Living a year without spending
How often do you buy presents for your loved ones? Valentine's Day, birthdays, anniversaries, winter holidays...and the list goes on and on. As each year passes by, doesn't it get more difficult to buy practical gifts for your friends and family members? Gift-giving holidays are just one kind of occasion involving culturally-prescribed consumption. New Dream's motto "more fun, less stuff" is meant to question our culture's relationship with stuff. That's why we get excited by the resolve of people like Angela Barton. Mrs. Barton signed "The Compact" pledge, a resolution to go a whole year without spending money to purchase new items. Changing her buying habits have also changed her outlook:
"It's interesting that not buying things has made me focus more on what I DO have. And as I get rid of the crap, it's like lifting a curtain or coming out of a fog. I'm really starting to see how STUFF has kept me busy and distracted, and disconnected from the things that really matter.
This recession is making people question a lot about their values, lifestyles, and behavior. I think it will have a silver lining if it makes us question our relationship to the planet and the other people living on it. And if it causes us to use a different yardstick to determine how we feel about ourselves."
Her blog, A Year Without Spending,
traces her year-long journey towards a more frugal lifestyle. To get some of the theory behind how we arrived at our current consumption models as as a culture, check out New Dream's consumption page
for more information on sustainable consumption and higher quality of life.