More of a memoir than a guidebook, The Year of Less is a deep dive into what happens when you take a giant step away from consumerism. Cait Flanders paid off $30K of debt, and then imposed a year-long shopping ban. She chronicles her journey with unflinching honesty and careful self-examination. Recommended By Mary Jo S., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
In her late twenties, Cait Flanders found herself stuck in the consumerism 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 of consumer 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 June 2015, during which time she bought only consumables: groceries, toiletries, gas for her car. Along the way, she 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 completed a television ban. At every stage, she learned that the less she consumed, the more fulfilled she felt.
What started as a simple challenge quickly became a lifeline, however, as Cait found herself in a number of situations that turned her life upside down. In the face of hardship, she realized why she had always turned to shopping, alcohol and food — and what it had cost her, for so many years. By not being able to reach for any of her usual vices, Cait changed habits she'd spent years perfecting and discovered what truly mattered to her.
"Cait Flanders is a brave woman. As I read, I cried. But my heart also brimmed with joy. For anyone who doesn't think they can, Cait's story shows that it doesn't matter where you start, only where you go from there."
Gail Vaz-Oxlade, host of Til Debt Do Us Part and author of Debt-Free Forever
"Cait comforted herself with alcohol, binge eating, and compulsive shopping, then finally said, 'Enough is enough.' This isn't another book about how to live with less, but instead a heartbreaking and then a heartwarming story that shows us if we are willing to let go of the things we think we need, we can have a life we really want."
Courtney Carver, author of Soulful Simplicity
"If you've ever felt there must be more to life than consumerism and its vicious cycle, you'll find inspiration to break free in The Year of Less. Cait's highly readable and personal story is encouraging, challenging, and unbelievably helpful."
Joshua Becker, author of The More of Less
About the Author
Cait Flanders is a former binge consumer turned mindful consumer of everything. Through personal stories, she writes about what happens when money, minimalism, and mindfulness cross paths. Cait's story has been shared on Oprah.com, Forbes, Yahoo!, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, CBC News, and more. She inspires people to consume less and live more, on her blog www.caitflanders.com. Cait lives in Squamish, BC, Canada, with her three loves: the mountains, the forest, and the ocean.