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Dominate Economic Fear With Frugality

As you not doubt have heard or read, the bailout bill [3] never made it out of the House yesterday. The Dow was down seven hundred and seventy-seven points. 777. No very lucky. That’s a lot of points (single largest point loss ever and fourth larges percentage-wise [4]). If you missed the roller-coaster ride, count yourself lucky because you and I and probably everyone you know (certainly most of the people I know anyway), none of us have any control over the matter. So rather than sweat the stuff we can’t control, start concentrating with something you can – being smart with your money.

Last week I had the pleasure of chatting once again with Lynnae of BeingFrugal.net [5], Steve over at Brip Blap [6], and Tess Vigeland of Marketplace Money [7] in this interview [8]. In our little discussion, Tess asked us what we thought the future would bring and Lynnae had a great answer. She said that she hopes this will bring out a new era of frugality as people ratchet back their consumer spending and boost their savings. She thinks that our years of excess are coming back to haunt us and hopes this will spur more people to save, rather than spend their last dollar.

Steve responded by saying that while frugality is important, looking to generate more income is another component of wealth management that we shouldn’t forget. While I agree with Steve, I think that we’re in an era where it’ll be far easier to spend less than it is to earn more. While you need to do all things in moderation and in balance (you can’t just be frugal, just as you can’t just focus on earning more money), right now frugality is the easier thing to focus on.

Being frugal is something that anyone can do and it can help you manage your fear of the economic unknown. No one can say where the stock market will go tomorrow, but you have all the say in where your next dollar will go. Will it go to your bank account where you can earn interest or will it go to your favorite store in the mall?

You don’t have to make your detergent or bake your bread or split two-ply toilet paper or buy a toothpaste roller to squeeze out ever last ounce, there are plenty of simple and fun things you can do to save money. Try cooking more meals and eating out less. Try line drying your clothes rather than using the dryer. Heck, if you need tips, check out Lynnae’s blog [5] because it’s chock full of them! Or read the Festival of Frugality [9] every week for great tips from all of the blogosphere’s frugal bloggers.

Control what you can, let the rest go where they’ll go.