Tess Vigeland: Of course, while we focus on savings next week, the president would much rather you went shopping. To save the economy, of course. That message is music of the ears of Zo Webster. She wrote to tell us that she's been a saver all her life. And she's sick of it.
Zo Webster: My sister and I were "lucky" enough to have had an accountant father who indoctrinated us with what we fondly refer to as "Wayne 101" -- or for those of you not in the Webster family, the basics of saving money and not spending more than you have.
So for years, I scrimped, rarely ate out, drove old cars, brought my lunch to work and always made sure I had enough money to pay my bills.
But I am done being frugal. The breaking point came not long ago when I checked my retirement funds and realized I could have contributed nothing to them for the last decade and been right where I am today. All that money I put into the funds plus all the fees they charged me could have been spent on pedicures and facials. I could have taken fancy vacations like all the bankers and brokers who get million-dollar bonuses. I didn't buy a house I couldn't afford. I didn't take out a loan on the monstrous equity in my home. I did what Wayne 101 suggested I do, but gained nothing tangible from it.
But no more. Spending the money seems like a better idea than sending it to Wall Street where they spend my money on cars, cruises and whatever fun I've been skipping. Now I'm paying other people to paint my toenails. I buy soda that is not on sale. I eat out a lot more often and when I do, order a glass of wine instead of waiting till I get home to have one. After watching TV sizes grow for a decade, I traded in my old 30-inch cathode ray tube set for a 55-inch LED TV with satellite and a DVR. And I threw in a Wii.
Heck, I'm ready to buy a new car if I could only find one that matched the gas mileage of my current vehicle. Oops -- there's that frugality again. Undoing years of scrimping is hard.
Vigeland: Zo Webster is a physics instructor at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.