I am a thrifty gal. Part of this urge comes from the fact that we don't have lots of money, and we live in a really expensive area. (The other part is genetics - my family has been known to squeeze a penny or two in their time.) Now, I like living here, so I'm willing to spend a little time on our finances to allow us to benefit from the great schools, beautiful public spaces, and all the other amenities that go along with breathtakingly high property taxes.
This week has been designated National Thrift Week. It was started in 1916, and occurs right around the time of Benjamin Franklin's birthday. Thrift was something he was well known for (as well as awesome inventions, somewhat annoying phrases, and a proclivity for the ladies), and even though I often think of spending problems as something more recent, they obviously have existed forever.
In a New York Times Article from 1/15/22 (yes, that's 1922), ten ideas were outlined to try to get Americans on board with the ideas of thriftiness. Now, one would think that they would be different from what people are advised to do with their finances today, judging from the incredible proliferation of financial writers out there. You can't turn on the television these days without seeing a segment (or 2, or 3, or 11) about how to have healthy finances. The 1922 article gives us these 10 suggestions:
1. Work and earn
2. Make a budget
3. Record expenditures
4. Have a bank account
5. Carry life insurance
6. Own your own home
7. Make a will
8. Pay your bills promptly
9. Invest in reliable securities
10. Share with others
Hmmmm......almost verbatim what the financial folks are trying to sell us in their books today. Which means that maybe everyone already knows all the steps, but they're hard. And they're a pain. And they're generally not fun at all. It's a lot like losing weight - I remember a segment from a tv show where a character is lamenting about losing weight, and she's told that she just needs to eat less and exercise more. She answers that if it were that easy, everyone would be doing it. (And yes, I still do have those 4 Christmas pounds hovering around my own mid-section...don't judge me.)
Happy National Thrift Week, but it would probably be best not to buy something to celebrate.