Friday, November 28, 2008

The New Frugality

We are told that there is an emergent phenomenon coming out of the economic trainwreck that some folks are calling The New Frugality.  

It is said that this new generation of Born Again Tightwads are going to avoid Saks and Nordstroms and sidle into Gordman's and T.J. Maxx for their fashions, and they're going to drink Paul Masson in the jug instead of thirty or forty bucks a bottle for the good stuff. 

Some say this is more than a passing fancy, but I am unconvinced.  In fact, Time Magazine ran a story back in 1973 on the same subject and a cruise through the blogosphere reveals similar straws in what turned out to be a nasty wind. 

The percipient observer could be forgiven for asking "What the heck was wrong with the frugality we used to have?" 

The difference is that people have not learned self reliance because no limits were placed on their excesses until the whole creaking, stinking, malodorous edifice collapsed under the weight of the  Mastercard and Visa "Why wait?" mentality. They sound for all the world like a bunch of reformed drunks at their first AA meeting, for heaven's sake.

We live simply, because that's the kind of people we are. I repair things because that's the kind of person I am. Good serviceable things simply do not get shitcanned because they're out of fashion. We buy at auctions and never ever pay retail for anything. Ever. Nothing gets charged-if we can't write a check it doesn't get bought. Simple. 

When you grow up lower middle class like we did you learn to make do and save for the important things. Having dug our butts out of credit card hell last year, we're not going down that road again. Once was plenty.

Fact is, I mentioned this phenomenon to a teller at the credit union this morning and I said I was going to put the New Frugality into practice. "How?" she asked. "Well", says I, "Im not going to give anyone any Christmas presents this year, and I'm going to tell them that it's going to help them develop Moral Character." 


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