Slaying My Enoughasaurus for Lent

166 - CoinsWhat was the last thing you bought ?

And the thing before that ?

And before that ?

We could all go on, but for most of us sat reading this in the first world, it’s a list that very quickly becomes very long – snacks, clothes, gadgets, books, gifts, coffee, trips, fuel, entertainment, meals out, apps, toiletries, drinks, stuff for home, stuff for the kids, stuff for ourselves . . . It’s not that buying things in itself is bad, it’s just that we all consume so much.

Although it probably doesn’t seem like it, we’re among the richest people that have ever lived, and if you’re reading this online, somewhere warm and dry, with a full stomach and a drink that won’t give you a disease, you’re already one of the richest twenty five percent of people in the world. If you earn the average UK wage of £26,500 a year, you’re in the top 1% !

Drop in on the website How Rich am I to use their calculator and see how you measure up.

We know it’s a big world out there and we know there are millions and billions of people living in poverty while we have so much, but it’s somehow too much to comprehend, too distant, their lives are too different to ours – we can’t relate to it, so we don’t see ourselves as rich. This disconnect is entirely normal and natural, but it means we’re left comparing our lives and our stuff with the society around us . . . along with all the advertising, streets filled with shops and a focus on the lifestyles of the rich and famous, we’re easily left with the sense of wanting more in order to be happy.

US writer Jeff Yeager talks about ‘Slaying our Enoughasaurus’ – deciding that ‘enough is enough’ and conditioning ourselves to spend less and to be content doing so. He’s one of many now advocating a more frugal but happier life.

I’ve written several times about consumerism and simpler lifestyles but the truth is I’m as guilty as anyone else – it’s very hard not to be a hypocrite.

This Lent I’ll be doing a money diet – and reducing my spending as low as I can.

It’s obviously not a total ban on spending money – I’ll still be paying the bills, putting petrol in the car and food on the table, but the aim is not too much else. No takeaways, meals out, purchased lunches, drinks in the pub, clothes, books, games, music, apps, gadgets or anything else – well almost. I’ve decided to make a few exceptions: I’ve got two social commitments (a meal and a film) with friends that I’m going to honour, but I’ll be doing so very much at the frugal end of things. I’m also going to continue with the sport and exercise I do, but apart from this (and a trip to the dentist) I should be ‘consumption free’ until Easter . . . we’ll see what happens.

Six weeks doesn’t actually seem that long. Robin MacArthur went for a year without buying anything new (almost).

So why am I doing this ?

Well the idea is to teach myself a little more self-control and resilience – freedom from desire etc, but also to see how easy it would be to reduce our spending longer term. Having lower overheads, fewer commitments and more money in the bank seem generally very sensible things to do in these uncertain, austere times.

I’m also hoping giving up spending for Lent will encourage me to spend a bit more time in the garden . . . it definitely needs it !

Similar articles – What Do You Want for Christmas ?, Curb Your Consumerism7 Tips for DematerializingTop 10 Anti-Consumerist Must Haves, The Year of Anti-Consumerist LivingThe Art of Giving UpCan Christmas Still Really Change the World ?Buy Nothing DayCleaning Out My ClosetWhat’s in Your Tool Shed ?

Photo by Tax Credits, via Flickr


  1. Lorna Prescott says:

    Hi Steve
    I like the idea of a money diet. I tried something similar for a month a couple of years ago, attempting to only buy essentials. It was good and I really ought to try it again. I am conscious that one of the things preventing me is that I frequently (3-4 times a week) work from independent coffee shops, including one run by a charity. I don’t consider a £2.70 (Fair Trade) cappuccino essential to life, and recognise that I could save all those £2.70s and give them to charity. However if we all did that where would independent business be? Should I worry about it? I suppose for me part of boycotting big chains (coffee shops, supermarkets, high street clothes shops etc.) includes pro-actively supporting independent businesses. I’m struggling to balance this with being more frugal. Also I’ve managed to convince myself that I am more productive working on focused tasks while in coffee shops than I am at home or in the office. Is this just an excuse for spending money? I need to think more about this and come up with a plan. Reading your blog is definitely helping. Thanks.

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