May 18, 2023

Consumers Cut Discretionary To Afford Essential Spending

Discretionary spending = unnecessary

I had been noticing for years that discretionary purchases were getting cheaper. Think TVs and other electronics, or flight tickets.

Essential spending = must have

At the same time, essential purchases were getting more expensive. Think food, energy and housing.

So the crap no one needs was cheap, and the things that keep us alive more and more expensive.

That sucked for people like Linda and I since about the only spending we do is for essentials. 

Now it looks like more people are joining us. 

There has been a large shift in how people are spending their money, with many former discretionary spenders finding themselves struggling to meet their essential spending obligations.

This is what involuntary simplicity looks like, a symptom of the slow motion collapse of industrial civilization that we are witnessing.

What does that do to a system designed to thrive on people buying things they don't need?

"The shift from discretionary to essential spending has a massive impact on an economy which is heavily skewed in favour of discretionary goods and services.  That is, when the cost of essentials increases, then after a lag, the result is deflation and unemployment across the much bigger discretionary sectors of the economy."  - source

Due to resource depletion and the end of cheap, available energy, this set of circumstances is unlikely to reverse in the coming decades.

It is a good time to be adaptable and resilient. If I were a young person today I would be looking at getting into farming.

The simple life is coming. Prepare for it now, and enjoy the ride.


  1. I never thought of that but you are absolutely correct. Over the last few years non essentials prices have dropped as everything else has gone up. I too have said if I was younger I would focus on farming. We live in an area with a thriving FFA group and it's good to see so many young people taking that direction. Stay safe!

    1. Anonymous5/20/2023

      We went all in on the Information Age, but what happens to that when the power goes out? We went all in on eco-tourism, but what happens when people don't have enough money, or the desire, to travel?

      We went all in on discretionary consumerism, but what happens to that when all our money is gone by the time we have secured the essentials?

      Big changes are happening globally right now that will alter the way we do everything.

      Farming is essential. No farms, no food. That is why a group like Future Farmers of America is so important, as long as those farmers are independent, and not slaving for Big Farma on corporate operations.

      - Gregg

  2. Agreed. Things are going to hell in a handbasket. The price of everything is skyrocketing. Building community and growing food- any amount of food- will help build resilience. It's taken 5 years to build our soil and seed collection to a point where we grow much of our vegetables and eggs on our smallish urban homestead in a small country town. And I'm still making mistakes and having poor harvests in some things sometimes....but the skills I have learned and improved on over those years are huge. Farming and homesteading where you are is the way to go for sure. Learn new, useful skills (knitting, darning, crochet, preserving etc) that will stand you in good stead once it all hits the fan. And grow popcorn. It's super easy, tastes great and will be fun to eat while you do so :)

    1. Anonymous5/20/2023

      So many of these skills have been neglected for so long as we have become more and more dependent on corporations and government. This dependence creates a very scary situation because those that control the money and the food control the people.

      it is time to take back control of our lives, as you are doing, and reduce the power of corporations and governments in our affairs. The more we cut them out of things, the happier and freer we will all be.

      - Gregg


Comments will be printed after moderation to eliminate spam. We are proudly a no buying, no selling website.

We enjoy reading all comments, and respond when time permits.

Please put a name to your comment so we can all recognize you for your contribution and get to know you better.

Thank you for visiting and helping make our blog a better place for everyone.