An advertisement for a trip to Yellowstone National Park

A small spot on the local news drew my attention to “Frugal February,” something of a halting movement that seems to be supported mainly by a few bloggers and a Facebook page. The notion is that, during February (probably chosen because it’s the shortest month), one sets out to go for a month without spending any money that isn’t absolutely necessary. 

That means eating food from the pantry and freezer rather than buying fresh, using up the toothpaste rather than stocking up even if it’s on sale, not going out to eat or to the movies, and so forth. 

I mentioned the concept to one of my classes at Campbell University Divinity School, where students often struggle to stay financially afloat and many are living on the margin to begin with. I tried to explain the concept that for February they could challenge themselves to spend no money that wasn’t really needed for basic expenses.

They responded with blank faces. Finally, one said “And how is that different from every other month?”

Retailers, apparently, have a different campaign in mind: they seem to believe that people are itching to spend money on Fridays. When I first checked my email at 7:00 a.m. this morning, I had received special offers from Kohl’s, Hallmark, FTD, Staples, Office Max, World Market, Walgreen’s, Harris Teeter, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. 

I think I’ll pass, though — a new Food Lion just opened nearby, and I hear they have real deals for the Grand Opening. Samuel’s hungry, and there are a few things I really need …

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