Cerebral Shangrila

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Lessons in Frugality

As the economic slowdown deepens, consumers all around the world are learning new tricks about saving money and frugal spending.

Can India teach the US a lesson or two in this? Aren't Indians big on saving with frugal practices such as " missed calls". Here is a piece from NYT on what the others can learn from Indians .

Here is the crux of the argument:

"Watching Americans try to make themselves frugal is like watching Mongolians try to make Bordeaux wine.Thrift does not come naturally to a country that turned layaway, zero-interest home loans and pre-approved credit cards into a mode of living. And so as they trudge through a cruel holiday season, Americans are cutting back, but hesitatingly and maladroitly.

India is to frugality as Bethlehem is to Jesus. But in recent years, the mega corporations of the West, not content to foment irresponsibility at home, sent pinstriped missionaries here to nudge genetically predisposed savers to spend.Millions of Indians converted, but millions of others ignored them - and, for the West, luckily so. As rich countries enter a new era of scarcity, the best practices of the gurus of frugality can serve as a textbook for frugality's new pupils."

While some of the tips do sound a little trivial and jingoistic, there is definitely a lot of truth on the need to practice frugality in good and bad times.

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