Thursday, June 17, 2010

Frugality Fatigue

Wow, it must be the day to read and talk about money. Yet another good article on money - focusing on spending:

Food & Drink : $59 a day: What the average American spent in May : Bundle

Michael Dang, author of the above article, asks - how much did you spend yesterday? Let's see, for me - nothing on the way into work. Dropped off my car at Tire Discounters for the whole rotation and balance thing - but that was free because I bought their tires. I packed my lunch (a new and novel concept for me - I have a weakness for eating out and it's been showing with a thinner wallet and bigger belly). So that didn't cost me money. I did go to Target and I bought a fathers day card - $3.99 plus tax. I already had the stamp. Nothing on the way home and nothing last evening. Erin and I made swordfish steaks with pasta and a salad for dinner. And we have cut down our Whit's frozen custard intake to once a week and that only on the weekend. So, yeah, I only spent $4.23 yesterday. That's a marked and willful change for me. According to the above article the average American who makes less than $90,000 a year (considered lower and middle class) is spending $59 a day on non-essentials. That may or may not sound like a lot to you, but let's flesh it out a bit. That's about $1800 a month, which, in turn, works out to about (and here's the breathtaking figure) $22,000 a year! This on non-essentials (lattes and ipads - not the mortgage, bills, etc.) That figure has stayed about the same the last three months but it is a 12 % rise from the same time frame last year. As for Americans who make more than than $90,000 a year spending is up 33 % just from April of this year. Gallup calls this "frugality fatigue". Stop and think about that phrase. Seriously - tired of being frugal? Now I understand that spending drives our economy, but how does our spending compare to, say, our giving? Our saving? For me, I've noticed I've been out of balance financially. I give. I save. But I spend way more than I give or save. I'm trying to get back to financial balance. Enough with the frugality fatigue already.

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