Money Talks, So Should You

6 recession words we're sick of hearing

Marie Gentile
by Marie Gentile, Staff Writer (@dimespring)

After four years of downturn, it seems the economic conversation has leapt off the pages of the financial section and landed smack dab in the center of popular culture. But in today’s world of abbrevs and OMGs, our parents’ stuffy fiscal jargon simply would not do. Instead, a new breed of quasi-financial terms and phrases sprouted and weaseled themselves into our modern lexicon. Brace yourselves — here’s a look at some of the worst of the worst.

Funemployment [fuhn-em-ploi-muhnt] Noun: The condition of a person who takes advantage of being out of a job to have the time of their life. (Courtesy of

Whoever coined this word has clearly never been unemployed. Anyone who has ever found themselves out of a job knows all too well that unemployment is anything but fun. In fact, it’s a lot of work. The old adage about looking for work being a full-time job has rarely proved more true than in today’s ultra-competitive job market. There may be those out there who take advantage of their “time between jobs” by lounging at the pool or trotting the globe, but that’s likely not the norm. Funemployment? More like refreshing-your-email-every-30-seconds-and-praying-for-a-job-offer-unemployment. Doesn’t have the same ring to it, but you get the idea. 

Recessionista [ri-sesh-uh-nee-stuh] Noun: A person who is able to stick to a tight budget while still managing to dress stylishly. (Courtesy of

So you’ve found a way to stay fabulous for fab-u-less, have you? Good for you, girl (or boy)! You should be proud of yourself, and we would never, ever hate on you and your knack for staying frugally fashionable. In fact, our issue really isn’t even so much with the term “recessionista” as it is about all words ending in “-ista.” Fashionista. Frugalista. Saxofonista (that’s a real word, we swear). It seems these days any noun or adjective can be turned into tool for “chic” self-branding simply by adding “-ista” to the end. Enough already. Let’s allow these words to go the way of “boo ya” and “don’t go there” by disappearing quietly into the linguistic abyss.  

Recession-Proofing [ri-sesh-uhn-proo-fing] Making one’s position, company or product immune to the negative effects of the current economic downturn. 

We've seen the internet teeming with websites and articles claiming to possess the secret of how to “recession-proof” your job or business — how to stay afloat when everyone else is going under. Valuable information, without a doubt. But the idea that any job or industry can actually be 100% free from risk of falling victim to what many experts are calling the largest economic crisis since the Great Depression makes this term just plain silly. The fact is, a recession cannot be “proofed.” Sure, some industries are more vulnerable than others, but unless you provide a service or product that is absolutely indispensable, you’re at some level of risk. “Recession-proofing” is annoying because, depressing as it may be, it’s impossible.

Insourcing [in-sawr-sing] Noun: The reverse economic process of outsourcing. (Courtesy of

They say turmoil breeds innovation, but unfortunately that’s not the case with this overused recession-born term. The concept here isn’t the problem — cutting down on superfluous services in lieu of a DIY approach actually makes perfect fiscal sense (or cents, in this case). Everything from washing our own cars to dying our own hair has fallen under the insourcing umbrella. The main issue here comes down to overuse, plain and simple. Insourcing has become such a recessionary buzzword that we've seen everyone from financial analysts to moms posting craft ideas on Pinterest hopping on the terminological bandwagon. “Insourcing. Get it? IN-sourcing.” Yep, now let’s let it go.

“Not in this Economy” A blanket phrase that essentially means nothing.

We’ve all heard this one a time or 20, right? The perpetrator here usually uses this phrase to give the impression that he or she has some insight into the current economic climate. Likely he or she feels left out of the conversation and, looking for a way to contribute, chimes in with this phrase, at which point the conversation is brought to an awkward halt. Ex:

-“I hope a new bike shop opens in town soon.”

-“Not in this economy. Am I right?”

Hello, buzzkill. We've seen “not in this economy” grow so generic and overused that it can pretty much be inserted into any conversation and those involved feel obligated to nod in grim agreement, at which point all fun has officially died.

Staycation [stey-key-shuhn] Noun: A vacation that is spent at one's home enjoying all that home and one's home environs have to offer. (Courtesy of

Let’s be real for a minute, guys. No matter how many museums you visit, no matter how many days you spend at your local pool, no matter how many ways you find to “rediscover” your hometown, that’s not a vacation. It’s just not. A vacation quite literally means vacating your life — taking time to get away, both mentally and physically, from the stressors and responsibilities of everyday living.  We understand that in today’s economy vacations aren’t a financial possibility for many people. We get it. So take a few days off work, spend time with your family, and find fun things to do on the cheap. Just please, leave the “s” word out of it.

Now, can we please all agree to leave the wordsmithing to the good folks at Merriam-Webster? We promise you, it’s better that way.



Marie Gentile is a personal finance reporter and content producer at Dimespring. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Marquette University. A native Midwesterner, Marie is now living in Atlanta and adjusting to life below the Mason-Dixon.