August 15, 2014

Not Buying Equals More Time And Freedom

Taking time at an outdoor piano - better than shopping.

"I can't, I don't have enough time" is a phrase often heard among groups of non-hunter/gathering humans. Freedom and time both seem limited when we choose to engage in consumer-based lifestyles. But it is a choice we make.

We can also choose not to participate in the endless work/spend cycle that places unreasonable restrictions on our lives. Currently, the way our system is set up everyone MUST do some sort of work to earn money to survive. But no one is forcing us to spend the money that we sacrifice so much of our freedom and time to amass.

When we cut our consumption we reduce our spending and are less reliant on jobs that don't fire our passions. When we spend less we can choose work that is more fun and less harmful. If you cut most of the shopping out of your life imagine how much more time you would have.

Having more time is like winning a lottery, but a lottery that matters. Having a lot of money is not necessarily freedom - having lots of time is.

In Nothing To Lose But Our Illusions David Edwards  says, "Once you start to see through the myth of status, possessions, and unlimited consumption as a path to happiness, you'll find that you have all kinds of freedom and time. It's like a deal you can make with the universe: I'll give up greed for freedom. Then you can start putting your time to good use."

The wage slave/consumer life just doesn't offer the same payoffs as living a more spontaneous, unencumbered life free of excess, waste and greed.

What would you do with more time? More freedom? For me my non-consumer lifestyle has freed up time for writing, walking, playing guitar and singing, cooking and baking, and caring for Linda, my best friend.

And some day I would like to gather a crowd while singing and playing an outdoor piano. Or a guitar. Or a kazoo.


  1. Rick E8/16/2014

    I had read and was responding to your 3/25/12 post, "Average House Size By Country" but figured I would post the comment here as well. It took me a long while, but I have come to embrace the values you describe ... Thank you!

    I lived in Florida as the worst Real Estate crunch/crash I have ever seen caused the market in central Florida to crumble. I lost my job and I lost my home ... I hit rock-bottom ... it was the worst thing I had ever experienced.

    I was crushed and moved to North Carolina chasing a job offer but felt utterly defeated. After a few months searching, my girlfriend and I (plus her 2 cats and my 1 dog/1 cat) settled on a modest 980 sq ft house. Leaving a 2000+ sq ft home, it seemed like such a demotion in life. I had kept up with the "Jones" while passing a bunch of the "Smiths" ... so I looked very successful until one day I wasn't.

    Fast-forward six years later and I can honestly say that I am better off today than I was in Florida and I love the house we are in. Without realizing it, in Florida, I had become a slave to my mortgage, taxes and insurance. Even if I had been able to keep the house, the added stress (unrecognized at the time) would have negated any perceived benefit. I had lost substantial equity (more than the price of my new home) as the property value plummeted becoming upside down in my mortgage before losing my job. Unemployed, I rode the ship all the way to the bottom continuing to pay the mortgage out of misguided pride.

    The worst chapter in my life became life-changing and I can now say it was the best thing that ever happened to me! I make a little less money today than I did but find my quality of life is better, I live better and the spare time I have today is far more enjoyable and relaxing than I could have imagined while chained to my bigger, "better" house.

    I wish I had seen your site 7-8 years ago. Being firmly entrenched in the American dream/mind-set of "bigger is better" or being vain, stupid, stubborn or all the above I had to learn the hard way. Success and wealth is better measured in freedom and happiness than in “things”. The oddest thing after losing everything is that now I have the home and life I always dreamed of.

    Thanks for the Post! I live it and love it!!

    1. Rick E.,

      Thank you so much for sharing your story both here and in the "House Size By Country" post. It is most appropriate in both, and is a powerful testimonial as to the power of simple living.

      Without success stories such as yours many people will not believe that less can possibly be more. Turning what seems like failure to society into your own personal success is possible when we turn away from crazy consumption and just get on with living the life we REALLY want.

      Congratulations on getting through your ordeal and coming out the other side happier and more content. Your precautionary tale is proof there is a better way.

  2. Thanks for introducing me to David Edwards

    1. Trmist,

      David Edwards quit a management-level marketing job in mid-career to become a writer and live a more simple life that does less harm.

      He has written several books and is unceasing in his criticism of the capitalist consumer society, and the illusions that our "democratic" system fosters in order to keep the whole scam going.

      You can find an enlightening interview with Edwards at this site.


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