Lauren Weber grew up with a father who rationed toilet paper and rarely used his car's turn signals (to prevent them from burning out). She was formerly a staff reporter at Newsday and Reuters, and has also written for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and other publications.
A “splendid, timely history,” says Library Journal
Hopefully you’ll now be able to find In Cheap We Trust on the shelf at your local library. Here’s what Library Journal had to say about the book:
This splendid, timely history and apologia corrects any misplaced nostalgia for a simpler, thriftier age. Business journalist Weber demonstrates that, from the Puritan settlers to today’s economic stimulus measures, America has endured continual cycles of thrift and consumption, an endless battle for behavioral dominance between saving and spending.
Among expected topics (wars, the Great Depression, industrial advances, and the explosion of consumer credit), she makes interesting forays into the origins of savings banks, the field of home economics, and the checkered history of National Thrift Week. The final third of the book includes a macroeconomic argument for increased savings and a collection of chapters on the voluntary simplicity and freegan movements, the psychology of frugality, and suggestions for learning the art of thrift. While this may seem a bit of a mishmash, the book is thematically consistent and convincing.
VERDICT: Weber manages, with panache, to combine a socioeconomic historical exploration that is readable and fun for the lay reader and a thoughtful defense of frugality that doesn’t succumb to preachiness.