Our Thrift Initiative aims to study and invigorate thrift as an American value.
The word "thrift" comes from "thrive" and means the ethic and practice of wise use. It's one of the English language's most potent words. And in recent decades, one of the most misunderstood. And for the American future, one of the most important to put back to work.
Want to introduce (or reintroduce) yourself to thrift? You can read our pamphlet, Why Thrift Matters . . . browse David Blankenhorn's book, Thrift: A Cyclopedia . . . watch David's public lecture, Why Thrift? . . . and read our collection of scholarly essays, Franklin's Thrift, which traces the idea from Benjamin Franklin to today.
We began our work on thrift in 2004, when leaders from the John Templeton Foundation invited us to partner with them in a scholarly exploration of thrift as an American value. Saying "yes" to that invitation was one of the best decisions we've ever made.
We are also proud of our Thrift Collection – the world's most comprehensive collection on the meaning, history, and possibility of thrift. This collection is especially useful for teachers, students, and American studies scholars.
Want more? Check out our pamphlet, How Thrifty Are Americans? . . . Claire Gaudiani's book, Generosity Unbound . . . our appeal to Texas legislators, Thrift or Debt: Which Direction is Right for Texas? . . . our working paper, Connecting Thrift and Marriage . . . Gerard Cuddy's essay, "Thrift is the Social Movement for the Great Recovery" . . . our conversation, "Why America Spends While the World Saves" . . . our debate, "Is Thrift Good for America?" . . . and our conversation, "Will Inflation Gut the American Saver?"
Please also watch the Steve Martin SNL skit, "Don't Buy What You Cannot Afford."
Our most recent book is American Thrift: A Reader.
In the area of thrift education, our dream is for every young American to benefit from at least one module of high-quality thrift education before reaching age 18, through a school, library, youth-serving organization, or financial services organization. Our current partners helping to make this dream a reality include the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and the Boy Scouts of America (regarding which, please see our pamphlet, "Why a Scout is Thrifty").