Blessed are the frugal

I once thought I might have to join, or start, a Penny Pinchers Anonymous group. Frugality seemed old-fashioned, something left over from having parents who remembered the Great Depression.

It seemed almost like a psychological problem or perhaps a bad habit to some of my grad school friends. But I continued down my frugal track from necessity (I have always worked for non-profits) and a deep belief that there is something really good about it.

Paying off personal debt and living within one's means are healthy practices. As individuals become more financially secure, they will tend to spend again, stimulating demand for goods and services. And as debts are paid back, lenders will ease their standards.

Truth is, this will take time. Meanwhile, as the cost of living rises, frugality will become essential. When higher taxes come (they will) and federal and state subsidies dry up (they are), savers (not just high earners) will be among the few able to afford a home, even if that purchase has to be delayed until one's savings grow.

Savers also can prepare themselves for retirement as employer-sponsored pension plans disappear.

- Karen Sue Smith

FULL BLOG: Blessed Are the Frugal (America)

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