Frugality goes international
The existence of a strong frugality movement in rich countries may be more of a surprise to people in the poor countries than the other way around. Still, with the economy the way it is, I don't suppose it's a surprise to hear that frugality is booming everywhere, in countries rich and poor. This was brought home to me recently when I discovered a frugality site in Turkey that had linked to one of my posts here on Wise Bread.
Ozan Sener is editor of tutumluol.com, a site whose name means "be frugal" in Turkish. I got in touch with him, and he agreed to answer a few questions about his site and about frugality in Turkey.
Here at Wise Bread we're all about "Living large on a small budget." Can you sum up the philosophy of "tutumlu ol" in a few words?
It’s nearly same! “Unlimited life with limited budget.” I often emphasize that frugality should be a lifestyle in my articles.
What sorts of articles do you tend publish?
I publish everything about frugality and saving. Saving is not just about money, it’s about energy, time, place, etc. It can be a web site, news, advice, story, etc. I prefer to publish articles which you can put into practice. I track nearly 30 web sites about frugality (just two of them in Turkish). Some advice is hard to put into practice. You can’t just tell people “don’t spend too much”. We have to give practical examples.
I also care about DIY articles because you can save so much by doing things yourself--and it’s fun!
America has something of a split personality about frugality. Popular culture tends to glorify consumption and excess, but we have national heroes like Benjamin Franklin who praised frugality. Is frugality a traditional value for the Turkish people?
Individual earnings of Turkish people are less than American citizens. So frugality is the must here in Turkey, especially for women who traditionally run the home economy.
On the other hand most of Turkish people are Muslim so the religion advises frugality. For example it’s said that tossing bread out is a sin. But surely we toss bread out. Bread is important for people. When someone see a piece of bread on the street he or she’ll probably take it.
When I first saw the Wise Bread I did some research, but couldn’t find any web site in Turkish about frugality. So, I established tutumluol.com. But I realized that there are lots of web sites and books about frugality in English.
You probably have a broader view of the international conversation about frugality than most Americans. Is frugality the same everywhere in the world, or is different from one place to another?
I think generally it’s similar because consumerism craziness is everywhere but conditions change depending on the quality of life. For example clothes drying machines aren’t common in Turkey. So drying laundry on a clothes line is a frugal choice for you but not for us because we already do that.
In English there are many little sayings that support frugal living--things like "A penny saved is a penny earned." Can you give us such a saying from Turkish and tell us what it means?
Yes, we have some sayings:
“Sakla samanı, gelir zamanı” means “Keep a straw, it’ll be used sometime.”
“Damlaya damlaya göl olur” means “Drop by drop you can build a lake.”
“Ayağını yorganına göre uzat” means “Extend your leg according to your blanket.”
“Ak akçe kara gün içindir“ means “Save up something for a rainy day.”
Thanks, Ozan, for the fascinating look into frugality in Turkey!
I'm looking for other frugality websites in far-flung places--especially in poor countries, but also in rich, non-English speaking countries. If anyone knows of one, please let me know or have a writer or editor at the site get in touch with me!