Nifty Thrifty

Suzann Darnall

I had an odd dream a while back about economizers. I won't go into the details of the dream other than to say it involved a group of knights out to help save our economy. Seriously! What can I say? Even my unconscious has a vivid imagination with a whimsical bent.

When I woke, the first thought that came to my mind was that I'd coined a new word in my sleep, but it turns out that economizer, or economiser in British English, is actually part of a steam heat boiler. But, I think we need to give it another meaning. I think we need to all become economic misers. In fact, I think we need econo-misers more than we need economists in this time of trouble.

I am sure economists serve a perfectly fine function in the halls of academia, and they seem to be ever present in politics, with frequent appearances in the world of finance. But, what purpose do they actually serve in the real world? While I occasionally hear from some that make sense, most of them seem to be spouting vague notions dealing with more fiction than fact. To tell the truth, I'm sort of afraid they might be a lot of why we are in this current economic fiasco. If you aren't dealing with cold, hard truths, not to mention cold hard cash, it is easy to let things, especially spending, get way out of control.

If more Americans became econo-misers, we might see an eventual turn around in our economy. We need to be frugal in our personal, business, and government spending. If we don't have it, we shouldn't spend it. We need to encourage others to also become econo-misers. We need to insist upon it in our governments, local and national.

We should be working to get out of debt, not trying to add to our liabilities. Being debt-free at a personal level would make us each less dependent on the government in times of hardship. Being debt-free as a nation would make us less vulnerable to our enemies and non-friends.

My husband and I are already working to be econo-misers in our personal life. It is something one has to learn and practice, using baby steps in the beginning. I can't list everything, but I will share a few things that help stretch our dollars. We look for bargains when shopping for anything. I go to the local cosmetology school, rather than a salon or spa. We belong to the local activity center, instead of a pricey gym. When we bought a new car recently, we got a simple Toyota Corolla because it was on sale and gets great gas mileage. We still have our two older vehicles, which we keep maintained to extend their usefulness. The pickup truck hauls hay, and the van pulls our camping trailer, and also carries my Great Danes in comfort.

I think my dream was really a wish that we could get our government to take baby steps towards fiscal responsibility. But I am not sure how we get them weaned off what they seem to view as the never-ending handouts of taxpayer money. Frankly, I don't think the current in-crowd--all parties--will ever wean, being permanently attached to the government teat. Therefore, voting the worst of the tax-and-spend crowd out of office would be a nice place for us to start in 2010!

© Suzann C. Darnall, MAY 2009 REPRINT

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