Lessons Learned

It's time to look at the silver lining of the economic floundering of 2009. While unemployment is at an all-time high and the American dollar is at a notable low, the last twelve months have taught us something. Whether the crash hit you head on or it narrowly missed you, you're looking at things differently than you did twenty months ago. The economic crisis of 2009 taught the American population more than one lesson.


Lesson #1: Family Time Is Free

The resurgence of family night shows a lesson learned. It doesn't mean a night at the movies or an expensive restaurant; family night can be a favorite television program and homemade pizza.

Invest $25 in a new board game and make some free, fun memories. If games aren't your liking, try a family meal night where everyone contributes something enjoyable. You might end up with macaroni and cheese beside tacos, but it will be a fun treat and everyone will be sure to eat. Employ children to make the meal and become involved.

Lesson #2: My Car and Cell Phone Are Not Works of Art

People are proud of their paid-in-full ten year old cars this year. It's paid for; it's mine, and it's working. A car is a method of getting from point A to point B safely. It's a tool used for transportation. It is not a showpiece or a comparison tool. It is not symbolic of your bank account.


Likewise, a cell phone is not a work of art. Nowhere in your day will you be asked to produce your phone and compete in the cell phone Olympics. Does it place and receive calls? Will it be there in case of an emergency or for your kids to find you when they miss the bus? If so, that's all it needs to be.

Lesson #3: Everything Must Serve a Purpose

The time has come for everything to pull its weight. Anything that costs money but doesn't recoup that money doesn't belong in our homes. The home computer has become a workhorse for financial management, informational sharing, and communication. It saves money on accounting, newspaper subscriptions, and long-distance phone bills. Even the video game system has seen itself repurposed as a home gym. We no longer have a need for decorative items and those that sit unused in a closet.


Lesson #4: Invest Like Your Grandfather

Investing money into electronic equipment will get you nowhere. Systems that cost $1,000 a year ago are yard sale items today. Cars wear out and are outdated by newer models. Fashions change. Instead, look at the things that will never lose attraction.

Gold has been a staple in economics before the term "economy" was invented. In recent years the price of gold has risen astronomically, meaning that quality gold pieces are solid investments. Face it, precious metals and gems are never going to lose much value. It's safe to say that gold is here to stay.

Lesson #5: Carpe Diem

Never has the idea of living for the day been stronger than in the time of economic crisis. Planning for the future and squirreling away some savings is never a bad idea, but don't get caught up in it. Life is unpredictable and a thousand cliches tell you so. If you have the chance today to revel with friends and enjoy what the word has to offer, do it. You may not get the chance again.

About The Author: Kelly Ann Butterbaugh is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to a variety of magazines and has written a history book for middle readers. Visit her website for writing help, lesson plans, history fun, or work for hire at http://www.kellybutterbaugh.com


March 21, 20100 found this helpful

Wonderful article, and on point. We have learned a life-changing lesson in this recession, and that is to live frugally without living "cheap". There is a big difference between the two and this piece really brings that home. I remember my Dad was asked "What's the best, finest car you've ever had?" My Dad replied: "The one that's paid for."

Thank you for wonderful and insightful article.

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