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  1. #1 Wistful Wednesday. 
    It's cold here but not as cold as it has been, thankfully. We should warm up the rest of the week although more snow is in the forecast. Much as I like cold weather activities, this whole "winter" thing is overrated.

    TOTD: Considering the last 50 years or so, what skills, habits, useful objects, or attitudes have we lost as a culture? Your answer could focus on small or obscure things (playpens) or more important things (the family budget).
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    TOTD: Spending within our means isn't totally lost; it's making a comeback. The handwritten letter seems to be virtually dead, however.
    "Today, [the American voter] chooses his rulers as he buys bootleg whiskey, never knowing precisely what he is getting, only certain that it is not what it pretends to be." - H.L. Mencken
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  3. #3  
    Quote Originally Posted by linda22003 View Post
    TOTD: Spending within our means isn't totally lost; it's making a comeback. The handwritten letter seems to be virtually dead, however.
    Probably because people under 30 can't read cursive. :p
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    Senior Member Celtic Rose's Avatar
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    TOTD: The attitude that most debt is best to be avoided. Basic self sufficiency skills such as the ability to sew simple garments, and repair them when necessary, the value of a backyard garden, knitting, darning, and the ability to cook from scratch.

    The first time I made pancakes from scratch, I was amazed at how easy it really is. I had always used bisquik, and I had no idea that it really didn't make the process any faster or easier.
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    I have a friend (my age) who thinks baking is VERY hard - I just think she doesn't enjoy it. The look on her face the first time she saw me make frosting from scratch - I wish I had a picture of her astonishment.
    "Today, [the American voter] chooses his rulers as he buys bootleg whiskey, never knowing precisely what he is getting, only certain that it is not what it pretends to be." - H.L. Mencken
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    Senior Member Celtic Rose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by linda22003 View Post
    I have a friend (my age) who thinks baking is VERY hard - I just think she doesn't enjoy it. The look on her face the first time she saw me make frosting from scratch - I wish I had a picture of her astonishment.
    Baking bread can be difficult, but it is also relaxing (at least I think so). And seriously, if you want to impress people, make homemade bagels. A little time consuming, but not difficult, and people can't believe that they can actually be made at home :D
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celtic Rose View Post
    Baking bread can be difficult, but it is also relaxing (at least I think so). And seriously, if you want to impress people, make homemade bagels. A little time consuming, but not difficult, and people can't believe that they can actually be made at home :D
    Or donuts. You do not actually need a factory to make donuts.

    I'm making sour dough bread right now. :)

    I think people are generally beginning to "get" the budget thing but I don't think they've recaptured the attitude of thrift. Watching your money, stretching a buck, and planning for indulgences instead of instantly satisfying impulses still aren't seen as "hip". Back in the day, even rich people expected to be thrifty and spending money recklessly on showy things was considered to be in bad taste.

    We've got a ways to go before the attitude of thrift is considered to be a skill instead of a punishment.
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    Ginger, I think you're right that the thrift skill needs to be "relearned", but it doesn't take long to see it as a reward rather than a punishment. It's been many years since we had any consumer debt, but when we were out of it, it was wonderful to have those extra x-hundred dollars a month at our disposal. I bought a car for cash almost ten years ago, and I'm still happily driving it. That was worth about $300 a month to us, not to have a car payment on that. My husband paid off his car five years ago, and that was another $350/month in our pockets.

    Now we're at the point where we live on his income and save/invest mine. Do we want to go on a nice cruise? That now takes three months of savings - which is no time at all. Do I want to buy a new car next year? I can get a Mercedes for cash by then.

    It becomes a game - wow, what shall we do with all this money? When others don't have a claim on much of it, life is good.
    "Today, [the American voter] chooses his rulers as he buys bootleg whiskey, never knowing precisely what he is getting, only certain that it is not what it pretends to be." - H.L. Mencken
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    Quote Originally Posted by linda22003 View Post
    Now we're at the point where we live on his income and save/invest mine. Do we want to go on a nice cruise? That now takes three months of savings - which is no time at all. Do I want to buy a new car next year? I can get a Mercedes for cash by then.

    It becomes a game - wow, what shall we do with all this money? When others don't have a claim on much of it, life is good.
    I agree but I think you're talking about an entire financial worldview that is simply foreign to people who emerge from college with consumer debt (and educational debt) and who have no experience with impulse control. It's much harder for them to deny themselves frivolous purchases or to learn to "make do" with what they've got.

    The end result is fabulous, of course, but these people have several years (or more) of fiscal discipline before they can enjoy the fruits. We've lost the habit of thrift that should start in childhood.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gingersnap View Post
    I agree but I think you're talking about an entire financial worldview that is simply foreign to people who emerge from college with consumer debt (and educational debt) and who have no experience with impulse control. It's much harder for them to deny themselves frivolous purchases or to learn to "make do" with what they've got.
    Then those are people who are ultimately sort of screwed even in a healthy economy, and deeply fucked when the economy is bad.

    People my age (fifties) were raised by people who vividly remembered the Depression, and tailored their lives according to its lessons for decades afterwards. We may be about to re-learn those lessons for decades to come. Those of us squirrels with lots of nuts will do better than those who didn't "squirrel" anything away.
    "Today, [the American voter] chooses his rulers as he buys bootleg whiskey, never knowing precisely what he is getting, only certain that it is not what it pretends to be." - H.L. Mencken
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