Day 10 of the January Money Diet – Win a Copy of the New Book NEW

NEW book at Happy Simple Living

I’ve done the January Money Diet five times now, and still, each year I notice how suddenly the forced break from spending and shopping seems to stir up something inside me that just wants. I want new pillows for the couch, and lamps for the bedroom. I want new clothes, and new boots. I want a new phone, and a new computer. I want more stuff, even though I truly don’t. My big goals are far more important than accumulating more stuff, and besides, I have more than enough of everything. So what’s all this wanting about?

In the fascinating new book NEW: Understanding Our Need for Novelty and Change (The Penguin Press, $25.95), author Winifred Gallagher explains why we humans are biologically and physically primed to engage with what’s new and different. The urge isn’t all bad. Neophilia, a new word for me that means “the love of the new,” has pushed inventors to discover new technology, explorers to reach unknown territories and researchers to find vaccines to cure diseases.

The problem is that in our current information age, we humans now face a dizzying number of potential new things and we’re not always coping with the abundance in healthy ways. I can certainly relate to this when I consider my own internet surfing habits; just the number of great blogs I’d like to read is dizzying and I often feel like I spend too much time at the computer.

Some of the overload is downright dangerous, from running up huge bills on a credit card shopping for the latest fashions to some teens’ addiction to texting on their cell phones while driving. More subtly, the perceived efficiency of new technology can affect some people to such a degree that technological productivity becomes more important than real interaction and relationships.

I won’t spoil the book for you, but fortunately Gallagher includes a chapter with specific ideas and advice for creating discipline, setting priorities and controlling technology addiction. Anyone who is interested in living a simpler life will enjoy reading this book, with its eye-opening exploration of our affinity for novelty and everything new.

To celebrate the January Money Diet, I’ll give away a brand-new copy of the book to one lucky winner. Just leave a comment between today and midnight MST January 17, 2012 about what new thing repeatedly tempts you (or alternatively, why you’re immune to the pull of the latest and greatest). I’ll hold the drawing and announce the winner on January 18.

Good luck!

The signature for Eliza Cross

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Win a Deluxe Happy Simple Living Gift Basket

In honor of the January Money Diet, I’ll be giving away a gift basket of home and garden goodies plus several books at the end of the month. On January 31, 2012, I’ll draw one random name from everyone who commented during the month and that lucky person will win the gift basket. I hope you’ll stop by often this month and share your own ideas, thoughts and experiences about taking a 31-day break from nonessential spending.

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About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

22 comments to Day 10 of the January Money Diet – Win a Copy of the New Book NEW

  • Merideth

    I used to find myself buying new clothes weekly, the temptation of that new shirt, blouse, necklace, shoes. However, my closet is so full as a result and I have been trying to save money, so I am making new outfits out of the old pieces and having fun with that!

  • Delores

    We are in the first few weeks of The Year of Less Spending, inspired by Judith Levine’s “Not Buying It”. Definitely, it is hard to get past that “I’ll just run out and get ___ because I need it”…Need is such a strong word. Now that I cannot run out and get x, y, or z, I find that I really don’t need it at all. I can get by.

    What I have found though is living like this requires thinking ahead. I have to know what I’m making for dinner, I have to know birthdays are coming up so I can make a gift, I have to know whatever so I can prepare for whatever. Otherwise, we do get against the wall and “have” to go buy what we “need”.

    • eliza_cross

      Thanks for this comment, Delores. Not Buying It sounds like another book I’d like to read. And you make a really good point about planning ahead!

  • Barbara

    How often do we pick something up and just throw it in the cart–just because we want that immediate gratification. I get a sense of accomplishment when I pitch all those “things” that I bought but never used. Now I think hard before I even put it in the cart.

    • eliza_cross

      You are so right, Barbara! We buy things and then we have to work hard to unclutter and get rid of things. It sounds like you’re making thoughtful buying decisions.

  • I recently found myself looking around my living room and wanting a new couch – sounds like I need to dig into this book myself!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour. I’ve featuring your review on TLC’s Facebook page today.

    • eliza_cross

      Thanks so much for featuring this on your Facebook page, Heather. Reading NEW has made me so much more aware of my own tendencies to be attracted to certain things like new clothes just because they’re the latest fashion, even if I have a closet full of perfectly good clothes.

  • Linda Henderson

    I had so many things to replace, so I’m guilty of more purchases than I would normally have. I had a brand new computer that didn’t survive so I did finally get to replace that. That is one reason why I’m so late answering all these posts, no internet access for a while. We just got my computer up and running and I’m happy it’s finally working okay. I’m not one of those people that have to have the newest technology. I will use my old cellphones until they literally give out. I hate spending money on cellphones. I’m still using the first generation Android and I will continue to do so until it doesn’t function anymore.

    • eliza_cross

      These are such good points, Linda. It can be so tempting to get the latest Smartphone or flat-screen TV just because everyone else seems to have one. But it sounds like you are very thoughtful about your purchases and get long life from the things you do buy.

  • eliza_cross

    I love all of your ideas! But I couldn’t find you on Facebook. If you want to post the link on another comment, please do so we can watch your progress.

  • Holly

    I am having a major declutter and the flipside of this coin is doing my best not to bring anything new into the house, so yes, no spending in January, rather being creative with what I already have and getting of all the unnecessary/unbeautiful! You can spy on my efforts on Facebook as I’m documenting it there (Less is More). Thanks for the inspiration!

  • […] recently reviewed her book at Happy Simple Living, and if you visit the site you can enter the giveaway to win a new hardcover edition of this timely […]

  • I am like Mary, I love new books. This is my hardest area to tackle.

    • eliza_cross

      Since I’m an author, who am I to judge your love of books? Ha! 🙂 The library, used book sales and Amazon’s used books have saved me significant money in my own book habit, and I often ask for specific books for birthday and Christmas presents. Thanks for your comment, Donna.

  • Mary

    I have been rethinking purchasing since the new year especially. Ironically I am rethinking buying books. I am trying to be more patient and reserving them from the library rather than downloading or sending for them immediately.

    • eliza_cross

      Great ideas, Mary. I used to order every book I wanted to read from Amazon. Now I’m a bit more selective, and I love our library’s annual used book sale, too.

  • Cat

    Hopefully I’m not too late

  • janet

    I totally concur with your blog today. The money diet has been great though with helping me to realize how many times a day I think,”well, I’ll just run out and get that because I need it”. I have definitely become more conscious of what I really need and what I want. I really don’t need a lot of things in order to function on a daily basis. Once you grasp this, it is very freeing. However, I still struggle with the “oh let’s just change this picture or get a new lamp tweak your room”syndrome. I need to stop watching decorating shows!

    • eliza_cross

      I hear you — decorating magazines are my weakness! I love Elle Decor and Traditional Home, and no good ever comes from reading them except a bad case of the “Gimmes!” 🙂

  • Nancy

    New clothes. I hate shopping for clothes but I hate looking worn out…but I usually look worn out….so I end up just talking about how I want nw clothes!

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