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Frugality Is Next to Simplicity

You may be inclined to shake your head at this simplistic statement, but where do you think you get the notion to buy things you don't need? Could it be the commercials you and your children are overexposed to?

Speaking of children, the couple says, "As much as simple living has the potential to transform your life as an adult, setting the stage for simplicity in your child's life is arguably more important."


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Urbanska and Levering suggest that parents create a firewall between their children and corporate America.

Here's one tip from their book that they've implemented with their son, Henry. Minimize or eliminate the brand-name clothes your children wear.

I know in this country that's akin to heresy. But it works. And trust me, it makes shopping a whole lot easier when your kids know you simply refuse to buy high-priced, brand-name items.

If you're not sure if you need to simplify your life, then answer these few questions. Do you have a garage but can't park your car (or cars) in it because of all the junk? Do you have a junk drawer or closet?

Do you find yourself repurchasing things you already have because your refrigerator or cabinets are too cluttered?

Are you worried that your children don't appreciate the things they have?

The simple truth is, as Urbanska and Levering write, "too many of us are consuming recklessly, drowning in stuff."

I don't want to drown in stuff anymore. How about you?

If you want to join the Color of Money Book Club, subscribe to my electronic newsletter at www.washingtonpost.com/newsletters. Scroll down the page and click on the box for Personal Finance. Each month, randomly selected subscribers will get a free copy of the book club selection. Also, join me at 1 p.m. Sept. 29 at www.washingtonpost.com for an online discussion with Urbanska and Levering.

Michelle Singletary discusses personal finance Tuesdays on NPR's "Day to Day" program and online at www.npr.org. Readers can write to her at The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or send e-mail to singletarym@washpost.com. Comments and questions are welcome, but please note that they may be used in a future column, with the writer's name, unless a specific request to do otherwise is indicated.


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