How NOT To Teach Frugality

David Trammel's picture

Ran across this article:

"Being Frugal Is For The Rich"

The couple discussed in the article seem to be like so many, who are now making a name for themselves teaching frugality on the Internet and in social media, that is they have a lot of money BEFORE they decide to make their lifestyle changes.

To me, cutting out $10 a day Starbucks visits on the way to work, as a way to save money, is a good idea BUT that presupposes that your audience is making the kind of salary that they regularly spend money on such luxuries.

For the vast amount of us who don't live on $155K a year, but struggle on $35K instead, we don't have a lot of luxuries to cut back on. 


One of the core principles to what I consider Green Wizardry, is the belief that we all must learn how to live on less.

Now and not some years from now.

Greer's apropos saying of "Collapse Now and Avoid The Rush" sums up the idea that you use the time we have now, when there are still groceries on the shelf and gas at the pump, to prepare for a time, coming sooner than we would like, when there isn't.

Its not without the occasional smile that I then think of myself as a "self help guru", especially when I happen to be giving some bit of knowledge to a friend.

Most recently, it was a co-worker who is about to be divorced. He and his family had moved down to St Louis from Minnesota a few years back, for his wife's schooling. He had worked for our branch up there and was able to transfer to our branch here. He's like most of my co-workers, always broke and always looking to do more overtime, so he might pay some of his bills and have a dollar or two for a movie or a dinner out with the kids.

His intention in moving back North is to move in with his parents and use the savings to pay off his current debt. I asked him if he knew just how much his expenses each month were? Which he didn't, so I took a few minutes to explain the concept of a "Financial Audit" to him.

You can see a discussion of this here:

"An Audit for Austerity - Getting Started at Green Wizardry"

Getting a handle on your in and out flow of money, is in my opinion, critical to getting ready for the Collapse.


When you look at people like the Frugalwoods, and read their messages, I think its helpful to consider just who their "customers" really are. And I don't think its people who read this forum.

Greer has discussed the "green washing" of eco-tech as way of a status symbol for upper income households. The ones who buy a system of solar cells for their roof, but then put it in a location that does not generate electricity, as a way to show their neighbors that this couple "cares" about the environment.

Much like buying an electric car and still taking holidays via airplanes to far away locations.

I hope we always remember just who OUR customers are.

The ones at the bottom, who most need help.

David Trammel's picture

Here is a follow on article about the vast majority of Millennials who see no hope of a traditional retirement.

Its interesting that so many are still a bit upbeat and still planning for the time they are old, yet not the way so many of us now old would think is good.

"The remarkable consensus suggests that us millennials lacking traditional retirement savings plans might still have a happy retirement outlook, just not in the conventional way that previous generations did. If political organizers and mass movements succeed, we'll have a post-work, post-scarcity future to look forward to; and if not, it seems that many are committed to building their own solidarity networks, intentional communities, and like-minded cooperatives to carry us through the darker years of the 21st century."