Last month, the New York Times told us about people who don’t really have to penny-pinch but choose to spend less in this economy because it makes them feel good —“the gleefully frugal.” Like the San Franciscan who canceled his wine club membership. Folks who, the Times wrote, now “take pride in outsaving the Joneses.”
In today’s Times, “Hard Times” have come to Hollywood, and we meet some folks who are also choosing to spend less — “updat[ing] for summer at H&M instead of Balenciaga” and “selling some…’personal luxury items,’ like a motorcycle, to put a bid on a bigger house by the beach.” But, intent on “maintaining a fabulous facade on the cheap while paring expenses behind the scenes,” they aren’t quite as eager to publicize their sacrifices. The furtively frugal?
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal today reports on one Florida couple’s attempt to achieve frugality by fire sale. “Fire-sale auctions of mansions, yachts, sports cars and other trappings of wealth,” writes the Journal’s Robert Frank, “have become increasingly common as the rich become less rich.” The couple featured in the piece “is in the vanguard in attempting to downsize in just one day” in a sort of “lifestyle liquidation, a clearance sale on a decade’s worth of conspicuous consumption” from stuffed wildebeest to waterfall-ringed mansion.Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.