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Celebrate frugality on Labor Day

Published September 01. 2010 05:00PM

You probably have the day off on Monday, which is Labor Day. But do you know why our nation has an annual celebration on the first Monday in September?

Labor Day was created more than 100 years ago to celebrate the economic success of American workers. While it's hard to see any "economic success" during a recession, Labor Day is a time to pay tribute to all of the hard-working Americans who toil to support their families and themselves.

Since this is a "workingman's holiday," take a few moments this weekend to reconnect with your workingman (or workingwoman!) roots. You work hard each week to earn money so why would you waste money on things you don't need?

Back to basics

Labor Day is also meant to celebrate the contributions of workers the products that we create, and the money that we spend, help to keep the economy chugging along.

I'm not telling you to stop spending money. As we've seen over the past few years, we know that bad things happen when consumers stop spending money. People lose jobs, companies go bankrupt, and people start panicking.

So don't "stop" spending money instead, start thinking about how you spend each paycheck. Let your dollars go towards things that matter most to you and your family. That might mean spending more on organic or locally-grown foods, or finding the money to take a memory-filled vacation this fall. Perhaps buying a house in a better school district is really important to you.

Conversely, stop spending money on the things that bring no joy into your life. You've worked hard for that money so stop throwing it away on things that you buy out of habit. This column is meant to share frugal food and shopping tips, but your search to save money shouldn't stop at the grocery store. Spend some time this weekend examining your biggest expenses. If you're spending $200 a month on a cell phone, should you cut back? Does your spending on the latest gadgets leave you broke and unhappy?

Celebrate in style

If you're done reflecting on your spending habits, it's time to celebrate. The final weeks of summer are a great time to fire up the grill and relax. Don't forget, Labor Day was created to celebrate YOU, the hard workers in America.

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated in 1882 in New York City. It was sponsored by the Central Labor Union. As a newly-formed worker's holiday, the day was marked with demonstrations and a picnic, and many these traditions have stuck with us over the past 128 years.

I love Labor Day. Yes, we get the day off from work. Yes, I get to sleep in on a Monday morning. But more importantly, I love Labor Day sales. This is a great time to stock up on hot dogs, burgers, rolls, and all of your other favorite picnic treats. Because we'll be using the grill for at least two more months, I've got a special place in my freezer ready for next week's sales.

To me, there's no better way to celebrate economic success than to stock up on great sales, save money, and enjoy a hard-earned long weekend.

Happy Labor Day!

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