“The economy is still in a recession!” That’s the phrase we hear every day on our way to work, talking with friends and family, and on the Internet. Anytime we turn on the news, the topic is all about how bad the economy is, how the unemployment rate is skyrocketing, and how the government’s attempts to fix the situation continue to fail. But I believe the economy is primed and ready for positive growth. If you are paying attention, maybe you’ve seen these signs of improvement.
Entrepreneurial Rates on the Rise
The official U.S. unemployment rate is 9.2% and the media is always stating that the rate will continue to rise. But what the government underestimates is the entrepreneurs and ideas rapidly growing all over this country. Companies that change the game and have huge potential (like PerkStreet!) are popping up everywhere. Sure, unemployment is high, but many people are starting new businesses or working as sole proprietors, drawing unemployment benefits until the situation becomes more stable. I’m cheering for their success.
Bad Companies Going out of Business
Nothing will test an individual or business like bad economic times, but this can be a good thing. Ultimately, we only want companies that have survived the test of time and proven their success in a down economy. These companies are simply efficient enough to prosper in the next hundred years. The very reason many of the government-controlled companies have been on the brink of failure is because they weren’t solid, efficient and effective in solving customer needs to begin with.
The Rise of Debit Over Credit
A recent study shows that Visa cardholders increased their debit card usage by almost 8% over using a credit card for purchases. And in November 2009, revolving credit saw a 20% decline, which is the largest drop on record according to the Federal Reserve. The use of a debit card makes the individual more aware of their bank account and increases overall financial control. With high-efficiency businesses like PerkStreet emerging to deliver vastly better value on debit, the future of personal finance and debt is looking much less grim.
We’re Living within our Means
The last few years have been a wakeup call to many Americans, myself included. The houses we couldn’t afford, the cars that were too expensive, and years of frivolous spending all came tumbling down on us like a ton of bricks. Stretching our budgets too far has taught us lessons we might not have learned otherwise, and we are living smarter because of it. Sure it’s bad when everyone feels a sting like this at the same time, but if we can remember the feeling and learn from our mistakes, aren’t we a better society on the other side of the discomfort?
It would appear so. CNN Money reported that personal spending was down 0.2% in June, while income was slightly up. Personal saving was also up some from earlier in the year, at just over 5% of disposable income. People are making sound financial decisions by cutting spending and saving money.
Since the downward turn of the economy, the country has been steadily growing. It’s a slow process, but since hitting rock bottom, there’s nowhere to go but up. With entrepreneurial rates on the rise, bad businesses being weeded out, and smarter spending habits, many of us are learning we can’t rely on anyone else – including the government – to fix our problems. We must decided to use common sense, make quality decisions, and not believe every negative thing we hear or read in the media.
What are some positive things you’ve gleaned from our economic recession? Saving more? Spending smarter? Let us know in our comments section below.
Carrie Smith is a PerkStreet Customer Columnist who has worked as a freelance Certified Bookkeeper for nine years and as a Tax Specialist for four. She specializes in small business and oil and gas accounting. She has written several finance and accounting articles at Hubpages.com, and also writes regularly on her own blog. Follow her on Twitter @applecentsmith.
Photo: Christina Rutz