Now that worrying about money and the economy has become our new national pastime, it makes sense that we all examine our own spending habits.
Think about some of the things we managed to get by without five or 10 years ago. Bottled water. Cell phones. The DVR. Can't we live without them now?
With that in mind, I find myself thinking about what I heard -- and learned -- growing up in a house with two people who lived through the Great Depression and whose worldview was colored by that experience in a way that few who came later could comprehend.
Many of these lessons still apply:
* There is always a little more in the toothpaste tube and the peanut butter jar. You just keep rolling up the tube and you'll be amazed how long it will last. If you can't get the peanut butter out with a knife, that's why we have a rubber spatula.
* You don't need to go to the movies. It's too expensive. Besides, there hasn't been a movie worth watching since "Swiss Family Robinson" came out. You want to be entertained? Read a book.
* Pop is expensive, and it's bad for you. If you're thirsty, have a glass of water.
* You're never too young to earn money.
* You're hot? Go run through the sprinkler. Air conditioners cost money.
* You're cold? Put on a sweater. Well, then put on another sweater. Heat costs money.
* Do we really need all these lights on?
* We don't buy things just because there was a good commercial on television.
* Do you really need that or do you just think you need it?
* You don't need a hamburger bun to have a hamburger. It's all bread, anyway, so just put the burger on two slices of bread. So what if it doesn't look right?
* It doesn't matter what's in it. It's leftovers. Just eat it.
* You want a ride to your friend's house? Take a walk. It's good for you.
* It's too far to walk? That's why they have buses.
* Write on both sides of the paper, and it will last longer.
* Why do you want to go to Anderson's? To get ice cream? We have ice cream here. Why would you want to spend money on ice cream when we have it here? What do you mean you don't like butter crunch?
* The driving range is for suckers: paying hard-earned money to hit golf balls. You want to hit some golf balls? Go out to a field and hit them there, and then you can go and retrieve them yourself. It's good for you.
* We do not need to spend our money in restaurants. Have you seen those prices? This entire family could eat meals for two weeks on the money we would spend on one meal at a restaurant.
* Don't throw out plastic containers that used to be full of butter or sherbet. They can be cleaned and reused.
* If you bring your lunch in a paper bag, bring the bag home. It can be reused.
* New furniture is nice, but why do that when you can get the old stuff reupholstered for a lot less and it looks just like new?
* I'm glad the neighbors have a new (whatever). Guess what? We're not the neighbors.
* It's a lot less expensive to sew up the hole in those pants than to buy a new pair.
* You're wearing your brother's old clothes because they're clean and they fit you -- that's why.
* Why do we give money to charity? I'll tell you why: because there are a lot of people out there who don't have it as good as you do.