Simple Prosperity


Not long ago, I posted an article on how living frugally is actually living a hedonistic lifestyle? Well here’s something along the same lines:

Here is the link if you would like to read more. This is an excerpt I grabbed out of an interview with the author of Affluenza, Davin Wann on the Millionaire Mommy’s website:

What does simple prosperity look like on a day-to-day basis?

In our current way of life, the typical American will spend six months of his life sitting at red lights, eight months opening junk mail, one year searching for misplaced items, two years trying to return calls to people who aren’t there, four years cleaning house, and five years waiting in line – all activities that relate at least in part to our lives as consumers.


When we choose real wealth, we change the way we spend both time and money. We begin choosing things like healthy, great-tasting food; work that challenges and stimulates us; and spiritual connection with a universe that’s infinitely larger than our stock portfolio. Instead of more stuff in our already-stuffed lives, we can have fewer things but better things of higher quality; fewer visits to the doctor and more visits to museums and friends’ houses. More joyful intimacy, more restful sleep, and more brilliantly sunny mornings in campsites on the beach – bacon & eggs sizzling in the skillet and coffee brewing in the pot. Greater use of our hands and minds in creative activities like building a table, knitting a sweater, or harvesting the season’s first juicy, heirloom tomato. These are the things that matter, and we can choose them, if we spend less time, money, and energy being such obedient consumers.

A great example of the social and personal benefits of a new lifestyle already occurred in Michigan from 1930 to 1985, when the Kellogg Company operated with a six-hour day. With two hours more discretionary time, Kellogg employees transformed the lifestyle of Kalamazoo, where many of them lived. Families and neighborhoods benefited from the extra time; schools included curricula about the “arts of living” and parental involvement in schools – such as “room mothers” in the classrooms – increased. Parks, community centers, skating rinks, churches, libraries, and YMCAs became centers of activity. Kellogg workers recall that the balance of their lives shifted from working to living. What to do with their time became more important than what to buy with their money.

11 thoughts on “Simple Prosperity”

  1. I completely agree with this idea. After I was laid off from my job last winter, I was forced to take stock of things that really mattered. I was already headed in that direction, looking for ways to simplify (and reading the Unclutterer and Zen Habits blogs obsessively). While it was awful not to have an income, it made me realize that I was a whirling-dervish of accumulated unhappiness, and I was trying to buy my way out of it–which is unusual for me, because I am typically frugal. It also made me re-think the value of time.

  2. Not only do I appreciate u sharing this article, I also appreciate the way you openly share your personal thoughts on finances, living simply, doing the most with what you have. One thing you shared a while back really hit home with me…you were talking about a coat you had bought that was a few sizes too big and you made the comment that it would have to do for a few years until you had the money to replace it. Frankly, that thought would never have crossed my mind, even though it should. I don’t have lots of money, but for too long, I have acted like I do. I am in the process of ‘rebooting’ my money mindset and your blog is one of the inspirations in my toolkit. Also, I love love love your daily roundup and I have been doing that as well. It helps keep me on track in all my choices. Thanks again and sorry for the long post. FYI, I am in the process of starting my own blog now!

  3. I am envious of that work schedule! I think the idea of having more time sounds divine. And I definitely spend less when I have more time for myself, not only for the reasons mentioned in your post, but also because I’m less stressed and don’t feel such a need to compensate with junk food or buy shortcut products (like housecleaning stuff). I’d gladly give up some of my salary if I could work a bit less!

  4. (Not that I am complaining about being gainfully employed, you understand–especially not in this economy. I just find that I often struggle with the time/money balance–).

  5. Great post. I’m not employed right now and looking to find something I enjoy rather than any old 9-5 that won’t make me happy.

    I left you something at my blog 🙂

  6. Hello Kristi, I love reading your blog and it’s one of the first things I go to every morning (I’m in Europe). I thought the concept of Kellog’s 6-hour day was fascinating and dug a little deepter – here’e one of the articles I found, it’s a book review. It turns out that the 6-hour shift was brought in during the depression and was phased out almost completely after the war. Mostly the only people left working these shifts were women and older workers (in fact, it became an excuse for wage inequality). It was phased out, firstly, because W.K. Kellog, who was very altruistic, bowed out from the company and secondly, because the company became unionized, with all that that entails. Also, this article makes mention of male workers’ feelings of inadequacy at working less, bringing in less money, and mentions how wives were tired of having the men at home underfoot! The biggest drive to let go of the 6-hour shift came during the ’50s, which is probably when the whole materialistic way of life started. I think it’s such a shame that this happened, but probably inevitable. Anyway, thanks for this thought-provoking post!

    1. Patricia
      Thanks for the link!
      Another blogger has also written about this Kellog experiment and cited a US Department of Labor survey at the time that showed the majority of the workers embraced it …
      I have always been envious of how many European countries treat their employees better than US companies do — more maternity leave and support, month long vacations, etc.

  7. I agree the Kellogg concept was good in theory and I too have always thought the European idea of holiday is mentally healthy. I’m not sure we (Americans) would be willing to bear the cost:-( But still a wonderful concept!

Comments are closed.