Is Austerity Prosperity?

Week 1, Day 5 – Learning the Basics

Yesterday, we explored the rare breed of over-givers. Today, let’s go all the way to the other end of our spectrum – to the end of Austerity. Oh, that sounds like a good title, “The END of Austerity.” Just a little dramatic, huh?!

Austere giving is usually considered a bad thing, something only selfish people do. We call them ‘Scrooge’ and ‘Grinch’ and think their Spirit of Giving is non-existent. Us ‘Givers’ tend to have a romanticized idea that the ‘Scrooge’ can and should have a life-altering change. We like to believe that people are good at their core and there must be a reason why the ‘Scrooges’ of the world hold back in their giving.

PAUSE: Here’s psychological evaluation of Scrooge after his transformation. Kind of a fun read –…/psychological-evaluati…/

Doesn’t that make sense? If there are motivations for giving, there should be reasons for not giving, right? I’d think so. Here are a few reasons I’d like for us to give some thought to today-

1. They were not reared in a giving environment and don’t understand what all the fuss is about.
2. They use to be over-givers and got burned, decided it wasn’t worth it anymore.
3. They are selfish and the people in their life allow them to continue acting selfish.
4. They are too busy working, trying to provide for their own needs (and/or their family) they currently have neither the money nor the time to contribute.
5. They are ‘Empty Nesters’ and are hurting, wondering where to go from here.
6. They are cynical and believe it makes no difference, or that people have too much anyway.
7. They are saving for their first vacation, to buy a house, or send their kid to college.
8. They simply don’t know how / what to give.
9. They survived the economic effects of recession, depression, war, poverty, or famine and know the importance of saving and learning how to live with less.
10. They were in great need one time and no one helped them, the bitterness of being forgotten hangs heavy over their heart.

The list could go on a little longer, I’m sure. There are probably a few reasons you have in your mind of why you told someone ‘no’ to volunteering, or ‘no’ to your kid for that new toy they wanted. Learning not to spoil my kids has been the hardest challenge for me. While there are many benefits from the act of giving, there are also many lessons that can be learned from a life of austerity.

About three years ago, I analyzed the prior decade of my giving habits. The knowledge I learned from the exercise was as life-altering for me as a Scrooge becoming generous. I realized as a parent, I was teaching my kids how to give through my example. And, I didn’t like the idea that my kids would be burned out, or hurt, by giving too much. I learned my actions were causing them to be ungrateful, expectant and entitled. A lesson of austerity and the importance of saying no began at that point within my home. And, now, these impressions have led me to a more healthy relationship with my family.


FLASHBACK 2015 – My husband has never been a big ‘giver’ in our relationship. There were many Christmases I would find myself calling him Scrooge. Perhaps he was trying to balance my over-giving, but let’s not go there! LOL! But, I’ve noticed a change in him recently. Just as I’m learning to hold back the reins of my Santa sleigh, he’s on his own personal journey to softening his heart, releasing some of his cynicism and being more generous. (I’d like to think my blog has something to do with it, but that’s probably because I need a boost of self-esteem and to feel like my mission is worth the sacrifice.) For many years, I’m guilty of nagging him about his personal indulgences and that he doesn’t have any problems spending $$$ on himself.

Well, this year, he made a New Year’s resolution not to buy himself anything – unless its books, there were no restrictions on books. So, instead of just replacing his broken umbrella, he had it repaired. He took a basically new pair of pants that weren’t getting worn to the tailor and turned them into shorts to replace his pair that were falling apart at the seams. He’s even worn a shirt with a hole in it – gasp! But, the biggest change I’ve noticed is that he’s bought gifts for me and the kids, for no reason. Just because gifts. It’s been sweet, unexpected and pleasurable.

For all of us.


*Mindful Moments – Each of our relationships take on different characteristics. We become the Giver, Receiver, Balancer or Empty Nester, depending on the interaction between us. Can you think of any current relationships where you play the role of constant receiver, maybe even a tad bit like a Scrooge? What are your reasons for not giving within this relationship? Or, are you always the Giver? What effect do you think that has on the relationship? Can you use a lesson from austerity in your giving? And, finally, What is ONE thing you can do to improve the health of your giving relationships today?

**Grateful Graces – What are you thankful for today?


To be continued…Day 6, The Law of Reciprocity

Did you miss the beginning and want to catch up? Start reading here!


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One thought on “Is Austerity Prosperity?

  1. Carla Gray says:

    Today, I am thankful for the realization of being an over-giver. My efforts to not give so much has allowed opportunities for others to give to me. I feel closer to my husband and kids because we have found a way to give and take from each other. To love and be loved.


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