Here are a few articles from around the web I recommend reading.
A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Single Step. A few days ago, Tom, the producer of the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, and I spoke with Matt Jabs and recorded most of that conversation for an upcoming episode. Part of the discussion focused on the core message of this article and its inspiration, a quotation attributed to Lao Tsu matching the title of the article.
This quotation inspired Matt to set goals and take the first step towards achievement, but for me the quotation reinforces the idea that your goal (of traveling a thousand miles by foot or making the world a better place) need not be reached. The steps you take towards that goal, the small things you do, are what define who you are. Look for more on this topic in an upcoming episode of the Podcast.
Carnival of Personal Finance: New Zealand Edition. Baker from Man Vs. Debt hosted the 213rd edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance on Monday, and put together an excellent presentation of the prior week’s best articles in personal finance. The articles are interspersed with fantastic photos from New Zealand, representing the backpacking journey through the country Baker and his family were undertaking.
Is Frugal Living Just a Fad? The media has made much to-do over the idea that Americans are saving more and spending less due to the economic recession. Some out of necessity, but there is an implication that frugality is now more mainstream than it ever has been. I believe that’s an exaggeration. Perhaps we have been to the point where circumstances necessitate a change in consumerist behavior, but very few things in life are permanent. Entire generations have been identified by generalized adjectives such as “frugal;” current behavior is simply a reaction, not a permanent shift in behavior.
I wouldn’t call the recent popularity of “frugal living” a fad, but it’s not going to stick around for too long. The economy moves faster than it did seventy years ago; changes that used to take a generation to complete may take much less. Before long, Americans will be back and spending in full force.
Published or updated July 24, 2009.