As you know, here at The Frugal Girl, it’s thrift week every week. There is(or rather there used to be!) an official Thrift Week, though. I heard about it on Get Rich Slowly and I thought I’d do my part to spread the word. Thrift Week is something that was sponsored mainly by the Y.M.C.A back in 1916, and was designed to prepare people for a wartime economy. America fell off the Thrift Week wagon in 1966, but there’s been an effort recently to bring it back.
From the Thrift Week site:
The activities of National Thrift Week were guided by several specific principles and behaviors and each was given its own day. Hence, Americans joined together every January in celebrating Have a Bank Account Day, Invest Safely Day, Carry Life Insurance Day, Keep a Budget Day, Pay Bills Promptly Day, Own Your Home Day, and Share with Others Day. Then, as today, critics often maligned thrift as simple hoarding, but these principles demonstrate how the founders envisioned Thrift Week as so much more””they saw it not as a way to encourage miserly behavior, but instead to cultivate responsible consumerism and civic progress. Rather than self-denial, the goal was self-control. The word, “thrift,” after all, finds its root in the phrase “to thrive,” so it should come as no surprise that the slogan for Thrift Week was “For Success and Happiness.”
While I think that thrift should be an every day kind of thing, I think that if we have official weeks for all sorts of other stuff, it certainly can’t hurt to have a week for thrift too. And I think that it’s especially lovely that Thrift Week has historically not been just about keeping money, but about giving it too(evidenced by the “Share with Others” day). Thrift, I think, makes it easier to give, actually…as you spend less, you’ll have more to give(an idea I posted about in December).
On that note, I wanted to share an idea that my husband came across on the Living Water site (a non-profit that provides clean drinking water and drills wells for people who have no clean water)…for a week(or two, or however long you want), trying drinking nothing but tap water. Save the money you’d have spent on beverages, and donate it to Living Water(or to a charity of your choice)*. If you, like me, already drink nothing but tap water, try giving up some other unnecessary expenditure, and then share your savings, or at least some of your savings with someone who is in need. Let’s buck the hoarding stereotype, and live with thrift so we can give to others.
*Just so you don’t misunderstand me, I want to explain that I don’t think we need to give away every penny that we save, nor do I think that charitable giving is the sole purpose of thrift. Most of us, though, could stand to give more than we do, and I include myself in that…I’m challenging myself along with you!