Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"Tightwad Gazette" author's take on the recession

One of the prime movers in the frugality movement of the 1990s was Amy Dacyczyn (pronounced sort of like "decision"), whose "Tightwad Gazette" newsletter inspired people all across the country to seek ways to live better for less. The Ann Arbor Business Review interviewed her at her home in Maine, where she still lives by her frugal principles, and it's an interesting read.

I don't agree with Dacyczn on every point, but -- as she points out -- neither of us is an economist. She faults people who took the subprime mortgage bait more than I would, and she thinks employees of the Big Three automakers are overpaid (she seems unaware the health care and legacy pension benefits parts of the equation).

Dacyczyn and I are just ordinary citizens -- sister Nice White Ladies, if you will -- who are trying to do the right thing for ourselves and our families, to live by our values. I agree with her that ""what's best for the economy is that every individual and individual family unit is in the best financial health possible" and I share her concern that too much self-sufficiency might not be "good for the economy at large", when that economy depends so heavily on consumer spending beyond necessity.

In the end, my primary concerns continue to be my own household's well-being and our impact on the planet, rather than on the economy. If I had much more money, I would probably not own more things, but better things and more locally-made things. Old Navy and Macy's should probably not count on me to help their bottom line.

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