A recent post on Bill Shrink talked about 10 Behaviours that the Recession has Made More Acceptable:
1. Brown Bagging Leftovers
2. Growing Your Own Food
3. Dumpster Diving
6. Garage Sales
7. Bargain Hunting
8. Buying Used Clothes
9. Eating Junk Food (apparently we need more comfort food)
10. Quitting Smoking
I don’t know about you, but I’ve done most of these saving strategies for years! Maybe I’m not mainstream enough? Maybe I’m not normal?
Bill Shrink argues that “these previously “weird” behaviours suddenly come into vogue, serving as models for the rest of us to emulate.” Is saving money really that weird? Are we really that judgemental? Do work colleagues really snigger at “brown baggers?” Are we really embarrassed about our latest bargain?
I’ve grown up in a culture of bargain hunting, bartering, using leftovers (I love leftovers!), buying second hand. Rather than being embarrassing, it’s a badge of honour, a competition to see who can get the best bargain or save the most money.
I guess this comes down to perception: whether these frugal behaviours are “penny-pinching” or just intelligent practices. When you look down the list, many of the frugal behaviours involve recycling and reusing. It has to do with so much more than just saving a dollar or two.
Let’s look at the language that the author chooses to use. The author states that these frugal behaviours are now “more palatable to the consumer mainstream.” Why do we insist on defining ourselves as consumers? Not just ‘the mainstream’, not the ‘general population’, not people but consumers. And that’s the problem with our current world view, if we recycle and reuse we aren’t purchasing, and we seem to be defined by our ability to purchase and consume.