The Upside of the Economic Downturn: Smarter Shopping Habits

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The recession opened up consumers’ eyes to something that seems completely obvious in retrospect: For a long time, people had been habitually spending money impulsively, foolishly, wastefully. We all know that consumers have reduced spending since the onset of the recession. What’s interesting is that people overwhelmingly describe the recession-related changes in spending as improvements. In one survey, 78% of Americans say the recession has changed their spending habits for the better.

That figure is among the many factoids and survey results presented in a new infographic “How Do Americans Feel About the Recession.” So, how to they (we) feel? Judging by that 78% figure, it seems like while the recession is obviously a bummer, it also has been something of a bitter medicine, causing discomfort while at the same time helping consumers in certain ways—making them smarter, more vigilant, more disciplined, more aware.

(The economic downturn may also help people figure out what is truly important in life, and what truly makes them happy. For more on that, read Ten GOOD Things to Come Out of the Great Recession.)

Here, with’s permission, is the infographic, which not only shows overall survey results, but reveals the thoughts, feelings, and actions of those hit hardest by the recession: people who are unemployed and actively seeking work.