I’m fascinated about how different paths lead people to live more simply. Recently a friend shared a link to the Market Watch interview of Canadian blogger Cait Flanders, who went on a two-year shopping ban.
As longtime readers may recall, I participated in a month-long “no spending challenge” with a friend. Like Flanders and the majority of her co-participants, the friend who initiated the challenge wanted to change her habit of unconscious consumption.
Flanders’ ban included decluttering, inventorying possessions, and a lot of soul-searching. Her culminating post is “The Year I Embraced Minimalism”. I nodded as I read about her “trigger” purchases: coffee and inexpensive e-books.
Every time I thought about giving in and buying one, I would remind myself that I still had stacks upon stacks of unread books on my shelves that I couldn’t find time to get through, so there was no point spending money on more.
This is a common theme with recovering hoarders and “squalorees”. In fact, Flanders used many of the strategies common among simple-livers, minimalists, and debt-busters. Here’s a list, in no particular order:
- Getting rid of unused items
- Using what you have
- Planning purchases in advance
- Tracking spending
- Adopting a do-it-yourself attitude about cooking, mending, etc.
- Multiplying the cost of a weekly indulgence by 752 to determine how much you’re paying each decade. (NOTE: A great incentive to quit smoking!)
The Buy Nothing Year – the Forbes story of roomies “downshifting” their lifestyles