How quickly things change. Yesterday, the headlines were all trumpeting a major market "recovery," glossing over the fact that one big day does not a trend make.

But if you'll cast your minds way back to, oh, the day before, you might remember that those same headline writers were dead sure that stocks were down, deservedly so, on troubling new inflation data. Gasoline and clothing costs, they opined, were rising quickly, with the result that consumers would close their wallets, which would send earnings down, which would send stocks down, which would mean we'll all be sharing tins of Friskies instead of feasting on foie gras.

What's a Fool to do? The first solution that came to my mind: walk everywhere, naked. Imagine, no $2.50 a gallon for car juice, no $500 suits. Of course, there is the possibility of legal overhead and increased sunscreen costs... OK, enough of the nudie jokes. There are a couple of real lessons here.

When that inflation news came out, I immediately wondered why I hadn't noticed rising prices at all. Then I figured out that it's because I've got very little exposure to those goods and commodities that are most volatile. Would it be so tough for others to do the same?

Leave the $300 True Religion jeans to credit-smitten college students and people with big home equity loans. If you've got kids, do they really need their tummy-bearing duds from Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF), or would knock-offs from American Eagle Outfitters (NASDAQ:AEOS) work as well?

Want to save on car costs? Should you take the sweet financing deal on the big SUV from GM (NYSE:GM) or opt for the shiny little gas-sipping Prius from Toyota (NYSE:TM)?

Buzz. The answer is probably "neither." Try public transport. Or a bike. Or a pair of walking shoes. I save at least $200 a month by leaving my truck parked and commuting by bike or train and foot -- and all that exercise means I don't have to drop another wad of cash on a membership at Life Time Fitness (NYSE:LTM) in order to keep my girlish figure. If you must have a car, don't assume that a newer model with better mileage will save you any money. Educate yourself at our car center and do some math first.

And a final word. Once you've reaped the windfall of living below your means, consider putting it to work for you, invested in stocks. Might I suggest beaten-down retailers? Last fall, when the financial press started harping about gas costs cutting consumer spending, it created bargains galore, including the aforementioned Abercrombie & Fitch.

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Seth Jayson hasn't replaced his tatters since being rescued from the desert isle. (Mmmm, dessert aisle...) At the time of publication, he had positions in no firm mentioned. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Fool rules are here.