But when the economic news turned sour, it reaches deeper than just those people who had lost their jobs or who were upside-down in their homes or whose second income disappeared.
Many of us who didn't take a direct pay cut also felt the need to eat leftovers more often, to watch TV instead of going to a concert, to postpone that vacation until times were better.
Unless we're in the position of having to accept help ourselves, though, our thrift should contain a degree of generosity. Charities are hit with a double whammy: More need juxtaposed against fewer and smaller contributions.
Maybe it's a good time to have a yard sale. It will raise some funds to give - directly to someone we know or through an organization that does excellent work. It will also share at bargain prices some accumulated goods that overburden us but which might be a boon to others.
It's tempting to say that those in need shouldn't be expected to give, but non-monetary helps to others such as time, effort and attention, are just as necessary as checks and cash.
And it's downright empowering to be able to help someone else: It's one way to courageously tell our circumstances that they haven't defeated us.
A sharing spirit isn't limited to actual giving. It may manifest itself in measuring our own safety net and declaring that we can afford a little luxury after all. When we eat out or buy a new outfit or maybe even take a vacation, we start money moving around again, and it blesses others as well.
It reminds me of Proverbs 11:26: "People curse the man who hoards grain, but blessing crowns him who is willing to sell." We can be with our cash that same way - either hoarding it or willingly using it to benefit ourselves and others.
Not that you'll never hear me disparage thrift: I come from people who washed sardine cans to serve as seed-starting containers and those tall, narrow olive jars to use as vases for a single-stem bouquet of daffodil.
But there's a fine line between thrift and hoarding.
"Whoever trusts in his riches will fall," Proverbs 11:28 states, "but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf."
So, spend a little. Give a little. Feel a little richer.
Contact Daily Journal Oxford Bureau reporter Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or firstname.lastname@example.org.