Minimalist Living - The Conserver Lifestyle
Security doesn't come from having more but from needing less. "Because we lack a divine Center, our need for security has led us into an insane attachment to things. We really must understand that the lust for affluence in contemporary society is psychotic. It is psychotic because it has completely lost touch with reality. We crave things we neither need nor enjoy. 'We buy things we do not want to impress people we do not like'. Where planned obsolescence leaves off, psychological obsolescence takes over. We are made to feel ashamed to wear clothes or drive cars until they are worn out. The mass media have convinced us that to be out of step with fashion is to be out of step with reality. It is time we awaken to the fact that conformity to a sick society is to be sick. Until we see how unbalanced our culture has become at this point, we will not be able to deal with the mammon spirit within ourselves nor will we desire Christian simplicity."
― Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
"a man there was, though some did count him mad, the more he cast away the more he had." ― John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress
Read My Story
Job, Money, Status, Stuff . . . the American Dream? The American nightmare! The more I have, the more I want, the more things breakdown, the more stress to replace them and get more.
How does it end? An unfullfilled life (and death) or with removing those "things" that satisfy so little.
The older I get, the less I need, and the more I realize how my possessions have become more burdensome than comforting. The more I have, the more I have to lose. I am a slave to my stuff. The more money I make, the more stress I have and more fearful of losing what I have strived so hard to accumulate. "The one with the most toys wins" is a favorite saying for the one who seeks stuff to make them think they are happy. A movie called "LESS: Losing is Everything" helps to make the point that "when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change" and will gain a new-found sense of freedom.
Needs vs. Wants: NEEDS are basic (not fancy) things we must have to survive like air, water, food, shelter and clothing. WANTS are luxuries; things I can live without like TV, car, jewelry; things we would like to have simply to enjoy. I ask myself the question "do I NEED this or do I WANT it?" Is it a necessity for my health or to perform a task, or is it something I want, just because? I have found that most of what I thought I needed, is simply something I wanted and could have done without and saved money, space and the aggrivation to get it. Later, I find those wants have lost the alure that sucked me in to buying them, and now I just want to get rid of the financial burden, or inconvenience, they cause.
I encourage seeking simplicity. The more I have, the more I have to lose and greater will be the pain when it's gone.
Things I Have Learned:
1 - Never say "never" - When we say “I could never…” we are limiting the possibilities for our lives.
2 - Start Working NOW to Get Out of Debt
3 - Don't envy those who have more. They, generally, have more to lose, more to maintain, less freedom and less financial discipline.
4 - Become keenly aware of income, spending and savings activities. This is best done with a Spending Plan/Budget.
5 - Establish and practice a strict NEEDS vs. WANTS mentality. Don't justify giving in to WANTS.
6 - Eliminate unnecessary (WANTS) monthly expenses.
7 - Find ways to reduce necessary (NEEDS) monthly expenses.
8 - Combine travel. If you need to go to the store, stop by the store on your way home from work. And shop at stores on route to/from home.
9 - Understand that "less expensive" does not necessarily mean "cheap". "Less expensive" soap will clean, and "less expensive" toilet paper will wipe, and go down the drain just as well as the "best" expensive brands (see The Dollar Store is My Friend).
10 - Turn off or unplug electical applicances and lights when not being actively used (see Kill Your Electrical Vampires).
11 - Addictions and Bad Habits sap, not only our finances, but our energy and health as well. Kick the habits. You can do it!
Consider a Disciplined Pursuit of Less: Not just haphazardly saying no, but purposefully, deliberately, and strategically eliminating the nonessentials. Not just once a year as part of a planning meeting, but constantly reducing, focusing, and simplifying. Not just getting rid of the obvious time wasters, but being willing to say NO to really terrific opportunities as well. Ask "What is essential?" and eliminate the rest. Everything changes when we give ourselves permission to eliminate the nonessentials. At once, we have the key to unlock the next level of our lives. Few appear to have the courage to live this principle, which may be why it differentiates successful people and organizations from the very successful ones.
Too many of us trade our happiness and well-being for the reliability of a steady paycheck. We work long hours at jobs we dislike or find unfulfilling so that we can buy a lot of stuff that never really seems to satisfy us. And when that paycheck turns out to be not so reliable, we panic. Unemployment terrifies us. Is there any way out of this dilemma? Charles Long reveals one possibility -- the Conserver Lifestyle. . . . Security doesn't come from having more but from needing less.
What about Internet Access or Cable/Dish TV?
Is Simple Living For You? If you've ever thought of simplifying your life, there are likely many things that you haven't considered and a few that you have. You may picture it as easy and something that is far more fun and exciting than the life that you’re currently living. Be as it may, there are still some things that you'll want to ask yourself before you embark on this journey. Answering these questions may help reveal the truth.
Read about this on the P4T Emergency Communications Page
Dumpster Diving: Dumpster diving
is simply looking through trash dumpsters for useful items that people throw away. These items can include building materials, furniture, books, tools, clothes, food and even CASH! There is a chance of finding most anything in a dumpster. If you look in the dumpster behind a local restaurant be prepared for some slimy and disgusting things. Avoiding places like that will be a much nicer experience. Depending on what you're looking for, apartment complex or college dorm dumpsters may be the best. At the end of the month or semester, people who are moving will throw away perfectly good items they just don't want to move. Many times they will place it beside the dumpster for people like us to pick up. If you are looking for food, the best place is behind a grocery store where they get rid of expired food. But set some guidelines, ahead of time, on choosing what you will consider eating.
Consider equipping yourself with a good pair of shoes (protection from broken glass around dumpsters), gloves, a cheap flashlight (in case of losing it) and a cane to help pull things to you that you can't reach and provide some measure of protection.
Before venturing out on your hunt, it's good to prepare a "Dumpster List"
of things you want or need. That may help specify where you are going to start your search. You are bound to find other things you want or need but having a dumpster list puts some level of organization for your trip.
(You are not alone)
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You Can Do This
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Killing Electrical Vampires
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LESS: Losing is Everything (the movie on TUBITV.COM)
Living On Nothing: What the Homeless Can Teach Us When Life Throws a Curve Ball