March 25, 2008

Frugal, Thrifty, Careful...

or Just Plain Cheap?

Yesterday we looked a little at how the current economic downturn is making frugal fashionable again, and today we're going to look at some words around saving money. You may think this is silly, but honestly, mindset matters!

When someone says "frugal," or "thrifty" or even "economical," what kind of images come to mind? Posotive? If someone says "cheap," "stingy," "tight-fisted," or even "penny-pinching," what kind of images come to mind? Negative? Well "cheap chic" is back and we can all now wear the positive money-watching labels with pride. That has not been the case in the past few years, when it seemed everyone was approaching the frenzied consumer world with open hands and deep pockets.

So, what does this mean to you? Are you trying to keep up with galloping grocery prices and traffic-stopping energy hikes? First, you really need to look positively at any ways to save, feel that you are re-taking control, not that you are being deprived. Second, everyone and anyone in your household, who has even a finger in your money jar, must be part of any discussion about money, any cut-backs, and of course, must be part of the solution. If some in the household are really working to reduce expenses and some aren't being as careful or even indifferent to the gravity of the family finances, it'll be a mess. A mess of resentments, control issues, subtle sabotages. Everyone's got to be onboard, even if in different ways.

You know very well exactly how much difference words, mere words, can make in your view and acceptance of something. Get ready to have the first family financial conference by choosing your words carefully, being ready to listen to eveyone's suggestions, and by being sure that everyone understands that nothing is cast in stone and that there will be follow-up conversations for adjusting, for flexibility.

You can do this!