OLD Media Moves

Covering the new frugality

October 18, 2008

The Deal executive editor Yvette Kantrow takes a look at how the business media are covering the new frugal ways of consumers.

Kantrow writes, “The demonization of the latte has been a pet peeve of this column, going back to 2006, when some financial-help gurus and their media enablers tried to convince unenlightened renters that all that stood between them and the American dream of home ownership was their penchant for froufrou coffee. (And a subprime mortgage, we suppose.) Now, of course, the message is different: Skip that latte and retire in style! ‘If invested, the savings from brewing coffee at home and ‘brown bagging’ lunch over the span of 25 years would be staggering,’ chirps a story in the Colorado Springs Business Journal.

“Interestingly, the big personal finance glossies aren’t the ones espousing the latte-less lifestyle. (The most recent issue of Money suggests charging a latte a month to a rarely used credit card to keep the account active.) This time, it’s more of a local newspaper phenomenon, with skip-the-latte pieces spotted in The Columbus Dispatch, the Allentown Morning Call and the Chicago Tribune. The trend is so ubiquitous and so annoying that we found at least two money-saving-tip stories — in USA Today and North Carolina’s The News & Observer — boasting that they are NOT suggesting forfeiture of the foamy fix. Instead, The News & Observer tells us to wear long underwear and ‘turn the dishwasher off when it gets to the drying cycle and open the door to add heat to the room.’ If only Bob Cratchit had thought of that.”

Read more here.

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