As the national economy continues to wreak havoc on many Americans’ lives, even those who remain relatively unscathed by the recession are feeling the need, whether for appearances’ sake or otherwise, to reconsider their spending habits—but will it last?
The New York Times:
“I think this economy was a good way to cure my compulsive shopping habit,” Maxine Frankel, 59, a high school teacher from Skokie, Ill., said as she longingly stroked a diaphanous black shawl at a shop in the nearby Chicago suburb of Glenview. “It’s kind of funny, but I feel much more satisfied with the things money can’t buy, like the well being of my family. I’m just not seeking happiness from material things anymore.”
Holly Moreno, 30, a part-time Web site manager in the Dallas suburb of Rowlett, Tex., whose husband is a business analyst, said she had been taking her 2-year-old son to indoor playgrounds at the mall and free story-times at the library instead of paying to get into the children’s museum, their favorite wintertime haunt. “Even though we’re secure with our jobs, you’ve still got to plan for just-in-case,” she said, “especially because we have a kid.”
To many, the adjustment feels less like a temporary, emergency response than a permanent recalibration, one they view in terms of ethics rather than expediency.
“It’s kind of like we all went overboard,” Ms. Taylor, 33, said. “And we’re trying to get back to where we should have been.”
Not everyone thinks the new restraint will last. Ms. Riley, 37, who lives in Atlanta, said she doubted it would extend beyond the recession.
“I do think that maybe now it’s a little bit chic or something to save money, or to be pinching pennies,” she said. Just as she stopped carpooling when gas prices went down, she said, she predicted that people would start buying again when the economy rebounded. “That’s just my own, maybe, cynical belief,” she said.