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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Frugal Zeitgeist

"No matter what you do," said an old friend, "you're always part of the Zeitgeist." This comment was apropos baby names, when I marveled at the fact that when my brother- and sister-in-law went to a Lamaze reunion, they discovered that every girl produced by the group--including my niece--was named Claire. (That was in 1989, so it's safe to name girls Claire again. My own name, very rare until recently, has been moving up the charts of late.)

Needless to say, unless you've been in a very remote area, you must be aware that the Zeitgeist is frugality.

I am here to declare that I've always been frugal, even before the current craze. In fact, owing to my contrarian nature, I am becoming less so now that it is au courant. If all your savings are evaporating, it seems it may have been better to have spent the money on, say, a forest green Lacanche stove ($8000), rather than watching it disappear.

I have been thinking about this because yesterday, at the fancy free lunch we had courtesy of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (Mr. DFS received an award), I had the good fortune to sit next to Jan B., head of the St. Tammany Parish Library system. Jan B. is one of those innovative library people; she was receiving an award for the incredibly high turnout for programs at her libraries.

She reminded me of one of the rare failures: when I--and another Jan, Jan D.--led a series of frugality workshops at the library. This was in about 2003. Jan D. and I planned and planned; we put together fabulous materials (food, holiday, kids, on and on). We had handouts. We presented both theory and practical tips.

Truly, a masterpiece. Except we had almost no audience. At the first session, we had 4; by the last, we had 1. Jan B. suggested we resurrect the idea, owing to the "recent unpleasantness." Who knows if anyone will come!

So, dear readers, a survey. Where are you in relation to the frugal Zeitgeist? Are you a long-time frugalite or a newcomer to the joys and creativity of frugality?

8 comments:

Over the Cubicle Wall said...

Long timer here, but much more focused here lately. Just coincidental timing with the economic downturn though.

Terri said...

Ditto the above.

Our professional development budget has been seriously cut at the college where I teach. The resourceful director has recruited faculty who could give short workshops--and one on frugality is something I thought to offer. I'll bet your attendance will be up now.

Funny about Money said...

LOL! I've always been a little "funny" about money. Got it from my father, who made Uncle Scrooge look like a big spender.

Frugality being all the rage just now, the workshop should go over well this time.

Duchesse said...

I am the daughter of the queen of frugality, but I railed against it. Like so many of our parents' traits, you get older, and they start coming to the fore and feeling pretty good.

I used to visit my mother in FL and she'd send me out with a fistful of coupons; she never really "got" that one should also factor in the cost of gas and one's time. SO I'd spend my precious hours in FL not with her, but hunting down broccoli that was 16 cents cheaper here than there. I'd come home from these trips saying to DH "Take me to dinner somewhere REALLY expensive."

Now that I'm semi-semi-retired, I need those frugalish ways and find they are easy to adopt, lurking there in my DNA.

Fabulously Broke said...

You've just named one of my favourite blogs ever LOL.. "Frugal Zeitgeist" who named her blog close to what you wrote about in your post.

I am a newcomer but I am not a long timer or hard core about it. *shrug* I just don't see the point in saving $0.50 if the grocery store is halfway across town and half an hour away.

frugal zeitgeist said...

I'm new to your blog, but I must say: I love the title of your post. Mad props to Fabulously Broke for passing it on.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Cubicle--You are lucky to be so frugal at your stage of life!
@Terri--If you do a workshop, post some material! I'll do the same.
@Funny--Aren't we lucky?
@Duchesse-Honestly, it's NOT frugal to hunt down bargain broccoli. I admit, though, that I have to fight the urge to do such things.

@Fabulously and zeitgeist--I'm so glad my title helped you find me...and me you! I'll be visiting often.

Chance said...

I've always been frugalish and a thrift store junkie but now I am Very Serious about it.

The trick for me is not engaging in the Trade Off - e.g. well, I buy all my work clothes at the thrift store, therefore I am entitled to blow money on a brand new rototiller instead of looking for used.

It is still an adventure for me and not a burden. Having a job and not being completely without resources helps in the adventure, I don't feel deprived. I agree with others who say your workshop should be well-attended now, frugal is the new black.