for me is related to my job. Nonprofit fundraising is difficult at any time, but particularly during recessionary periods when donors have less money to give. As a result, a greater percentage of people in the sector are interested in innovative thought and new ways of doing business -- and are eager to explore those opportunities. As a think-tank lover, I feel more creative and empowered to make positive change now than at any other time in my career.

Guest's picture
Sheila

My tightwad, frugal ways are now fashionable - finally!!

Guest's picture
Guest

The silver lining in this recession is that people are becoming more frugal and smart with their money. They are stretching their dollars and realizing what each dollar can do.

Guest's picture

The best thing that's happened to us because of the recession is that we were able to refinance our house. We went from 6.3 percent to 4.875 percent interest rate and shaved more than $200 off our house payment. That move has saved us money and stress.

We've also learned to do more with less - and that's always a good thing, too!

Guest's picture
Cash

Going to restaurants is so much cheaper now! There are BOGO's from restaurants that never di that like Ruby Tuesday and Friday's. The service is great, there are hardly ever lines!

Travelling is great... I've got $6/day mid-size rental cars and $15/nite 4-start hotel rooms.

Lawn service companies are tripping over themselves to give me great deals and better service.

Talked down the cable company to a great rate.

Take advantage of it now. I remember when the economy was booming... long lines, surly service, places inadequately staffed.

Guest's picture
Amanda

I think the silver lining is that my generation (30 somethings) who played video games and never really had to work for anything have finally had to wake up and realize the value of a dollar. For instance... even if you CAN afford to spend $5 for a Starbucks Caramel Machiatto... SHOULD you? No, you don't need the calories and that $5 can do more for you in the bank or paid on your credit cards. We're also coming to a point where credit is bad... and going back to the depression era ways of saving and spending, which means being frugal and using logic in our spending and separating the needs from the wants.

Guest's picture
Tim

silver lining....folks spending more time with family and friends than worrying about accumulating things to impress friends and family. The best things in life are not things.

Guest's picture
AG

I agree with post #8. People are realizing importance and ways of being careful with their spendings, tracking their pennies, managing their money, anticipating and budgeting their spendings, ....

I believe this was somewhat necessary and I feel it's paying off :)

Guest's picture
Jessica

My husband and I (both 24) finally got to the point financially where we were able to drop a chunk of change into our first retirement investment. Thanks to the recession, we were able to buy low.

Guest's picture
Kate

The silver lining for me is that my husband and I got a great deal on a vacation later this summer!

Guest's picture
Bob W

The recession has created better communication within my my family. We work out a shopping list together, we create a weekly meal plan and we save all our receipts so the information can go into our budget. Before the recession, my wife and I would wondered where our money was being spent but now we know where our money is being spent and we are on the same page on what we should spend our money. We want to take our kids to Disney but now the entire family is planning for the trip and saving our money so that we can have a grand time without going into debt.

Guest's picture
Olivia

The silver lining of the recession is that people are finally thinking more seriously about financial responsibility and saving more.

Guest's picture
Barbara

This economy has forced me to conserve which in turns helps the environment, spend more wisely, appreciate cooking for my family, spend more quality time with loved ones, turned me back on to books, and nutured my creative muse by forcing me to live more creatively...these are all things I appreciate and hope I carry forward with me even after the economy turns around.

Guest's picture
Brenden

The first time home buyer tax credit and lower house prices make this the perfect time for my wife and I to finally start looking at houses.

Guest's picture
Nicki

The best outcome is that people are buying more used items mostly because of cost but that really helps the environment by not needing to use new virgin resources.

Guest's picture
Therese

One good thing about the recession is that people are trying to get as much use out of items as possible, so there is less waste, which is better for the environment.

Guest's picture
RK

The economic downturn means that getting a 'real job' is very difficult, especially in a state (Michigan) that has been in recession for probably 20 years.

Even so, this really gives a good opportunity for individuals to sit down and assess just what they're doing with their lives, and if there are better options. It feels like there are fewer risks in taking chances and making changes in your life.

That and learning to live in an ultra-frugal way has to build character and teach us some interesting things that we've missed out on -- particularly with several generations who were raised to believe that money grew on trees.

The playing field isn't equal, but it's considerably more shaken up.

Guest's picture

The silver lining in my mind is that we will have the opportunity as a nation and as individuals to clean up the credit mess that we've dug ourselves into. We may come out of this with slower growth then we're used to, but if it's 'real' growth, and not fueled by a nation collectively whipping out a credit card, it will be healthier and provide a better future for us down the road.

Guest's picture
Guest

In a way, I hope it's only temporary, but there is much less traffic commuting because more people are out of a job. While I can enjoy this, I do hope people are able to get back to work soon.

Guest's picture
PS

I have learned to save for a rainy day from this recession!

Guest's picture
Amy

I am happy to be buying stocks at a discounted price.

Guest's picture
Lisa Ann

I've learned how much I love all those all-time, frugal homemaker skills our grandmothers used to cultivate. I love to grow vegetables, to bake, and to find creative ways to re-use things. My next goal: canning.

Guest's picture
Rebecca P.

I am becoming more aware of where my money is going. I am trying to be more frugal. When my sister came to visit this winter, she went home and ask my mom if I ever bought anything that was not on sale!

Guest's picture
DrJudy

the I finally got a handle on my finances and for the first time in ten very long, hard years have an emergency fund AND peace of mind.

Guest's picture

SD Gal and I have been learning like crazy - we've even been able to turn our experiences into a blog.

Guest's picture
Guest

my dad once said that if everyone lived like me we would have a recession. don't think that is the case, but now i am no longer the aberration in my family with my frugal ways.

i would also like to add that the improved customer service at everything from home depot to restaurants (when we actually go) is refreshing.

Guest's picture

I've been commuting to work by bike since I graduated from college. I have a car, but I'm not a huge fan of driving. I also had to pay $50/month if I wanted to park at work (for my old job). I used to have people yell and honk at me (frequently telling me to get on the sidewalk...even if I was in the bike lane).

As gas prices increased and the economy tanked, people in cars have become much more understanding about people on bikes. Cars will slow down as they pass me in the bike lane or switch to another lane to give me more room.

The kindness of car commuters has made my bike commuting a lot more fun!

Guest's picture
noetic

I just blogged my response. :)

http://noetic.net/?p=56

Guest's picture
Rhonda

I'm following Dave Ramsey's plan and have all our debt paid off but the house and are saving money for 3-6 months of expenses for an emergency fund. I'm not participating in the recession!

And while everyone else is freaking out about the recession, I'm totally at peace with where me & hubby are at financially!

Guest's picture

I find making money is now requiring more effort, brains, and luck. This has spurred me to look at my priorities from a new angel. Is the effort required to maintain my previous income worth the effort? For the last 20 years money was easy to get. I was like a kid in a candy shop. Every where I looked there was money for the taking. So I just grabbed and grabbed and grabbed. Working long hours and thinking of little else. I seldom slowed down to examine if the money was fulfilling my emotional, spiritual and relational needs. I now see it was not. I am slowing down, living in the moment and being. Being with me, being with my family being with life. I am no longer grabbing money as fast as I can. I have less money and a happier life.

Guest's picture
Derek

Since I am young & have limited investments, any money I put in now will grow in my 401k or individual investments.

This isn't so great for others who have money in the market but I am fortunate to have just entered to the job market so I am going to take full advantage of this down market.

Guest's picture
Diasdiem

People have learned the benefits of smart financial decisions and judicious use of credit, if only because they were so badly burned.

People are turning towards saving more, and wasting less.

Frugality coming into vogue, making all the "cool" people who spent money on expensive gadgets and toys to show off how rich they are now look stupid.

Reading news stories of rich people complaining how the recession means they can only hire a house cleaner to come in once a week and they have to wear clothes from last year and laughing.

Guest's picture
Tammy

I think that the silver lining to all of this mess is that it's now "cool" to be frugal. There's no stigma with saying that you're looking for a deal or watching your budget. There's nothing wrong with saying that you're not buying THE item of the moment.

The gold lining is that we just might all realize that having massive accumulations of "stuff" doesn't mean we're better or better off than others... we're choking ourselves with materialism and we have a golden opportunity to reevaluate.

Guest's picture
ryan

the silver lining is not only that people, but companies as well, are reining in spending and realizing the importance of cash reserves. those that do not embrace this will not be around for the recovery.

Guest's picture
Randy

LEARN TO SAVE AND SPEND MORE WISELY.

THERE IS A DIFFERENCE IN WHAT WE 'WANT' AND WHAT WE 'NEED'.

Guest's picture
Amber

It seems to me the recession is causing everyone to take a look at and possibly realign their values. I've seen plenty of articles about someone deciding their family, friends, and life goals are more important than some crap job they hate anyway. Some people that got laid off are going back to school. Some are taking care of their kids. Not everyone will make lemonade out of this very tangy situation but it has definitely been a wake up call for many.

Also, we should remember that this is how capitalism works. It can't be up up up 100% of the time - sometimes the system must rid itself of dead matter. It's a painful process but we always come out stronger.

Guest's picture
Mary

My fiance and I bought a house in February for less than half of its original price. It's in a great area, sits on one-half acre of land, and is in fantastic shape. Extra bonus: we got almost $6,000 of work out of the seller before we bought it!

Guest's picture
Gumnos

Like Amy (@26), maxing out our Roth IRA monthly buys us more stock for the same price.

Guest's picture

The fear of losing everything I'd invested forced me to seek other sources of income. The silver lining was the motivation it provided to start my own blog. I'd been kicking the idea around for about 6 months, and the bottoming out in February was the catalyst.

Guest's picture
Jacquelyn

Finally! Being frugal and environmentally responsible is mainstreaming!
I don't have to explain why I wash and reuse ziploc baggies.
I don't have to risk funny looks when I choose not to buy a product because it's entombed in plastic.
I don't have to hide the fact that I grow food in my backyard.
I can buy less, use less, re-use things, and find cheaper alternatives like I always have - but there are so many more resources available now that more people are jumping on the wagon! Of course, mainstream society will most likely go back to its wasteful ways once the economy comes back, but hopefully some of these habits will stick.

Guest's picture
Cat

After seeing friends get laid off I'm more grateful for what I have. I'm not in the best position financially, but at least I have money coming in so I can correct it and get ready in case something does happen to me!

Guest's picture
Sandy

While I'm as paranoid as everyone else about money, I've come to realize that like isn't just about money and the things that we can acquire with it. Sometimes, even when up to your eyeballs in debt, it's okay to be thankful that you are alive and breathing. Your shoes might have holes, the credit card company might be calling, but you're alive - and every day that I'm alive is a DAMNED GOOD day.

Guest's picture
Mary

We've been frugal for many years. To be safe, we're trying to be even more careful now and figure out how to save more money. We recently switched health insurance companies to one that gives the same benefits, costs a little less, and reimburses up to $400 per family for any formal exercise program, which is a significant boon to us. I'm amazed that we are still finding ways to save money, and we're still looking! The big savings initiative last year was that my husband stopped driving to work and now takes the bus. So he saves on parking and gasoline, pollutes less, gets more exercise in the walk from the bus, AND has gotten to know lots of nice people who also ride the bus.

Spending less and saving more also means less clutter in our house - I love that!

Guest's picture
Janelle

We have a lot of blessings from this recession. Here are just a few:

1. We didn't lose anything in investments, since we just started investing about a year ago

2. Our dollar is going way farther with stocks right now!

3. We trimmed our budget even more, to save and invest more. We are not using our credit cards or going into debt, but snowballing our debts.

4. We got our ARM refinanced with our lender to a fixed, 4.33% for 27 years! That wouldn't have happened without the housing crisis.

5. Fast Food is now a dirty word - it sucks you dry of money! We eat home 99% of the time and are therefore eating healthier and enjoying more time as a family.

6. We are content with our cars (PAID OFF!), our home and in the fact that we now have vision to keep the mortgage we've got and just fix up our own home. Way better than dreaming of a bigger place with a bigger mortgage, when we can expand what we have for very little with us doing it.

7. We are giving MORE! Weird, huh?! It feels good too!

8. Our kids are valuing their allowance and what a dollar can buy a lot more (so are we for that matter). We do so much more for less - cooking from scratch, fixing our own things, finding free fun, etc.

9. Best of all, we feel like we've found out what is truely important in life - our family, our faith and the relationships that come out of those. We are more content, happy and more at peace than we have ever been!

*I don't have a blog or website, so I hope I can still be entered into the contest*

Guest's picture
Chan

Ironically, our small home business is having one of its best years this year (so far), so that's been a blessing.

Last year was another story. This economy has made me more vigilant in cleaning up old debts. We have also been paying more attention to our finances. We've discovered Dave Ramsey and numerous personal finance blogs that we've been able to 'borrow' money-saving ideas.

Guest's picture
Joe Enos

With the recession hitting car dealerships hard, their stocks are lower than ever. This is a bad thing if any the big three actually go under, but assuming they live, then it's definitely the time to buy.

The government is doing what it can to keep these companies alive - whether you agree with this or not, it does mean that there's a reasonably good chance that they will all survive. Assuming the economy picks up (which it always does), long term rates of return on Ford, GM, and Chrysler should be very, very high. That's also assuming that they're not somehow socialized and absorbed by the government - I suppose it is a possibility, but I'm hopeful that it won't happen.

Guest's picture
Jeanne

With the economy tanking there are great deals to be had. Those of us who are still employed and who have always been frugal have great opportunities to save even more while spending even less!

Guest's picture
Michelle

My first revelation of the recession silver lining was when I went to the public library on a Sunday. Superbowl Sunday. And the place was packed fuller than I'd ever seen it.

The DVD, TV on DVD, and audio book collections are growing much more quickly now, which means a plus in selection. As a bookworm, I've always loved the library, and it is just fantastic to see more people of all ages enjoying it, too!

Guest's picture
krnewman

With the downturn, there has been an increase in stores that sell salvage groceries. I like to buy a lot of strange foreign products and this has brought a much wider range of things that I can buy in my otherwise isolated rural area, products from all over the world, many of them gourmet items. Of course, being salvage groceries, the prices are usually quite low. You have to know what you're buying, what the normal prices are, and whether or not the stuff is still good if it's near or just past its sell date. But if you know your stuff, you can get wonderful food at good prices. For example, Arracacha chips from Columbia, Mojo Criollo marinade from Mexico, mineral water from Scotland, sparkling lemonade from France, beef jerky from Brazil, organic gourmet coffee from everywhere. Part of the fun is the excitement of trying something new, and never knowing quite what you'll find. It's like an adventure.

Guest's picture
RubiaLala

1. My dad started a mortgage modification business, our entire family works together, and we are helping people stay in their homes (even if they did overbuy in the first place, it's still a good feeling to help people).

2. The ability to buy investment properties at extremely low prices.

Guest's picture
Brian

With the decreased housing market, my wife and I can finally afford a home.

Guest's picture
M1k3

I was laid off from the company where I had worked for 16 years. Found a better, higher paying job close to home 2 months later. I'm still getting paid my old employers (for 8 months) so we are taking that money and using it to pay for 4 years of college tuition for our daughter.

Guest's picture
M1k3

I was laid off from the company where I had worked for 16 years. Found a better, higher paying job close to home 2 months later. I'm still getting paid by my old employers (for 8 months) so we are taking that money and using it to pay for 4 years of college tuition for our daughter.

Guest's picture
Larry Samuelson

This recession has caused people to think about their spending habits and to prioritize their purchases to avoid debt. Many are simplifying their lives and discovering that the things that really matter aren't possessions.

Guest's picture
Dusty

We were under contract to buy a brand new loft downtown for around $270k. At the same time, my wife found this foreclosure (she does this for a living), for $15k. It was destroyed, but only required about $20k to get it to livable standards. So, we bought it and decided to flip it. That's one thing about this recession - although it is harder to sell a house, it is also easier to buy one.

However, we needed a place to stay for a few months, so we moved into the flip house, waiting for our shiny new loft to close. It finally did close. As we started preparing for the move, we started thinking. Well, we had recently been reviewing our finances and making some changes to our lives because of the times anyway.

At that time it hit us! We actually really like this house we bought, we already live here, its close to downtown and near a college campus, with plenty of stuff to do. Why don't we just stay here! So, our loft is back on the market and we have decided to stay.

The end result - we have completely changed the way we think about money, the way we save, and we own our house free and clear for less than most people pay for a car!

Awesome!

Guest's picture
heidi

My husband has always wanted to go back to school and finish his degree, but with a couple little kids we couldn't afford it. With his shiny new pink slip and my under-employment, we're poor enough to qualify for grants to help offset the cost of tuition.

Guest's picture
Wendy Way

My silver lining is the vintage magazines I love to buy on Ebay are now dirt cheap and no one really bids against you. I adore making vintage crafts and before the crash some magazines and books were such huge collector's items a moderate income person like me couldn't touch the prices on them. Now many items I couldn't even attempt to buy are reasonable and available for a low income craftster like me.

Guest's picture
Shimona C

I grew up in another country and have lived here 12 years, and it's always struck me how much americans consume in the way of plastic bags, cups, packaging, ziploc bags, paper towels, toilet paper, wipes, diapers. The sheer volume is truly incredible to anyone from most asian countries.

I think the silver lining is that when people have to start cutting back, they stop buying massive amounts of these things in bulk and that in turn, makes these things seem less disposable. You know how much more carefully you use that last roll of paper towels. I think, or at least hope, that we will bring our consumption of these paper and plastic products down massively and that will be a silver lining long-term.

Use cloth rags instead of paper towels, wash and reuse ziploc bags, wash and reuse yogurt containers and jelly jars instead of more disposable tupperware-type containers, wait till you have a full load to run the dishwasher or laundry. Use a mug and a refillable water bottle. All these things will reduce your expenses *and* your environmental footprint.

Guest's picture
Eric Arm

This recession is teaching me to be patient. Money is tight already and with no good outlook of moving up, for the time being, I am learning to wait and make use of what I have already.

Guest's picture

I have a blog FULL of all the positive things that have come out of the recession hitting MY family. You will find a link titled "As Promised" which will take you to my Television debut, where I was featured for my frugal and simplistic and minimalist ways!!! Thanks for visiting it, I think you will all like alot!!

Guest's picture
Guest

I believe (and hope) a silver lining to the recession will be to have people learn how to cook from scratch. It is much healthier and cheaper to cook a true from scratch meal than it is to pop something in the microwave or purchase out. I have always stressed to my children to buy ingredients and not meals when we are at the grocery store. Cooking together can become a wonderful inexpensive way of family entertainment. As a single mom of two for 17 years this has been a happy necessity for us. We have spent time learning some basic things about other countries culture and foods, picked a few recipes and found an ethnic market to do the actual shopping in. I still remember the first time my daughter was in an oriental market where no one spoke english. The music was unknown as well as the smells, dress and all of the wonderful ingredients. It gave us a little feel for what people from other countries experience when they come to america. A good lesson of empathy these days can only be helpful.

Carolyn in Florida

Guest's picture
sedvictoria

I'll keep it simple. I think that the silver lining in this recession is that the gravity of the situation, i.e. the economic meltdown has forced millions of Americans to re-evaluate the way they save money and spend money.

Guest's picture
LD

We've finally taken control of our finances, which we both had wanted to do but had no clue where to start.

Interestingly, I think the recession is helping service businesses such as tire shops and painters more than you'd suspect. Folks are keeping their cars & houses longer!

Guest's picture
jadefly

I think the silver lining of the recession is that people are juuust starting to budge towards living within their means again? :P

Guest's picture
Tyler

Great stocks at bargain prices. I've been buying more than ever, and I know when the economy bounces back it will help me reach me retirement goals.

Guest's picture
CAK001

A wonderful silver lining is the money going towards retirement is buying more at less and more people are becoming interested in sites like Freecycle (free items only) and Craigslist...giving and getting :)

Julie Rains's picture

Someone close to me was concerned about losing health insurance and decided to go ahead and schedule a cancer screening; the docs found cancer and quickly provided treatment. Things are looking good right now so the recession may have been life saving.

For the last big recession, I didn't have a job when I graduated from college so I planned and went on a cross-country road trip: NC to LA, where I stayed for a bit with a friend who was going to law school at Pepperdine. My buddy and I travelled in a Chevy Chevette and one of the hotels we stayed in had skeleton keys for room keys (this concerned me a bit) but we were fine. I suppose that was my cheapest vacation per day ever.

Guest's picture
David

The bargains in the stock market, less traffic on the highways and reasonable gas prices are our silver lining.

Guest's picture

I was laid off from my job of 17 years on December 15, 2008. At first, panic and depression hit, but then I realized that at age 55, I could still pursue my dream and what better time!

I'd always wanted to be a teacher. I love kids and love to teach. My mother and grandmother were both teachers and convinced me not to pursue teaching as a career. They said it didn't pay well and I could do better with computers. I listened to them and became a computer systems analyst.

Now, I'm working on my Masters in Elementary Education and will become a teacher in 2 years. I am so excited! My dream will come true.

It's never too late to teach an old dog new tricks.

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Doreen

I think it's making people think more about how they're spending their money! We can use this time to become more wiser!

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yipeng

Just kidding. I think the recession has given many of us time to reflect on our lives... after all, there is more to life than working and making money!

Guest's picture

My sliver lining would have to be I am able to spend more time with my children.They do not go out on weekends as much and this affords us more family time.

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sylrayj

I feel more comfortable talking about the things I've learned and read and lived. I have coffee once a week with three wonderful women, and have felt so intimidated by them. Their families are present and supportive, they have a higher income and class bracket than I do, and for most of my childhood I've lived in low income or subsidized housing. Now, however, everyone is being watchful, knowing that anything could happen. I felt comfortable telling them that my son loves broccoli stems, knowing they'd ask how to prepare it so I could talk about peeling off the tough skin and chopping the sweet core into pieces, instead of discarding all that good food. Maybe they'll remember things their grandparents did, or their parents when money may have been tighter, and share it with all of us too.

Watching pennies may still be only a 'just in case' choice for all of us, but it'll be nice to have others' experiences shared too.

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debra

To make it simple people are connecting like never before we now have a coommon link and we are more helpful to each other slowly we are getting to that place where we care for each other.

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T Shirts

While I can enjoy this, I do hope people are able to get back to work soon.

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KelR1

I've really learned to distinguish between needs and wants. I have reduced my spending and discovered that (suprise!) I'm just as happy, if not more so, living on less. Plus beinge extra frugal is fun in a way. It's a challenge to find extra money or really good deals. Money isn't everything, and I think this economy has reminded us all of that!

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Guest

Best thing about recession times is submitting comment to win $10
coupon :-) hope I win.

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Olivia

Things have always been tight for us. Those we know couldn't fathom our frugal ways. So we stopped talking about them. Having tightwad strategies already in place makes us less vulnerable to current shifts. Now we're able to encourage others there are options. When you can name drop Amy Dacyczyn and Mel Bartholomew in polite spendthrift company that's progress.

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Guest

I think the silver lining is that people are finally trying to live within their means because there just isn't enough money to do otherwise. The effect on the environment and family ties is astoundingly positive! I love it! I never thought I would like a recession, but I think the boom of the 90s made us into spendthrifts, not thinking about tomorrow. Now the savings rate of Americans is up to 5% Wow! So, yes, while the recession sucks and I could lose my job and home tomorrow, at least we are seeing a return to values and spending wisely and I see that as a silver lining.

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Suzanne

This recession has brought our entire family back to basics.
Family has once again taken center stage - our entertainment tends to be with one another now, rather than at outside events that cost extra money for all of us.
We have brought our life styles back to basics - spending less, decluttering, and living a more healthy lifestyle with cleaner food and more exercise.
We are more thoughtful of those around us and we are continuing to extend help (emotionally, spiritually, and financially) to those in our community who are not as fortunate as we are.
We have found this recession to be a blessing in disquise for us.

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p

The recession brings out the goodwill in people. I have noticed more people giving or trading coupons with each other at the market. I think in the past we would have thrown out the sunday circulars without a second thought, but now people seem to be thinking "I may not need that 50 cent coupon off mac and cheese, but someone else does." At times the person in front of me at the checkout line will turn around as she is leaving and offer me her unused coupons "just in case." I have started to do the same and it never fails to make the recipient smile.

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Eric Michiels

I was "lucky" enough to loose my job about 8 months before the recession. This made me look into my finances and plan every penny we had. So when the recession hit, we were prepared to deal with it with our finances in order.

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Aaditi

We stopped internet service at my house, so I use library resources much more often. Since there's a internet time limit there, I've used my time much more wisely as I looked for work.

Guest's picture

I think the silver lining is that it is fostering a sense of community. People are bartering more. Even spending more time in the back yard gardening means that we're more likely to see our neighbors and chat casually. Some people are becoming more aware of hardship in their communities and the charities that serve those most in need. Frugality is less something to be ashamed of, and so it's talked about more. Tips and information are shared. I know it's not happening everywhere or for everyone, but I see small signs in my community, and I think it's good.

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Guest

I hope that this recession will make more Americans see that life is not about buying a huge house and filling it up with plastic and metal stuff. If we all move away from that idea, the planet will be a lot healthier and our lives will be richer.

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Breanna

I tend to see the silver lining as an overall societal thing - our financial system was a house of cards, and maybe we can build up something more solid next time. People were in too much debt; now we're slowly but surely getting out of it, and individuals will be better off in the long run.

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Guest

The silver lining for me is I am much more aware of house I should set up my finances. I also can buy a house much earlier then I had planned. I used to think it would take forever to buy a house, now I will own one this year.

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Pamela

Between the housing prices coming down some in our area, a new grant offered by the city, and the tax credit from the government, my husband and I are closing on a house in a month, instead of 2 or 3 years from now. I am so excited!!

Guest's picture

Rather than buying new a lot of folks are trying to make do with what they already own. This saves money and helps protect the Earth too!

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Shadox

The silver lining: as I am writing these lines, hundreds, maybe thousands of excellent people who have been been laid-off by companies large and small are starting countless new business. Some of these will become major corporations, drive innovation and create a brave new world.

That's something to celebrate.

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Traci

The best thing about this recession is that it has forced my friends and I to "get on the stick". For months (or years), we had a financial to-do list to accomplish. Re-evaluate insurance plans, shop around for cell phone plans, reduce the cable television package, make a budget, stick to the budget, cook more at home, etc. With the recession in full swing and job security a thing for storybooks, we have made excellent progress on these lists.

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Guest

My silver lining is spending every moment with my kids. I went back to work after maternity leave in January only to be laid off a month later. I've always been a working mom and love my career. When I was laid off I immediately pulled my kids from daycare and learned how to be a stay at home mom. Now I appreciate every moment with my two amazing children. I have learned so much about them and am now considering staying home with them indefinitely.

Guest's picture

I decided to write a blog post in response: What's the silver lining in this recession?.

Basically, my silver lining is that this recession is a lesson well learned and to be remembered for the rest of my life to never take financial and economic stability for granted again.

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Jim

. . . is being on a fixed income and being extremely low risk takers.

I retired in 2004 at 54 and my wife retired last year at 61. She started collecting SS this year and I have a nice union pension with health insurance. The current economy puts a convenient cap on inflation.

Three years ago I put all her 401-K savings into a guaranteed income fund because I felt the market was climbing too fast. We were a couple of years early but we did get out. That move saved us over $50K.

In 2003 we also got out of the CA real estate market - a few years early but still profitable.

We realize that we'll never be rich because of our conservative strategies but we'll never be broke either. I've seen the high-rollers hit it and lose it too many times.

Guest's picture

I always expected to not be rolling in the money at this point in my life, and so I'd rather see a downturn (wages/jobs diminished) now than at a point in my life where I might expect to earn more money.