frugal fatigue
n. Mental exhaustion caused by constant frugality during hard economic times.
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Cohen argued that a strong Black Friday would induce consumers to relax the spending restraint they have exercised since the financial crisis erupted last fall. "Once the consumer starts to engage in spending, a momentum starts to build," he said. "It's what I call frugal fatigue. Consumers have been frugal for over a year. They're tired of not buying anything."
—Tom Abate, “Anticipation builds for shopping season,” The San Francisco Chronicle, November 26, 2009
[I]t seems that after a year of watching our wallets, bank accounts, and 401(k) plans with the tenacity of a wheelchair-bound Jimmy Stewart in an Alfred Hitchcock thriller, some are throwing up their hands, taking out their credit cards, and wading back into pre-recession spending habits. The official term for this behavior is frugal fatigue. It started creeping into the lexicon last spring, and now frugal fatigue — the idea that we’re getting worn down and stressed out by constantly watching our budgets — may as well be an officially diagnosed psychiatric disorder.
—Christopher Muther, “Fighting frugal fatigue,” The Boston Globe, November 19, 2009
2004 (earliest)
The latest Gallup poll on the topic (fielded the week before last) finds 44 percent of adults believe the economy is getting better, down from 53 percent in mid-February and from 66 percent in January. In what Gallup refers to as an "intriguing twist," though, there has not been a corresponding decline in peoples "spending intentions." In fact, the number of respondents saying they plan to increase their overall spending during the next six months has risen, from 26 percent in February to 31 percent in this months poll. "This reverses a downward trend in spending intentions seen since November, and is the highest level of intended spending Gallup has recorded on this question since its inception in October 2001." Having at least tried to restrain their spending since the recession hit three years ago, some consumers likely have developed a case of Frugality Fatigue.
—Mark Dolliver, “Saving Us From Food, The Big Picture, Etc.,” Adweek, March 22, 2004