Austerity is popping up more and more on the news and in the news articles, mostly in reference to government economics but lately to personal economics as well. I wonder of journalists are getting tired of using frugality and need to rename it or if it is something really different.

Austerity(n) - enforced or extreme economy, financially strict
Frugality(n) - characterized by or reflecting economy in the use of resources

They appear to be similar in definition but the emotional connection to a word like frugality is stronger and to some, negative. A new word in our vocabulary with a similar definition removes the emotion for the time being and make it a word for the present as opposed to the past.

Similar to using words like bell-bottom pants vs flared/bootcut pants or the Great Depression vs the Deep Recession; they are words for the past that don't always portray an accurate current fad or situation. So instead a similar word is used that is essentially the same.

The G-20 is currently tossing around austerity as a way to get the world economics through it's rough patches. They are doing this to reduce their spending and/or increases user fees and taxes to pay back creditors so that their spending is more stable.

No matter what is decided about budgets by larger governments, our smaller budgets could use more stability. When things come crashing down in our world the impact is severe and immediate unless we have multiple layers of emergency netting laying below us.

Our spending is not stable as our creditors loom larger than our income for many people. Similar to governments, we need to cut expenses where we can, limit interest fees (credit cards) and increase income in any form possible. For the short term this will help to stabilize our budgets and hopefully, in the longer term we will pick up new habits or restrictions that will keep us out of this type of mess again. From that we can build a stronger financial future for ourselves.

To quote Carl Richards, "Whenever I get worked up about this (government economics), I have to take a step back and remind myself what I can do about it. The key for me is to focus on my personal economy. Continue my own personal austerity plan (in the real world we call that spending less than you make)"


  1. Anonymous // Monday, July 05, 2010 7:46:00 AM  

    Love the Carl Richards quote. No matter what is going on in the world, country, state or county, the most important thing I can do is focus on my "person economy". Great phrase!

  2. techwriter // Monday, July 05, 2010 2:21:00 PM  

    Actually, the words do have different meanings. Austerity is to not spend money unnecessarily, whereas frugality is to make use of what you already have (like washing out the Ziploc and reusing it). Although one could argue that it's the same thing. Austerity is more rich-person, pompous sounding, too. Thurston Howell is austere, but Gilligan is frugal. :-)

  3. Dawn // Monday, July 05, 2010 2:32:00 PM  

    I think he summed it up very well too.

    I can always rely on you techwriter to clue me in ;-)

  4. plasterer bristol // Tuesday, July 06, 2010 2:17:00 AM  

    This is a brillint blogg...I love bloggs that help you spend wisely...And be frugal with your money.....Simon

  5. // Wednesday, July 07, 2010 12:51:00 PM  

    I think last year when we were all still pretty much in a deep 'gloom' nobody cared if you were suddenly frugal. We were heading into uncharted waters (our generation anyway) and we did not know just how rough those waters were really going to get and if we would even get out alive without us all drowning.

    Now some heads are popping back up out of the waters and peering around. There is some movement,'lightening' up if you will, and all those 'temporary frugal folks' I bet will start looking at it once again as a (frugality, I mean) as a dirty word they don't want to be associated with. So for the time being, while everyone is still standing on shaky legs they have to come up with a new term. A 'hipper' word, until they can jump ship all together and get back to their normal lifestyles, you know, the ones that got them in this place to begin with.