4.06.2009

The Spending Hiatus Support Group – Final Week: A Big Purchase + A Question for You…



some shots from our free day at the Nasher...not spending is so much fun!

This Friday marks the official end of the three month spending hiatus, and I have lots to share about what I’ve learned as well as some plans for a sort of (far less restrictive) “phase II”… But I’ll save that for another post. Instead I’ll just focus on re-capping this week.

We made a very big purchase…

Here’s a hint.


And another…


Did you guess?

We bought bikes!

Now before you completely freak out and accuse me of falling off the wagon just days before the end of the hiatus... Before you say that I’m a weak, horrible example, with no will power whatsoever… You have to know that this wasn’t a spontaneous purchase. We had always planned buy bikes before our beach trip (which we leave for this Friday…hooray!), as we’re tired of spending the equivalent of one new bike to rent three shoddy ones at the beach every year + we’ve wanted to go on family bike rides forever.

So we saved (and we didn’t shop for needless things!!!), and we are super psyched about our new purchase. In fact, I can honestly say it’s the best, most satisfying purchase we’ve made in the past 12 months. We’ve already gone on multiple bike rides on the trail near our house and we’re having a blast.

So that’s the update… now for the question. Last week I got the following comment on one of my spending hiatus posts:

“By not spending you are not helping this economy. This attitude is the WORST thing for our country!”

Honestly I wasn’t too surprised by the comment, as my husband jokingly told me the same thing at the start of the hiatus, and frankly I was wondering how long it would be before I got it from a reader (but, I was a little surprised by the tone…I’m all about a nice comment, and surely there was a kinder way to word it, but I digress…)

So I’m curious what do you think?

Is not spending on non-essentials horrible for our country? I have all sorts of thoughts about this, but you probably already know what they are. I’m really curious to hear your thoughts, and I promise, I won’t mind if you totally disagree with me…just be nice when you do it ;-)

63 comments:

Abbie said...

I think spending frivolously on things that are spontaneous and not necessarily needed is what has gotten everyone into such a credit crisis to begin with. Yes, we should continue to spend, but that doesn't mean that our expenditures should be made just to "spend" to get our economy out of its rut. I think taking a good hard look at what you spend *like your hiatus has taught you to do* will help the economy in the long run because you're not just throwing money away.

Jane said...

i think non-essentials are the niceties in life. the icing on the cake, as it were. that said, the trouble with our economy boils down to people buying things they couldn't afford, assuming that the economy would grow and things would work out.

i think mindful spending is the way to go - i've bought less as i'm asking myself "do i need this?" before acting. i don't like feeling buried by clutter.

sorry for the lengthiness - jane/simple-pretty.com

Virginia said...

Our culture of shopping and spending - as a lifestyle, even - was manufactured in the 1950s and has been promoted to a fever pitch. I believe that "saving" our economy by spending is a very short-sided strategy. What we ought to do as a nation is learn what we can and cannot afford and figure out how to use the money we do have right now (in cash, not credit) in ways that make our lives meaningful. Let's remember what forces and behaviors caused this recession and not try to fix it by doing exactly what we've been doing wrong all this time.

I didn't participate in the spending hiatus, but I've been following it. What a great example you are giving. We need more people like you promoting an affordable lifestyle to help counteract all the garbage we've listened to for the last half a century that says otherwise.

Jenn said...

I'm trying to be careful how I word this... we do need people to spend on frivolous things, but if you aren't, then it's because it is the best thing for your family! I don't think your bikes were a bad purchase because there are so many benefits (exercise, reducing car emissions, being a family). I've been following your progress, and know that the spending hiatus has been hard because we live in such a money-driven-I-need-it-now society.

Congrats on your hard work, your new bikes, and your pending vacation! And have fun!

And while I'm at it... I love your blog too! :)

B said...

I haven't officially joined the hiatus, but I'm following, trying to keep to it and talking about it. I'm not American either, but since this is a global crisis, I've heard similar comments from my friends. This crisis is the result of an unsustainable way of living that simply needed to stop. If we are gaining anything from it is a new perspective on what we can or can't afford, want or need. Learning to live in a sustainable way is the best thing we can do for any country that is suffering with the crunch. And that's what this hiatus has taught me. Looking forward to your phase II.

belleofthebeltway said...

I think the two previous commenters have worded it beautifully. Buying frivolously and without thought has gotten us into a world of hurt. Your policy of carefully considering each purchase prior to swiping the plastic is a lesson many are learning out of necessity, not out of choice.

Audrey said...

I was listening to NPR the other day and a caller made the same comment. The featured guest responded by saying that one person's purchase of an item -- even something expensive like bikes -- isn't going to bring the economy out of the rut we're in. To that end, I think that curbing non-essential spending creates better habits, which allow you to then save for bigger-ticket items that you need and want. And ultimately, you are the person who has to live with your own spending habits, and if you choose to re-evaluate them and work to make them habits you can be proud of, then I say the more power to you!

aud

Jenni said...

I think that people should worry about their families before the country. I know that's not very american, but if you can't afford to live in this country happily then what kind of an america is it anyways. It's not like you weren't buying things like food and other necessary items for survival, you were just passing over a cute new sweater and discovering fun in unexpected places. Let people who have cash to spend spend it in the name of the economy.

Cassandra said...

I spent 3 weeks in Cuba my senior year in college. There was no advertising there, because of course, it is a poor country, and there are no resources to buy, let alone money to spend. But that lack created an attitude in the people that was so different from ours here in the United States. We were told by some of the people that all it takes to make them happy is a bottle of rum and some good music. I know that a statement like that is really simplifying the forces at work there, but generally, despite poor conditions, we encountered a warm hearted and generous people.

I, by no means, embrace the socialist ideals there, but I think that it really opened my eyes to how obsessed our country is with spending.

I know that I'm overindulgent, and my whole purpose in not spending was to correct my tendency to buy just to buy, instead of buying because I need something. It would be a sad day if I had to admit that my becoming a more practical and mindful consumer is leading to the demise of my country. I don't think that my ancestors had to answer to growing their own vegetables or making their own clothes to survive. I want my children to grow up with an example that money is not what leads to happiness.

tiffany said...

Congrats on your bike purchases! I've had my eye on that basket for a while. It's super cute!

As for spending to help the economy: I think that's an irresponsible statement for most people. People need to take care of themselves first and then if there's money left, or if they can afford it, they can support the economy.

Americans have been taught that spending and consumerism is the key to happiness, and I believe that changing *that* way of thinking is what will eventually put us all into better financial situations.

Jen said...

I think your post represents a good counter-point to the idea that saving is bad for the economy. So, if you aren't spending $100 in $25 increments at Target every other day, you likely ended up spending that much or more on the bikes. I only recently started reading here but it seems like, to me, what you are trying to accomplish with the spending hiatus is mindful spending, not stuffing your bills under the mattress. I think if more companies (and people) had been mindful of their spending, we wouldn't have ended up in the mess we are in.

erinn said...

I agree with Virginia, that spending to save our economy is "short-sighted". But ultimately, you have to make a decision based on what you believe is best for you and your family (which I think someone else said above!). That cannot and should not be dictated by anyone else including the government.

Susan said...

I think it was attitudes like that comment that got us into this mess. I've been trying to get completely out of credit card debt so the only outstanding debt we have is our mortgage.

I live in the Chicago suburbs, and our mortgage + property tax bill + home insurance is about $2,400 per month. We choose to live where there are many family opportunities, a diverse population and great schools, but the housing piece of our budget is huge. Cutting back on everything else to build a bigger emergency fund is our top priority so we could survive a job loss.

You have to do what is best for your family's security above any concern for the economy. And really, will you buying some new flip flops help GM? I don't think so.

Kim said...

It's all about balance - mindful spending balanced with deliberate saving. Saving absolutely helps strengthen our economy! I'm surprised by the number of people who don't get that. One of the components of our nation's economic fall is that we have the lowest individual savings rate of any industrialized nation! So your spending hiatus is entirely responsible - it serves the best interests of both your family and the economy - in so much as one family affects the economy. Good for you! I have enjoyed following this and look forward to Part II.

abigail said...

first off, bicycles are a necessity so I don't think you fell off the wagon at all! And if you ride them often you will buy less gas which is always a good thing.
Second of all, the "paradox of thrift" is a problem, but we got into this mess because people were over spending, saving nothing and buying tons of crap they didn't need on credit. Maybe because so many people are cutting way back the pendulum is swinging too far the other way for a little while, but couldn't that be how we find a better balance?
The thing I have loved about the spending hiatus is that it's made me think much more carefully about what I buy. My mom used to tell me to think about it or put something on hold for a day or two before buying it. "If you really love it, you'll go back. and if you go back and it's gone, sooner or later you'll fall in love with something else."
And the spending hiatus has helped me relearn that lesson.

Carolyn said...

I got a very similar comment on my blog when i decided to impose a petit self-imposed spending hiatus as well. Honestly, i agree that all American people shouldn't completely stop spending money, but do i think our country is obsessed with consumerism/shopping and many of us could afford to cut back? Yes. You've done AMAZINGLY well on your hiatus, and i'm beyond impressed!!! :-)

P.S. i have that bike basket in white! it's the best

Honora said...

I just wanted to say that the top photo of your daughter with the irises is so beautiful!

burntphotograph said...

i originally started with your spending hiatus, but after a week or so i felt weird about it and stopped. i work in an industry where we rely on people to make large luxury purchases; and, i felt it hypocritical of me not to spend while expecting other people to spend in order for me to keep my job. that being said, did i institute a monthly budget, start saving a portion of my paycheck for larger purchases in the future, and start paying of my credit cards in a way more diligent way than i was before (2 down, 4 more to go!!).

so, i revised my spending in an important way while still indulging in non-essentials. i wish i could have gone as long as you guys in the group did! however, i feel like i have learned a lot about myself as a consumer in the choices i've made.

enjoy your vacation and bikes!! :)

MemeGRL said...

Your posters and I tend to be on the same page...not a surprise, I suppose. Spending is a habit. So is saving, whether for a big purchase or for an emergency fund. So is living within your means. The fact remains that our country is in a jam partially because of things like planned obsolescence and the speed and ease of new items entering our lives. Thinking the finances or the trash will work itself out is not feasible anymore. And one little blog and it's followers don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world...oh, sorry, I got distracted. You're not going off the grid; you're thoughtfully reducing spending. It is, unfortunately, attitudes like your poster's that are the problem right now!
Thanks for doing the hiatus. I look forward to round 2.

Jenn said...

You’ve cut out certain spending, but have you cut out all spending? No, of course not. You’ve had to buy clothes, and shoes, and groceries and gas for your car. I’m sure you’ve had to fix some things around the house, pay your bills, maybe even pre-pay for your upcoming vacation. If you had cut all of these things out of your spending habits, yes, that would be terrible for the economy. But deciding that you’re going to cut back on frivolous spending for a few months isn’t what’s tanking the economy. You’re ensuring that your home isn’t one of the millions that’s foreclosed upon, and that you can keep your kids in school and food on your table.

Maybe economies aren’t supposed to be Darwinian, but I think they are in a way. During your (and others’) spending hiatus, those businesses which do not provide significant value to the community are dying. I’m not saying it’s not sad, or that I won’t miss some of the businesses and services we’re losing (Domino! Newspapers!), but on the other side of this, the strong, financially sound will make it through. And the plucky will reopen in the future, and revive what’s missing.

stacy said...

isn't over spending what got us into this mess in the first place?

and if the our economy is structured to only thrive when people are spending beyond their means and filling landfills with stuff we don't care for, appreciate, and pass on, then i think it's time for a change.

best.

Rachel said...

Having an economy that has become dependent on everyone buying crap they don't need is the problem. Not you. We don't have some sort of patriotic obligation to buy loads of crap.

That said, now that I've completed the hiatus (um, I guess I ended a week early), I'm looking at spending my money in a thoughtful way, to help out local and independent businesses. I do feel a tie to those people, but no one will ever convince me that I have some sort of obligation to prop up big box stores.

Isn't overspending and recklessness (on the part of the people in charge) what got us into this situation in the first place?

amy turn sharp of doobleh-vay said...

the bikes are perfect. I love that yr a bike riding family. love it. Mindful everything. balance. that's it.

Miss Aimee said...

yeah for your bike! And isn't it time we all teach our children a good lessn on SAVING and that it is not a spoiled world of impulse spendors. And to budget for what we(each family)can afford?! I am with you girl. That comment angers me a tad bc it is such an individual choice and reason and we are all so opinionated about it too. So that commenter should go buy an extra 10 things that day to make themself feel better. But yeah for you! ha!

kate so said...

Here are some thoughts...

First, I highly recommend listening to Episode 375: "Bad Banks" by This American Life. You can go onto their website and download the podcast. It describes the banking crisis in layman's terms.

One segment in the show focuses on how much debt American's owe compared to the GDP. In 2008, we owed 13 trillion dollars. In 2008, the GDP was also 13 trillion dollars. We have over-borrowed. Our standard of living is too high.

In the short term, yes, we are not boosting the economy by cutting back. However, maybe we have been too greedy...wanted too much. If it is true that our standard of living is too high, maybe this economic downturn is what we need to get us back on track. This might be a clean slate to evaluate what is really important to us...spend here, save there. Ultimately, I think this type of living will be good for not only the economy, but for our livelihood, friends, family...

sk said...

I'm chiming in to say that buying frivolous things does not help anyone in the long run. There are ways to support the economy without buying stuff you don't need or want-- stuff that will go to Goodwill within the year, and be in the landfill within 2 years. I think that one of the best things we can do to support the economy is to shop at local stores for the things that we NEED. Shop at a locally owned small grocery store, shoe store, hardware store, etc. This keeps money in our economy, not in the pockets of the wealthiest 1% of Americans, and everyone wins! Curbing your spending at Target and Anthropologie certainly is sending an important message, and I commend you for your efforts!!

Also, I think the only way to true economic recovery is to change our priorities and spending habits as a nation. We need to base our economy on local enterprises, and local food systems. Check out this neat and inspiring organization for more info: http://www.hardwickagriculture.org/

paula said...

The bikes will be so fun. I am going to try to continue with the mentality of "do I really need it?". I do believe it is good to stay out of debt, better for our families anyway. Family is most important. I also think it helps my kiddos see that it is good to process a purchase rather than just jump at it.

Alicia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alicia said...

First, I have that bike basket & I LOVE it! Have fun with your bikes - a well-thought out purchase isn't really cheating.

Yes, the US economy is consumer driven, but it doesn't have to be that way & quite honestly I think it's not a bad thing that people are pushing the 'reset' button and reevaluating the way that we spend (there was an interesting article in Time last week about exactly this - resetting). We've simply overextended ourselves through mortgages, credit cards, cars etc... As @kate so pointed out, the consumer debt to GDP ratio is 1:1 right now. The last time that happened was 1929 and we all know what the years that followed looked like.

Is it important to contribute to the economy, yes of course... But it can be done in a much more meaningful way that does not include impulse trips to Target where one buys goods that are almost exclusively made in China or Indonesia. It's increasingly harder to find items made in the US, but once my haitus ends I'm going to make a concerted effort to seek out those goods - I can't save the economy on my own but I can at least try to put some extra $$ in the pockets of Americans.

I've really enjoyed this exercise and will probably continue to do it because I'm not employed at the moment and well, I don't have extra income to spend! But when I do get back to work I'm planning on designating one week a month my spending week & putting myself back on hiatus for the rest of the month...I don't need to buy, buy, buy and I want my purchases to be well-thought out instead of completely impulsive.

Lucia said...

Exercising a little old-fashioned restraint is hardly ever a bad thing, and it is something that we all could practice far more often in more areas of life than just how we spend our money. That seems to be the whole point of the spending hiatus -- to refine how we live in general, and make sure that in everything we do we do what what's most essential and best. The rest, as many of your readers have said, is just icing on the cake. Things that are sweet are so much sweeter when they are rare.

Whitney said...

Frivolous spending and overextending one's self to live beyond one's means has left many people out to dry in this economic downturn.

Sage principles of prudent spending with an emphasis on saving is really in the best interest of every individual.

lynne said...

#1 - congrats on the bikes!! I fell off the spending hiatus bandwagon in the first week as we bought a trailer for my bike - but I have to say it's the BEST baby thing I've EVER purchased. I use it every day picking up my daughter from kindergarten - and any day is just so much better when you throw a bike ride in the mix. Instant happiness. I think it also demonstrates that what truly make us happy are experiences rather than things. Which leads me to agree with almost every one who commented so far. I think it's ridiculous to think that spending is the fix to our country's economic crisis. Our total excesses in habit and desire are what got us here and we have the chance now to take a step back, re-evaluate, and raise a generation of kids who will be more careful with the resources they have. Better for the environment, better for their ultimate happiness. Too much of anything weighs us down. So kudos, kudos, kudos to you for setting this great example. !!!

TX Girl said...

I was in the spending hiatus group (although I never commented.. sorry). I wanted to participate, because I had become a slave to the cc companies. I was buying things that weren't necessities and that I really couldn't afford. I was AMAZING the first couple of weeks, but have slipped up a number of times. Although my purchases were significantly more reasonable than they would have been if I had not become more aware of my spending habits. I'm amazed that it has changed my perspective on shopping. I'm no longer interested in buying things just to buy. I'm definitely going to think through purchases and no longer make crazy impulsive buys. Personally I think in the end this is going to be much better for the economy than buying a new handbag.

I have several friends that are now jobless (and have been for several months), but because they lived within their means and saved for a rainy day they are financially secure for the next few years. Yes I said YEARS.

I'm happy to forgo another cute sweater from Anthro if it means some financial security for my family. In my opinion- this IS the way to help our economy.

iheartkiwi said...

i think the bikes are a wonderful purchase! anything that promotes some family togetherness time is ok in my book. nothing like a little beach crusin'

i did a little post on mindful spending for a good cause today and it made me think of your lovely blog... plus, they have some sparkly styles your girls might enjoy:)

Olivia said...

I commend you for your decision to cut back on spending. I think that if more people did that, we would all be in a better place, financially.

We have been on a "tight," budget, since we've been married, but we do not feel that we are missing out. Sure, I'd love love love to shop constantly, but we feel such peace that we are living within our means.

My husband is one of thousands that has lost his job, but because we had money in savings and are content with our secondhand furniture (for now) and bargain shopping, there is no panic.

Oh and have so much fun with the bikes, I look forward to the day that we get bikes.

Marybeth said...

We Americans have lived in the Kingdom of Thingdom way too long. Being more mindful of our spending habits is a good thing. Well overdue. The Economy has tanked because of greediness on many levels.

Love that you got bikes this weekend. My daughter and I got the family bikes in order on Saturday. She and a friend took two out for a spin. Divine weather for it in Dallas.

Amanda said...

I think it's more responsible to take care of your personal financial responsibilities than worry about what your non-spending might due to giant corporations. Remember that a good deal of the reason we are in this financial mess in the first place is that Americans spent a lot of money they didn't have. And corporations kept expending their money trying to get us to spend even more. If more people had rainy day funds then our country wouldn't be expending so much money on the jobless- they could weather the tide at least for a bit. Responsible spending (and saving!) is what will help our country now, not pouring our finances into things we don't need so Wal-Mart doesn't suffer (just an example: I have nothing against Wal-Mart).

I'm so jealous of you all being done! I started late, so I have a week to go. But that week feels like nothing. If anyone has post-hiatus (phase II as you called it) advice, I'm looking for it over at One Happy Panda :)

~Amanda
http://onehappypanda.blogspot.com

Amy said...

I think there is nothing wrong with holding back on spending - with all the news of people losing their jobs and house values going down it would be irresponsible to just keep spending.
I wish I could commit to a hiatus but Etsy is just too addictive...

Melissa de la Fuente said...

Ah, sweet Joslyn...well, first off- I am sorry it was said in such a tone, I am with you....I feel things can always be said in a nicer way. Second- I think your hiatus was an exercise in trying not to spend just willy nilly but, save for something LIKE bikes! Which I think is wonderful, and I am SO glad you are enjoying them so much. It is a beautiful thing to do as a family and I cannot wait to break ours out too! Happy monday my dear!
xo
Melis

Jane said...

Jos...yay for bikes! Wise investment! I won't tell the boys because they don't believe that Audrey will ride a bike. It will be a great surprise! As for the not so nice comment...we'll take care of that over a few beach drinks! See you Saturday!

Karen said...

Not spending money on things we don't need, or with money we don't have? I think we needed more people like you around a few years back -- we might all be a little better off! I think exercises like this are wonderful -- great job :)

Jen said...

There have been some really great comments so far! I like what Rachel said the best... we don't have a patriotic obligation to go buy crap!

The entire country would be better off if people started showing some restraint. I personally think "this attitude" is the BEST thing for our country, in the long run.

simplesong said...

thanks for sharing this, joslyn. and no, i don't think not spending is bad for our country [and seriously, why can't people just be a little more polite?].

and yay for you for completing the hiatus + thanks for sharing your journey.

and a big yay for new bikes!

wunderbug said...

hiya! i've come across you via heart of light, and so i have to confess that this is the first time that i've been by your blog but have been following along on rachel's hiatus in the meanwhile.

as a complete newb here, i wanted to weigh in - i think that *not* spending is a really great way to help you become more aware of your bad spending habits, and likely to help you reform them in the long run. is it the best way to fix the economy quickly? ... well, no.

i think the question that's more effective, though, is to ask yourself if being a responsible spender is a good way to start rebuilding an economy responsibly? the answer to that would most definitely be yes. you can't build a future on money you haven't earned yet, and as such, spending frivolously on credit is only a temporary solution.

(whew! long winded, but i guess you sorta asked for it.)

cheers! great blog. ;)

we chirp said...

I have not read all the other comments, so this might be a bit repetitive. Also, I am not a money guru. What I do think is this: mindless spending, not giving actual thought (like need vs. want), people thinking that they SHOULD have everything they want EVEN if they can't afford it DID contribute to the mess we are in. I think using your kind of self-control is what we should build a foundation on. Did you still go out and buy necessities? I think so. Did you go and buy yourself that great bmw family suv because not only did you want it BUT it would help the economy, even if you shouldn't spend the money? I don't think so (did you?). This has been so much fun to read, very interesting your spending hiatus. Can't wait to hear more.

miss money said...

Living in America, we can't help but to spend. That is why we are in the trouble we are in. Far too many people have focused on wants not needs. To spend on unecessary wants is to create more waste in the end. Why spend to attempt to better an economy that got itself into trouble by overspending? I believe we are thinking too short term fix. Is it better to put a dent in the economy for the time being to only hurt our planet for a far longer period of time?

Yeti_Beast said...

I think I'm the only man posting here. I am a manufacturing consultant and dabble in ecomonics for a hobby. The US manufacturing base has been gobbled up because of the "need" for walmart-like cheap goods.

Anyone who thinks that Joslyn is hurting the economy by not buying up cheap crap is sorely mistaken. I forget the year, but it was in the mid-1990's that the entire trade deficit could be measured in American dollars spent on Japanese video game consoles (Nitendo, Sega, etc.).

Congrats, Joslyn. I hope I am teaching my children equally valuable lessons.

Julia said...

I haven't read everyone's answers, because I didn't want to be influenced! First off I'm so glad you bought the bikes - something worthy of capping off your hiatus.

Second, I can't help but feel that these three months have done nothing but good for you and your family and in turn our county. You are using money wisely, you are being thoughtful and conscientious. Personally those are the things were missing in our leadership and now we're in a tight spot with our country.

Just my thought!

Lynne said...

I think if you can afford it, you should buy what you like. I'm definitely in favour of supporting independent designers though if I can.

But, I'm very excited about your purchase! Did you buy that Carrie basket? I've had my eye on it for years - I just need a bike to go with it!

Jecca said...

I think it all comes down to how you labeled this post. "Mindful consumption". The purpose of the hiatus is to take a good hard look at what you are spending money on and really decide if it's worth it. Choosing what is beneficial to life, not just what is available. By spending money on the bikes, you are ensuring free afternoons with your family. It's not about the money, but the desires behind it.

I ♥ NY said...

i agree with so much of what's been said... if people thought more about how they were spending, we wouldn't be in the trouble we're in right now. so i applaud you for being mindful about your consumption.

that being said, i think there's a difference between the unnecessary un-essential and the necessary un-essential... something that will improve your quality of life and help you create great memories with your children, like a bike :) , that seems necessary.

CMN said...

Okay, somebody who left that comment missed the obvious points behind your spending hiatus and the reasons beyond our economic downturn. Why is the economy struggling? Because people spent money - lots of money - on things they couldn't afford. Afterall, bad mortgages don't just happen to so many people at the same time. Certainly, there are wise spenders who have been hit by the problems - most definitely! But there are also a lot of people who borrowed more than they could afford at rates they couldn't really afford, all on the expectation that values would improve, they'd have great opportuniies, etc., etc. So to say that more mindless spending will help solve the economy? Sorry, but no.

And a spending hiatus... is that to say that alcoholics and chain smokers and even drug addicts shouldn't change their behavior, because their spending helps the economy? I don't think so. Those are definitely extreme examples, but they reflect the right of the individual to change. Changing destructive behavior (like addictions) or thoughtless behavior (like random spending on things we don't need), is all bout personal improvement and growth. And personal changes for the better in our lives are a good thing at any time.

So it's a ramble, but a point shared by so many: Frugal, thoughtful spending has always been a good thng for our economy and our character, and will have a much better long-term impact than just willy-nilly spending (and incurring debt!) in order to 'help' the economy.

Bottom line: you go girl! And thanks for sharing your example and experiences with the rest of us. Whatever our involvement has been (spectator or participant), it's been thought-provoking and insightful.

Jackie said...

First off, that photo of your daughter and the irises is gorgeous!

I don't think that it is in any way the faults of those who are being more mindful with their money these days that the economy is in the crapper. It was the greedy mentality that got us here in the first place, so our new found thought processes about money are the best thing for the economy. No more charging up your credit cards to the point where you can barely make your minimum payment. No more shady home loans with 5 year arms just so you can get in a giant house you won't be able to afford in a few years. It's back to the basics-and the basics are good. Of course if you have extra money for fun little purchases-go for it! It's the living beyond our means that needs to stop.

I am reading a great book right now titled "The Simple Living Guide" by Janet Luhrs. I am currently on the chapter regarding money, and it has really changed the way I look at it. I think this is a wonderful time for everyone to get their lives back on track, and to live a simpler, more mindful life.

Kim said...

And... VERY importantly... most of the crap for sale in this country was manufactured in China, not the US anyway.

Joslyn said...

Jackie -- that book sounds great! keep us posted about how you like it.

ccd said...

I'm glad you bought bikes. And speaking as a shop owner myself, I'm sure the store you where bought them is glad you bought bikes :)

lillie said...

i think your spending hiatus was a wonderful (and temporary!) way to remind yourself how little you need unnecessary stuff. our economy is fueled by a whole lot more than the junk that's sold by big box stores. sigh.

i'm psyched that you bought bicycles! now that is a foolproof investment (:

onesilentwinter said...

the first photo is incredible!!! i lov eth bike basket i have to stop myself from getting another one. about the spending hiatus! i bought nothing except underwear at christmas and a her brush from aveda- my life has changed because of it, spending less is living more completely..

Mrs.French said...

I have all sorts of thoughts regarding this topic...but I am not horribly opinionated one way or the other. For now, I will just tell you how absolutely proud of you I am! I am not sure I could have done it...will power is not one of my strong suits!

Second, I have to tell you "I GOT A BIKE TOO!!!!" I had no idea I could be this excited about a bike!!! We really need to meet in real life now...a friendly bike ride? doesn't get much better than that! I am dying to know...what type of bike did you get? xo t

Joslyn said...

ok mrs french...it's a date. you just say when ;-)
i got a giant...sort of a city bike. it's really fun...not overly girly, but bryan wanted to be able to jump on it too when the trailer was hooked up
http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-US/bikes/lifestyle/2307/32170/

what kind did you get??

Lisa Falzon said...

I think.. if you can afford bikes, as in, you aren't taking them out on credit or cutting into your day-to-day expenses to get them.. they you are living within your means!

I think 'not spending' has it faults too, but to my mind is more to do with the fact that amassing money just on principle is probably a little silly (albeit not what you are trying to do I am sure) considering we do not take our savings over with us when we die, and we should enjoy it while we're here....

.. bit by far, living beyond one's means is a much greater tragedy and unfortunately many people these days are born thinking they are ENTITLED to luxuries.. like cars, cable TV... people on welfare have these things.. I come from a country where if you parents don't have wellpaying jobs, as a child, you'll have to make do with no cable tv, and no special brand name toys. From what I see of the attitude in the US, it seems like even people with very limtied income demand they have ipods.. it's insane to me.

So exercising restraint is a grand example to set! I've been doing it all my life, so even now as an adult in a comfortable lifestyle, I make sure to balance my spending with my saving and never purchase what I cannot afford, but give myself the treats that I can :)

hannah said...

in my opinion, more is not always better. i have a lot of respect for those who live within their means and enjoy it. we each have our priorities... things we are willing to spend a little more money on and things we would go without or get the less expensive version. my relationships are more important than the things i buy. i believe there is a lot of value in practicing restraint, but also knowing when to splurge a little.

lovemillajane said...

we (as a nation)have over spent for too long. buying things we don't need with money we don't have. that's what has gotten us into this mess. i'm all for cutting back on frivolous spending, and have done so for the past year. (which, if you knew me in real life is HUGE for me):) in doing this, the truly important things seem to take center stage, and priorities are more focused. and though this "crisis" will end, i plan on sticking by my new found "rules of shopping". it's nice to treat yourself every once in a while, but just like dessert, too many "treats" isn't good for your health. :)