Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Frugal families in the news

I turned on the local talk radio station today and heard that they were going to be interviewing "someone in Alberta who is going to go without buying anything new for a year."

A quick Google search turned up Tom and Malora Mulhern, who went through an "almost-no-spending" year in 2008 and who blogged at Our Compact Life (the blog hasn't been updated in a year). But it turns out the guy on the radio was talking about a different family: the Gabriels in Okotoks, who have started a blog called Nothing New, Nothing Wasted.

I did manage to catch a bit of the interview, and then the two--only two--people who called in afterwards. One man said that he doesn't buy anything new either--he can't afford to. The other caller mentioned that whole idea about how frugality "hurts the economy." (Remember "Keep your nose out of my lunch bag?") The rest of the time, the host just filled in with comments about how he didn't think he could do that for a year, not with his book buying habits.

"How are they not going to buy anything?" Ponytails asked. I told her that I understood that both of these families felt it was fair to buy things used and find things on Kijiji, E-bay, at yard sales and so on. "Well, what's the point of that?" she asked. "You can find ANYTHING on E-bay. Even a house."

Spoken like a true Squirrel.

And I guess that kind of sums up my feelings about a "not buying" experiment that really just means no new toys or clothes or extras. A lot of people live like that anyway, by choice or not--the difference just seems to be how much publicity you get. I'm not saying that applies to the Gabriels--I've barely glanced at their blog so far. (I did find this comment amusing: "YES we are buying NEW food... I don't know any other way to eat unless I had a few stomachs like a cow, or was a baby bird with regurgitated food from my mother!") [UPDATE--OK, now I've read what they've posted so far, and I'm impressed--there's obviously more to this story than the bits I heard on the radio.] I applaud them and thank them for raising awareness of ways to make do on less. But it's the public interest--or lack of interest--that I find more interesting than the fact that yet another family is discovering that you don't have to buy everything new.

For further thoughts on this, you might want to revisit our 2007 post "Not spending at all...um..."

1 comment:

Jess said...

Hi Mama Squirrel!
Loved reading your blog - this is the mama from the Nothing New Nothing Wasted family. I never guessed this would spark such a debate - but the conversation is interesting and necessary for sure. I am heartened by the fact that what we are doing is nothing new and LOTS of folks are making great efforts, whatever their motivations.
I can sooo see your little one buying and negotiating - lol I get a bit of that with the 3 little boys as well.
All the best on your journey's :)

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