It has taken a recession for people to realize that they don't need as many things as they once thought they did. According to a USA Today article, Americans have been prompted to pare back their lifestyles to match shrinking paychecks and rising environmental concerns.
The 2009 MetLife Study of the American Dream found that 47% of consumers, almost half, say they already have what they need. This as compared to 34% of consumers polled in November, 2006. A Gallop Poll in April notes that a third, who say they are spending less, intend to keep that habit even after the recession has ended and 27% say they are saving more and want to continue saving.