Real Simple Magazine

I am a strong proponent of living a simpler, less stressed life and I was really happy when I saw an entire magazine was dedicated towards the simple life. After reading it, though, I think what they meant to say was that this is the way to spend money and feel better about yourself.

An idea for avoiding dishes? Buy lots of coffee filters, line your mixing bowls with them and throw them away when you're done. This turns us into a disposable lifestyle, not a simple one. Need to figure out if a window is sunny enough for a plant? Buy a $60 device that (I kid you not) plugs into the dirt, records the sunlight for you and then plugs into your USB port to tell you what it saw. There's an article on an interracial marriage which doesn't sound simple to me, and while it's cool, it doesn't help me learn anything about living more simply.

How about dressing simply? They want you to buy an $85 pair of flats and a $68 belt. Maybe a $70 pair of shorts.

Some articles are helpful. How can you spot a fake bill? Might be useful to know. Other articles miss out on basics. They talk about how a pound of sugar was 12 cents in 1960 and is now 52 cents - but they say nothing at all about what it WOULD be adjusted for inflation. Is this higher than before? Lower? Nobody knows.

There are good tips in here. Go to your library and use their vast resources for free. Negotiate with your health care provider for lower costs. Use local playgrounds for exercise and fun. Bring your lunch, don't eat out. Even so, you turn the page and they're suggesting $200 blazers as cool items for the simple household - blazers that, honestly, most of us would only wear once or twice given its color and what it would go with in a given season. Never mind the $400 giant black jumpsuit. Not simple.

I'm not saying simple has to be boring or drab - but there is a big difference, in my mind, between recommending a simple item of clothing that could be worn every week without an issue and recommending a $400 splurge on something that would rarely be brought from the closet. That belongs more in a "splurge fashion" magazine, not a "real simple" magazine.

So while I appreciate some of the tips here, there was too much emphasis on buying things - especially things people simply don't need. I feel the magazine falls into this category itself.

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