As a 20-something trying to launch her adult life and her writing career, Cait Flanders
found herself stuck in the consumer cycle that grips so many of us: earn more, buy more, want more, rinse, repeat. Even after she worked her way out of nearly $30,000 in credit-card debt, her old habits took hold again. When she realized that nothing she was doing or buying was making her happy--only keeping her from meeting her goals--she decided to set herself a challenge: she would not shop for an entire year. The Year of Less
documents Cait's life from July 2014 to July 2015, during which she bought only consumables: gas, toothpaste, soap. At the end, she found she had lived on just 51 percent of her income, saved 31 percent, and used the rest to travel. She had also completely altered her spending habits.
Along the way, Cait challenged herself to consume less of many other things besides shopping. She decluttered her apartment and got rid of 70 percent of her belongings; learned how to fix things rather than throw them away; researched the zero waste movement; and experimented with restricting television, e-mail, and social media. At every stage, she learned that the less she consumed, the more fulfilled she felt.
Anyone who has ever thought that buying what they think they need, or eating or drinking what they crave, could solve a problem needs to read this book--especially if you've done any of those things and still feel you aren't living the life you want. The Year of Less
will speak to young readers who may have debt and yet still compulsively consume; professionals who feel lost in their lives and careers; and anyone who feels trapped in a cycle that makes them unhappy. Cait's experiment in radical simplicity, woven together with practical insight and summed up with a set of guidelines for readers to chart their own path of "less," leads to a radically empowering lesson: You have enough. You ARE enough.