How The Down Economy Made Us More Wealthy

by Jerrico_Usher

Surviving In A Down Economy Is Just As Easy As Thriving In A Down Economy - It Boils Down To "How" You Budget

As we all know the economy is suffering right now. I think it is time we started to think about making some better buying decisions. If you think about it, the down economy wasn’t all bad. Note I said if you "THINK ABOUT IT".

It taught us to pay closer attention to our very way of spending, saving, and becoming more economical. It taught us to do this in ways that allowed us to budget better to get what we wanted without losing anything we wanted or needed in the process. For many of us, this wasn't a choice if we didn't want to suffer hard times. That ambition sparked in us built new and lucrative habits we can use far into the next "good" economy.

The fuel hikes taught us to think better about our driving habits and even the type of vehicles we drove. The economy has improved drastically (although still down), but if we come out of this time period of, for many, “Challenging times” without learning the lessons that will help us grow in a GOOD economy- to become more successful and wealthier than we were- then we didn’t learn a thing meaning the suffering and hard work of “surviving” was for not.


The Lessons Learned From Our Down Economy!

The fact is, many of us started to think harder about things like our homes. Replacing or adding more insulation to keep the energy we do pay for from escaping out the roof. Many of us that were wasting money on gas to drive a huge truck or SUV changed to a smaller vehicle and got used to it so when the economy recovers they’ll have saved themselves more money in gas that can be used for more fun, investment, etc…

Kirkland is a Cosco Brand (Generic or store brand) Excedrin is Name Brand

See the huge difference in price and value?
$14.99  $0.99

Double-Branding Awareness

Many of us learned how to shop economically and realized that many of the generic brands of products that mentioned “compare to ___” were actually made by the same company but sold under the “store brand” to people that simply couldn’t afford to keep up with the Joneses by buying name brands. But realized that they actually were! Many wouldn't have "tried" the off brand to discover this truth- but money being tight, made us reconsider alternatives. This is a lasting change- an awareness shift from being marketed to to realizing brands true motives.

Those that realized that store brands were re-branded from the actual companies that make the same product (but changed colors and tastes slightly as to throw you off) when they were forced to get the “cheaper” alternative, won’t be switching back to “Excedrin or Tylenol PM” when they know that the generic brand (again same companies) is the EXACT same thing- have now saved themselves like 8.00 a bottle, and the same thing for ibuprofen. The same goes forward towards just about any product that's "double-branded"- one for brand recognition (more expensive for no reason) and one for those who always refused to or simply couldn't afford the name (but could afford the "product").

Certain foods depend on brand "flavors" so buying cereal by a strange brand (not store brand) means you may get a nasty tasting product- but store brands are almost always just re-branded name brand products in a generic package and often the food inside is also changed to throw you off the scent.

Only $11.94
Only $3.38

Dollar Tree Thrived In This Economy

Others discovered that the dollar tree foods aren’t all bad (although cereal is horrendous there). The 5.00 macaroni and cheese box (with the cheese sauce included) tastes exactly the same as the 1.00 version at the dollar tree (I was very picky on this particular product but my fiancé made me try it and I was astonished).

Although the challenges seemed harsh, the things we learned and grew from (and even realized how silly we were being by being brainwashed by “branding”) really took our money spending value up a notch.

More People Shopped Online After "Experiencing" The Product "offline"

Granted buying Nike shoes over pro-wings didn’t change- but learning to purchase Nike’s online after seeing what exact model number/type you wanted looked like, felt like, and what size worked best at Foot Locker stores, then went home and found the wholesale sites sell them for 50% of the store cost due to no overhead and trying hard to compete with offline stores that people were used to buying from (and wasting money).

We learned that buying ANYTHING online can be 50% cheaper and thus we have more money to indulge in the things we used to, simply by changing “HOW” we shop, what we trust, and even learning that online purchases can be done with a pre-paid credit card if you were once worried about identity theft- they can be put in no name, or any sudo name you want- secure!

We learned about things we’d of likely never thought of like that changing all the light bulbs in your home to those low wattage high light output bulbs not only helps the power grid companies pan out less “rolling blackouts” when electricity is used up on hot days (air conditioners etc…), but we also learned to lower our electrical bill without doing much more than swapping out bulbs (and can leave them on longer with less expense even then!).

We also realized that those bulbs don’t get hot like the normal ones do so our kids are safer around them, our house won’t burn up if the lamp falls over and the bulb rests on the carpet!

Restructure budgeting

Overall We Learned To Restructure HOW We Do Things

The realization of how things really are not how we've been brainwashed to believe they were- changed how we thought and that is an investment in your education!

These things became a habit that will serve us far into the good economy- but more importantly we learned to better survive if the economy never picks up or if we find ourselves in this again.

For some, breaking out of a dead end job and into a career became a necessity so the economy forced them to better themselves and liberate their mind, time, and gave them more time with their family.

Many people who came up in their business, their jobs, etc… that would have normally normalized their ability to live the same way they were (ignorant of how to properly get the most bang for their bucks), discovered that they can live happy by living smarter and now have MORE money than they would have- consistently.

Many of us realized that we were very irresponsible with the way we spent the money we made and came to realize that we could be twice as wealthy simply by diverting our funds to more lucrative things.

We also realized that the technology and venues were there to give us the ability to double our money without making a penny more than we were making, just in how we spent the money we did have! Perceptively this was the same money but the spending power- the true mark of how we view inflation- changed and inflation for many in fact, went down- and money's value up!

Warehouse Bulk

Warehouse/Wholesale In Bulk Stores

Buying the same foods cheaper, buying in bulk, buying in bulk with family to get the discount and using Tupperware to store the foods that don’t spoil- even utilizing those Costco and cash-&-carry warehouse stores to get our food saved a ton of money and increased our quality of life.

If you don’t need 3 gallons of cooking oil but your entire family and friends base all use the same oils- why not chip in purchase the bulk oil, then separate it (divvy it up) and store it in the last bottle you had bought and used up (recycle the container as a "refillable" container) and now pay 1.00 for the same amount of the SAME NAME BRAND oil?

You could in fact offer your friends/family a "refill" service on their cooking oils (and many more things) simply by taking the initiative to buy the super bulk oil by Crisco or any other brand they use, and having them come by to refill their overpriced bottle for half what they'd pay normally.

You can even go to their house and offer more than one thing. You could actually turn a profit this way by figuring out what the normal price is and how many bottles you can refill from one "tub" of the name brand super bulk items. In a way you become their "delivery" Costco, and make money in the process of saving them money!

We learned to live better on the same money and to double our income not by stressing out trying to get a raise but by thinking smarter to give ourselves a raise.

We also realized that this was not something that only happened because of the economy- but the economy made us, forced us, to think about things harder and thus things like this that have been around for a century already- were useful, available.

We could have saved this money all along- in fact it’s easier to re-purpose our budget than to try to earn more money.

As Seen On TV, If It's Worth It Will End Up In Stores Cheaper- No Shipping

Another great thing we realized is that most of those cool but cheap products sold on infomercials would eventually- like the Movies to VHS in the 80’s make it into the stores at a much lower price up to a year later.

Many make it to the dollar tree like those really amazing (we got some) bottle tops for cans of soda that make it possible to preserve the carbonation.

They were 20.00 then later 10.00 for a set of 12. I just bought a set noticed the same company (Telebrands) made them, at the dollar tree for a whopping dollar- and since I live in Oregon- I pay no sales tax, shipping (or forced shipping for a second set you can't opt out of on the commercial)!

If you wait a bit less than a year in fact- most things that are amazing and expensive come down in price (even televisions, cell phones etc...).

Let the wealthy pay for the “newness” of it and get it cheaper 6 months later- much cheaper. The iPhone is a good example. I can buy a new one for 200.00 online or I can get a used one (last model) for $50-$100.00 on eBay. I even found a way to contact sellers on eBay to get a discounted price by offering to buy in bulk if applicable.

Speaking Of eBay... You Can Save A Fortune If You Realize A Few Things...

Don't buy through eBay for more than one of anything- you can contact the buyer, slip in your email address (this may take cleverness but one way I did it was to code an email (if sent through eBay's propitiatory email system) or figure out if they have a .com site.

Using who-is sites I can find their actual email or a way to contact them by phone from their whois data- many eBay sellers feel they are getting ripped off in eBay's ever increasing fees and they'd be delighted to sell to you at the price less the eBay fees!

Many eBay sellers are hoping you will buy from them once then find their off-eBay store where they can make a better profit. If a friend has already bought something this seller offers, and they are willing to help you, you can use their purchase to do this (to get yours outside of eBay cheaper on their site, or find their site often in the package sent to the customer/ your friend). Taking initiative saved me thousands this way! I saw opportunity.

The last model of the iPhone does practically everything the new one does with a few concessions missing like a better camera- but why do you need one more mega-pixel when you can’t even print out or use more than 2.0 megapixels anyway?

I learned a lot from the down economy. I don’t make a ton of money but what I make is incredibly efficiently spent - and I don’t penny pinch at all.

It’s not about being a penny pincher, or a scrooge, but in realizing you have options- many of them accessible without any more work- just changing your routine to go to the dollar tree for a few things and the grocery store for others.

Many things you’d find at your local grocery store are also found at the dollar tree- some aren’t as good- many are. For example you can buy an extended candle lighter (the one with a trigger) for 4.00 at Safeway but the SAME thing can be found for 1.00 at the dollar tree.

Using coupons?

I’ve saved 40.00 at a time using coupons I found IN THE STORE, on their own circulars for food I was already buying, and in some cases I tried a new brand of orange juice and you know what? I tasted BETTER! I also realized that my local grocery stores have buy one get one free sales all the time but there is a formula you can figure out to when they happen. You can wait, buy a lot of your items for months in one shopping trip for 50% of the normal price AND get another set free!

Stores Put Often The Same Items On Sale Every Other Month- But Different Branches Of Their Store Do This On Different Time Tables!

The thing I also realized was that Safeway 15 miles from my house and the one a mile away have sales at DIFFERENT times. This means the buy one get one free is happening just about every week, just at different stores at different times!

Most people just sit around and wait for the economy to recover through the efforts of others. By making better buying decisions, educating yourself about the reality of marketing, sales, and business, and paying attention to things, itemizing what you believe and know, and where that "information" came from in the first place- you can make better choices.

What choices will you make?

Being wealthy or poor comes down to choices

Some people make 1200 a month and live lavishly; others make 1200 and live broke- with no kids, no high expenses, but bad choices. (the same works out for people with kids and a higher income)

I've seen a family of 4 survive lavishly on 1200.00 a month while a single individual living with her parents makes the same money has 1/100th the overhead/expenses- and is depressed because she feels "poor"!

This is what really got me thinking about the economy and what makes one person rich and one poor- it's CHOICES you make. When you gain control of your financial situation you become your own money tree.

Good Luck! Share your savings/budget/awareness ideas and things you do or figured out in the comments! Help everyone reach wealth at minimum wage even...

Updated: 07/01/2012, Jerrico_Usher
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Jerrico_Usher on 07/03/2012

The economy hasn't really affected me because I've been working online for 5 years now and what we do (writing) is actually recession proof, but what really hurt was the gas hikes... I used to be able to go a week on 5.00 now it's 200.00 :P

2uesday on 07/02/2012

Strangely growing our own food was one of the things that changed my attitude to wasting things. I am not into buying things with designer name on but if I can grow something and make a meal from it, I am happy. Just think of all those food miles I am saving and my carbon footprint must be shrinking, while I am saving the pennies or maybe I should say cents.
Re/ The name. Not really it has several hidden meanings in it which is something I like to do when writing fiction.

Jerrico_Usher on 07/02/2012

It's mind blowing how much we've changed since the economy went into a down state, but in the end I think we're better off for it. Thanks for your feedback Sue! Shouldn't your name be Suesday? :)

2uesday on 07/02/2012

The number of car journeys people take has dropped with the upping of fuel prices here.
Also the increased heating cost made people think about taking the step of turning down the thermostat slightly. If we think about what we are doing we become more 'canny' and wise in the way we shop and this can cut down on waste. It is sad though, to see town centers with shops closed down because of the recession here in the UK.

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