Depletion and Abundance instilled in my brain how affluent Americans are wasteful, wasteful, wasteful - how the chinese get a kick out of the garbage they make and stupid Americans buy it. All we need to do is look at how most of grandparents lived (and survived) after the depression and we can clearly see how wasteful we are today. They certainly weren't buying strands upon strands of christmas lights to waste electricity. It really made me think twice about almost everything I now purchase. I ask 1) do I really need it? (Don't I have one somewhere?) 2) is it something useful or just another dust catcher that serves no purpose, and 3) is it a consumable to sustain life -- I guess that fits the needs category. Nearly every day now that its cold, I grab the same old coat I've been grabbing for the past 20 years to go outside and do yardwork. It really IS 42 years old! It was Rick's hunting coat when he first started to hunt at the age of 12. I hadn't realized that that coat is a sign of genes buried deep inside me that need uncovered -- genes of living more frugally. They are there, but need brought to the surface. I noticed those frugal genes in my soap bottle in the kitchen too -- its 25 years old! It was one of the first plastic bottles of liquid soap on the market and at the time I thought it was simply a cool looking bottle and I've been refilling ever since with dish detergent. And the boxes stacked in the closet with "post-retirement t-shirts and sweatshirts" on them are saying something too. So with a little nurturing, those genes from grandma and grandpa will surface. It'll make Rick happy (less money spent -- more saved for retirement!). Of course, I'm not doing much to help the economy -- maybe that's why the economic is faltering -- others just like you and me are realizing we are wasteful and learning to be more frugal! I think the days of spend, spend, spend are long gone.