Not Buying It

My Year Without Shopping

Levine, Judith

Book - 2006
Average Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
Not Buying It
Many of us have tried to call a halt to our spending at one time or another. But what if we decided not to buy anything for a whole year? Obviously, we would need necessities like food and soap, but how would be manage without new clothes, treats, entertainment? Funny, smart and self-deprecating,Not Buying Itis a close look at our society's obsession with shopping and the cold turkey confession of a woman we can all identify with -- someone who can't live without French roast coffee andexpensive wool socks, but who has had enough of spending money for the sake of it. Without consumer goods and experiences, Levine and her partner Paul pursue their careers, nurture family relationships and try to keep their sanity and humour intact. Tracking their progress and lapses, she contemplates the meanings of need and desire, scarcity and security, consumerism and citizenship. She asks the big questions -- can the economy survive without shopping? Are Q-tips a necessity? A thought-provoking account of the pleasures and perils of the purchase-driven life,Not Buying Itwill get readers talking about their reliance on the act of buying and the possibility of getting off the merry-go-round.

Publisher: New York : Free Press, c2006
ISBN: 9780743269353
Branch Call Number: 640.73 L665n 2006
Characteristics: 274 p. ;,24 cm


From Library Staff

Taking a close look at our society's obsession with shopping, this is a cold turkey confession of a woman we can all identify with -- someone who can't live without French roast coffee and expensive wool socks, but who has had enough of spending money for the sake of it.

From the critics

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Feb 10, 2015
  • hgeng63 rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

Enjoyable but a little dated. A little too much political activity in it for my taste. I've read this at least 3 times because me & a friend recently recycled & threw out 10 years worth of my stuff. Now I only buy things when I run out of them.

Dec 09, 2014
  • Avid_Reader2 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I really enjoyed this book and have recommended it to others. It was their own private experiment with no set rules; just trying to make good decisions when confronted whether to buy or not. It's not an how-to step-by-step instruction book as one commentator wished it had been. One commentator suggests reading Scott Nearing or Thoreau. Well, Nearing and his wife had assistance from volunteers and unpaid students (and a fridge and other equipment hidden from view). Thoreau lived in a little cabin two miles from his family (his mother and sister brought him food and refreshments almost daily). I prefer Levine; she was honest by informing us of any purchases she made ahead of time (she could have left that out of the book but didn't) and how every purchase thereafter was analysed and scrutinised to ensure they fell under the category of essential only.

Oct 26, 2014
  • WVMLStaffPicks rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Could you live for a year without shopping, new clothes, new CDs, new things for your house or car, seeing a movie or going to a concert? Obviously you have to buy food and things like soap and shampoo. What do you do about airline tickets or gifts? Where do you draw the line? Read Not Buying It and find out how the author and her husband managed for a year – a year without shopping.

Nov 19, 2012
  • coastalkate rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I thought this was a great personal story. Levine wasn't preaching, she was just trying to figure out where she fit as an American consumer and as an American citizen. Very thoughtfully written, and in particular the last few days of December that she wrote about were very moving and insightful.

Jan 05, 2012
  • quoi rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I was a little frustrated by the lack of strict rules for consumption. Like the person below said, they had some issues defining what was necessary and what was an exception to the rule, but I think that reflects society in terms of consumption; deciding how much is enough.
Good read, but too much talk, not enough action.

Jul 13, 2009
  • DanniOcean rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Less a how-to manual for thrifty living, more a philosophical discussion on consumerism, economics and so-called "simple-living". Extrememly interesting.

Jun 05, 2008
  • lindeeana rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

They didn't go without shopping. They bought all the extras (including lawn ornaments) Dec. 31, quit shopping on Jan 1, ran out of extras (wine) by June, began to break the rules in fall, and dragged themselves and their three cars back to reality one year later. What did they learn? I learned almost nothing. Try Scott Nearing or Henry David Thoreau.

Dec 30, 2007
  • Cabby rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book was featured on Oprah. Excellent


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