I have a confession: I'm not overly upset over the high cost of gasoline and food.
I'll admit that I have my moments of worry. Every time gas prices go up I feel obligated to raise my eyebrows, puff out my cheeks and read the new price out loud to anyone in the car with me (usually my kids). In the grocery store I've started talking out loud to the 'luxury items', such as tea. "$1.60?!?" I exclaim to the boxes and tins. "A few months ago this peppermint tea was 99 cents!"
Secretly, though, I think I'm enjoying all the furor in much the same way a gossipy neighbor enjoys bad news. Saving money is one of my favorite subjects to ponder, but it used to be a lonely topic of conversation. Six months ago if I tried to bring up how to container garden using free 5 gallon buckets I would have gotten disinterested signals and a quick change of subject.
Now frugality is "in", and I suddenly find my pet topic awash in popularity. Everywhere I look it's all over the media - how to save cash, gas and utilities. Bikes are suddenly hot (who's got money to spend on a brand new hybrid?), reusable bags are the new tote in demand and refilling your drink bottles makes you a noble global consumer, not a tightwad.
Years of trying to come to grips with "being cheap" are finally paying off socially. No longer do I have to justify why I avoid convenience foods and hang my laundry. Ahhh, but being "in" feels good... as long as it doesn't cost anything extra.