Vicki Robin

What is the new frugality?

In Uncategorized on February 7, 2010 at 10:34 AM

The New York Times articleAfter Escaping Jobless Rolls, Trauma May Linger” profiles several people who’ve found work after 6 months to 2 years of unemployment, likening their anxieties and broken relationships to PTSD. They say, “It is not clear whether those who have gone back to work will embrace a new frugality. The Newbys are doing their best to rein in their spending, both out of necessity and to make sure they are better protected for the future. Like many other Americans, they had always simply spent what they earned.”

A new frugality? Is that spending less than you earn and saving for a rainy day – or year? Is it being so traumatized that you can’t spend? Is it like yo-yo dieting, binging and starving because you no longer can assess how much is enough? The savings rate is back up to 5% – is that from fear or prudence or waking up to what’s important in life? What do you think the new frugality is? How long will it last? Will we “go back to our old ways”?

And for those of you who are Your Money or Your Life readers, what role does the YMOYL approach have in helping people through a hard time?

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  1. Sounds like America needs a bit of hardship to toughen it up a little! There has never been any such thing as job security but people still get complacent. Taxes were as much as 90% in the last century and we’ve had it easy for too long. It’s a bit of an insult to suggest that possibly people are so traumatized they cannot spend. There are many people who have been as frugal as their grandmothers all their life and they’re doing just fine, recession or not.

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