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How to Thrive Through Thrift

Last year, she shed pounds. This year, online managing editor Anne Simpkinson focuses on shedding debt and invites you to join her in her experiment.

Last year with my New Year’s resolution, I aimed to shed pounds; this year, it’s debt. I’ve shifted my main focus from food to money, embarking upon a financial diet, if you will. 

Not surprisingly, I found myself in a mindset of deprivation. I thought of all the things I could not buy, all the plays and dinners I would have to forego. But then I discovered Sara Ban Breathnach’s newest book Peace and Plenty and her take on money changed my thinking and approach.

Sara discovered in her book research that as far back as the 13th century “thrift” and “thrive” were almost synonymous.  Both had connotations of abundance, plenty and harmony.

“Probably the earliest meaning of the word thrift was ‘the condition of one who thrives,’” she writes. “or being endowed with good luck, good fortune, wealth and health.” She goes on to make a very important point: that thrift/thriving was not seen as a blessing from God or the King but was achieved “through the everyday choices made by prudent housewives who were neat, clean, industrious, imaginative, honest, clever, enterprising, and generous.”

Wow! Here I was thinking about self-denial and sacrifice when, in fact, what I need to do is make wiser choices: not go shopping solely because I have the afternoon free and there’s a sale on but because I actually need something. I’ve been practicing this approach since January 1. With every sales flyer I get from the various department stores, I ask myself: “Is there something I need from that store?” The answer has been an overwhelming “no.” I have so much already. What a blessing to have a full closet and not want for nice clothing. 

So join me in my experiment. Let’s look at our attitude towards money, how we can get rid of credit card balances, pay down loans and build up our savings. Let’s get thrifty! And thrive! 

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