Signs Of Hard Times: Abandoned Pets, Backyard Gardens

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(pbm)

When you want a good idea of how the economy is shambling along, checking out what consumers are doing provides a lot of insight. What we’re spending (or not spending) money on and other lifestyle trends speak as much as stocks and budget numbers.

Time.com looks at a few of these consumer activity indicators that are seen in everyday life.

For example, many shoppers in rural areas are turning to locally grown produce — and we’re not talking organic farmers markets in big urban centers. More like backyard gardens and sharing with other neighbors’ crops to save money at the store, instead of “Honey we simply must pay $12 for those delightful free range eggs we adore so much.” The rise in such home-grown endeavors can be traced to around the peak 2009 recession days.

Another sign is the downturn in sales of disposable diapers. If you’ve ever had kids, you know how expensive (albeit, convenient) those suckers can be. Meanwhile, consumers are buying more diaper rash creams and ointments, perhaps because parents are changing diapers less to save money. Heck, some people might even be going back to using cloth diapers and choosing to wash them instead of buy, use, throw out, buy more.

A sad trend of the times is the abandonment of pets, as consumers realize they can’t float the extra cost of taking care of an animal. Pet shelters are reaching full capacity, and adoptions are down as well.

Check out some of the other economic trends over at Time, and feel free to submit any you’ve experienced.

How Consumers Are Coping: Layaway, More Gardens and Pet Adoptions [Time]