Book Review – The Art of Frugal Hedonism

“Hello. Could you please tell me how you manage to work so little, and do so much cool stuff?” p16

The Art of Frugal Hedonism: A Guide to Spending Less While Enjoying Everything More

I’m betting you haven’t been asked this before, but would probably like to be. I certainly would! Probably the number one thing I find myself complaining about is “if only I had more time…”. Yet my measuring of time prohibits me from using it for less productive means, like walking somewhere for the sake of it, pottering in the garden, reading a whole book in one sitting, or travelling 6,000kms along the east coast of Australia for a year with my young family on bicycle.1

So I was instantly enthralled by this book, in which the authors share their wealth of insight into what makes us happy. They take a closer look, sans the consumer lens we are accustomed to seeing live through. It’s peppered with countless practical tips and written in such a cheeky and creative way that I found myself smiling the whole way through (as in, laugh out loud on the train funny).

My experience has been that when you live without comforts and conveniences, you learn just how much you’re capable of as a human being. I think that being dependent on consumer products and external systems for your basic life functioning is like being enslaved. And money is generally the only way we acquire such things. So being able to live without being reliant on money (as much) sounds to me like a promise of freedom!

Reading this book you’ll probably find yourself connecting with ways of old (perhaps things your grandparents or parents do), which you always knew were good, but seemed just too hard. Like growing your own food. It may not seem like an efficient use of your time, yet it can be an experience more enriching than the value we place on it. Would you rather be outside working with nature, or slogging away in your daily occupation to earn money, in order to rush to the supermarket and pick up lower quality food and stand in line internally stewing against that annoying person who pushed in and wasted another of your precious minutes..? Ok, life’s definitely not as simple as this characterisation, but it’s a question worth looking at.

The book title put me off a bit. Frugality seems like an old term describing someone who is un-generous and has no friends. And Hedonism? I didn’t even know what that meant, although it sounded like it should be a Bad Thing. It turns out it is the pursuit of pleasure, which still sounds potentially bad, but the authors gently suggest that these two principles can come together with a beautiful balance, being “your best ticket to enjoying everything more on both the deeply fulfilling and sensually satisfying levels.” p14

With 51 easy reading tips guiding you through the Art of Frugal Hedonism, you’re sure to find some great advice to help you start saving money and spending it however you please, be it “working less, taking up skiing or helping to bring back a rare parrot from the brink of extinction.” p185

So get a hold of this book and get ready to be free!
(Hint: you don’t necessarily have to buy it; ask me to borrow it, or get it from your local library or request they add it to the collection. I checked, Moreland and Moonee Valley have it already)

1 Referred on p33, read The Art of Free Travel: A Frugal Family Adventure


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