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Saturday, November 6, 2010

7 Reasons to be Thankful for the Recession

Whether you call it a recession, an economic downturn, or hard times, everyone has been effected, and rarely in a good way. While it's easy to look at the downside, I want to take a minute to look at the bright side. Here are 7 reasons I'm thankful for the recession.

1. Professional Wake-Up Call
Business has slowed down enough for me really look at what I've been doing, take stock of what I like and don't like, and the excuse I needed to change it.

2. More Food, More Fun
While business was rolling right along, I didn't have the time to cook, or even think about what I was eating. Now I'm eating healthier and better foods, reigniting my passion for cooking, and enjoying all of it a whole lot more!

3. Whole World View
I've always been passionate about the environment, that hasn't changed. But now that it's not just about the environment, but also about saving money, I've become more strict about my environmental choices, which makes me happy and proud. I buy props from garage sales and used stores, avoid buying new whenever possible. Not to mention saving on gas means saving money, too. Also, I've had the time to call up all those catalog companies and request to be taken off their mailing list.

4. Materialism Isn't Happiness
I've never considered myself a shop-o-holic, or anywhere close, but I've often found myself wondering if buying something would solve my problem before I'd consider a buying-free option. For example: organization. Instead of looking at my current organizational system and seeing what needed to be changed, I'd think "If I buy this shelving unit, would that help me be more organized?" The answer is often No. Instead, I started looking at it backwards--"Here are these 4 piles of things that need to be organized. What is the best way to do that? Do I currently own something that would help me? Do I need these things at all? Could I turn them digital instead of keeping the originals?" Then, if when I was done organizing, I decided a shelving unit would help, then I could go from there. Mostly, I found I didn't need it.

5. Expenses, Expenses, Expenses
I find that life is often a balance between time and money. If you don't have the time, you have the money. If you don't have the money, you have the time. So, now that I've had the time, I've carefully gone through my expenses and found small and large ways to save money. I lowered my cable bill by $20/month without losing any services. I return things I purchase if they don't fit/work instead of setting it in a corner until the receipt expires. I've fixed things that are broken instead of replacing them. I've canceled services I forgot I had, sold things I no longer use, spent hours lowering my health insurance by $100/month by switching companies, and so on. Now, when business picks up and I don't have the time for these things anymore, they'll already be done and I'll still be saving money!

6. Learning Isn't Just For Kids
I've been reading up on all kinds of things, like business practices, self help books, how to use Twitter to your advantage, cell phone manuals, all kinds of less-than-exciting stuff, but hey, I'm learning! It feels good to be empowered by knowledge. Now I can go forward in a more purposeful way.

7. Loved Ones
Instead of being caught up in work 24/7, I can take a few hours and hang out at my sister's house, go on a walk with my mom, go camping for the weekend, drive a friend to the airport...and do so without thinking how I should be at my computer retouching more images!

Now it's your turn, what are your reasons?

written by Catherine Murray

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