MADELEINE BRAND, Host:
Farhad Manjoo writes about this at slate.com, and first, tell us what are these sites that you write about? Where can people go to if they really want to live frugally?
FARHAD MANJOO: Well, the main one that I came upon was something called wise bread, wisebread.com. And if you go there, you'll sort of - you will see this whole world of frugal sites, links to other sites and other blogs that people run documenting how they're trying to cut back in these times but also kind of as a matter of course, you know, as a lifestyle choice to live more frugally, to live more economically.
BRAND: What are some of the tips that you learned?
MANJOO: There were small tips. Many small tips that are easy to do, things like avoid stores because if you go into a store, you'll - without having something specific in mind to buy, you'll inevitably buy something that you don't need. So only go to a store if you need something. Try to learn some skills, so you can do things yourself, like learn how to repair cars, so you don't have to go to a mechanic. Apparently, it's pretty easy to repair your breaks, and I didn't know that.
BRAND: Now, you know how to do that?
MANJOO: No, I haven't actually tried it, but...
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
BRAND: You know where to go online to find out if you really need to change your breaks.
MANJOO: I think the main tip that they push is that you shouldn't buy things blindly. You should consider every purchase, and once you do that, you'll start to really know what you want versus what you need, and you'll start to pare down to only things that you need.
BRAND: Kind of like mindful spending rather than mindless spending.
MANJOO: One of the things they point out is that - you know, many people spend a thousand dollars a year or more on cable TV and - but think about it before you do it. I think many people, you know, don't consider what else they could do with the money or whether that's worth it, whether you can get a lower, you know, a chincier cable plan with fewer channels. So if you think about each of those things, each of your monthly bills, you might be able to save some money and also sort of live more Zen manner.
BRAND: Did you find anything as you were going through these websites, anything that you thought was just too outlandish that even if let's say you had no job and no savings you just wouldn't do?
MANJOO: But one of the great things about these sites is I think it kind of focuses the mind and gets you to consider that you may be pushed into those straits, and you may need to do those things. And that kind of, I think, prepares you for the possibility, which is real for a lot people, that they may need to do some things that right now seem distasteful, but, you know, at some point, they won't have a choice.
BRAND: Farhad Manjoo, his article appears at slate.com. Thanks a lot.
MANJOO: Thank you.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.