Old-Fashioned Common Sense

With media headlines like “The New Frugality” and “Thrifty Is the New Black,” there's no question that being cheap is chic. Whether out of fear or necessity, Americans have slammed the brakes on spending. Is the nation that considers life, liberty, and the pursuit of Prada an inalienable right really returning to its thrifty Yankee roots? Recent polls from leading luxury-industry pundits like Unity Marketing and The Harrison Group indicate this pullback in spending is likely to be a long-term trend, not a short-term fad. Of course, given that banks are highly unlikely to go back to spreading credit around like candy after this year's hard-hitting lessons, consumers may have no choice. With consumer spending the driving force of the American economy, families that made a virtue of thrift; paid cash for purchases; and passed up the latest fashions, gizmos, and toys were raritie

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