My friend and I were eating lunch in our break room like we do most work days, when he pointed out something interesting to me. “Ryan,” he said, “have you noticed there are a lot more people brown bagging it now?”
I looked around the break room. It had gotten more crowded in the break room over the last few weeks. Now it could be the weather – no one likes to go out in the snow. But when I thought about it a little more, I realized it started before the really cold weather hit, or shortly after the economy went in the dumps.
I have seen similar stories being reported on the news. It seems the popular topic to write about, blog about, and report about involve ways to cut back on expenses. In an uncertain economy, people are more willing to cut back on expenses, repair old or worn items, or do without. It’s unfortunate that it took an economic crisis and a large increase in unemployment for the media to cover a basic financial principle – spend less than you earn. Regardless of how we got here, I think the shift toward frugal living is a good one, and I am happy to see it. And I’m not the only one.
A push to bring back National Thrift Week
National Thrift Week was a national event celebrating responsible living. It ran from 1916 to 1966 and started every year on January 17th, Benjamin Franklin’s birthday. The idea is to promote the 3 pillars of thrift: industry, frugality, and trusteeship. Americans joined together every January in celebrating Have a Bank Account Day, Invest Safely Day, Carry Life Insurance Day, Keep a Budget Day, Pay Bills Promptly Day, Own Your Home Day, and Share with Others Day. In short, just about everything one needed to be financially responsible.
Thrift week was a great idea, but one that eventually ran out of steam and fell to the wayside due to a lack of sponsorship. Now, BringBackThriftWeek.org is leading the charge to bring back Thrift Week. Their goal is to build publicity throughout 2009 in order attract government sponsors and institutional partners to join their campaign. Spreading the word about frugal and responsible living is an excellent goal and I hope they can find a sponsor.
What’s your take on the frugal movement?
I’d love to hear your opinions on the national shift toward frugality. Has the economy affected your attitude toward frugal living? Have you cut back on spending since the economy crashed last fall?