I Highly Recommend Joining This Cult

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/18/opinion/cut-spending-budget-cult-of-thrift.html

I am slashing my spending and rethinking my bourgeois ways. You should, too.

By Lisa Pryor
Sept. 18, 2018

Let me tell you about the cult I have joined: the cult of thrift. The indoctrination started gently, with a podcast here, a YouTube video there, about minimalism, debt-free living, frugality, decluttering, zero waste.

Then, before I knew it, I was listening to an American evangelical Christian named Dave Ramsey telling me in his Tennessee drawl that “the borrower is slave to the lender” and that I need to get “gazelle intense” and live on “rice and beans, beans and rice” to get out of debt, be “weird” by having a paid-off house.

Now, having chugged the Kool-Aid, I am slashing my spending and rethinking my bourgeois ways.

Bargain grocery shopping has become a sport. I make soups from scratch and serve casseroles made from cheap cuts of meat. Instead of taking the kids to expensive museum exhibitions to learn about nature, we are spending time in nature. Instead of dance classes, we dance. I am buying less wine, and when I do, it is supermarket wine. Dyeing my hair less, and when I do, using supermarket dye.

And while it would be nice to be original, I am not alone. Mr. Ramsey, a radio host and author who has been preaching the gospel of thrift for decades, has been joined in recent years by a number of overlapping movements, born of the internet and growing concern that stressed-out, debt-ridden consumer culture is unsustainable.

Consider the popularity of the minimalism movement. Two of its most high-profile proponents, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, are friends from Ohio who pursued corporate careers before beginning their journey toward the shedding of things in 2009. They have since built very not-minimal careers out of inspiring others to do the same through podcasting, blogging, writing books and making a documentary that is available on Netflix.

Related to this is the decluttering movement, which reached its peak with Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” a global best-seller that led to Ms. Kondo being named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in 2015.

There is an abundance of related movements that are focused on finances and living debt-free. Australia has its own proponent, Scott Pape, whose book “The Barefoot Investor” has become one of the country’s best-selling books of all time.

These are messages relevant to our times, with reports in August that United States household debt reached a new peak of $13.3 trillion, an increase of $454 billion from the previous year. In Australia, we have some of the highest levels of household debt in the world, and with no sign of a big increase in wages any time soon, many Australians are having to learn to rein in their profligate ways.

Continue reading at: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/18/opinion/cut-spending-budget-cult-of-thrift.html

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