Maybe you or someone you know has lost a job or had their hours cut. If you’re a recent college graduate, you have a very hard time finding a job. Even if you have a stable position somewhere, you’re probably not taking it for granted anymore.
In response, the media has been focusing on the trend of frugality. Being frugal is no longer uncool. In fact, the widespread acceptance of frugality is a ray of light in a time when things are terribly gloomy.
My hometown weekly, the Sacramento News and Review featured a report on “The New Frugal” that documents the changing consumption patterns experienced by middle class people. According to the report these people have “locked-in needs” but are learning how to forgo the luxuries of Whole Foods and hotel vacations and substitute them with Safeway and Netflix. So many people are seeking deals that it’s finally okay to look down on material excess and shop at the Dollar Tree. The article states,
The recession has altered not just their bank accounts but their psyches. They’re buying less, and when they do buy, they’re planning through the expenditures more carefully; they’re creating new, more affordable fashions and downscaled lifestyles. When the recession ends, they will, like the children of the Depression three-quarters of a century ago, likely take these new financial priorities with them as they navigate the next chapters of their lives and help remold a post-bubble America.
The article praises people for dealing with less income when they were used to having more, and indeed it’s a great thing for people to look at their expenditures and find ways to cut back. But what’s more, becoming more frugal is an essential step toward becoming more self reliant. It’s also great that because so many more people are living frugally, financial prudence is more acceptable. If we see a day when frugality will be less necessary, maybe people will remember the wisdom of saving money and depending less on expensive consumer goods. Ideally, frugality will be the lifestyle of choice rather than a lifestyle of necessity.
Clipping coupons, looking for deals, buying in bulk, and finding less expensive substitutes for products you normally buy are all great ways to save money. But you don’t have to stop there.
I see frugality as one gateway into a life of greater self reliance. It causes us to evaluate our expenditures and become more aware of what we’re spending our money on. It can help you realize what is truly essential in your daily life. Inspecting your resources can also lead you to decide on other steps you can take toward greater self reliance, such as doing a home energy audit to save money on electric bills, or growing your own vegetables to save even more money on food.
The fact that more people are getting into frugality isn’t just promising because we’re learning how to deal with less. It’s promising because if we see frugality as a gateway toward greater self reliance, it truly can help remold a post-bubble America in which people redefine their values and cultivate sustainable life practices.
Source: The Sacramento News and Review: “The New Frugal”
Lauren contributes to the website http://www.pathacross.com, a resource that explores the psychological and practical aspects of becoming more self reliant. One way toward greater self reliance is to adopt frugal habits.