March 12, 2018

5 Potential Drawbacks Of Simple Living

Drawback #2: The freedom, at first, could be overwhelming.

When I think about the potential drawbacks of simple living I am tempted to think that there aren't any. But of course there are. There are pros and cons to just about everything, so I wracked my brain to see if I could come up with a few cons. Note: the pros are easier to come up with.

Drawbacks of Simple Living

  1. You might save too much money.
  2. The freedom, at first, could be overwhelming.
  3. Someone might tell you that their mom would think you are "lazy". (This really happened to me.)
  4. Friends and family could conclude that you are "cheap", and tell you that you should buy some new shit to replace your worn out, dated, old shit. (This really happened to an NBA reader who commented on such a scenario this week.)
  5. If everyone did it the economy could collapse... causing wholesale changes in the way we do things economically, politically, socially and culturally.

I guess it is kind of like when in a job interview the H.R. person asks you what your weaknesses are. After thinking, "I don't really have any", you end up saying something like, "Sometimes I am too loyal to my employer and I work too hard". 

But we all have weaknesses, and simple living is no different. Although, from my point of view, #5 isn't really a drawback at all. Actually, it is one major reason why I live the way I do. It would be great to see some wholesale structural changes in how we do things. The disruption would be worth it many times over.

I find that most other people don't see it this way. 

And #3 and 4 are really only drawbacks if you give a shit what other people think about the way that you choose to live your life. I think that drawing such a strong reaction from other people probably indicates that you are doing something right.

Or I guess you could just avoid the hassle, relent, kiss your integrity goodbye, and start working longer hours, borrowing more money, and buying more stuff. That would make other people feel better, because if they have to play this losing game, you should have to as well. Otherwise it isn't fair.

On the other hand, if you stick to your guns and maintain your simplicity, you might find it lonely. This can be a serious and genuine drawback to a simple lifestyle. Since so few in consumer economies choose to live in this way, many will not share your zeal for a minimal, peaceful life away from the madness and rush of the consumer competition. Estrangement may be a reality.

That is one reason that I keep this blog - we simple folk need to support each other. I do feel supported by all of you. Thank you. I hope you feel the same.

In conclusion, I must report that on my Simple Living Pros vs Cons list, the Pros column is still much, much longer than the cons side. Results in your particular circumstance may vary.


  1. You’re our kind of writer Greg!

    1. Anonymous3/13/2018

      Totally agree...thanks! -- Mary

    2. Franny and Danny, and Mary,

      You know what they say about great minds. And fools... :)

  2. Anonymous3/13/2018

    I'd much rather be counted with the few on this blog than the many out "there" in consumer land! I would also love to see #5 happen! Nancy

    1. Nancy,

      We are on to the scam that is the consumer rat race. A better life is possible, and many are already living it. The more of us, the better, so thank you for standing to be counted.

  3. Anonymous3/13/2018

    "I think that drawing such a strong reaction from other people probably indicates that you are doing something right."

    I've found that when I set a boundary for myself, others can become angry. And yes, that means I am right on track!
    Wouldn't it be cool if more people let go of the peer pressure to consume and just dropped the charade? I think there are more of us out there than we think...they are just afraid of the judgment. Hopefully they find us!

    1. Erin,

      Dedicated smokers are stopping, because they know that habit kills. A similar awareness is building around consumerism. It kills. In the near future conspicuous consumption will be as socially unacceptable as smoking in public places is now.

  4. I have had #4 happen to me. My adult children think I need to replace my car and my house. No way! The car still preforms fine. And the house is almost paid off. Do you know how much more I can fund my retirement with no car or house payment? I do! And how much less I will need to live on in retirement with no house or car payments? I do. I'm even pondering early retirement with more enjoyable years in my paid off house.

    1. Kelly,

      How could anyone argue with your logic? I won't, because I took the same route as you, and it has turned out to be the best thing I have ever done. I retired from full time teaching at age 40. Now I wake up in the morning and work for myself and the lovely Linda.

      I say good for you and your frugal plan. It's the way to get free.

    2. I had a #4 last night because I don't have an iPhone.

  5. Anonymous3/14/2018

    I was a late starter to the working world. I went back to school at 35 to become an RN.....I only managed to work 4 years full time before I realised that all I had time for was work, cooking and cleaning.I changed to part time and because of the drawbacks of simple I was able to retire at 55.


    1. Anonymous3/14/2018

      Inspiring to hear you were able to go part time and still retire early Marie. I hope to do the same. I have cut my working hours back this year and now actually have time to do the things I need/want to do without hyper-ventilating!


    2. Marie,

      Congratulations of "drawbacking" your way to an early retirement. I found full time teaching to be way too much. I would have stayed on longer if I could have worked half time, as in work half the school year, then have the other half off.

      But the only way it could be done was to teach the whole school year at half time. I quit full time, taught a couple of years as a "teacher on call", then quit altogether. I do not miss the busyness and feeling of not having time to do the things I wanted to do.


      How awesome that you are in a position to cut back on your hours. Waiting to do so until one is 65 or 70 or 75 or never is waiting too long. Life is too short to spend the largest chunk of it working. Looking forward to hearing you say, "I'm retired!", some time soon.

  6. Anonymous3/14/2018

    Gregg, I think there are many more of us out there than we think. I find so much support and encouragement reading here, and it keeps me going :-)

    I have found it tricky working in an environment where a lots of cash is flashed around, in the form of new clothes, new cars, expensive holidays - all of the stuff that means nothing to me. You can feel as though you don't quite fit in. A colleague commented the other day that I am very 'wholesome', and I took it as the highest compliment! Was it the brown rice stir fry in the metal lunch box, or the woolly socks and cardigan with several repairs that did it...


    PS if you are lucky you can come across kindred spirits in random places, but good places to find them include community gardens, farmer's markets, the local organic shop, the dog park, the library, your local sustainable living group

    1. Madeleine,

      I think you are right about our numbers, but the peer pressure to buy, and the threats of being labeled "lazy", are powerful motivators to keep hitting our heads against the brick wall of consumerism.

      It is time to kick that rotten door down and step through to a better life.

  7. Totally agree with you that #5 is NOT a drawback at all. As an individual I don't really care whether my actions cause any changes to how the world runs because I honestly don't have much hope that'll happen. I noticed long ago that when I talk frugal/non-consumerist/DIY/cook from scratch/use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without that people either get irritated or their eyes glass over haha. But I also don't think major political, social or economic changes would be a bad thing at all! Sure it's possible that if simplicity became mainstream you might have people trying to keep up with the treehuggers instead of the Joneses, but showing off goes back hundreds of years so...

    1. Deva,

      All humans used to live frugally and everything else you mentioned, and we will again. In a closed, finite system it is against physical laws and limits to use more when less would suffice. Show-offs be warned. There will be karmic consequences.

  8. Brilliant. Agree wholeheartedly (again). I've been MIA as we rediscover as a family what we really want from life. To this end we've stepped off the hamster wheel entirely. Sold our family home in a big city where we had to drive everywhere and in one month will be moving to a small country town where we'll be able to walk literally everywhere. No more full time jobs, just past time with between my husband and I as our already small mortgage will be smaller still. Talk about living locally. Cannot wait. I'm sure there's been a few eyebrows raised at our decision, but like you Greg...I don't give a shit ;)

    1. Karen,

      How exciting! We are thrilled for you. That is exactly what this is all about. Not only does living simply provide us more freedom than the hamster wheel, but not giving a shit about what anyone thinks about it is even more liberating.

      No one is getting hurt from our living simply. Can high-consumption lifestyles claim the same?

      We would love to hear more about your new adventure in the future. Enjoy.

    2. Thank Greg. We are stoked and so excited about our new adventure. I'll update my blog soon as currently am recovering from wrist surgery. Only 744 hours to go before moving. Not that I'm counting :)

    3. Karen,

      I am looking for blogs to add to my side bar. If you give me your web address I will add it so we can all follow along with your simplification process. Speedy recovery to you, write away.


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