Recession: Americans are using old clothes and looking for bargains

Photograph of a shopping street (Borehamwood, UK). Image by Tim Sandle

To beat rising inflation and deepening recession, many Americans are drastically changing their lifestyle and spending habits. This is based on information from the latest Forbes Advisor study of 2,000 people.

These changes are particularly evident in everyday clothing spending habits. More than two-fifths of people wear old clothes more often than before, to avoid spending money on buying new ones (43%). Two in five people mainly buy clothes on sale or at a reduced price, to compensate for inflated prices (40%). Of this figure, a quarter (24%) are turning more than ever to thrift stores or second-hand stores/markets.

Nearly one in five are reducing their purchases of designer clothing and accessories (18%). Worryingly from an environmental perspective, one in ten people are turning to “fast fashion” clothing more than ever, due to lower prices.

Another pattern is restaurant dining, which presents bad news for the restaurant industry, which is still trying to recover from the pandemic. Two-thirds of people (62%) choose to dine out less frequently, due to inflated prices. A third both dine at more affordable restaurants (30%) and actively choose to order less expensive menu items.

The restaurant staff is affected. One in ten customers tip less than the usual percentage, to save where they can (10%). Overall, 84% of respondents have changed their eating habits – the most common reduction in spending.

Another area impacted is free time. Overall, thirty-nine percent of survey respondents said they engaged in fewer leisure activities like concerts, festivals and movies – again, bad news for these industries, which are also still struggling. This has allowed people to spend less time with their friends, as a third do social projects less often (30%) and (29%) socialize more regularly with friends at home.

Plus, rising day-to-day costs are pushing couples to spend less money to spend quality time together. One in five couples go on fewer dates to save money (20%) and more than one in six go to cheaper places when they do date (18%).

It is also evident that consumers are making a concerted effort to be savvy savers when it comes to day-to-day expenses. More than a third have started using coupons more regularly as a way to save money (37%). Similarly, a quarter (25%) swapped their usual products for alternative products, if they could get a similar product using a coupon discount.

People are also taking advantage of discounts offered when buying in bulk, with more than a quarter doing so more often (26%). Overall, one in five (20%) canceled a movie and TV streaming subscription in an effort to save money on home entertainment.

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