Remote Possibility

In this age of rampant consumerism, it is no surprise that some people have pledged to stop the madness. . .or the buying. I first heard about this concept from a group in San Francisco whose members pledge to only buy secondhand items. Then I read about this New York City man who has sworn off everything from toilet paper to taxicabs for himself, his wife and his little girl.

Recently, one of my favorite mommy-bloggers started an experiment called “A Year Off“. This mom of seven is going to attempt to spend a year without making any unnecessary purchases.

I spent a couple of days thinking about this. How could I pare back on my buying of things? What is the difference between a “need” and a “want”? Why did a brand new Target have to move a mile from my home? I was becoming all a-flutter over the idea of joining the army of low consumers.

And, then Fairly Odd Father came home from work and said, “Look what I got! Only $10!” And I screamed and then fainted.

(just kidding about the fainting part)

Can you tell what this is? It is a G-I-A-N-T universal remote control for the television/cable box/VCR/DVD. I sputtered something about not buying “wants” this year. FOF explained that this was NOT a “want” but a “need” because he could never find the right remote control when he needed it.

But, the joke is on him, because little man D thinks it is a toy and hides it in the back of his Tonka truck and then moves it all over the house. I have a feeling we may “need” a tracking system for the remote next.


  1. It’s inspiring what people are doing. Given that I’m staring 4 years of only buying ‘needs’ and not ‘wants’ in the face (school is hard!), I find I’m having to struggle to be wise and save money right now and resist the urge to treat myself and our family in the months leading up to it.

  2. That is a big remote! That does sound good about not buying extra things. We definitely could start doing that in this house.

  3. I saw that in the pre christmas sales flyers and thought “who on earth???”

    and now I know.


  4. No toilet paper???

    But as for the rest – I think we would save a lot of money and grief.

    There is a book out there, too, on this concept.

    I’m willing to try, I just can’t decide if a candle is a need? 😉

  5. I’m being more concious of my purchasing habits, but I’m still not swearing off all wants. It’s a hard balance…

  6. Life As I Know It says

    I saw that giant remote in a catalogue recently and thought it looked pretty cool!

    I think we’re pretty good at not spending much on “wants”. We usually splurge on big ticket house type items or home improvements.

  7. I’ll have you know this product is very important to Seniors and is a very popular product here at Senior Emporium.
    Sure, bad mouth me all you want, but I can not stand by and watch you besmirch the good Americans that have given their blood. Their sweat. And their tears to make the country great.

  8. I love No Impact Man. I wish I had the courage. 🙂 We’re very picky about what we buy, for environmental and fugal reasons. So “want” and “need” is clearly defined. As well as “social need”, or what society says we need but we really don’t. Toliet paper, for instance, myself and the kids haven’t used in almost a year.

  9. PinksandBluesGirls says

    Holy remote, Batman!

    I’m trying to keep my buying in check in 2008, although I must say that I am pretty good about not going crazy with the non-essentials.

    Jane, Pinks & Blues

  10. Julie Pippert says

    LOL at that remote!

    I think it’s a great thing to do, the needs only.

    When we decided to have me stay home versus work, we HAD to begin living like that. It was a transition, but it’s amazing how much stuff you don’t need.

    I actually can tell my internal landscape (LOL) when I start getting unnecessary things.

    I just keep it moderate and then I don’t feel “cheated.”

    Don’t laugh but I use my Weight Watchers methods…you know how you make food choices with that, that’s how I decide whether to buy things.

    “Will this nourish my body? is it a necessary calorie?” becomes “Will this nourish my family? Is it a necessary expense?”

    And I think of money like points, understanding you have a budget, and to use points (money) here takes points (money) from there.

    I know that’s a big DUH but my mind needs the setup LOL.

    It works!

  11. I for one am NOT besmirching or badmouthing. Well maybe but honestly,
    I had NO idea how vital this was to the Greatest Generation. I would’ve thought Brokaw would’ve included that tidbit in his book.

    My father in law will be 75 on Friday and now I know just what to get him.

  12. AnotherMomCreation says

    HA! I saw this and thought it would be a good gag gift for someone turning 40 or 50….


  13. Thank you! I actually laughed out loud at the logic your husband used only to find that your little man takes the remote – that’s just the way!

    Possible lesson in this, however, don’t buy things when you don’t need them??? Maybe the message is for your husband!

  14. nuttnbunny says

    I’ll do my best. It’s a fine line that sliver btw want and need. 🙂

  15. Alpha DogMa says

    Comically large anything — it’s my husband’s downfall, too.

  16. Tammy and Parker says

    As I have been throwing/giving/selling/donating away so much stuff that I thought I needed this very idea keeps rolling around in my head.

    Financially we really haven’t purchased anywhere near the ‘stuff’ that we used to pre-Parker. But it is amazing how much less we could still even get by with.

    Tammy and Parker

  17. Just ripping a page from your book of insults and heaving one at your husband” He must have traded in his penis to buy that.

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