The new age of thrift

Over the past few months, the mainstream media has been filled with stories about the New Frugals and the return to thrift. People who once lived beyond their means, financing their lifestyle with debt, have “found religion”. They've begun to embrace frugality, and have discovered the joy that can come through spending less.

The New Age of Thrift

Not everyone is happy about this. The March issue of Redbook contained an article called “The Upside of Living on Less”, which profiled how four women are coping with the recession. The story prompted the following letter to the editor in the May issue:

While I love Redbook, something in your article “The Upside of Living on Less” rubbed me the wrong way. When describing the economic crunch, after rightfully blaming the banks and consumers who were charging more than they should have, the author wrote “Basically, we'd all been spending way more than we could afford.” I don't appreciate being in the same category as overspenders. I am frugal with every cent, and I use every item to its utmost capacity simply because I don't believe in waste of any kind. I always will be like that, regardless of the economy. Even though we're all in this together, not everybody contributed to the country's financial mess. — Darcy Bailey, Mount Holly NC

I've heard similar sentiments from GRS readers — and from my wife. To a degree, I sympathize. None of us wants to pay for the mistakes of others. When people make poor choices, they ought to face the consequences.

Still, I'm happy to see so many people discovering frugality. It's an opportunity for us to spread the gospel of thrift. I don't think it's productive to spend time judging people for their past mistakes. If someone has a sincere desire to change, then I'm happy to help them do so. If these New Frugals possess the zeal of recent converts, perhaps they'll spread the word to their friends and family, and maybe we will see a fundamental shift in American values. I believe that this country needs more frugality, not less.

Those with long-time habits of thrift should relish the current economic climate. Our smart choices will help us to weather the storm. Meanwhile, we should be glad to share what we know with others. The more people we can welcome to this way of life, the more likely it is to stick, to become a permanent part of our culture.

Gleefully Frugal

A recent New York Times article explores this notion. Matt Richtel writes:

Millions of Americans have trimmed expenses because they have had their jobs or hours cut, or fear they will. But a subset of savers are reducing costs not just with purpose, but with relish. These are the gleefully frugal…The gleefully frugal happily seek new ways to economize and take pride in outsaving the Joneses.

One of the “gleefully frugal” profiled in Richtel's article is GRS-reader Katy Wolk-Stanley, who writes a blog called The Non-Consumer Advocate. Katy's goal is to help people learn to live on as little income as possible. She follows some familiar frugal practices (like hanging clothes to dry), and she tries to buy nothing new — except for underwear. I asked Katy how she feels about the New Frugals.

“I am seeing a profound increase of interest in frugality, which I welcome with open arms,” she told me. “Very few of us have exercised complete financial responsibility from day one, and sometimes it does take hitting rock bottom before we embrace change. Frugality is not just for the chosen few, but for anyone who wants to take control of their lives. Just because a person has been frugal for years doesn't mean they're more deserving of kudos than someone whose frugal journey just started.

Katy made an interesting observation: “I've noticed that the mainstays of my frugal life have increased in popularity. The library lines are longer and the thrift stores are consistently busy, but I don't resent this. I'm happy to share my non-consumer tricks with whoever is looking to ratchet down their lifestyle. Frugality is for everyone.”

She also pointed to a piece over at The Frugal Girl about the “unriveting story” of a woman who was always frugal and never got into debt.

Why Thrift Matters

Now that we're about a year into this recession, we've had time to see how people are responding. Honestly, I've begun to suspect that there won't be a permanent shift in American values. I wish our culture would embrace frugality and the do-it-yourself economy, but I don't think it's going to happen — not on a large scale. But I do expect that some people will change for good, and that many people will at least try their hand at thrifty things like:

  • Growing their own food.
  • Shopping at thrift stores.
  • Building and repairing things.
  • Making food from scratch.
  • Mending clothes.

If enough people do these things, if enough people see the benefits of these changes, if enough people retain a few of these skills once the economy improves, we'll all be better off. I think frugality and thrift are about more than just saving money. They offer a chance to re-examine our lifestyles.

  • Thrift teaches the value of things.
  • Thrift provides for the future.
  • Thrift allows you to focus time and money on what's important.
  • Thrift reduces consumption and waste.
  • Thrift imparts a sense of accomplishment.

Thrift matters to me because it is a skill that I can use every day in many ways, big and small, to maximize the value of my money. But it's not the money that's important. It's what the money represents, which is freedom — the freedom to write. This is why thrift matters to me: By being a wise steward of my money, I am able to pursue my dream of writing full-time.

Making Frugality Personal

In my own life, I'm delighted to see the changes in my friends. Smart personal finance has been a personal passion for me over the past three years, but I try not to evangelize outside the blog. Perhaps I don't need to.

Last weekend, a group of us gathered for our annual trip to central Oregon. Every year, the women go shopping at the big-name chains: Old Navy, The Gap, etc. This year, however, some of them joined me and Kris for a trip to Goodwill. They had so much fun that they went back to do more shopping the next day!

This is just a small example — and I have others — but I think it's telling. I applaud people making small changes like this. This is how we learn to be frugal, how we learn to embrace an ethic of thrift. We try one thing. Then we try another. And another. I don't think that people can maintain habits when they try to go cold turkey. I think that it's better to make incremental changes to your lifestyle.

How do you feel about the New Frugals and the return to thrift? Do these new converts bug you? Are you glad to see them? Do you think the do-it-yourself economy will last? When things turn around, do you plan to practice the new skills you've found? Or are you eager to return to the way things were?

More about...Frugality, Economics

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Matt
Matt
11 years ago

“I wish our culture would embrace frugality and the do-it-yourself economy”

I too live a life of frugality and relish the opportunities to make the most out of every cent I earn.

BUT don’t you think the economy would be even worse off if EVERYONE adopted this philosophy. The country would need a radical shift for everyone to survive. If everyone lived like this, whole companies would go out of business…even more jobs would be lost… One hopes companies will adopt but I don’t think Nike will start making $8 shorts and $25 sneakers

Kristen @TheFrugalGirl
Kristen @TheFrugalGirl
11 years ago

Matt, I was just talking to my husband about that the other day. I’d love to see a post about how frugality affects the economy. Sometimes I think that maybe if we all learned to live on less, we wouldn’t need to have a booming economy and so many jobs, but I’m hardly an expert on the economy.

KS
KS
11 years ago

I find myself getting very tired of the “thriftier than thous” that seem to be popping up on every blog/in every media outlet/you name it because there’s a lot of mindless smugness about it it all. I find a lot of the thrifties, old and new, remarkably stingy in other ways as well. I wish people didn’t just trot out the hackneyed nostrums about frugality – growing your own food isn’t always cheaper, thrift stores don’t always make sense to everyone, etc. I wish there were more discussion of spending in alignment with the things that matter. Oh well. That… Read more »

Matt
Matt
11 years ago

There was a good piece on NPR’s talk of the nation in March:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=102246996

They touch upon the ramifications of shoppers moving down a level.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
11 years ago

I think frugality is actually secondary to the real change we need to see sweep the nation: a changing of priorities. Learning to live on less is basically learning to get more out of life whether or not you have a lot of money to spend. It’s learning how to be truly happy and satisfied with life under any circumstances. A downturn in the economy simply points out to everyone that we can’t count on money to make us happy. When the economy is booming, it’s easier to live under that facade. Now suddenly everyone is facing the reality of… Read more »

Karen
Karen
11 years ago

I guess the more people that realise that the thrifty options can be great, the more competition there is for them…and some of them may become less thrifty than before. This definitely seems to happen with cuts of meat. Lamb shanks were once pretty cheap in the UK but after they got lots of publicity as tasty but cheap alternative, demand went up and they seemed to creep up in price. This may tie in with the comments others have made about whether we can all be thrifty. For some of us to be thrifty, does it require others to… Read more »

Four Pillars
Four Pillars
11 years ago

I have to agree with KS – there are a lot of frugal people (new and longtime) who remind me of the South Park episode that featured “smug-emitting” hybrid cars.

Some people have made the choice to be frugal (or always have been) – most didn’t make that choice – they just ran out of money and credit.

J.D.
J.D.
11 years ago

A few of you have mentioned the “paradox of thrift”. We covered it briefly in February. In short, I don’t think there’s any danger of long-term damage to the economy from this because I don’t think enough people will make the shift. But even if more people did make the shift, I think it would be a good thing. It would be a one-time shift to a more sustainable economic model. @KS (#3) I think that you (and Four Pillars #7) are spending the way it should be done — cutting back where it doesn’t matter to you, but spending… Read more »

Four Pillars
Four Pillars
11 years ago

JD, I think you are right that the media picks and chooses their “interview” subjects for maximum effect – most frugal people are not smug about it. Another problem with the whole frugal thing is the definition of “frugal” – what is it exactly? I don’t know the answer. For some, ‘frugal’ means living on as little as possible, for others it simply means living on less than they used to (ie they have cut back at least a little bit). For others still it means spending a lot of time being frugal (ie making your own soap etc). I… Read more »

Steven@HundredGoals.com
11 years ago

While I of course agree with your assessment that a return to thrift would be a wonderful thing for our country, I don’t forsee this being a lasting trend. I wrote an article about this on my website if you are interested in reading it. Essentially it discusses a study which was done by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling which says that 45% of people are only spending less because they have less to spend and that once the economy recovers they are going to return to their old ways.

Here is a link to my article: http://hundredgoals.com/2009/05/01/bad-news/

Coupon Artist
Coupon Artist
11 years ago

I think that for some, this Frugal shift will last. Some people start being frugal and really find it fun. I’m one of those- I used to spend money and buy things and not really think about whether I was doing it wisely. Once I started to be frugal in one area of my life (I started coupon shopping) I saw how much fun it was to try to hunt down the deals and how much nicer it was to do more with my money. That spread into other area’s of my life- I now think it is way more… Read more »

April
April
11 years ago

I don’t know if I consider myself frugal, but we paid off all of our debt last year, and we were well on our way before the recession. When we were paying off credit cards and car loans, we cut back a lot. But now that we’re debt-free and have an emergency fund (hit our EF goal this month!), we are doing what JD described above–cutting back where it doesn’t matter to us, but spending on the things that are important. Few eaxmples: We spend on food from the market, but we don’t have cable TV because neither of us… Read more »

Elizabeth Sue
Elizabeth Sue
11 years ago

Great post JD. I really enjoy your blog and the theme of common sense, hard work, and time. I tend to be impatient and give up easily. I like how you remind us that hard work and time go hand in hand. Thanks!

SaveBuyLive
SaveBuyLive
11 years ago

I’m skeptical that the new fixation with frugality is going to last much longer than the recession. I can’t help but think that a lot of it is a fad. There are too many people running around acting like undertaking Herculean efforts or ascetic self-deprivation to save a couple of bucks is the greatest thing in the world. The thing that really suggests that it’s a fad is that I never hear anyone say “wow, that’s a complete waste of my time” or “saving a dollar isn’t worth that much effort” when a new frugality tip is mentioned. Rather people… Read more »

Beth
Beth
11 years ago

I’d like to see the episode with the “smug-emitting” cars. 🙂

I agree that some of the smugness is created by the media, but I’ve found some bloggers (present company excluded, of course) are pretty smug and self-congratulatory about their lifestyles without any outside help. (Like insulting “menial jobs” while promoting making your own soap, for example).

On the other hand, it’s almost a nice reaction to the “I’ve got bigger, better and more stuff than you” version of smug. I think people are going to be smug regardless of their spending habits.

Beth
Beth
11 years ago

Like Four Pillars, I consider my self financially responsible.

Linear Girl
Linear Girl
11 years ago

I define frugal as wasting as little as possible, rather than as spending as little as possible. Frugality has me buying a whole chicken, roasting it and eating it in various dishes for a week, making broth that I freeze and use over the next month. I buy an expensive, free-range, organic chicken and still spend less than if I’d purchased boneless, skinless breasts for a single meal, then needed additional meat for the future meals, and needed to buy cans or boxes of chicken broth as well. I could do it more cheaply by buying a cheaper chicken, but… Read more »

kj
kj
11 years ago

From where I stand, there is still a distain for those of us who are frugal who might not ‘have’ to be. My husband and I, though not the most frugal people in the world, certainly seem to be some of the most frugal in our social groups. While some of those in our networks have been leaning more and more toward the frugal end of the spectrum in recent months, it doesn’t seem to be from any shift in values so much as a shift in available funds. That’s okay – I’m not judging them (except with they complain… Read more »

Todd @ The Personal Finance Playbook
Todd @ The Personal Finance Playbook
11 years ago

I think that people living a more sustainable lifestyle is a good thing. I also think it has legs and the ability to last for a lot of people. Some people will make a temporary change until things get better, but as many of us know – living a frugal lifestyle becomes part of your value system and tends to just become another part of your everyday life moving forward. I think this will change the way we live for years to come. It may hurt the economy in the short term, but in the long term I agree that… Read more »

Ophelie
Ophelie
11 years ago

I’m in college, and many of my friends are just starting out with their first real jobs. I had expected to see a lot of lifestyle inflation — moving to nicer apartments, buying new clothes, upgrading their cars — but instead, my friends seem to be embracing thrift instead of bling, and keeping the “student lifestyle” longer. I don’t know if it’s a symptom of the economic downturn, or if this is part of a trend towards low-impact living and simplicity, but I like it.

MLR
MLR
11 years ago

JD —

I think you hit the nail on the head when you said “It would be a one-time shift to a more sustainable economic model.”

A more sustainable economic model will be better for us in the long run.

There may be some “growing pains” in the short run… but that is bound to happen when making such a drastic change.

MLR

Mary
Mary
11 years ago

As “thrift” is in the news more, I frequently see people assert (as in this post) that thrift allows us to focus time and money on what’s important. I do not find that to be true. Being more thrifty means not hiring a housekeeper — and having to spend time cleaning. It means hand-making cards — when I’d rather spend time with cuddling on the couch with my husband. It means spending more time on-line looking for the best deal on a dress I need for a wedding –when I would rather buy the first cute dress I find and… Read more »

Kent @ The Financial Philosopher
Kent @ The Financial Philosopher
11 years ago

In bad times, we form good habits…

In good times, we form bad habits.

It is my hope that this economic crisis is severe enough to remain clear in our collective conscious — and we are enabled to maintain these good habits that are now being discovered or re-discovered…

“The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as long as we live.” ~
Mortimer Adler

cherie
cherie
11 years ago

The best thing I’ve read of late on this topic was a quick blurb describing a few interviews with teens/college aged people who were thinking in terms of debt avoidance and savings – that was heartening to hear for someone who made her worst choices during those stages of her life!

elisabeth
elisabeth
11 years ago

I think that when you can CHOOSE to be thrifty you have a whole different attitude than when you are FORCED by circumstances to spend less. Thrift just isn’t going to have the same level of enjoyment when you don’t have the alternative — that’s why so many of us have some “free money” worked into our budgets, money we can spend without thinking about it. When you don’t have some level of choice, thrift can be really depressing.

Chris Johnson
Chris Johnson
11 years ago

I was having this discussion with my financial advisor on Friday, who said he and his company believe the recession will take longer to get out of than the common wisdom says, based on their belief that people have learned from this crisis and will not go back to their free-spending ways. Despite my investments and low 401k value, I’d like to believe him, but I told him my experience with my own clients in probate and bankruptcy cases says otherwise. I’d really like to see people living within their means, and saving enough to continue living their current lifestyles… Read more »

Foxie
Foxie
11 years ago

I have to say I’m definitely with KS and Four Pillars, plus I suspect many more people. I’ve found that buying new clothes smartly can cost me less than buying a bunch of used clothes. I’d rather cut back on what doesn’t matter to me so I can splurge where it does matter. (Like buying a bunch of cheap groceries and eating noodles most of the week so we can eat out when we’d like.) I’ve already said on my own blog (tiny and nonexistent as it is. :P) that I don’t believe any of this will stick. For whatever… Read more »

Brenda
Brenda
11 years ago

I think that whenever people are *forced* to change, those changes won’t necessarily stick once those people are out of the fire. Lots of people who “have it in their nature to spend” are cutting back now because they have to. They’re enjoying it now & trying to see the positive side, but I almost don’t think they’ll stay that way once things go back to normal. For now though, I welcome the new converts, and enjoy hearing more about frugality from a wider variety of people. I come from a frugal household, so I was raised by parents who… Read more »

Joey
Joey
11 years ago

@ Beth:

Come on, are you telling me you’ve never shared an ice cream cone with your son to enable you to finance a new Prius? :O)

RenaissanceTrophyWife
RenaissanceTrophyWife
11 years ago

I hope there will be more of shift to thinking of money in terms of investing in one’s priorities, not just spending.

Most of the population has been focused on immediate gains/losses, whereas people who’ve been thrifty/frugal throughout the good years tend to be more perceptive about what lies ahead. I’m not sure that even this recession is enough to cause a permanent shift, but I do think that financial caution will persist for several more years than the media seems to imply.

A Squirrel Most Frugal
A Squirrel Most Frugal
11 years ago

According to Austrian economic theory, thrift would not harm the economy in the long run, because it would increase the saving of capital. Such an increase would make more capital availible for investment in new technologies, infrastructure, companies, businesses, etc. This cannot happen without thrift / savings. We NEED saved capital. The trifters / savers are the ones who provide the capital needed for economic recovery. This economy is already overloaded with massive debt. More debt will not help. We need thrifters and savers. It is their capital which will provide the investments that will lead to long-term recovery and… Read more »

Raj Patel
Raj Patel
11 years ago

These are all great citations, but something critical to notice in this new wave of frugality is the hipness of it – I have friends that grow their own food in a small organic garden, form dinner party groups that regularly cook and share the costs of sit-down meals together, caravan to the beach or mountains for camping – the ultimate cheap getaway vacation.

Sam
Sam
11 years ago

I don’t think we, as a society, need to go back to canning our own veggies and fruit (unless you really like to do so) and living off the land. But I hope that we return to the saving rate of 10 or 20 years ago. I don’t think there is anything wrong with spending money on things or experiences that you truly enjoy but I think the over reliance on debt and credit has turned out to be unhealthy for our country and society as a whole. To me, frugality and thrift, doesn’t mean that I don’t spend money… Read more »

CB
CB
11 years ago

Regarding “One hopes companies will adopt but I don’t think Nike will start making $8 shorts and $25 sneakers.” I read Naomi Klein’s “No Logo” about five years ago. Nike was making $2 sneakers then (off-shored labor, special manufacturing zones). The added costs were in the “logo” — the advertisements that made the sneakers a status symbol (absurd-sneakers that some actually killed for)! So the profits were very high for Nike. The boxing and shipping probably cost more. There is a description of all of these sports shoes thrown in a big pile in a dusty outdoor shed after they… Read more »

Beth
Beth
11 years ago

@ Joey — If that comment was for me, I can honestly say yes. I don’t have a son and I can’t eat dairy 🙂 (There are two of us Beths commenting here). I get your point though. But the reason I thought the South Park episode would be so funny was because I used to work for a company where the execs drove hybrids. They heavily promoted hybrids and offered incentives like specially reserved parking spaces, but the funny thing was that they paid us so poorly that none of us could afford a hybrid anyways. I still find… Read more »

Cathy
Cathy
11 years ago

A consumerist economy is unsustainable. At some point, you’ll need to incur debt in order to sustain artificial growth, which is exactly what happened. This contraction we’re experiencing is merely normalizing to the ‘real’ numbers. The US used to be the world’s largest creditor nation. Other countries borrowed from us because we had liquid capital. Now we’re the world’s largest debtor nation. Which means we’re borrowing from other countries who have capital. We need industry, and we need more savings. We have a whole generation of people who rely on credit cards. That’s not good.

KC
KC
11 years ago

I’ve always been thrifty, too, and feel like I’m NOT to blame for the current economic crisis. But instead of moaning about it I’m taking action. I’m buying more into the stock market while its low. I’ve bought new furniture and other commodities (like a new toilet) that I’ve needed. I’m getting great prices. I haven’t bought anything I didn’t need, but I’m buying them at much better prices then I would have gotten a few years ago. I’ve always done the opposite of what everyone else is doing and it pays off. I’m glad I’ve been frugal all these… Read more »

Brad @ Twenty Something Sense
Brad @ Twenty Something Sense
11 years ago

I’m often bothered by people’s thrift when they neglect to focus on the low hanging fruit and instead they prune items from their budget that hardly have an impact on their overall savings, but sadly have a large impact on their happiness and the people around them.

Mortgage/Rent is generally the largest financial outlay that one makes in a month. A 20% reduction in this category will afford you all of the little things that you have cut back on.

I wrote about this a few weeks back and I think it is worth sharing:

http://www.twentysomethingsense.com/2009/04/why-do-people-spend-so-much-on-rent.html

chacha1
chacha1
11 years ago

I think that frugality and thrift are definitely the story du jour. But I agree with J.D. that to project a long-term shift in the national character is overly optimistic. As others have noted, many people are either not able to choose how or when they spend (when’s the last time you saw a farmer’s market in an inner-city neighborhood? Most of them don’t even have a proper grocery store) or not able to apply good judgement to their purchases (everyone who bought a house with zero down). The fact is that in the U.S., the majority of the population… Read more »

Mussif
Mussif
11 years ago

What we follow is the 50/20/30 (Must-Haves, Savings, Wants) rule by Elizabeth Warren, except that our must-haves are less than 50 and savings are higher than 30 with a sizable portion for wants. We do not think of our selves as frugal, but we do buy most of our clothes, furniture etc on sale. We terminate subscriptions we find we do not use. No credit cards are used nor do we own any car. But growing our own food? Baking our own bread? Sewing our own clothes? Hell no! For more on Elizabeth Warren on 50/20/30 in a review of… Read more »

SavingDiva
SavingDiva
11 years ago

I agree that if everyone became thrifty it would hurt our economy, but if everyone one was thrifty is would also help our environment (which is more long term). I don’t think thrift require a lot of gadgets or purchases. Thrift can just mean that you’re not going to have 20 pairs of jeans…just wear the same 3 over and over again. I don’t think you really have to fix your clothes, but don’t toss them out before they’re done. I also think it makes sense to donate items that still have some wear in them. I live near a… Read more »

KAD
KAD
11 years ago

If this downturn continues for two or three years, we *might* get a statistically significant number of folks (especially those just out of college) to change their habits permanently. Lots of people changed their habits involuntarily but permanently during the Depression. I agree with those who are thinking, despite the “paradox of thrift,” that a trend toward saving and moderate consumption could actually be good for the economy, both from a capitalist perspective and from a sustainability perspective. However, I think such a large economic shift would also require some leadership at the national level, and given that Obama is… Read more »

Wilhelm Scream
Wilhelm Scream
11 years ago

Somehow (/sarcasm), back when thrift was the norm, we all managed to keep the economy going. It’s not suddenly going to turn the world upside down if we return to that state.

K.L.
K.L.
11 years ago

I’ve been trying to pay down debt and stick to a tighter budget since long before the economic tidal wave, but as the irrepressible optimist that I am, despite personal impacts, I think I’ve learned a bit from all this… My job was eliminated last summer, which forced a drastic change in spending habits. I am NOT a hobby shopper, but once in a while when I found something I liked I would impulsively buy it. On unemployment, there simply wasn’t a choice anymore. I didn’t spend any money unnecessarily. Now that I’m re-employed, I’m trying to keep some of… Read more »

Moneyblogga
Moneyblogga
11 years ago

As a “thrifty convert”, I’m all for it. I personally made the connection between wasted merchandise sitting in the closets unused and the money I wasted acquiring and storing it. However, at the weekend I received not one but two text messages from my peeps at the mall basically saying, “Recession?? What recession?!” Apparently, money was flowing like water and the wait lines were a mile long …

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
11 years ago

I am an abysmal failure at frugality in the traditional sense. The traditional notion of frugality seems to be this: “I want a new 17″ Macbook Pro, but I can’t afford it, so I’ll get the 13″ regular MacBook.” This is viewed as a triumph over the irresponsible version: “I want a 17″ MacBook Pro, but I can’t afford it, so I’m going to finance it,” which results in a worse, debt-laden financial position. I don’t do either of these things. I would say “I want a 17″ macBook Pro but I can’t afford it, so I’m not going to… Read more »

Shara
Shara
11 years ago

For thrift to stick there would have to be a paradigm shift, which I’m just not seeing. A large number of people from boomers on have a problem with instant gratification, and that isn’t just with money but with everything. The “free-love” and “hook-up” are about instant gratification rather than building lasting relationships. Part of that is also a loss of the feeling of personal responsibility. People want the rewards of being adults (like spending their money how they like) without the responsibilities of adulthood (like paying one’s current and future bills). Most people I know spend what they have.… Read more »

Olga
Olga
11 years ago

I have to agree with Tyler @46. I only learned the word “frugal” a couple of years ago, and thrifty – like a few months? While I just think of it as “not wasting money and resources”. Food has to be used before it goes bad, and eaten off plates fully, packed for lunch if needed (I do have 2 kids, here goes my lunches). I used to saw and knit and mend my clothes – but that was back in Russia. Obviously, I can buy things here easier – but most of my shopping is at Goodwill, sales in… Read more »

Michele
Michele
11 years ago

Well, let’s just look back to WWII. As soon as it was over, people were so sick of scrimping and saving and doing without that the trend became buying, building, and going out. I think the same thing will happen when this recession is over, except for a small percentage of people who change their mindset.

Tess
Tess
11 years ago

I have to agree with the thought that if nobody buys, then the economy is doomed to never flourish again. People need to buy and businesses need to lower prices. I really believe the concentration needs to be on saving the earth if we want to change our ways on something.

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