So today we are going to define what I mean by thrift. The word can be a little confusing to some as there are two similar words with opposite meanings. The Oxford dictionary defines thrift as a noun meaning: the quality of using money and other resources carefully and not wastefully. For example, “the values of thrift and self-reliance”. But there is also the word spendthrift a noun which refers to: a person who spends money in an extravagant, irresponsible way. For example, “Putt was a spendthrift and a heavy gambler”. We are discussing the former definition in which we want to be resourceful, careful and not wasteful.
When I speak of thrift by no means do I suggest that thrift means being stingy, tight or mean – quite to the contrary- thrift means to manage the resources at hand wisely, carefully and confidently allowing sufficiency for ourselves and the opportunity of gracious hospitality and generous sharing with others.
We have become very used to having everything all of the time. However, right now we are in a time when our world is being redefined. Some people will actually prosper as we go through this time of global shift because they can supply essentials which are in high demand, still others will truly suffer, they will lose loved ones, employment, small businesses; for most of us though it is a time to rethink, to settle ourselves down, to rein in expenses, to walk lightly on the globe, to take stock of how wasteful we have become, to be reminded what is important, to be content with less but paradoxically blessed more and learn again how to look out for one another.
In 2012 I wrote; I believe the season of wilful waste is over, our global economy, our environment, our employers, our families and relationships can no longer stand under the pressure of the rampant consumerism which has increasingly gained momentum since the end of the second World War. I think it would be true to say that most people under the age of fifty know very little about thrift. Those around thirty have even less of an idea, however, in the face of employment uncertainty and the rising costs of living, it would be a good time to return to some of the tried and true ways of thrift.
And now we have a global pandemic which is knocking the world sideways and changing the very essence of what we think living is. There is no need to panic, when the storm has been weathered, there will be a silver lining. However, with the present uncertainty and a predicted tight economy, it is time to make that shift to habits of thrift and when money becomes more available, the thrifty habits formed open the way for real progress. Please do not see Thrift as a burden; rather it is a freedom.
In the next post we will discuss the thrift of a plan.