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Frugal Forever (Or, at least, for a few more months)?

Ylan Mui

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting story today about whether this new era of frugality will really last. We all know that people are saving more and spending less, but is this just temporary belt-tightening or more of a permanent shift? Are we just yo-yo dieting or are we really losing weight?

To be honest (and am I ever anything but?), I think it's too early to tell if I will go back to just picking the jar of pasta sauce with the fanciest label without looking at the price. Does Rao's Homemade Arrabbiatta Sauce really taste more than $3 better than good ol' Classico at my Harris Teeter on Capitol Hil? Probably not.

But do I get slightly depressed each time I have to make that calculation in my head, reminding me that my bank account is not what it used to be and journalism jobs are in danger and my 401(k) has tanked? Yes.

I think the key to whether this new mentality will last is the extent to which being frugal is, if not fun, at least not a total downer. When we stop comparing how our lives are now to how they used to be. I've loved trying new recipes at home instead of eating so many dinners out. I'm eating healthier packing my own lunch rather than relying on Cosi to feed me. But I miss shopping for new dresses and ordering expensive cocktails.

I'm interested in what you all think. What changes do you think will be permanent and which are just recessionary fads?

By Ylan Mui  |  April 6, 2009; 12:02 PM ET
Categories:  Ylan Q. Mui  
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Hi, I guess I'm too frugal to subscribe and read that article in the Wall Street journal that you linked. It sounded like it was going to be a good article, though.

Yes, it has been good for all of us to get cooking, baking, and enjoying making real food again! We have revisted the joys of soups and we are not going to go back to the old ways. Our vegetable garden is also expanding this year. How about the rest of the readers -- gardening this year? Go for it!

Posted by: rjrjj | April 6, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

@rjrjj Good point! I should've mentioned that a subscription is required. That's why The Post is such a good deal -- you get all this great info for free! ;)

Another money-saving strategy I plan to implement is finally starting an herb garden. I hate paying fresh cilantro, basil, etc. and then having to throw it away because I couldn't use it all. If I have a garden, I can just pick what I need.

Posted by: ylanmui | April 6, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

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