Frugal and Fabulous!

From Saturday’s New York Times Business Section (another one for Katia’s NYT- Revels-in-Bad-Times File):

Millions of Americans have trimmed expenses because they have had their jobs or hours cut, or fear they will…

But who wants to read about them when there are a few people who are going thrifty even when they don’t have to (and loving it!)

…but a subset of savers are reducing costs not just with purpose, but with relish. These are the gleefully frugal.

Like Becky Martin, 52, who tells the Times, “I’m enjoying this,” and

who has cut up her 10 credit cards, borrows movies from the library instead of renting them, and grows her own fruits and vegetables — even though her family is comfortable.

Ms. Martin is a real estate investor, her husband is a plastic surgeon, and their home sits on the 12th hole of a Cincinnati country club.

“It’s a chance to pass along the frugal lifestyle that my mother gave to me,” she says, noting that her sensibilities seem to be rubbing off not just on her sons, but also on her husband. “We’re on the same page financially for the first time in years, and it’s fabulous.”

Choosing the frugal lifestyle similarly suits San Francisco resident Cooper Marcus, 36, who is really making do in that he

has started choosing recipes based on the ingredients on sale at the market…canceled the family’s subscription to Netflix, his premium cable package and a wine club membership. He uses a program on his iPhone to find the cheapest gas and drives out of his way to save 50 cents per gallon.

“It seems a little crazy,” he laughs, then adds: “I’m frugal and loving it.”

Isn’t frugality fun?

The Times also introduces us to “frugalistas— frugal fashionistas who refuse to sacrifice style,” not to be confused with those “recessionistas” the Times Styles section wrote about in October and defined as “style mavens on a budget.” Wait, come to think of it, why wasn’t Saturday’s article in Styles? What makes it a Business story?

Maybe because this gleeful, optional frugality is actually about — how all-American— competition?

The gleefully frugal happily seek new ways to economize and take pride in outsaving the Joneses…

Sure, some folks go frugal to survive, but these people do it to win!

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.