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Money-saving tip: In Cheap we trust


Cheap is now COOL!
“In CHEAP We Trust: The Story of a Misunderstood American Virtue” by Lauren Weber
Journalist Lauren Weber knows a little something about being cheap. When she was growing up her father refused to set the heat above 50 degrees during the winter in New England. He turned out the lights, even if someone had left a room for just a moment. And for a little while he even tried to ration the family's use of toilet paper. All that — and more — made Lauren Weber the perfect person to explore the roots of frugality in the United States. She's documented that study in her new book, In Cheap We Trust.
In Cheap We Trust
By Lauren Weber
Hardcover, 272 pages
Little, Brown & Co.
List Price: $24.99
Available on Amazon for $16.49 (but, you can get it used for $14.50 or even new for $13.74….or better yet, if you already have one of those Kindle thingies, get it for $9.99!).
"When I started working on the book," says Weber, "a friend of mine suggested I call it 'Thrift: A Short History of a Dying Virtue,' but the more I did reporting on it, the more every person I talked to would say, 'Oh, you've got to interview my father, my brother, my wife, or you should interview me.'" That's when Weber realized being cheap isn't dead or even dying; it's just been hiding underground for quite a while. Think of it as the frugal silent majority that Weber hopes will surface again soon.
And, with today’s Economic condition…frugal times are here again!
"The nation’s founding fathers believed this was the way the United States could be less dependent on Europe for all of its trade and all of its goods," says Weber. "The patriots believed that if Americans could be industrious, work hard and save their money that would provide them the capital to then till a new field or open a new workshop or hire more apprentices. We would be able to cut off more trade with Britain and become more self-sufficient here."
Weber believed it was a strategy that worked. But, she adds, frugality never was the most popular ideal.
Those thoughts are prevalent today. “I can’t live without my….” (fill in the blank with your own noun…and then re-think it). Can’t live without my: computer, HD cable T.V., sports car, grocery delivery service, iPhone, iPod, or Blackberry. Can’t live without my: credit cards,  $5 latte, or my disposable…(again, fill in the blank).
The answer is: YES, you can live without all of that “stuff” and still have a happy, fruitful life.
Weber also points out: "It's not ironic that Scrooge McDuck, the famous miserly uncle of Donald Duck, emerged in 1947. And Jack Benny's famous cheapskate character on radio and TV came in the late '40s and early '50s. Thrift went from being a national virtue to being kind of a punch line."
Join up with these fellow Houstonians who believe frugal…is a way of life:
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  • Tomas 5 years ago

    This is so true. When I lived in Mexico, we didn't know about half the stuff I can't "live without". On one hand, that just shows how far I've come, but on the other hand...I need to not get caught up in trying to buy the best of everything all the time. Tortillas, beans and cheese used to be a good meal! Now...I need my BBQ and steaks.

  • Sara 5 years ago

    James, this is very good information and I will read this book. We used to be proud of our savings and money we could save while shopping. My grandchildren are terrible about earning a dime and spending a dollar! I try to explain to them that is what hurt our national economy now...and everyone needs to learn these lessons in morality with economy. Nothing wrong with being penny-wise!

  • Frank 5 years ago

    Why save? Life is short; money does me no good after I die.

  • Samuel 5 years ago

    I'd save more if I had more coming in, but jobs today don't pay much so most guys I know live paycheck to paycheck.
    Saving isn't the issue....earning is

  • Elizabeth 5 years ago

    Living within your means is fine provided it is not government controlled. Capitalism works...and the current administration needs to learn that lesson!

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