What I Miss About the Recession

by Xin Lu on 29 March 2013 8 comments
Photo: Ed Yourdon

The recent "Great Recession" was officially deemed to be over in 2009, but it is only recently that the economic recovery seems to have really picked up speed. While it is nice to see the stock market go up and the unemployment rate go down, I do miss a few things about the recessionary years. I'm not actually looking forward to the next recession, of course, but when it comes (and it will, some time), here's what I'll be looking forward to more of. (See also: Preparing for a Recession)

Less Traffic

Lately I have definitely felt that traffic has increased during commute hours. It is great that more people are getting jobs, but I do miss the shorter commute times and less congested roads. Apparently the increase in traffic is happening all around the country, and the National Safety Council reported the first increase in traffic related fatalities in years.

Shorter Lines

During the recession we rarely had to wait for a spot at a restaurant, but now that is very common. Restaurants that did not need a reservation during the recession are bustling once again. It is great to see establishments have more business, but it was nice to eat in sparsely populated dining rooms where it was easier to hear your friends across the table. There were also shorter lines at many malls and parks.

Bargains

It was much easier to find a bargain during the recession. You could negotiate down the price of almost everything, including rent. Hotels and travel were also cheap, and there were more restaurant coupons than I could use.

Lately I have definitely seen fewer sales and coupons and an increase in prices on most goods and services. Large ticket items such as furniture and real estate were being sold at below replacement cost during the last recession, but now it is much more difficult to find a bargain that good.

Frugality and Saving

In the last few years everyone talked about saving instead of buying that next big thing. The frugal people were suddenly not so crazy!

Now it seems that the tide is turning, and saving money is beginning to be uncool again. The zero interest environment does not help the savers' argument at all, and there seems to be less urgency for everyone to save as a whole. The funny thing is that saving during the lean years when you have less income is much harder than saving during the flush years. I do miss that more people cared about saving money during the recession, and I hope they realize that they should try to save more now to prepare for the next recession.

There are many things about the last few years that were not very nice, but I definitely saw the brighter side of the worst economy since World War II. I hope some of you were able to get some great bargains that you could use for years to come, and that you are keeping up those good frugal habits you have learned. In the next recession those who have cash will have many more choices than those who don't.

What do you miss about the recession?

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Guest's picture
Batman

End of recession? Unemployment's gone down? I'll have what your smoking please.

Guest's picture
Someone's Mom

I'd have some too--if I could afford it.

Guest's picture
Michael

Yeah, I noticed that during the recession, we barely had to wait for a table when we would go out to eat. Of course, we started our family during that time, so I attribute that partially that we go more to family friendly places, which I would guess would have shorter lines anyways.

Guest's picture
Bryan

I would say the price of travel, and hotels. Even Disney had some solid prices on their resorts, and often offered the Disney Dining Plus plan for free.

Guest's picture
Someone's Mom

Sure, unemployment has gone down. Many people receiving benefits have reached the end. They can't file a new claim, because you have to have worked during the past year to file. And just try to find a job if you have been unemployed that long. Or if you are over 60. Or if the job you can do can be done more cheaply overseas.

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Laura

I'm glad you're doing better but I'm just not seeing it.

Unemployment is now just a tick below the level it was when the President first took office, and according to the NYT, “Median Household Income Down 7.3% Since Start of Recession” - 5.6% of that is actually since the Obama "recovery" began. (Remember "Recovery Summer"? Good times...) And that's AFTER $6 trillion in deficit spending to stimulate the economy. Our household's standard of living has been gradually shrinking since 2009 right along with the rest of the country. We're still getting by but we started off economizing on little things, then bigger things and now there's just not much fat left to cut.

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Kelly

Another silver lining was my property taxes went down because my house wasn't valued as high. Granted, if you are a person that likes to upgrade every few years this was a nightmare, but I have been living in the same small house for 17 years with no plans to move any time soon. My house is paid for and by design we have made it so that we don't need both of our incomes to maintain our standard of living.

Guest's picture

What I miss most are the stock bargains. Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCL) at $6 -- my big fish that got away. Back then, though, buying stocks was like shooting fish in a barrel. Those were the days...