Shrinking paychecks and rising environmental concerns are prompting Americans to pare back their lifestyles.
“Perhaps the silver lining (of the recession) is that people are coming to realize they can live with less and their lives are richer for it,” says Michael Maniates, professor of political and environmental science at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa.
A third, 32%, say they have been spending less and intend to make that their “new, normal” pattern; 27% say they are saving more and plan to continue, according to a Gallup Poll in April.
Nearly half of consumers, 47%, say they already have what they need, up from 34% in November 2006, according to the 2009 MetLife Study of the American Dream.
“People are feeling forced and inspired to get back to what is core to them,” says Julie Morgenstern, author of Shed Your Stuff, Change Your Life. She says they’re valuing objects less and experiences and people more. – By Wendy Koch, USA TODAY