The Great Recession may be over. However, many, including myself, haven't quite recovered. According to business.time.com, the shock of the Great Recession has caused us to change the way we manage our money. In fact, a recent Fidelity survey revealed that 78% of respondents "have taken steps to shore up their finances." Like many Americans, I'm still in financial disaster mode. Here is how the Great Recession has transformed my spending habits.
During the Great Recession, both my husband and I experienced more furlough days in the teaching profession. In addition, we paid more money for our insurance. As a result, we had to eliminate some of our luxuries. After having children, we went from a double to single income. Thus, we kept living a simple life. We got rid of our land line, our cable and our gardener. This saved us $200 a month. Although we are making more money now, we have decided not to reinstate our cable and gardening services. These little luxuries are no longer important to us. In addition, we would rather save this money.
Since the recession, we have been budgeting more. Two or three times a year, we will look at our expenses, add up our bills and see how much we are spending. Then, we look to find areas where our budget can be trimmed. Last time we did this, I got rid of a magazine subscription. We looked for ways to reduce our utility bills. Finally, we decided we were spending too much on our grocery bill. Frequent budgeting keeps our spending in check; even if we have some extra money to burn.
More Bargain Hunting
I have always taken advantage of freebies and online reward programs. However, I have expanded the amount of bargain hunting I do. I started using comparison shopping and sale alert websites more frequently. In addition, I'm taking advantage of more cash back programs. Finally, I do surveys and other small jobs to supplement our income. As a result, I earn and save more.
As the economy recovers, we are more frugal with our extra money. Before, we may have spent our extra money on improvements to our house. However, now we just put the money away for a rainy day emergency. We try to save $100-$200 a month.
For my family, tough financial times have led to permanent lifestyle changes.
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