Learn to Live With Less
Couple pledged to buy only necessities for 12 months
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Nov 23, 2008 12:44 PM CST
In this March 20, 2008 file photo, a Barnes & Noble Booksellers store is seen in Camp Hill, Pa.    (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
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(Newser) – Light wallets may seem particularly woeful around the holidays, when cheer often comes with a retail pricetag. But shopping binges, while they may be satisfying, ultimately just add to overconsumption problems worldwide, Judith Levine writes in the Washington Post. So she and her partner tried something new: They went a year without shopping for anything but the bare necessities.

“We learned that both necessity and desire are defined by where, when, and among whom we live,” Levine writes. Buying is largely about keeping up not just with the Joneses, but with “the Zeta-Joneses and the Gateses.” Lack of shopping can also mean boredom, so Levine hit up free museums and concerts. The last hurdle was holiday giving: Levine and her partner cooked up a feast instead of buying up a storm.