“In Cheap We Trust”: Review and Giveaway
If we had to separate people into 2 different clans: The Thrifts and the Spendthrifts, I would probably be closer to the latter. Unfortunately, the thing I like most about money is spending it. However, being a husband and father of two beautiful children has helped me be more responsible financially. While I never really wasted my money, I have always enjoyed earning more to spend more in order to indulge myself from time to time.
Now that we live on a single income, I have to double my efforts to become more frugal and concentrate on priorities. I guess this is what attracted me to read more about “being cheap”, which led me to “In Cheap We Trust” by Lauren Weber.
About Lauren Weber:
The author “grew up in Connecticut with a father who rationed toilet paper, set the thermostat at 50 degrees during the winter, and rarely used his car’s turn signals (to prevent them from burning out).”
Strong from her frugal background, Lauren always had a passion for writing. She has been writing for Reuters, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and American Banker just to name a few. Since 2007, she has concentrated on writing “In Cheap We Trust”, a combination of personal anecdotes intertwined with social and historical data wrapped up with a political taste for frugal living.
About the book:
Lauren captivated me during the first few pages about her cheap thrills introduction. And why the word “cheap” has become so negative over time. It’s as if the amount of money spent annually has become the measure of your social class in our modern (capitalist) society.
This book uses history to bring us back to the very definition of thrift and how frugality has been an important part of our value system for a very long time. Through a well documented (sometimes too exhaustive though) research, she depicts the history of frugality since the very first person set foot on American soil.
The last decade (apparently) has brought us wealth and comfort. Yet, recent economic events show us that we, as a spendthrift nation, simply incurred a huge credit bill over these same 10 years and it is now time to pay the interest and reimburse the capital. If we had not forgotten the efforts from our ancestors in building the foundation of a strong and frugal society, we might not have hit such a brick wall in today’s recession.
I particularly liked the Paradox of Thrift revisited by Weber. The paradox of thrift was created based on the principle of the economy declining due to the fact that everybody is saving instead of spending. Technically, if consumers stop buying and save their money, it should create an economic contraction resulting in more job losses (I guess this is why Bush was telling us to take our stimulus check to go to Disneyland!).
While the premise is accurate (spending less will result in a longer and deeper recession), spending more will simply postpone the problem for a few years. It’s akin to not going to the doctor because you have the flu, instead wait until you get pneumonia. I feel that a balance between savings and spending would be most appropriate.
I also found it quite interesting to actually understand the roots of frugality and Weber’s personal stories included in her book got me thinking about how far from being thrifty I actually was. It was nice way to get into the mood to save money!
Now the Giveaway!
– Comment below with a frugal tip or spending philosophy (1 entry per comment).
– Follow me on twitter (1 entry)
– Register to my free mailing list (on top right of the site)
You can actually participate on both sites by commenting.
The giveaway winners will be announced on Friday, November 6th.
Last week’s Carnivals: