There are a lot of phrases that we hear these days about being frugal. “Being frugal is fabulous” and “frugal is the new black” are two common phrases that indicate just how cool it is to be a frugal person these days. It wasn’t always cool to be frugal but these days being savvy about saving money is something that is all the rage. If you want to be trendy in today’s society then you need to be someone who knows how to get a good deal and yet still live a stylish life. This is due in part, of course, to the recession but it also has to do with the intersection of several different trends which make it cool to be frugal in today’s society.
The trends that have intersected which combine together to make frugality a cool thing are:
• We all need to save money right now. The single biggest factor influencing the trendiness of frugality is the recession. People from all different income levels have been severely affected by the recession. This is something that everyone is feeling and everyone is talking about. As a direct result of everyone’s need to save money, it’s become really cool to be someone who is good at saving money. That’s why “coupon queens” are so popular these days; these are people who have elevated saving money to an art form. We can appreciate them because they’re doing what we’re all doing but they’re doing it on a much grander scale. We aspire to be like them. We think that they are cool.
• Blogging and social networking allow real people to share thoughts with one another. Both blogging and social networking have come to dominate average life in the past five years or so. Most of us get our news and information as much from these sources as from major media outlets (and some of us have stopped looking at the mainstream media all together in favor of learning about life from blogs and sites like Twitter). How does this relate to frugality? Well, it means that what dominates the news these days is truly the stuff the average person wants to know about. Money is always an issue for the average person. That’s why there are so many blogs and social networking groups devoted to the topic of frugality. Frugal living is of interest to people and that interest has been able to grow and spread like wildfire because of the way that information is now shared through the web.
• Mainstream media agrees. In order to compete with these other forms of new media, mainstream media has to pick up on the topics that interest the readers of new media. As a result, mainstream media outlets are also spreading the word about frugality. The more people you have writing articles and producing newscasts about a topic, the more people you have who will want to follow news about that topic. The result is that frugality has become cool among not only alternative news readers but also mainstream news fans.
• Simple living is something that a lot of people have come to value. It’s not just the recession that has caused this to be true; there was a simple living movement going strong long before the recession reared its ugly head. This has to do with changes in society. In the 1980’s and 1990’s women entered the workforce in droves. They needed to prove themselves across all industries in order to gain some equality with men in the workplace. Now that this equality has been (mostly) established, women and men both have more choices when it comes to how they want to live their lives and raise their families. Many of these people have found that a two-income home has drawbacks when it comes to raising kids. They’ve found an alternative in simple living which allows them to save enough money so that one parent can stay home with the kids at least part of the time. Simple living and frugal living go hand in hand so this movement has added to the fact that being frugal is the same as being cool in today’s society.
• DIY is hot. A segment of the people who engage in simple living are focused specifically on the DIY aspect of simple living. They want to grow things and make things themselves instead of buying things. This has to do with a movement in our society towards appreciating a hand-crafted job. There’s a move against big business and towards buying locally. There’s a movement to make what you can and to barter it with others to get what you can’t make yourself from someone who can. Many, many people think that DIY is cool. And since DIY usually means saving money it also ends up meaning that saving money is cool.
• Green is the new black. We hear this saying at least as often as we hear that frugal is the new black. What it means is that it’s cool to be green. And saving the earth almost always means saving money. Sure there are high-tech energy-saving devices that are quite pricey but the average person cuts back on their carbon footprint by cutting back on waste. This results in saving money which ultimately results in a frugal lifestyle whether or not it was intended to. If it’s cool to be green and being green saves money then it’s cool to save money.
• Celebrities are promoting frugality. Let’s face it; nothing in today’s society would be truly cool if it wasn’t being promoted and supported by the famous people that we adore (or love to hate) today. A lot of celebrities have decided to support frugality. This is probably because it was starting to become trendy but it’s a cycle that perpetuates itself because frugality becomes trendier when famous people support it. From Oprah to Eva Longoria, the stars are being frugal and we want to be like them.