As I reflect on 2010, here are 10 lessons I think we, as a society, have learned this year.
- Clipping coupons is cool again. People no longer assume the only ones clipping coupons are 75 year old grannies with 11 cats. Couponing has become socially acceptable across the socio economic spectrum.
- Bartering is cool again. People have embraced the concept that they have skills that are valuable. Trading services such as income tax filing for yard maintenance is a win/win for everyone (assuming it is an equitable trade).
- Imaginary money is just that…imaginary! Raiding retirement plans or using the equity in homes “because it’s a sure thing” isn’t a sure thing…as so many people painfully learned this year.
- Downsizing doesn’t mean downgrading. Whether it was a smaller living space, smaller car, or a shorter commute many have realized that bigger isn’t always better.
- Free is cool again! Free movies, kids eating out free at restaurants, public libraries, etc…we’re no longer ashamed to take advantage of freebies.
- Be grateful for the job you have. With so many unemployed people waiting for a job, the idea that “they can take this job & shove it” has become a distant, faded memory.
- Luxuries are just that…luxuries! People have realized that designer purses, exotic trips, home theater systems, etc. are nice…if you can afford them. Going camping is better than losing sleep trying to figure out how to pay for that trip to Maui.
- Cooking is cool again. Americans are eating out less & relying on processed foods less. Real honest to goodness meals at home are not only healthier, they cost less. And we’re lovin‘ that (unless of course, you work in the food services industry!).
- Repairing items is often better than replacing them. People are keeping their cars longer, having tailors mend garments, refinishing furniture. etc.
- Save is no longer a 4 letter word. If you had told someone 5 years ago to increase (or simply start) their savings, they likely would have called you a worrier. Oh what a difference 5 years makes! People are saving money now; it may not be a lot given the current economy, but the notion of a savings account or emergency fund is something most of us have embraced.
These are just my observations. Feel free to agree or disagree with any of them. If you have another lesson you think we’ve learned in 2010, leave a comment & let us know!
(Image courtesy of North Folk Parents.)