Tuesday, August 10, 2010

History of Thrift Week

Thrift Week sounds great to me and I believe we need to get back to the hard core basics of living within our means and community.

I decided to look into Thrift Week and find out what happened to it and led to it's demise.
Here's what I found.

Thrift week began pre World War 1 in 1961
"National Thrift Week" and sponsored primarily by the Young Men's Christian Association (Y.M.C.A.), the campaign became an annual celebration. National thrift Week began each year on January 17 the American apostle of thrifts' birthday, Benjamin Franklin. Expanding in the 1920's Thrift week gained supporters from over 50 groups including the Boy and Girl Scouts, Bankers, Farm Mortgage groups, Advertising Clubs, The US Postal Service and The Red Cross.

National Thrift Week was celebrated daily by specific principles and encouraged action each day.
Slogan, "For Success and Happiness."  

Monday: Have a Bank Account Day
Tuesday: Invest Safely Day
Wednesday; Carry Life Insurance Day 

Thursday: Keep a Budget Day
Friday: Pay Bills Promptly Day
Saturday: Own Your Home Day
Sunday: Share with Others Day.

Share with others Day was expanded into three pie charts:
“Mr. Tightwad’s Dollar,”
“Mr. Spendthrift’s Dollar,” 
“Mr. Thrifty’s Dollar.”
Mr. Tightwad and Mr. Spendthrift pie only allotted 1 percent to giving, Mr. Thrifty allotted 10 percent because he had more to give.

These principles were meant to cultivate responsible consumerism and civic progress. Rather than self-denial, the goal was self-control. The word, "thrift," finds its root in the phrase "to thrive".
Thrift is thriving because, in the end, the thrifty person will have more resources than the spendthrift—which thrift leaders believed was important not only for one’s personal flourishing, but for societal flourishing as well. 

Finally, thrift is thriving because thrift is not only wise use of money,  “intelligent use of health, time, and property of all kinds, including money.” In a school educational guide called "Thrift and Conservation"  thrift educators boasted that in 1917, schoolchildren in Los Angeles cultivated 90 vacant city lots, and more than 14,000 tended 900 acres of home gardens. As a result, they said, “Children are trained in habits of industry and thrift, and the spirit of cooperation is developed.” For these thrift educators, conserving natural resources was an intrinsic part of the thrift ethic: Because we hold all our resources in trust, the school guide noted, “it is our duty to guard our trust faithfully and to pass it on as little impaired by our use of it as possible.”

Special  events, parades, programs were the rage within budget but slowly fizzled out with more wars, economic downturns and cultural changes and lack of sponsorship until it completely disappeared in 1966. Arguably, thrift was replaced for the next forty years by consumerism and easy credit and our reversion back to thrift is one out of necessity.

How about starting our own thrift movement, emphasizing hard work, wise use of money, generosity, and conservation? As we work our way out of this Recession, the advice from nearly a century ago rings just as true for today: “Get the thrift habit.”Spending as we have seen does not necessarily stimulate the economy, as we are experiencing today.

Taking control back into our own hands and responsibility and out of investment bankers and speculation investors will go a long way to create sound communities and healthy solid/paid for homes and reduce waste everywhere.

No comments:

Post a Comment