Recession Stirs Resourcefulness

Outsmarting the economic pinch may be one more item on their already full plates, but moms everywhere are rising to the challenge with gusto. Combining old-fashioned resourcefulness with digital-age savvy, today's moms are pioneering new ways to keep their families afloat.

They are leaning on social networks, tapping into online digital mom groups, scouring the Web for local events and freebies, and spending more time together as a family - which just might be the biggest silver lining in this whole financial mess.

Moms are learning new behaviors and adopting a mindset of homegrown innovation. Rather than viewing these changes as drastic sacrifices, moms are accepting them as necessary for the times and even consider them empowering. This dichotomy presents an opportunity for marketers to step up and provide these moms with innovative solutions.

What these moms are doing in response to the recession can be summarized into the following seven themes:

1. Shopping Smarter

Moms have always been smart shoppers but now they're elevating it to a science. It's not just that they are shopping less, but they are changing the way they shop. They are making more considered purchases and placing priority on basic needs. Thanks to web and mobile technology, they are also spending more time online, scouring sites such as

2. Homemaking Is Back

The economy has got moms turning on the "nesting" dial. They are retro-fitting old-fashioned homemaking to save money. Rather than splurging on take-out, the humble brown-bagged lunch is all the rage. Beyond meal prep, moms are also cutting back on outside cleaning services, landscaping, etc., and trading off with their spouses for weekly chores.

3. Going Green To Save Green

The economy is prompting moms to shift into greener behaviors, protecting their pockets along with the environment. Many are routinely monitoring their thermostats and making sure to turn off unnecessary appliances. Following suit with the First Lady, moms are planting gardens and cooking vegetarian once a week to save on meat costs. Others are taking public transportation instead of driving and are tapping into tap water rather than purchasing bottled water.

4. The Family That Plays Together

Spending time together and participating in family-related activities seem to be other positive results of the economic downturn. Families are deciding to spend more nights at home, playing board games or renting movies. Rather than spending money on expensive sporting programs and faraway vacations, families are taking advantage of free local events at festivals and parks.

5. Making It Last

Taking a page from their frugal grandmothers and great-grandmothers, Gen X and Y moms are determined to make things last. Digitally savvy moms are turning to the Internet to find ways to recycle and reuse by selling unwanted items on eBay and buying used toys and fitness equipment from Craigslist. Moms' trips to the mall are being replaced with trips to their own closets. They're even extending the life of their cars and homes with do-it-yourself, fix-it projects.

6. Staying Healthy

In an effort to stave off the economy's toll on their mental and physical state, moms are boosting their mind and body resistance. Of all the extra services they're willing to cut out of their budgets, many won't let go of their gym memberships. They understand that staying healthy is the best way to steer clear of preventable sickness and unnecessary medical bills.

7. Kids Come First

The belief that kids come first has only been intensified as moms are forced to make top-line priorities. They're sacrificing name-brand apparel and personal care items for themselves but continue to purchase quality items for their children. It's all about priorities, and moms are clear as to where their focuses lie: It's about getting it right for their families first rather than themselves.

Editor's note: If you'd like to contribute to this newsletter, see our editorial guidelines first and then contact Nina Lentini.

8 comments about "Recession Stirs Resourcefulness ".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Lynn Colwell from The Green Year, LLC, June 10, 2009 at 1:52 p.m.

    I agree 100% that this is a great thing. We emphasize all of these ideas and more via our business. "Saving green by going green," has been our motto for the last eight months and has been well-received. Bad times can create tremendous breakthroughs not just in business, but in creativity and even change our values for the better.

  2. Jamie Breazeale, June 10, 2009 at 3:11 p.m.

    As a mom, I can't say that this is news. I've always lived this way.

  3. Elizabeth Crook from Bay Area News Group, June 10, 2009 at 3:28 p.m.

    I don't like to think of it as old-fashioned thinking but rather the wisdom passed on from generation to generation. When has gluttony and greed ever paid off? I think this is a change that is long overdue. We will all be better off - especially our children. Hard work and patience are tried and true values. While we would enjoy a little more cash in the pocket and the ability to relax the worries of tomorrow, it is all in our hands to make it happen no matter what the economic climate. (I know I am benefiting from the wake-up call . . . we all got sucked into the fairy tale of fortune . . .if only a little bit).

  4. David Knapp from Pinnacle Advertising, June 10, 2009 at 5:56 p.m.

    You're right on Jamie, my wife has always done these things and I thank God she has!

    The role of the Mother is absolutely essential to every family.

  5. Bruce Christensen from PartyWeDo, June 10, 2009 at 8:02 p.m.

    We find that with grown children, living all over the country, we have to cut back on travel to see them and the grand kids.
    We are finding several ways to stay connected with our family through social networks.
    We have even built our own online support system to save traveling all over the country.
    We can still play together even when we live several states apart.

  6. mareya ibrahim, June 10, 2009 at 9:51 p.m.

    I'd like to think that we're coming back to reality after the bubble of inflated ideals burst with a thundering pop. Having been born to developing world immigrant parents, I was raised with a mindful conscience, always aware of the sweat equity that went into every penny earned and spent. Shopping for the day is the norm, and bringing your own bags to the market is the expectation because there's no other alternative. What we have to remember is that when times get better - which history dictates it will - we have to keep that lean mentality or the net of excess will be bound to knock us off our feet, harder than ever. Our future generations depend on it.

  7. Deirdre Bell from Mindful Mama, June 12, 2009 at 11:42 a.m.

    I can relate to all of this, both personally and professionally. In my own home, we're doing a lot more gardening, mending, baking, and so forth. At, we're finding that our readers are very interested in homegrown projects and simple, easy ways to connect with their families. Articles on creativity (like this one: ) and going green/saving green (like this one: ) have been very popular. Also interesting is the renewed appeal of homesteading—even for city dwellers. We did a series of articles on urban agriculture ( ) that many moms really connected with.

    I agree with previous posters that this renewed focus on family and home is at least one upside to the downturn.

  8. Becky Pearce from Ivie, June 15, 2009 at 1:58 p.m.

    I agree with Janie - Not all bad news is bad. Although it's been a rough year it has forced people to simplify their lives and that's a good thing. There is nothing I love more than a quiet day at home. This is a great article and provides great information for those who are trying to communicate with moms.

Next story loading loading..