We're sponsoring US National Downshifting Week this week and we are really excited about the coverage it's received; we have gotten a mention on Cool People Care, Care2.com, Planet Green, Take Back Your Time, and Elephant, among others. We have a downloadable US Downshifting Manifesto on our website to help people Slow Down and Green Up. If you are just tuning in to US National Downshifting Week, which started Monday, no worries-- you can implement our ideas for downshifting any time of the year.
Today we are asking people to curb debt and prevent future overspending by cutting up a credit card. One of the central tenets of voluntary simplicity is to spend less, so that you can work less and enjoy your life more. I am down to one credit card that I pay off every month, so I'm hanging on to it, but I did go through the process of canceling several cards a few years back. I didn't actually use them, but for some reason I was hanging on to the accounts. After reading a bit about voluntary simplicity I decided to choose one card to keep and close all of the other accounts. I also got off credit card mailing lists by writing to several of the major companies, as well as other junk mail culprits, using the tools on the Center for a New American Dream's website.
I have found that the best way to spend less is to stop creating wants where none existed; stop going to the mall, stop getting catalogs, and mute ads when and if you watch TV. Recently on a vacation someone suggested going to a shopping mall "just to window shop." I declined, explaining that there was nothing I needed, and window shopping just makes me want things (I'm a sucker for art made from natural materials) that I don't need. Instead I sat in a rocking chair with my book, and played a board game with my kids. That's the stuff that vacations are made of!