I was listening to NPR this morning as they interviewed an economist remarking how this holiday season returned better than expected earnings for retailers. The economist used an interesting phrase that I was compelled to look into further “frugal fatigue.”
Supposedly after years of recession people are “tired” of pinching pennies and have started going out and spending a little because “it feels good”. The worse part about this is that all the articles I have read mark this as a good thing (save one: thank you Suddenly Frugal Blog ).
It would be great if confidence in our economy were encouraging people to spend more because they can see their economic future getting brighter and don’t see the need to hoard every dime for the inevitable rainy day but that is simply not the case. People are feeling “frugal fatigue” so engaging in “shopping therapy.” Does this make sense?
Is it true that the only way to recover from our financial crisis is to go back to shopping as a cure for the blues? Is the holiday season just an excuse for everyone to go get further into debt without feeling guilty about it?
So what can we do about frugal fatigue?
- Don’t use shopping as therapy – Yes, shopping feels good. Buying an item out of impulse feels good for the moment. But would you buy that item if the tag or advertised priced showed the actual cost of the item? Do the math.
Price + Tax + Credit Card Interest Rate x Number of Months it takes you to pay it off = not such a great deal.
- Live like an Affluent Pauper – Don’t spend more for anything out of ignorance. There are deals to be had you just need to spend the time doing the research and yes even clipping the coupons. Don’t spend impulsively.
Yes the country as a whole is in a recession but I refuse to believe that saddling ourselves with debt is good for
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