Frugality Isn’t Common Knowledge

common frugality

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a piece about how eventually saving money becomes second nature. What used to seem hard or foreign suddenly becomes common and easy. I wrote this piece because I was frustrated with an acquaintance who wanted to know the “easy” ways to save money, but balked at everything I suggested as “too hard.”

After thinking about it, I decided that my instant judgment of this person as an idiot was a bit harsh. After all, it does take a while to overcome inertia and laziness. After another, unrelated, experience this week, I’ve decided that the problem goes deeper than simple laziness. The problem is that the knowledge of how to live frugal


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6 Responses to Frugality Isn’t Common Knowledge

  1. patty says:

    It isn’t just that frugality is new to some people, it is that things we use to do, knit, canning, gardening, making friends with your neighbors, cooking is becoming lost knowledge for a large amount of the population.

  2. jim says:

    You think you’re frugal – ha! Go to the library and check out the book called “17 cents and a dream”. It’s a true story and I think you’ll enjoy it. It takes frugality to an entirely new level.

  3. jay says:

    You are so right! Consumerism is the norm, and many folks, particularly under 40, have little direct experience growing up in a truly frugal lifestyle. They have been convinced that the solution to every problem is to buy something, not “use it up….”. This mindset becomes a huge issue when you realize these folks are also carrying huge debt, often from education costs which seem so difficult to avoid. The fault, however, lays in a society and public policy that actively advocated waste, disposability, and consumerism starting “way back” in the 50’s. Just think about what long has been used as a measure of our nation’s fiscal health: the CPI.
    Thankfully and to their credit, these same folks are often pursuing a lifestyle frugal in the sense of our environment: bicycling/walking everywhere, eating organic, going paperless, plastic-free, and advocating global solutions to the waste we see everywhere. So, kudos but lets’s educate, and save the frugal practices from earlier eras!

  4. Gailete says:

    What is interesting as those who look at frugality barely half way. In the last issue of Good Housekeeping, the editor was talking about saving paper towels by only using one instead of 2-3 for drying hands. What ever happened to cotton towels that could be thrown in the washer/dryer and used for years? We go through about one roll of paper towels every 2 years because we use alternatives such as towels and then they get to ratty they become rags which are then used for cleaning.

    I was looking at a book once about Jackie Kennedy and it showed pictures of her on Christmas day at the White House wearing a sleeveless cotton top. Now I know that Washington DC isn’t the Artic, but it is cold enough that undoubtedly the heat was on that day allowing them to cavort around in summer clothing all winter. Undoubtedly the presidents and their families that have followed them get to do the same thing. How can our president understand the needs of the people when he get to live in a house that is warmed enough to wear summer clothing year round. May seem like a simple thing, but once you get used to that for several years, you forget what putting that extra sweater on and cuddling under a lap quilt while reading will also keep you warm. Then you start forgetting that some can’t afford even the heat on in their houses or how the homeless really feel in states where it is bitter cold.

    I grew up poor with a mother that not only had been born during the depression, she had been born into a family of 15 children. The only way to survive was to be super frugal. So yes, it is hard to realize that some just don’t get it, but with them we need to be patient. So many things that people consider necessities, really aren’t. Some thing have only become necessities in the last 10-15 years (like cell phones for everyone not just a working parent that travels a lot). 20 years ago no one generally had a cell phone, I-pods hadn’t been invented, etc. so most of those ‘have to haves’ aren’t necessities, but big time wants.

  5. Minny says:

    Interesting comment Gallete. Here in the UK there was recently a programme on TV about people living on benefits (welfare). One couple with three children were wearing short sleeved tee shirts and dresses – clearly not summer outside as there were no leaves on the trees so the house must have been very warm.

    They received £18,500 a year, tax free, and the family could not manage and went to a food bank. Unbelievable, anyone frugal could live on that amount of money so easily and in fact many do as there are not that many people here who earn that much when they work!

  6. jay says:

    Sadly, here in the US when the FoodStamp program was started, they were barred (legally) from offering nutrition, etc. counseling at the same facility…You’d think that’d be a perfect fit, eh?
    Folks get stuck in poverty through a lack of skills, and not just job related ones.

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