Hang on Tight — We’re Going Off-Topic

Trent, the personal finance guru of The Simple Dollar, takes on a touchy topic in this post which concerns how others often react defensively to his financial choices. Apparently he gets a rash of bitter comments every time he earnestly advocates such thrifty practices as rinsing and reusing Ziploc bags. In “Minimalism, Frugality and Confrontation,” he observes that many people take his frugality to be a judgment on their own spending practices. It is odd — no one finds it extreme to spend thousands on a home theater system, but woe betide the person who indulges in extremes of frugality.

No one has ever accused me of moralistic frugality, but I’ve seen a similar phenomenon in other areas of life. For instance, many, many people assume that anyone who’s as thin as I am must spend a lot of time noticing and other people’s weight and disapproving of it. (In fact, I often overlook 20 or 30-lb weight swings in people I know well.) When I turn down doughnuts at the office, it’s as if I’m doing it to show off. As a result, I try to avoid revealing that I don’t drink and don’t own a TV, for example, since these eccentricities seem to put people on the defensive.

I’m not certain what my point is there. I just felt compelled to bring up the problem.

In other news, there’s amazing wisdom in Gretchen Rubin’s interview with Chris Yeh, a dot-com entrepreneur. I won’t summarize it — just take a quick look if you have time.

Love to all.


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