Saturday, April 11, 2009

"Outsaving the Joneses"

Posted By on Sat, Apr 11, 2009 at 9:00 PM

The New York Times is taking note of the recession this weekend in a story by Matt Richtel -- "In an Age of Austerity, the Miserly Thrive", which seeks to turn everyday common-sense thrift into something called "outsaving the Joneses":

Millions of Americans have trimmed expenses because they have had their jobs or hours cut, or fear they will. But a subset of savers are reducing costs not just with purpose, but with relish. These are the gleefully frugal.

“I’m enjoying this,” said Becky Martin, 52, who has cut up her 10 credit cards, borrows movies from the library instead of renting them, and grows her own fruits and vegetables — even though her family is comfortable.

Ms. Martin is a real estate investor, her husband is a plastic surgeon, and their home sits on the 12th hole of a Cincinnati country club.

“It’s a chance to pass along the frugal lifestyle that my mother gave to me,” she says, noting that her sensibilities seem to be rubbing off not just on her sons, but also on her husband. “We’re on the same page financially for the first time in years, and it’s fabulous.”

Wow. I guess I've been fabulous for years and haven't even noticed.

More cheapness-as-status-symbol:

The gleefully frugal happily seek new ways to economize and take pride in outsaving the Joneses. The mantra is cut, cut, cut — magazine and cable subscriptions, credit cards, fancy coffee drinks and your own hair.

In San Francisco, Cooper Marcus, 36, has started choosing recipes based on the ingredients on sale at the market. Mr. Marcus canceled the family’s subscription to Netflix, his premium cable package and a wine club membership. He uses a program on his iPhone to find the cheapest gas and drives out of his way to save 50 cents per gallon.

I guess using a $400 phone with an $80-per-month charge to save a few pennies on gas is a big deal to the readers of the weekend Times, but how out of touch do you have to be to present "choosing recipes based on the ingredients on sale at the market" as a trend, much less news?

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