A “Consumer Fast,” by Kitty Bownass

Posted August 10, 2011 in Blog, Featured, Redwood City, Religious, Story. Tagged:

Kitty Bownass

By Kitty Bownass, Redwood City, CA

Our Resilience Circle has helped me focus on the economy on a large scale and what I can do about it, but retiring has brought my personal economy into an even sharper focus. For the first few months I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the changes. Retirement income was just getting started and things were still not settled down. But now, a year later, it’s obvious that my bank account is shrinking. It’s also obvious that prices are going up. That’s a bad combination and I decided I’d better do the only thing I can do right now: cut down on spending.

So, how has it been to spend less money? My very first feeling was one of relief! I do not have to keep alert to ads for things to buy! I was surprised at how much effort I had been putting into looking for stuff I could buy. I always looked over the catalogs that arrived and the flyers from various stores. Reading all that took a lot of time. I had to make decisions about every item that interested me: Will I buy it or will I resist it? Even though I usually resisted it, I was always in that evaluating mode, which is an exhausting place to be. Next, I began to realize that I already owned all the clothing I could ever use, all the housewares I will ever need, and all the magazines I will ever be able to read, which made it easier to stop trying to acquire more. Lastly, once I began to be more conscious of advertising, I was surprised at how much solicitation is aimed at me through my computer, magazines, newspapers, TV, and especially the charities I habitually gave to. Good causes send out a huge amount of mail! I’ve cut back a lot there, too.

I feel largely free of the compulsion to spend money. There have been a couple of spectacular lapses in my program, like the time I took my old camera to Radio Shack to buy a new battery for it and walked out with a new camera. I feel like Flip Wilson, who famously said, “The Devil made me do it!” But I’m doing OK and my new attitude will help me deal with the future.

Kitty Bownass
Resilience Circle participant
Redwood City, CA
August 7, 2011

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