A new book The Art of Frugal Hedonism by Australian authors Annie Raser-Rowland and Adam Grubb wants to help readers to spend less money while enjoying everything more.
Conscious consumerism is a common catch-cry at the moment, and while Annie would like to see people buying more things second hand or sourcing them ethically, she says owning less is actually the secondary message of the book.
“We are trying to focus on enjoying things more that have very little to do with spending money because there is no better way to make it feel easy and pleasurable to buy less than to be really good at finding pleasure in free things.”
Spreading a message of deprivation is not what Annie and her co-author want either. But they would like to see less mindless spending as the western world reaches a point of what Annie calls “consumer overshoot”.
“We’ve spent most of human history having to scrabble to have enough. Enough warmth, enough clothes, houses that are big enough to live in and in this last century we have hit a point where for the first time, lots of us are starting to suffer not from not having enough, but from having too much. It seems preposterous to me and my co-author Adam Grubb, that we would suffer from the living being too good.”
Through their interviews for the book, the authors noticed a sense of nostalgia many of the participants had for their parents’ generation, when kids had to make their own fun and, Annie says, “for times where we had to come up with our own solutions out of our own strength of character and our own ingenuity to deal with things, rather than just throwing money at them”
“If anything, there is a beautiful liberty in being naturally quite materially conservative, because you don’t have to think about money very much. You just assume you will never buy very many things and money ceases to be an issue a lot of the time.”
Annie says The Art of Frugal Hedonism is full of transferable habits that are relevant to anyone, regardless of their age, cultural background or indeed their financial situation.
“We really wanted it to be applicable to everybody. If you’re earning millions, you can still benefit from some of the stuff that is focused on just enjoying what you do have more and not ignoring the huge spectrum of non-monetary pleasures there are, because the book is about pleasure and enjoying yourself more first and foremost.
“Ecological and monetary benefits of that are happy side effects of enjoying yourself.”