Monday, March 05, 2007

"Not buying it"

I'm mid-way reading through the book by that title, a new release by Judith Levine. The chapters are divided by month and I fell asleep in July. The premise is that Ms. Levine and her partner, Paul, have decided not to buy any unessential commodities (entertainment items, clothes, shoes, going out for dinner, new books, movies, etc) for one year. It's a personal guide through a life on the simplicity track, and full of insights into the American consumer mindset.

Living in a developing country like the Philippines could be seen as downscaling vs living in the US, but there are some ideas in the book that are easily translated to those of us living in any city around the world. We live in such a disposable environment nowadays. And I'm just as guilty about enjoying the "convenience" of accessibility and disposability. The section on Boredom was particularly insightful; I do allow those moments of boredom overwhelm me and shopping has been one form of avoiding a gentle meditation on what is really going on.

5.5 months of simplicity left to read.


Katrina said...

When I decided last year to quit my job, I promised myself to live more frugally, in order to make my savings last longer. I have been far from successful, so far. I avoid window shopping because I know that I will inevitably see something I want, and have little power to resist. Despite that, I know that I am still spending more than I should. Sigh...

And you say the author cut out even movies?! Now, that I consider cruel and unusual punishment, especially since borrowing from friends' libraries of pirated DVDs isn't even an option in the US!

Mila Tan said...

She has the benefit of having the public libraries in the US at her disposal though (including their stores of videos). She just couldn't watch a new movie (which is one thing that she felt the worst about).

You might want to read this book Katrina. Could give you added resolve or tactics on how to pare down.

Socky said...

I think if we set ambitious goals, there's greater likelihood of failure. My rule of thumb is "manage my level of greed". I started by asking myself what are the 3 things I can't do without, things that really define 'quality life' for me. My answer: travel, at least once a year, dining in a fine restaurant, at least 2x a month and good wine in my 6-bottle wine rack all the time. If I can afford these 3 things come retirement time, then I'll be a happy person. With this perspective, I've realized that some things like signature clothes are non-essential and do not a quality life make.

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