I often say that I’m the only American blogging about frugality in my corner of France (I used to include the whole of France, but blogs like The Simple Life in France have made me be more specific!).While cornering the niche can have its advantages (notably being able to say that I’m the only American blogging about frugality in my corner of France), it can also get a little lonely alone in my corner of the frugal world.
For one thing, most of the specific money saving tips around the personal finance blogosphere don’t apply to me. I don’t have a Ralphs, Safeway, Albertsons or Krogers near me. When I talk about my grocery shopping strategies I do it as generically as possible- except when I’m addressing an expatriate audience, rather than specifically budget conscious one. I can’t use a lot of the coupons talked about. In fact, coupons are very rare in France to begin with! And the infamous latte factor- where people are advised that cutting out their daily latte can save them hundreds of dollars every year- doesn’t apply to me; alas there are no Starbucks in Grenoble!
Much of my situation applies to many others around the world of course, it’s not just because I live in France. People living in a small town will have fewer thrift stores or free public amenities (like museums) than those living in large towns. Certain areas of the country might have more of a frugal community mindset than others, whether because of long standing cultural influences or more recent economic upheaval.
I certainly think it’s easier being frugal in France in some ways, notably that the consumer pressure to spend, spend, spend is much less noticeable here than in the US. It is also harder due to the dearth of good quality second-hand shops. I often use our trips back to the US to stock up on children’s clothes at the thrift-store.
What do you think: Does success in frugality depend on geography?