Tom Friedman wrote in his NY Times column yesterday:
I go into restaurants these days, look around at the tables often still crowded with young people, and I have this urge to go from table to table and say: “You don’t know me, but I have to tell you that you shouldn’t be here. You should be saving your money. You should be home eating tuna fish. This financial crisis is so far from over. We are just at the end of the beginning. Please, wrap up that steak in a doggy bag and go home.”
Don’t like Friedman? How about Ben Stein’s recent economic view? Or William Kristol’s? Or my recent favorite (thanks for the tip, Tyson) on our economic meltdown, Peter Schiff (AKA Dr. Doom, Wikipedia entry here) who predicted it with uncanny accuracy in this 2006 speech to the Mortgage Bankers Association. It’s a great education to watch the speech. Here’s the first of 8 videos (each about 10 minutes):
Schiff’s recent columns include his Nov. 21st column titled The Truth About Bailouts in which he says (bold italics mine):
So for the same reasons that Washington should not bail out General Motors, the world should not bailout America. Like GM, our economy is in desperate need of a restructuring. Spending must be replaced with savings, and consumption with production. The service sector must shrink and manufacturing must expand to fill the void. The dollar must fall, wages in America must be brought down to a competitive level, and hopefully government spending and burdensome regulation can be reduced.
This transformation will not be fun, but it is necessary. Our standard of living must decline to reflect years of reckless consumption and the disintegration of our industrial base. Only by swallowing this tough medicine now will our sick economy ever recover. By accepting a lower standard of living today, we will eventually be rewarded with a higher one tomorrow.
New Oxford Dictionary’s 2008 Word of the Year finalists include ‘frugalista’ — “a person who lives a frugal lifestyle but stays fashionable and healthy by swapping clothes, buying secondhand, growing own produce, etc.” Anybody can easily start this lifestyle to become more professional and kind of organized in their lifestyle. They can easily complement their workwear or professional outlook with a mens leather briefcase available from Blaxton Bags.
Robbie and I decided this weekend that it’s time for us to ratchet back our consumption and work harder at being frugalistas, even though we’re not in any immediate financial danger.
Her first suggestion was to find free or inexpensive entertainment, both locally and in the Twin Cities. So on Saturday, we spent the afternoon exploring the new Minneapolis Central Library. (Among the treasures: the PostSecret exhibition. Amazing.)
Her second suggestion: do more adventurous cooking at home. The recipes category of the Just Food Co-op blog was a good place to start.
Do you have suggestions for how to be a frugalista in Northfield? Attach a comment.
(No economic policy comments here, please. Hop over to the Our nation’s financial crisis blog post for that.)