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The Frugal Teenager, Ready or Not

Indulged. Entitled. Those labels have become hot-glued to middle-class and affluent teenagers born after the last major economic downturn, in the late 1980s. They were raised in comparatively flush times by parents who believed that keeping children happy, stimulated and successful, no matter the cost, was an unassailable virtue. A 2007 study by the Harrison Group, a market research firm in Waterbury, Conn., found that nearly 75 percent of parents caved in to their children’s nagging for new video games, half within two weeks.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm middle-class at all. It's not just that my son is perhaps the most unacquisitive teenager I know, making do with very little and maximizing his use of what he enjoys most, but his mum and dad are pretty much the same way. My weakness is camera bits, but I space those out over months, usually waiting for a sale or rebate. Nothing in the least bit house-filling though.

So when I read articles such as these, my jaw tends to drop because such an overtly materialist existence seems simply weird to me. On some level I can understand why it might be attractive, yet I have never followed up on these fleeting emotions. Perhaps I am lacking something? Clearly a shopping gene has gone amiss because, apart from grocery shopping (that I love), I view a trip to a store as a less-than-pleasurable experience.

Oh well. I think part of my conundrum is that I got used to getting by with very little when I was a student and unemployed post-college and that way of thinking set the pattern for the rest of my life. In these troubled times, I feel this is just as well. πŸ™‚