I’ve always been a bit of nerd. You know – last kid picked to play dodgeball, first kid to get knocked out.
I was shopping for my jeans at thrift stores in college, and learning to cook while most of my friends and co-workers were charging up their credit cards and checking out the hottest new restaurants.
Now that the economy has taken a turn for the worse, it seems like frugality has become popular. Suddenly the “Cheapskate” moniker is nothing to mock.
Newsweek’s Daniel Gross wrote a great piece called, “Thrift Is the New Fashion.” In the article, he talks about the cyclical pattern of being thrifty and the negative connotation of the word thrifty. When times are bad, everyone wants to be thrifty and save money. When times are good, we forget to pinch those pennies. Gross writes that most people see thrifty as being miserly and depressing. That is NOT something I have seen in my one year of blogging about all things frugal.
One of the points Gross makes is that while our current economic situation is tough, our leaders do not want us to be thrifty. They want us to spend so that we can stimulate the economy. Gross writes, “Spending money heedlessly – traveling, redecorating, eating out – keeps our friends and neighbors employed.”
This really made me think. I live in a small community. When the steel industry suffers, the whole region struggles. It is during these times that I try to remember to shop locally, to get my haircut, or save up some money to go out to eat once in awhile.
I don’t think of these brief expenditures as being foolish with my money. There is a definite difference between being stingy vs. frugal. I am frugal so that I can afford to do these things. I am frugal so that I can help others when times are tough.
Being frugal shouldn’t be a trend. It should be a lifestyle that you embrace. It not only helps your bottom line, but it can help the environment, and benefit others.
As Dave Ramsey says, “Live like no one else, so later you can live like no one else.”