The Upside of a Down Economy

by Ron Haynes

Open HeavenIs it just me or is anyone else getting a little recession news weary? The truth is, no one really knows when it will finally be over, though many economists predict a rough 2009 and a full recovery in 2010. But after the crash of 1929, most of the talking heads also predicted a full recovery in 1931. I think I’ll let someone else figure out all the details that make things more depressing while I look for the silver lining.

1. In a down economy, I can negotiate for almost anything.
Many businesses people are hurting for business and when the economy slides, negotiation rules the day. You can literally negotiate for almost anything. Here’s a list of businesses you may not think of as negotiators, but they’re probably willing to haggle for your business:

  • Windshield Repair
  • House Painters
  • Tire Dealers
  • Karate Instructors
  • Security System Dealers
  • Optometrists
  • Mattress Dealers
  • Real Estate Agents
  • Carpet Cleaners
  • Tour Group Operators
  • Veterinarians
  • Tool Rental Companies

2. Being cheap is actually in vogue.
When my wife and I order water at restaurants and then split the entree, the waitress understands why rather than rolling her eyes.

3. I’ve been able to clear some clutter.
I’ve been able to make extra money by selling a lot of “stuff” in yard sales and I’ve given away a lot of books on this blog! (More book giveaways to come!)

4. I’ve learned to be more appreciative of my job.
Hearing about the hundreds of thousands of people who are losing their jobs every month has an uncanny way of making my own job seem quite a lot sweeter.

5. Purchases are not a given anymore.
The recession has forced me to thing and re-think about each and every purchase. It’s funny how my thinking has become much more crystallized since the economy tightened.

How has your thinking changed? What are the positives that you see?

photo credit: papalars

This article was included in the Carnival of Personal Finance at Free Money Finance.

About the author

Ron Haynes has written 1000 articles on The Wisdom Journal.

The founder and editor of The Wisdom Journal in 2007, Ron has worked in banking, distribution, retail, and upper management for companies ranging in size from small startups to multi-billion dollar corporations. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from a top MBA program and currently is a Human Resources and Management consultant, helping companies know how employees will behave in varying situations and what motivates them to action, assisting firms in identifying top talent, and coaching managers and employees on how to better communicate and make the workplace MUCH more enjoyable. If you'd like help in these areas, contact Ron using the contact form at the top of this page or at 870-761-7881.

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I see positive in everything. We still have the best economy of anywhere in the world. But the media isn’t going to tell anyone that! But, we started living a bit “closer to the vest”, before the economy started stuttering. And you’re 100% right……much too much talk about this negative aspect of the financial. The media has nothing else that they deem necessary to report. But, we’ll have a new story before long, and we’ll get tired of that one too. That’s why several years ago, I blacked out the news channels on my TV. Can’t stand to hear the lies that are perpetrated on the air waves. I get all I want to read, via internet. Then I can click out, and not have that stuff reverberating in my head! Makes my BP much better! :-)
But for your question….My purchases are thought about even more. My habits are on the back burner. I don’t whip out the chosen method of payment quite so quick. I am not buying presents near so much. We aren’t planning to do some needed upgrades quite yet. The car isn’t being eyed for trade, as the mail from car dealers keeps pouring into our mailbox. So, you can see….many things have been put on hold. And I have no idea how much longer this will last. But more than likely, we will survive at our house! :-) God bless America!!!

Andy Wood


This is an excellent (and rare) perspective. I would humbly add that such times offer us the opportunities to refocus on the things that matter most, such as family relationships, etc. Also, to maintain an attitude of gratitude, instead of an attitude of entitlement.

Great thoughts!

Tammy Brackett

Ron when my poor dog heard the lead in for the Nightly News with Brian Williams tonight, instead of laying on my lap, he went in the bedroom and went to sleep! Talk about “recession weary”!
I’ve been a frugalist forever, and it is rather refreshing to be “hip” rather than looked down upon. I read Your Money or Your Life many years ago and the life energy=money equation really hit home.
I garden, make my own tea and vitamin water, cook at home, work at home and batch errands when I run out for the day in my 1998 Jeep Cherokee (I call her Betsy).
When someone says something about me being frugal I often reply that I live “mindfully”.

I just subscribed to your blog. I found you through Frugal Dad!

Scott @ The Passive Dad

I was able to negotiate with several tree trimming companies and received quotes from $2500-$1200. Once company had a crew that hadn’t worked for a couple days and were happy to come over the same day and start work immediately.

We also negotiated with a furniture store for some new chairs. He was willing to pay sales tax, delivery charges and assemble the chairs for us. The customer service was fantastic.


Is the perception as regional as the economy? I just returned from Barnes and Noble, on a Sunday morning, and the place was packed. I go to the mall in the middle of the week, and it has a healthy crowd. Now, I can’t say that they are buying anything, but it doesn’t seem like people at least around here (New England) are avoiding the retail outlets. Yes, and even the vet still seems to be doing a great business, Ron, so I’m a bit surprised they are on your list.

The press is really the problem here. When times are good, they write about people pulling in the money, even if many aren’t. When times are bad, they tell the sad stories, even if they aren’t representative.

Paul Morales

Yeah special deals are great during this time because everyone is hurting for business. ;)

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