So the question on my mind today is has the economic recession ended? I can’t recall Messrs Key and English talking about it recently so I googled it. The answer is yes, no, and nearly.
I thought I’d approach the question from a different angle so on the way home from work I counted the number of retail shops who currently have a sale on. Just over 50% of the shops I passed were advertising some sort of sale. That’s a fairly good indication that despite what the experts are saying, consumers are still nervously watching their pennies.
It’s interesting because I have not felt the impact of the recession. My income exceeds my outgoings, my mortgage is easily managed and there are no big ticket items on hire purchase. I have my parents to thank for this because from a very young age we were taught the value of money. Although we never had expensive toys or designer clothes, we never went without and we were never cold or hungry.
As kids, we didn’t have a PSP, Wii, or Xbox 360 so we learnt to make our own fun. I made huts out freshly cut grass in the park with my brothers, we played cricket with the other kids in the neighbourhood, I climbed trees while pretending to be part of an invisible alien race, and I spent hours each summer at the river’s deepest swimming hole – all without a parent in sight!
Whether it was the rural upbringing or being a Gen X’er, I don’t know but I learnt how to save and live within my means. If I wanted to buy something that my parents did not consider essential, then I had to earn the money myself. I remember asking for help to buy a 10-speed bicycle for my first day at high school. The response was “well if you don’t want to ride your Raleigh 20 anymore, then get a holiday job and buy a new one.”
It was good advice because I found a job picking boysenberries and earned enough to buy a second-hand blue 10-speed. It was used right through High School but got relegated to the garden shed to gather dust after I got my learners licence. The same principle of saving up to buy luxuries was used to buy my first walkman and a personal stereo.
Even now, the same principle applies… if I haven’t saved up the money to buy the big shiny item, then I don’t buy it.