Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

Our economy collapsed and people worldwide feel the effects. We have all heard about it and many of us have felt it. People have had to cut back and think twice about the way that they are spending money.

Harvard Business Review published an article in their latest issue called “Understanding the Post-Recession Consumer”. In it, they discuss the impact that the sudden change in economic climate will make on us, the consumers.

For example, during the Great Depression, people pitched pennies because it was a means of survival. But when that generation grew up and left the dire economic situation, they were still generally known to be savers, not spenders. It was a habit that they carried into later life.

HBR predicts eight trends for business in the post-recession world: four that are accelerating and four that are being slowed down by the recession.

Some that I identified with were: discretionary thrift and mercurial consumption. Both are accelerating trends.

I had to reflect on it, but I most definitely am changing my habits. Admittedly, it might be more because my parents recently bought a house and now have a mortgage to worry about, but the economy can certainly be accredited with scaring me straight.

In the past few months, I have developed an immense appreciation for thrift stores. I now find certain prices for clothing outrageous. I made a little resolution recently, aiming not to spend more than twenty dollars on a single article of clothing. I heard Zoe Kravitz was doing it. If she can, why can’t I? (I must admit though: I recently cheated when I got a new purse for a whooping 35 bucks.) Out of my latest cosmetics purchases, most of them were on the low-end, typical drug store brands. (Wet n wild, anyone?). I haven’t set foot into a Starbucks in ages, opting for coffee carts and 50 cent coffee from my local Brooklyn grocery shop.

I didn’t know what “mercurial consumption” was prior to reading this article. It refers to the fact that people are become more fickle shoppers. We are likely to quickly abandon a product or brand that is not up to our standards and find something new and better. What we buy may change but we will utilize more resources, particularly the internet, to get to the product we need.

I especially found this to be true. I have been spending more time researching a product before I buy it. I sort through reviews and testimonials on the web. I do this with everything from shoes to mascara to head phones. I try to make absolutely sure that I will be satisfied with a product that I am buying.

However, this is all minor stuff because I’m about to make the biggest, most impactful purchase of my life so far: a college education.

My neighbor, a remarkable auto mechanic who managed to put three kids through college at the same time, once told me, “An education in this country is insanely expensive, but you do it. You do all you can”.

My parents assure me that they could handle the mammoth burden of paying tuition for a top university, but I have been considering my options. I have been weighing the cons and pros of certain school while taking money into great account. Honestly, it’s become my top concern. “Oh, I can just take out a loan,” is no longer my mindset. It has morphed to, “How am I going to pay it off?”

Just a year ago, I was ready to pack my bags, hop on a plane, and move out to Ann Arbor to attend the University of Michigan. Now I am seriously considering and liking the idea of going to Macaulay Honors College and living with the parents.

Inevitably, I think a lot of people from my generation can identify with my concerns. We have started to look into our futures in a different way, and perhaps this somewhat beneficial perceptive and attitude will follow us into later years.

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Archive for College Now Journalism class.