Book review – The Art of Frugal Hedonism

I adored The Art of Frugal Hedonism – A guide to spending less while enjoying everything more. It is written by an Australian duo, Annie Raser-Rowland and Adam Grubb. I borrowed this book from our local library after hearing Annie on an episode of the Slow Your Home Podcast.

The warmth that you hear in Annie’s voice on the podcast is also the tone the book is written in. It is warm, light hearted and funny when it needs to be, cuts to the core of the issue quickly with passion but without judgement when it needs to also.

I think a sign of an awesome book is if it inspires you to take action, so I will share some of the action I have taken since reading the book:

  • I have made friends again with my local op shops. I had already been working on buying more ethically and sustainably but if I purchase something second hand it is helps reduce manufacturing demand and keeps items from heading to landfill!
  • I have stopped reading the magazine sections of the newspapers. Most times I read them I would note something I would like to buy, recipe I would like to cook, places I would like to visit. All prompting thoughts of needing things that I didn’t know I needed before I read them.
  • Stopped using the ducted heating as much. In the book they refer to this as acclimatising to the seasons. I really don’t like winter and I really don’t like cold weather. Our ducted heating automatically comes on in the morning and then goes off at 8.10am. This is when the younger kids and I walk to school. There have only been a few days when I have turned the heater on before it comes on again automatically at 5pm. If I am cold, I go and put on another layer of clothing first, as opposed to cranking up the heater.
  • Relishing small purchases. It is easy to get into the habit of buying yourself small things frequently just because they don’t seem like a big purchase at the time. The thing is, is that they lose their specialness if we buy them too frequently. When shopping at our local whole foods store I had fallen into the habit of regularly buying some treat things for myself (eg Loving Earth chocolate!). In the last month I have only done this once and I bought only four pieces (it sells them in pieces) and I absolutely relished every morsel of those four pieces. I won’t buy it again for a while now and will look forward to it very much when I do.

The Art of Frugal Hedonism is a short book of 231 pages but there is lots of space amongst this as it consists of 51 super succinct chapters. The authors are good humoured. You can sense the passion they have for living a frugal but hedonistic lifestyle and the manage to convey this without being too preachy.

The term frugal hedonist can sound contradictory but if you look at the pure definition of hedonism, you see that it doesn’t have to be.

Hedonism – the pursuit of pleasure; sensual self-indulgence.

Pursuing pleasure doesn’t have to mean spending lots of money and buying lots of things. Through the book, the authors show us clearly how we can live a life full of joy and wonderful experiences without spending beyond our, or the earth’s means. They give us reminders of simple things we can do that will help get us of the consumption hamster wheel.

This book isn’t about tight budgets and coupons. It is about conscious consumption, valuing experiences over stuff and about being more resourceful with the abundance of resources we already have or can easily find.

I highly recommend reading this book. It has some great science and research behind the humour and it will hopefully move you to act too!

I will finish with a couple of my favourite quotes from the book:

time is exactly what you can choose to have more of when you spend less money

If it is cheap to buy, but at the expense of someone or something else, it’s fake frugal

for most folk who have made habits of minimal consumption second  nature, money is something they rarely think about

by consuming less, the range of consumer decisions you have to confront on a daily basis plummets

You can find out more about the book and purchase it here.

Have you read The Art of Frugal Hedonism?