Frugal is the New Norm

Since 2008, American values have been changing. Factors like the 2008 financial collapse that have continued into a global crisis of sorts, have forced most consumers to scale back on unnecessary expenses and we increasingly talk about saving more. Many people discuss and wonder if we will see better days in the next 5 years or so, or is this our new normal.

Frugality is more mainstream

Mainstream culture is engaging in endless discussions on investments, savings and cutting costs, all in tune with living a frugal (and sometimes mindful) lifestyle. Per a CNN article, “Eight out of ten people surveyed say they now exercise more caution with their finances and learned important lessons regarding savings, investing, and preparing for retirement, according to a joint study released Tuesday by AgeWave and SunAmerica Financial Group.”

Benefits of frugality

The biggest change is the American shift in shopping – abstinence, recycling and bargain hunting are the norms. “Changes in people’s savings and spending habits formed after the recession are likely to last a lifetime, said Mark Vitner, senior economist, Wells Fargo Securities” in the same CNN article. Discount and dollar stores are increasingly popular as are negotiation and using coupons – all factors that our economy has brought into the mainstream American lives. And the benefit is that Americans are saving more!

Adopting frugality in everyday life

What habits have people adopted to become more frugal? According to many surveys, the most common ones are:

Spending more time looking for deals and discounts before making purchases Cutting back on luxury goods Eating at home more often Maintaining older vehicles Conserving energy use Using debit and cash rather than credit cards Cutting down on expensive recreation

Since there still is much pessimism about the state of our economy at this time, this conservative approach towards saving and investing more is perhaps the only way we will be able to change our upcoming future. Change is always hard but investing in one’s own security is the only way to safeguard our futures.

by Ritu Mehta

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