What Does the Word "Recession" Mean to You? (Answer for a Chance to Win $10!)

By Linsey Knerl on 14 July 2009 (Updated 1 August 2009) 56 comments
Photo: Nesster

Winners update!! -- Congrats to the following winning submissions:

  • What Recessions means to me... Submitted by Kristin (comment #16):  "Well, I was laid off, and many, many of my friends have been too, or had their hours/salaries reduced. Sounds like a recession to me."
  • @Karen604  "Recession means things take longer cooking at home, line drying clothes, combining shopping trips. But it's good in end"

Economists have it defined.   News anchors provide ample commentary on what it is and how it affects us.  But what about the "real" people living in today's economy?  Do they "feel" the recession?  What do they think a recession really is?  Tell us for a chance to score some quick Amazon cash! 

This one is easy.  Just share your comments on what you think the word "recession" means.  It can be your own personal experience, what you learned about it in college, or what you wish the media was really telling us about how it works (or in this case, doesn't work.)  Do you have extra commentary on when it will end? Or are you just completely fed up with the use of the word altogether?  We'd love to hear your thoughts for a chance to win!

Those of you who aren’t familiar with the “drill,” read below for full details:

Win a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate

We're doing two giveaways -- one for random comments, and another one for a random tweets.

How to Enter:

  1. Post your answer in the comments below, or
  2. Tweet your answer.  Include both "@wisebread" and "#WBTrivia" 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 Thursday, July 16th at 11:59am CST. Winners will be announced after July 16th on the original post and via Twitter. Winners will also be contacted via email and Twitter Direct Message.
  • You can enter both drawings -- once by leaving a comment and once by tweeting.
  • Only tweets that contain both "@wisebread" and "#WBTrivia" will be entered. (Otherwise, we won't see it.)

 Good luck!

For additional "recession" related reading, try these articles:

Preparing for a Recession

How Your Small Business Can Survive the Recession

DIY Entertainment - A Recipe for Recession

 

 

 

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Guest's picture

We asked a 3rd grade child to define a list of financial words and recession was one of them:

"A recession is when a lot of grownups go out to recess, but they don't want to."

Our own answer is "What recession?" Behind every breakdown is a blessing!

Guest's picture

The "c" button on my keyboard doesn't work well. Just reposting to correct the spelling mistakes.

We asked a 3rd grade child to define a list of financial words and recession was one of them:

"A recession is when a lot of grownups go out to recess, but they don't want to."

Our own answer is "What recession?" Behind every breakdown is a blessing!

Guest's picture

To me the recession makes me uncomfortable which in turn inspires me to make the changes in my life that I've always been meaning to do but were just too darn comfortable in my life to do.

I once spoke to a SBA counselor who said that most businesses are started in a recession. That's because when people are comfortable they are less likely to do anything but when their back is against the wall, they'll go out and make things happen. To me, that's what the recession is all about. Forcing people to make things happen.

Guest's picture
Guest

Being in a recession means that everyone is pressured to act the way we should have been acting all along -- saving more, not wasting money, not going on fancy vacations, etc.

Guest's picture
MichaelM

The recession means I am now at a lower paying job, and cannot afford an air conditioner this summer. It also means that we are scrimping heavily to be able to afford a furnace by winter time.

Guest's picture
Lauren A.

means it is time for everyone to re-evaluate their spending habits and investment strategies and re-think what is really important to them in life. a recession is also a time to find creative, fun, and cheap ways to spend time with those closest to you in addition to finding ways to make less of an impact on the environment.

Guest's picture
Olivia

That we have to more creative in our summer plans!

We have come up with a list of 100 fun, frugal things to do this summer! When we finish an activity, we mark it with a sparkly star sticker!

I didn't want our girls to feel their summer was not exciting because they won't be traveling to Disney World or spending weekends at the shore!

We are having a blast filling our days with inexpensive crafts, recipes and games!

Guest's picture
Jamie

Despite what TV commercials advertise, the recession isn't all staying home to play Jenga or painting your own toenails.

To me, a recession is when there is a definite spirit of worry in the air about money that has a real affect on individual's spending habits that show up in the big, overall economy. In other words, worry about money goes up, spending money goes down.

Guest's picture
Marion

I automatically think of the textbook definition of a recession: when unemployment rises and GDP falls for at least two consecutive quarters.

In practice, it means that this summer I am taking summer classes instead of working full time.

Guest's picture
Andrew M

Means I have to try to win $10 from websites by posting comments.

Guest's picture
stefanie

for me, this recession has meant seeing a lot more homes in my area up for sale and empty buildings where businesses that were really useful to the neighborhood used to be. now they stand empty, no one is paying rent on them to the building's owners, and the neighborhood/ community is suffering.

as a grad student for the past 8 years, i've had a lot of experience living on very low wages, so that's not as much of an issue. but it means my school can no longer support me in finishing up my phd wok, so i need to take out more student loans for the next academic year. that really sucks, as the employment prospects for after graduation aren't looking so good.

Guest's picture
Therese

To me, a recession means worrying about whether everyone in your extended family will be able to take care of themselves and their families, since jobs keep disappearing.

Guest's picture
Kristin

A agree that a recession means financial worry: more worry for some than others, but sprinkled liberally throughout the country.

Guest's picture
Kristin

Sorry, that should be "I agree".

Guest's picture
Emily

To me, it means mind games and lost confidence. I remember from my econ classes how so much is based on people's perception of the markets and economy. Once people hear the word "recession," things just get worse. Even people who have saved and aren't particularly affected by recent events start to become paranoid. A recession calls for carefully considered decisions, a good understanding of the facts, and a well-informed public and media.

Guest's picture
Kristin

Well, I was laid off, and many, many of my friends have been too, or had their hours/salaries reduced. Sounds like a recession to me.

Guest's picture

In the long and glorious tradition of Franklin Roosevelt.

Guest's picture
Kevin

I'm not American, but didn't the recession start BEFORE the Democrats were in charge?

And also, how does that theory work out when you consider that this is a global recession, and other countries have various parties of various political ideologies in charge, which may or may not be in line with your Democrats?

Guest's picture
Kevin

We started this recession with one income down for the count, but luckily it came with an acceptable severance package.

Our total household income between the two of us is now about 15% higher than before; we've paid off almost all of our debt, and we bought a house. All of this would have been unthinkable before this recession.

How did this happen? We went through our own personal recession, and we learned how to live. When the real recession hit, we were well equipped to survive and thrive. We already had the skills that many other people had to suddenly acquire. We can see the opportunities, and we shared and exchanged tips with our friends and family, who are also (mostly) weathering the storm nicely.

Guest's picture
Byron

Being in a recession is when you are can't purchase a new keyboard due to a faulty "c" key (no offence 3 Year Challenge) and a million people reply to a post about what a recession is for a chance to win a $10 dollar prize.

Guest's picture
Kathryn

Recession means a little bit of money-guilt, because I'm doing better financially than I ever have in my life. My sister, meanwhile (who for the longest time was better off than me), is having a harder time of it due to the economy and the nature of her household's income.

I also agree with Emily that it bugs a little how the media plays on people's fears, even though many people (maybe even the majority?) are not directly affected through job loss or reduced income.

Guest's picture
Matt B

When I think recession, I picture a beautiful, lustrous hairline...going away.
This receding hairline, unlike the effects of recession will not be back.
I see a recession as a temporary stoppage of growth and a time to reflect on why the growth has stopped.

Guest's picture
Amy

I most strongly equate a recession with jobs disappearing.

My fiance graduated with his bachelor's this May and the job hunt is awful, especially in mid-michigan.

Guest's picture
GT0163C

To me, this recession seems to be about people being anxious over jobs and being more conservative about spending. Personally, I haven't felt a lot of the effects. My job is currently secure (or as secure as it can be in a fluctuating industry which relies upon military funding). But I know multiple people who have either been laid off or will be soon. The prospects for finding new jobs are slim. Some of my high school kids at church have mentioned that they've had a tough time finding part time jobs.

I am kinda enjoying the sales and deals that I've been able to get and anticipate that this will continue for at least the next few months.

Guest's picture
DJ

To me the word "recession" means increased traffic from student who are applying for financial aid. I am a financial aid counselor at a technical college and we have seen a dramatic rise (roughly 34%) over this same time last year, in the number of FAFSA applications. On a daily basis I deal with student who have been laid off or had their hours reduced due to the "recession". I have also seen first hand the incredible numbers of people who are flocking to technical schools as their savior to re-tool and equip themselves for a career change as a result of job loss or reduced income as a direct result on our "recession". Unfortunately for me, "recession" means job security.

Guest's picture
Molly

Recession - when every day, on every morning news show, there are lessons on saving money, and they're HILARIOUS to those of us who are already frugal! Examples: "buy generic", "turn your heater down in the winter", and "consider downgrading your cell phone plan".

:-)

Guest's picture
Misty

My family has been fortunate so far, we both have good stable jobs. However, many people I know (in their mid 20s) have been laid off and unable to find a job, making the "recession" real to me.
In our house, it encourages my husband to curtail his spending and for us to re-evaluate our finances to be more frugal. It also reduces the "shame factor" of eating bagged lunches, using coupons religiously and looking for the best deal as others are also feeling the pinch.

Guest's picture

A recession is an economic phenomenon that causes everyone to redefine their lifestyle and daily routine.

Example: I went to Goodwill recently (an ordinary activity for a college student) and couldn't find a parking space. The store was located in a middle class/upper-middle class town (Orland Park, IL). Just when you think you know the severity of an event, little things like that will take you by surprise.

Guest's picture
Amy

The recession around here means cheaper purchases and vacations; I'm luckily not personally affected much yet and have been able to save. I sold my house for a small loss but at least it's sold. I like that people are slowing down and thinking about their spending and saving; that switch from mass consumption to thoughtful use of resources is long overdue.

Guest's picture
chester moon

I look at recession as a time of opportunity. To me this is when investors make money. I know this is counter to what most people think, however I do believe its all about perception and position.

When the market was going good I could not afford to buy a house. Now that the market is bad, I can't afford not to. There are great buys all over in houses. With the stock market down there are a lot of undervalued stocks to pick up, In a strong economy there are very few if any bargains. If I wanted to start a business there are bargains to be had in the form of talented labor and cheaper start up costs.

This is all dependent on how you are setup financially. If you are not financially sound its hell, however if you are its heaven.

Guest's picture
Kristen

Recession to me means we've been spending too much and not saving enough money.

Guest's picture
deymiss

I heard this once and thought it was apt.... recession is when your neighbor loses his job, depression is when you lose yours. We have experienced both!

Guest's picture
sbm

recession means going without. even more than before.

i'm with andrew (10) and byron (19), too.

Guest's picture
Cathy

Panic and sensationalism from the media, highlighting the fiscally irresponsible masses.

And, pouncing on the opportunity for a $10 Amazon gift card.

Guest's picture
Laura

For me, "recession" means that my husband and I have put our plans to start a family on hold. We're stranded on the wrong side of the country from our own families, and in this depressed job market, it looks like it's going to be close to impossible for him to find a job back home.

Guest's picture
Kelli

To me, recession means the general economic situation in this country isn't so great right now but I know that recessions do end, so in the meantime it's just doing your best to spend wisely when necessary and save as much as possible. Basically, just being smart with your money which we should ALWAYS aim for no matter what the financial climate!

Guest's picture
p

I'm going to be a bit cynical. "Recession" in my neck of upper-mid to affluent suburbia means that my snotty neighbors are shocked to find out that not only is Dunkin Donuts coffee cheaper than Starbucks but it tastes just as good- gasp! It also means the housewives are flocking to Coach since their bags cost "only" $300 vs the $1300 Louis Vuitton.

Guest's picture

I think this is the first "recession" i've lived through that I've actually noticed the effects. The malls aren't nearly as crowded as the were a few years ago. We just got back from a vacation at the beach and was surprised at the lack of a wait at our favorite resturants. In addition, I've seen more "name-brand" stores close. We've lost our FoodWorld and will be losing our Blockbuster soon.

Thanks,
Ashley Sherer

Guest's picture
Guest

To me, recession means taking a "recess" from a materialistic, got-to-have-more national attitude. It means taking stock of what is really important and necessary to my quality of life. It means learning that less is more. It means watching out for others, quietly helping and expanding the definition of who is "family." It means an opportunity, born of painful and difficult circumstances to exceed survival into thriving.

Guest's picture
Guest

Recession: When your neighbor loses their job.
Depression: When you lose your job.
Recovery: When Obama loses his.

Written with a smile...please read it that way :-)

Guest's picture
Shannon

Recession makes people understand what ethical and moral financial responsibility is all about. It allows us time to focus our energies on what is important in life and take a real hard look at what are true needs and wants.

For us, this recession was a blessing and an eye opener. My husband is now an talented unemployed Architect and I am an talented underemployed Web Developer. Why was it a blessing? Well, we now understand the importance of family and how easily people can be sidetracked into the non-important things in life that take time away from those true blessings of life. Only when you live without cable do you remember what it was like to get outside and feel the grass between your toes.

Guest's picture
matt

Recession is when common sense should kick back in (and hopefully never leave again)

Guest's picture
Brent

Recession to me is pretty simple, getting back to basics and removing the "fluff" that was never needed from your life and society in general when times were better.

Whether this is happening now is a debate, I think we would be in a much better situation without government propping up companies that should have failed therefore interfering with this natural process. Now we are prolonging the economic recovery and taking on a ton of debt to help these inferior companies.

Guest's picture
Guest

The word that comes to mind is "mindful" - mindful of our spending habits, our neighbor's needs, our blessings. This is the opposite, of course, of "mindless," what too many of us tend toward in times of plenty.

Guest's picture
Guest

when my husband (a scientist) loses his job, gets his MBA, can't find a job as a scientist/MBA graduate, gets a job back as a scientist and 2 weeks later I lose my job (in finance).

Job losses hit all levels, all industries and a broader breadth of people than ever before.

Guest's picture
ryan

recession to me means that things may return to a little more normalcy.

Guest's picture

I heard that in grad-school too.

Guest's picture
Lauren

A recession is when I start feeling really smart about keeping my relatively low-paying but very secure job as an IT staff member at a university instead of flying the coop for a job in private industry that paid a lot more but could easily disappear.

Guest's picture
Guest

The recession to me means there's little money coming in to a great deal of people. They in turn spend less than they usually do. In turn less money goes out to everyone and thusly less money comes in to a great deal of people. A lot of people spend less so a lot of people earn less.

Guest's picture
dymphna

an slowdown in economic activity. What goes up must come down.

Guest's picture
MikeS

Recession to me means that there is a substantial rise in unemployment. I work in Law Enforcement, which also means that I sometimes work longer hours, with little or no increase of pay due to budget constraints at the same time.

Guest's picture
Caity

To me, a recession is a time to take a "recess" from our hectic everyday lifestyle and focus on clarifying our goals and agendas. While the current financial crisis has been a rude awakening, it's an excellent time to take a step back, evaluate what we really need, reorganize personal finances and a sensible budget, and remember what's really important in life.

Guest's picture
Cate

think twice [at least!] before spending once.

Guest's picture
Stephanie

I think a recession means that documented economic trends indicate higher job less, less financial security, and less sales. I think that it means to individuals that they need to actually examine their spending and saving habits instead of just cutting back one coffee a week and ignoring debt!!

Guest's picture

Recession means saving money, but unwilling.

Guest's picture
Mariel Martinez

If you look at a dictionary you can find the definition of recession. However, it will not give you the whole concept and how it is perceived, or why it happens...

Recession is the part of a cycle that most people do not like when it comes to the economic terms... (Remember, recession does not necesarilly defines economic terms, may be applied to other areas)

Sometimes, people have extremely good times. When they do, they forget about the bad times, and think that those good times will last forever. When they start acting af if there was no past nor there will be a future, recession hits to remember everyone that when you are in good shape, you must prepare a ¨cushion¨ for keep it that way, once the time of prosperity passes...

It is kind of going a long straigh road... Initially people get bored, so, they go faster because they need exciment; they forget that they can get that exciment other ways- and they forget that the road eventually has to end, but by the time you hit the brakes, you crash... It´s better when you are starting the road to be at a regular speed and use the resources to get a tv for the car, to get better food, to buy some maps (even if the road is straight), etc... By the time everyone else is crash at the end of the road, you are probably half way anyway, and have more resources than they do...

This is why, this economic recession term will be harder and longer than the one in the 1930´s... Before, good times meant more vacations and risky investments (that was the exciment back then), a few of which gave great results and nobody would ever consider buying a house they could not afford... and people did not owe money because they bought unnecesary items or overpriced houses (which is the exciment now) and now, the freedom you once had to get stuff to fullfill a space, is gone, with the space getting bigger and bigger due to the overcrowing of stuff you tried to put in...

That is the meaning of recession, you forget there is a natural cycle and a time for doing things, you impose yourself a limit and push it no matter how unnatural it may be, and then, nature hits you back, leaving you where you started when you were born: alone, naked, crying, needing someone else to help you out with everything... Only this time, you are fully grown, and you have become a freak in nature itself since your time to be a baby is over...