Rethinking Consumerism

Simple. Frugal. It’s an idea whose time has come.

It isn’t just a fad to cut costs on the grocery bills, trim the clothes budget, pay off debts or to wash out plastic bags. It is fast becoming a way of life for many due to the shrinking economy. All the world over folks are adopting a new paradigm: moderation in consumerism. It just makes sense, too. But there is another underlying issue and that is the stress levels in homes have reached an all-time high. We run, run, run. We are always on a leash to someone. We choke on all the responsibilities in our lives.


Complexity and Waste.

In this era of plenty, our lives have become about getting things and not about building lives or relationships. Because we have the means (two or more incomes) we buy things that complicate our lives. Or we want things and go into debt.

The sad truth is that as a whole, our children don’t know “want”. As a matter of fact, many young people walk around with a cell phone on one ear or a game boy in their lap and credit cards in their wallets. One dad even stood agape when my husband told him that we don’t have cable or satellite. “How do your kids stay busy?” Um, they read or talk to each other or even play together. We did receive a gift of a Wii and some fun family games that we ALL enjoy together. I know that sounds weird that a family actually enjoys doing stuff together but we do.

But who gets the blame for how the kids focus on “stuff”. The honest truth is – us. Our kids just copy us – the parents. After all, we need the newest, smartphone or new Lexus or that condo in Hawaii. I know we buy them to enhance our lives but then we become slaves to maintaining these things. We end up hating our jobs, fighting with our dear ones and letting our things rule our lives.

The second aspect of this is the waste that occurs due to our stress filled, complex lives. Because we are so busy maintaining our things, we spend more on quick solutions to everyday problems. Fast food. Prepared/disposable products. Brand new items like clothes and furniture. It’s just easier to not have to think about cooking at the end of the day. Buying new clothes is definitely easier than sewing or shopping the thrift stores. Heavens – we might even NOT buy something just because your coworker or brother has one!

Now, I am not martinet – I enjoy “things” as much as anyone else (we do own a nice entertainment center, several computers and I do use a dishwasher – things like that). But often we buy things without thinking about how much they will enslave us later.

Perhaps you feel trapped in your job. But you need the income for the mortgage, cars, boat, annual vacation, gym memberships, kid’s sports, college savings, retirement, etc. Yikes, no wonder we feel the burden!

But what if we began to look at things differently. What if we realized we could do with a smaller home, one car, no boat (BOAT – Break Out Another Thousand), trim down the vacation, exercise at home, have the kids contribute to their own interests and college, and rethink the whole retirement paradigm.

These are all things to re-think. This is what SimpleFrugal is all about… rethinking the modern consumerism paradigm. At least if you think you need all those things, be aware that there is a cost. And also be aware that there are sane alternatives for those willing to explore “outside the box”.

Maybe you are one of the few who loves their job and thrives on the business of your life. I wonder at your relationships with those you care about yet that is your choice. Enjoy your life with my blessing.

But for the rest of us who do feel trapped in a job. For those of us who have lost a job but don’t know how to make ends meet. For those who know there is something more to life than getting stuff

Stay tuned – SimpleFrugal is for you!

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