Frugality is making a comeback but probably not by choice. Stores are using this to fine tune their marketing (via NYT):

Home economics, that lost art in which generations of students learned to keep a household going on a tight budget, is making a comeback. Only this time, lessons in pinching pennies are being taught not in the nation’s classrooms but in its stores.

While it might seem counterintuitive for stores to teach shoppers to cut their spending, several chains have concluded that providing such knowledge can spur loyalty and keep customers from trading down to cheaper competitors.

So the Stop & Shop grocery chain is offering “affordable food summits” where consumers are taught how to lower their grocery bills. Home Depot offers classes on how to cut energy bills. And Wal-Mart Stores hired a “family financial expert” who has used online chats to teach several thousand shoppers how to save money for college, whittle away debt and sell a house.

This is just good business for the stores, but there is no shortage of resources for the frugal minded:

I am taking a look at my expenses just like everyone else. Just this week, I’ve reduced my monthly expenses by roughly $200 by looking more closely at my bills. I cut my phone bill by eliminating an unlimited long distance plan. I have unlimited long distance on my cell phone and didn’t need it on my land line. It’s not much but why pay for something I don’t need? I also reduced my cable bill significantly by eliminating some movie channels that I rarely watch.

Saving money is just a state of mind. If you’re like me you haven’t paid much attention to your spending over the last few years. Take some time and review things; you’ll be surprised how much you can save.

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