Saturday, December 29, 2007

Consumerism

This time of year I always think I have too much "stuff". This year, it's epsecially sad that I think I have too much "stuff", since the majority of my "stuff" is packed away in boxes waiting to be able to move into new "stuff" (aka "new house").

My Mr. and I are having a contest to see how long we can go without spending any money. It's proving to be difficult though, since yesterday we had to go buy a new bike helmet to replace the one that santa brought our 3-year-old (the one who apparently does not have a 3-year-old sized head). I don't count that since we returned something first.

Today we have to buy some trim to finish up a bit of molding in our old house that is still unfinished (anyone want to buy a house with some minor finish work to do on the trim?).

It seems never ending, this need to acquire more stuff. In my need to compartmentalize things, I'm temped to stop buying anything made in China. That accomplishes two things- less chance of lead in our "stuff" and stops supporting a country which is still (I believe) the worlds top polluter. It's hard to have principles like that when you have children. Sorry kids, no more matchbox cars for you, they're made in china. Sorry kids, you'll have to play with these crude wooden cars that I fashioned out of old twigs. That doesn't sound so bad to me, but my kids are having a hard time not buying into whatever commercial they see on TV (maybe we need a TV made out of twigs).

I guess we do what we can, but I have to say that the best gift any of my sons received for christmas was the small wooden saw that my dad made (with my 3-year-old helping) the day after christmas.

9 comments:

WP said...

Thanks. He so inspired me I think I will have to turn some screw drivers and small wooden hammers on the lathe to go with his saw. Is he still sawing cardboard up with it?

I am going to work on the fence around the back deck here in the redwoods today, could use his saw and his help. He is a very focused and able assistant.

Emily said...

hey, the "new house" link in your post does something weird I don't think it's s'posed to. I was hoping to check in for a virtual tour since I missed my chance for a live one.

Allie said...

I fixed the link, so it should work now.

We don't have recent pictures, after the painting is done we'll post some more.

derekstaff said...

Good for you! Yes, it is difficult, but I think it will ultimately be worth it economically, environmentally, and spiritually to stop collecting so much stuff! It's a difficult habit to kick, but we're slowly making progress at our home as well.

Let me know if you're interested in some resources about "Simple Living" or "The Frugal Living" movement. There are a lot of good ideas out there.

Allie said...

I am interested in the resources, thanks.

Dad- he was still cutting cardboard today, and he's taken the saw with him in the van every time we've gone out.

Salt H2O said...

The best gift this Christmas was a puppy- but the cute thing cost a lot of cash, then there's all the stuff that you need for the puppy.

I don't feel so guilty spending money on something that loves you back.

Allie said...

I personally loved the picture of the puppy in the life jacket being held by the handle.

Those kind of dogs, we like to call "emergency backup dogs" (with nods to my friend Glenn).

derekstaff said...

Sorry, I’ve been occupied the past several days. I’m sure I’ll put them together in a more comprehensive form on my blog sometime, but for now, here are some of the best resources.


A few of my favorite books on the subject:

Your Money or Your Life, by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin.I feel this is by far the best introduction and plan for Simple Living.

Voluntary Simplicity : Toward a Way of Life that is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich, by Duane Elgin.

The simple living guide, by Janet Luhrs.

The Complete Tightwad Gazette, by Amy Dacyczyn. Hundreds of ideas on how to live frugally. As a mother of six children who personally used most of these ideas, she is a pretty reliable source for how to live simply with kids.

Simplify your life : 100 ways to slow down and enjoy the things that Really Matter, by Elaine St. James.

Living Cheaply with Style : Live Better and Spend Less, by Ernest Callenbach.

Some fantastic online resources:

yourmoneyoryourlife.org A site built by the New Roadmap Foundation, the non-profit organization created by Dominguez and Willams to promote the principles of Simple Living and provide resources for those interested in the concept.

Vicki Robin’s blog.

The Simple Living Network.

The Simplicity Forum.

The Dollar Stretcher.

There are various amateur forums, such as the Simple Life Yahoo! Group, that can be pretty good.


Local:

The Great Basin Earth Institute hosts community reading and discussion on several topics, a few of which relate to the concept of Simple Living. While I’ve yet to be able to work out my schedule to commit to one of their courses, I very much want to. I think that having a local support group can really help people stay motivated to follow the principles. If we can get several people from the SLC/S. Davis area who are interested, we can probably arrange with the GBEI to hold a study group for us.

Criscell said...

I totally agree with you Alice! We all need to stop spending so much money--and especially things from China! Too bad so many things are made there, huh! Your house is coming right along! So have you officially sold your other one? Are you getting so excited? I still need to check out that book you told me about! Hey, thanks again for the towels! Every time I get out of the shower I am in heaven and I think of you!