Time Magazine—Cash Crunch: Why Extreme Thriftiness Stunts Are the Rage

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Christopher Greenslate and Kerri Leonard, high school teachers outside San Diego, were griping about the rising cost of groceries when they decided to see what life is like for the billion people on earth who spend $1 a day on food. The couple's blog took off, and their book, On a Dollar a Day, hit stores in February. They're part of a growing population of consumers chronicling their efforts to do without, swearing off such things as riding in cars and buying clothes — or buying anything new at all. And they're not making these vows simply to save money. For some, the goal is spiritual cleansing. For others, it's to raise awareness of big issues like the environment. It's also a cheap way to gather good material. If a book deal comes out of it, so much the better.

High-profile books like last year's No Impact Man, which details one New Yorker's attempt to spend a year without having a negative impact on the environment, may be particularly popular now because of the Great Recession. It is no longer fashionable to flash bling. Today's monklike experimenters are flaunting what they don't have.

"It's like everyone is doing their own version of Lent," says A.J. Jacobs, the virtuoso of this self-as-guinea-pig genre. He has written about such odd and intermittently enlightening challenges as living strictly according to the Bible for a year, during which he followed the Ten Commandments as well as lesser-known rules like the ones prohibiting the shaving of beards and wearing clothing of mixed fibers.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-Watch* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Posted March 30, 2010 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. DonGander wrote:

Has anyone heard of St. Paul’s admonition to contentment and moderation?

We live in a world of discontent. This is one area where christianity should shine. I’m content to have far less than most people, yet, I occassionally spend somewhat lavishly to encourage two people at the same time; he who I buy from, and he who I buy for. I am also content with that. Does it please God? That is the question, always, and Lent without God is not Lent at all.


March 30, 11:44 am | [comment link]
2. DonGander wrote:

I suspect the “who"s above should be “whom"s. grin

March 30, 11:45 am | [comment link]
3. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) wrote:

Hey, it all depends upon what imputed righteousness happens to be at any given time. It might be CK on the jeans. It might be a Dallas Cowboys jersey. It might also be whatever is the latest fad, like conspicuous anti-consumption.

My righteousness is from Christ, and from him alone.

March 31, 12:00 am | [comment link]
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