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These Are Frugal Tips? Is the Today Show Nuts?

Posted Nov 10 2008 4:27am

Dear Today Show on NBC:

I am a loyal viewer. I have only two channels - NBC and PBS - so I enjoy watching the Today Show with my morning cup of coffee. Sunday morning (November 9), I sat down for a little quiet and a little weather and news and whatnot. As the writer of a blog on being green and frugal, I was very happy to see that you would be doing a segment on how to save money in these tough times.

Imagine my surprise when you gave us, instead, two beautiful young ladies who told me how to save money by doing some of the silliest things of which I had ever heard.

Cut back on my cellphone service? Really? That’s a “frugal” tip? If I’m that strapped for cash, shouldn’t I give up the luxury of a cellphone? I don’t have a cellphone. I also don’t have a Blackberry. I don’t pay for things that require contracts or extraneous services. Besides, I live in rural Vermont and cellphones don’t work here.

Cut back on my “morning cup of Joe?” My husband and I thought about this. It used to be that a can of Folger’s or Maxwell House was the “expensive” brand of coffee. No one would have considered paying $4 for a cup of coffee every morning. Now, buying coffee out is the norm. Not me! I have a big, old-fashioned coffee maker and fill it up - twice - every morning.

I won’t go through the whole list of silly tips, but what I will say is that the reason people are in the position we are in is because we have been brought up believing that we are entitled to the “finer” things - regardless of our income level. We have been coaxed by marketing and television into believing that it’s OK to buy on credit or that we need more than we do.

Silly little tips on how to save money on manicures or cellphone service is not going to do it. This country needs to go back to the basics. People need to understand that cellphones are not a “need.” Salon visits are not a “need.” Pre-packaged, pre-processed food is not a “need.”

What we need to be giving people tips on is how to start a small garden that’s going to provide the bulk of a family’s produce. Or how to shop for bulk food. Or how to cook from scratch. Do you know how many people write to me and ask me how to make macaroni and cheese from scratch? Most kids that come to my house think mac and cheese comes out of a box - they didn’t know you could make it with real cheese!

Please, concentrate on giving us tips that are helpful. I appreciate wanting to live “well,” really I do, but it’s not until we, as a society, see that hard work, growing food, and saving money is the key to living well that anything will change.


Michelle Kennedy Hogan

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