If you're at all Freudian, you'll certainly explore the psyche of someone who is prone to save a lot to see if they're withholding/anal, and those of those who buy, buy, buy, to see if they have unmet oral needs.
And if you're at all a fan of Lloyd DeMause, who believes most of us have parental alters in our heads -- that is, voices of our parents which take over at times when we're buying and growing too much -- you'll certainly wonder if many of those who think we have earned for ourselves a depression are being possessed by their Cotton Mather-type parents.
Buying things can be all about self-growth. That's what it's been for me these last number of years. About coming to know what I like, who I am, and who I want and can be. I've heard some people talk about how they're going to be okay in these sparser times, 'cause they're not those fickle to fashion. And when I think of them in their unchanging ways, I really wonder if they're living at all. Get rid of your ten-year-old sweaters, books, cars, sofas, et al., pause, and go out and see what sorts of things are out there that will better match who you are now, rather than the way you were “yesterday.” And if it proves the same sort: know that very likely, some whole part of you is locked away in a vault.
Sorry you were concerned to save at all, Judith. I wish that rather than saving money, the concern would be to make sure we give money in support, not just of all the wonderful designers/engineers out there who make all the things we so rightly enjoy, but charities as well. People who feel well-pleased, who feel "saved," when they save, and even more pleased when big spenders get their lot, are sick. Perhaps in this great time of need, if we're going to hold back on buying things, we could focus our income on supporting those who can reach those who believe life should be something other than about the better and better.
Link to DeMause's website, for those interested: http://www.psychohistory.com/