Could You Live Without Money?


The Moneyless ManThe Moneyless Manifesto

scavenger volunteer

with new-found freedom?

http://www.moneylessmanifesto.org

Could you live without money?  I just read about this guy, Mark Boyle, who’s been living basically as a happy homeless person in the hills of Ireland for the past 7 years or so.  He has an old caravan that he parks near the organic farm where he is a volunteer.  He scavenges and picks wild foods from fields and forest.  He has no TV, no running water, no indoor plumbing.  He bathes in a nearby river, and uses old newspaper for toileting.  A former economist, he discovered Ghandi and soon gave it up.  Now he has two books: one about his experiences, and the other, “The Moneyless Manifesto,” which outlines how to live a life free of money.  Apparently all of his talks are free, though they sell his books at each one and he does accept donations to cover costs and expenses.

At first blush I want to join him.  Live free, like we were supposed to.  Live like the Hippies did in France in the 60’s; all together in a cave, scavenging and picking wild food to eat.  Like Buddhist monks living in a temple, growing enough to eat and no more.  A stark life, and one that I should think is pretty cold in many places.  It could be wet, or hot, or snowing, and I’d be exposed to it all.  I’d live without medicines, except for wild ones.  I shouldn’t need antidepressants if I lived like this.  No bills to pay, no income taxes, no stress.  Except the stress of finding enough to eat for a day.

I just can’t imagine.  I’d be bummed living in a place where you needed to use an outhouse, let alone an unheated old Silverstream.  Fixing my own home-made from scraps solar heater.  My books on organic gardening and plant identification lined up on a 1×12 plain plank shelf held up by two cinder blocks.  My depression gone without all the stress in my life.  No work, no money, no stress, no worries.

I couldn’t do it.  I’m too comfortable with living indoors, with some form of heat, and reliable means of cooking, electricity and running water.  I could not live without some money.  I think I could live with very little, and I think that is the way my life is heading.  Finding a small cottage on Orcas Island with our own garden and green house.  Raising chickens, selling eggs and vegetables at the local open-air market.

I’m already boycotting Wal-Mart and Target, avoiding things not made locally, and Christmas in general this year.  We have always done things simply, so it’s easy to make the transition to less commercialism.  The only thing I want for Christmas is a gift card for I-tunes.  I don’t even want to put up decorations.  I am ready to sell all my lights and decorations.  If not for Grandson we wouldn’t even put up a tree.  We have not bought him anything that needs batteries, or a charger, or is connected to a screen of any kind.  His big gift will be a new bed if we can find one we can afford.

The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of living away from people.  Living small, with no close neighbors, no studio in Seattle.  Living off our little plot of land, just the two of us, like we had planned from the beginning.  I do want people in my life.  Live people.  But we would have the other townspeople.  The tourists, and other farmers.  It would be a small circle, but I wouldn’t mind that.  I think it would be harder to live frugally in the city.

I’ve always said, I could live without money.  It’s the fact that there are so many people and entities that want my money.  It would mean we would have to do our own repairs, but we’ve never been able to pay the man to come to the house, it’s nothing new.  But getting older, standing on ladders, and wrestling with wheel barrows seems a bit daunting.  Then again, if it’s something we’d always imagined doing.  I could even do comedy, performing at the open air market, the local bookstore, the only bar.  Now would our lives be stress-less enough to give up my antidepressants, and husband his high blood pressure pills?  Would it be possible?

Somehow it doesn’t seem all that easy to live without (much) money.

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69 thoughts on “Could You Live Without Money?

  1. I often do think of those with so much less than what we do and can only imagine how they have to get by with so little…. You only have to look at the news ….and I worked for an NGO for many years so am aware of what real poverty is.. I am sure I would not fare well living other than how I am… and am ashamed to say so… because I have a choice…and so many don’t…. and to me it would only mean more stress …not less … I get a bit emotional when I think about how much we have and how little others do… I know that’s not exactly what you’re talking about…but it’s where my mind goes…. Diane

    • Yes, I often think about those who do without so much. I don’t feel we have that much, but when you get down to it, we definitely do. We could still do without more and I would like to live a more sustainable lifestyle. How to sell that to the rest of the family, that will be tricky.

    • I will try to check it out. My biggest problem will be to get husband on board. Living off the grid takes a lot of work and at retirement age, working hard looks far less appealing. I’m sure tol see something useful in this film.

      • It will obviously require both learning something new and changes to habits. If anyone can manage those two, the the rest is easy 🙂 I’m doing a reasonable job at learning things now, kinda getting a bit edgy to actually do them. 🙂

      • Don;

        JMGoyder wasn’t bitching about money (I was). And $3000 (Australian) is a huge amount of money to have to put out for an oven! But I assume that includes delivery, installation, and hauling away the old unit.

        Besides it’s pretty hard to live without an oven/stove. I know, my oven’s been broken over a year. We finally replaced it with a large toasting oven, but you can’t fit a turkey in it.

      • Just find it kinda hypocritical to be commenting on a ‘live without money’ post and saying the stove cost that much. Delivery can’t possibly be that expensive, same for installation. A $3K stove is overkill for needs. Unless you are running a business, which was not mentioned, then maybe such a cost can be justified. Of course it s a ‘huge amount of money’, it seems way disproportionate to needs and something seems hypocritical in making such a comment under such an article.

      • Sorry. I do not find it hypocritical at all, especially since the stove cannot be afforded and currently JM is doing without. It wasn’t a notion of I’ll buy the most expensive stove on the market. I’d never assume so much. Again, you’re basing your idea of the excessive cost of a stove on what it costs in your world. I’ve never priced appliances in Australia. Have you? Not to mention, JM lives far from town, and probably farther from a delivery point, so delivery could be a huge sum.

        Also, as JM did not buy the oven and is doing without, I think it says a lot about living without money. It’s pretty fricking hard.

        I think you were a bit harsh with your opinion. But I appreciate your sharing.

      • The stove that died is over 50 years old but when I priced a replacement yesterday there was nothing under $3000 which I don’t have. I am going to enjoy being without one for a long time!

      • Sorry. I’m sticking to my comment. I found ovens in Au running from a low of $515, all the way up to $3,000. I don’t know why JM would need the $3,000 one, but I assume there is a reason.

        Anyway. I think you’re a bit presumptuous and judgmental over this issue. Yes it’s a lot of money, but who am I to judge what someone feels they need to spend on necessities?

      • “I assume there is a reason.” It seems that JM is not responding to this at all. Silence speaks volumes.

        Presumptuous? “failing to observe the limits of what is permitted or appropriate.” Is it inappropriate to have an opinion? I didn’t realize there were limits to opinions here 😉

        Having done your own research, you have seen the prices. The ‘need’ for the most expensive oven in the land has to be pretty damn special. And with no explanation forthcoming, it is more likely that it is a ‘want’ and not a need. I’ll be sticking with numbers on this as there are a hell of a lot less people who NEED a $3000 oven than those who do not. Then to complain about it, with the intent of “I’m too poor to afford something’ on a thread about ‘living without money’ is hypocritical. I’ll gladly retract my statements should I be proving wrong. Indeed my point here is to get an explanation WHY someone would NEED a $3000 oven. Hey, if they simply ‘want’ it, that is their choice. Never will complain bout someone’s choice. Comment on their reasons for that choice, sure.

        A failure to stand up for ones own comment implies guilt. Oh not saying all of us are perfect at all. Hell, it grinds my gears that I still have to ‘work’ within such a broken system but that is the nature of the beast of the moment. Not willing to face the rather extreme consequences if I did not right now. (i.e. living in a foreign country, plane tickets home are not free….) But I also will not sit here and whine about not being able to afford a $80,000 car when I can get to Seoul for $22 by bus.

        So JM, how about it? Care to explain and either admit that you are human and have made mistakes, or tell us you have this ‘really special need’ to one the most expensive oven in the land?

      • Ok, Don. There’s an opinion and there is assumption. Just because you wouldn’t spend $80,000 on a car doesn’t mean someone else wouldn’t. You are putting your values upon another person and that’s unfair.

        JM’s silence doesn’t necessarily mean any level of guilt. Guilt over what? Over the desire for something “nice” after making do for 50 years? It could be she is no longer interested in the subject. Or is feeling somewhat attacked. Opinion or not, your words come across as harsh and judgmental.

        You say it is an opinion. Ok, I’ll accept that it is your opinion, but your tone is angry and somewhat hostile. I don’t understand that aspect of your opinion at all. If JM feels attacked (and I feel she might) I ask that you tone down the anger behind your opinion.

        I asked a simple question about living without and it’s turned into a debate over someone’s personal choice of what they feel is necessary.

      • “There’s an opinion and there is assumption.” Just to clarify. Are you saying the two are different? Commenting on my opinion and some sort of assumption? I merely pointed out the definition of a word you used, which as not assumption, and that I was following within the definition of the word you used.

        Well, this conversation is going to turn, fair warning 🙂

        “You are putting your values upon another person and that’s unfair.”

        You do realize how money works right? No, I suspect not. Let me try to explain in basic terms. The more you spend, the more debt you create. So, ‘wanting something nice’ means ‘screwing someone out of a job/home/something nice’. How you ask? easy. Look into central banks, fractional reserves and the growing megolith of debt any given ‘democratized’ country has and you’ll quickly see the root of the problem. Or maybe not. Maybe it’s not as obvious to you as it is to me? Let’s see if I can simplify this in a better way.

        1/ Central Banks lend money out to the Governments (i.e. the Federal Reservse is a private bank and is about as ‘federal’ as FedEx.) at INTEREST.
        2/ Banks in turn lend that money out to people wanting loans/needing finance at INTEREST(oh, like a manufacturing company building ovens….among others of course)
        3/ People buy things (ovens et al) with money they received from companies(who get their money from loans/sales(which in turn came from other companies/people borrowing money…)), their money going back to pay some interest on a debt in a country that will never end.

        When there is one central giver of money, and that giver charges interest, where does that interest come from to be paid back? Someone ha to borrow money(at interest) to pay you so you can back back that loan. But wait, that generates more interest….some someone else has to borrow money to pay that back…but wait…..and so on.

        I won’t even get into fractional reserves and how that creates ‘fake money’ out of literally nothing.

        So, what does this have to do with a $3000 oven? Pretty much everything. First, contributing to the top end of a financial pyramid scheme(see capitalism/above explanation). Second, living well outside your means so that when it breaks you say “I can’t afford to replace my $3000 oven.”. Third, by (overly)contributing to such a broken system, such contribution makes things worse for EVERYONE. Not just me, you, JM and anyone else reading this blog. Money is such a bad setup that it’s become normal. This sums up what needs to be done initially quite well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WINDtlPXmmE

        Welcome to the Internet. Opinions abound and information flows. Harsh some of each maybe, that does not make them any less real or true and it certainly is required when the whole world is in this stupid ‘financial crisis’ and people say “I just want to buy nice things.”.

        But hey, your blog, your rules. I stand by the information I have found and given. Will gladly share where said information is found, with references for each. Or, you could delete it, ask me not to comment on this post again and ignorance may well be bliss, till the next ‘financial crash’ that is.

      • I’m not questioning anything but your reasoning behind a verbal attack. I don’t question you obviously know a lot about economics, but I do question how you responded. I just cannot get past my incomprehension of your anger toward one of my readers.

        I never imagined this post would to be the basis for a heated, in-depth discussion on economics and consumerism. Someone said something merely in passing and it has been made a federal case against consumerism.

        I stick to my guns. Facts or not, your attitude is what I found offensive. Your anger at another one of my readers is still incomprehensible to me.

      • Ugh. I’m not mad at her. I have no anger towards her. I’m am dumbfounded by the need for a $3000 oven and more specifically, the reason for it. That reason, unless otherwise answered, is the underlying root for both her and everyone else’s ‘problems’.

        The ‘anger’ would be someone who tries to tell me that they ‘need’ something that is clearly beyond their means. Then add in someone else to try and defend another reasoning, well that’s just insanity now.

        You may choose to find offensive anything you wish, that is your right. Nothing has any meaning save the meaning you give it.

        And still you like to use this word ‘attack’ huh? Funny, when someone questions another it gets turned into an ‘attack’.

        Let me say this. Someone who says they ‘need’ an is at the root cause of everyone’s financial woes. You can either: 1/ believe that statement, 2/ Do research on it, 3/ Believe someone’s else’s desire for an expensive item, 4/ Continue to be bewildered by a statement found on the internet.

      • Nice. Welcome to the Internet. But hey, you don’t have to justify yourself to me or anyone else, but don’ be surprised when someone pegs you (or anyone else) for what really is.

      • Don, I don’t appreciate your attitude here toward one of my readers. It’s uncalled for and is past the rude part. I have tried to maintain a friendly atmosphere, but your attack on JM is completely inappropriate.

      • My ‘attack’? Geeze, you make it sound personal. There is no ‘attack’. Just wow. I severely questioned the need for such an expensive device and what did I get in return? “Go away”. I even offered to retract everything I said but apparently that wasn’t good enough.

        My explanation goes unheard. Not surprising when I really think about it. Seems that you just aren’t ready to understand what the real issue here is (and its not the fact that she can’t afford a $3000 oven).

        She, like everyone else, myself included, have been blinded. And if there is one thing I have learned is that people don’t like it when you suddenly roll up the blinds. Maybe if enough people say it, people will start listening. You missed my point and decided not to read deep into my words but chose to listen only to what you wanted to hear. Thank you for educating me on what I have learned here.

  2. We had the same dream, as you write about, as you want to live out.
    When I relocated to Spain, we moved directly to a rentet farm house, where we should have water, but the water tank was broken, so water needed to be picked up in the nearest town 7 km away in 5 liter bottles. No electricity without our generator, which was very expensive in use, so no fridge in a very warm summer. In the winter we bought a gas fridge and few month later, we moved from the house because of unhealthy green walls from heavy rain and no isolation.
    Now try to imagine, how much water you might need to pick up and carry in bottles, just for the “shower” and washing clothes?
    We are not 20 any longer, and I promis you, this was a tough way to live.
    The house was isolated from the World, no one did live close in the area.
    The positive: I came to know myself in a way, I never thought, I would do, in good and bad.
    After a half year, we were destroyed both mentally and in our bodies.
    I hope, that you think and plan very well, before you live out your dreams. I wish you the best luck.
    Irene

    • Sounds like you we just not prepared for an of that at all. After living here in South Korea, there are things that are a given back home but not here, especially in building design. There is zero airflow in any place and that is what caused mold to grow. After learning that, bought a fan and once air was moving, no more mold. Not saying that is what you could/needed to do, but for those who at least take some time to research alternate/base way of living, they will be better prepared should they ever encounter your type of conditions. Yes, plan very well indeed 🙂

      • Thanks for your comment.
        A fan would have been a good idea, but not enough. We had a lot of wind there, up at a mountain 650 meters over the ocean in high.
        The very tough was no water and no electricity. We were very isolated then, no internet, no connection to family or friends. Only very rare, because of the expensive use of the generator. Even recharge of mobiles were difficult.
        Planning means really a lot, yes.

      • This is why I’ve been doing casual research into alternative stuff. Wind/solar even earth-bag houses. Only took a few peaks into gardening type of stuff. I’ve been casually also looking into property to buy, remote but not outside of reasonable striking distance of a city. Want to start doing this stuff to practice.

    • The last place we lived we were barely on the grid. The landlord provided and controlled electricity, and we had water from a well, which didn’t work when we lost electricity, which was more frequent than desired. All repairs were done by us, and that experience taught us a lot as well. We don’t truly want to live off the grid. It would be ideal, but like you said, we’re not 20 any more, and working that hard just to sustain yourself is not that attractive any more.

  3. An ideal that is beautiful when young and carefree as we all once were. Walking about with a guitar over ones back, stopping anywhere we wished. But as we get older, which we all do unfortunately, the relying on pills and doctors and comforts would not allow it. even if our heads are still in those days… used to love it once. 😉

  4. I am not a materialistic person and have experienced what it means to live on a tight budget. But no money? I guess the healthcare is a good point. I would not like to live with tooth-pain, a broken foot, or similar things. I do think sustainability can be a combination of reducing waste and using smart new technologies.

    • I think that’s what I prefer to living completely money-free. I am too fond of regular meals, hot water, and a warm bed. But We will get our finances in order (again) we will live without credit cards.

  5. Lovely idea on paper, but the realities… Some years we’re very sparing on heating the house because it’s so big- and that alone makes life a pain. Having to wear thermal underwear at home is not fun 😀

    • We will use the heat, though sparingly, keeping it at about 68. Cool, but not bad enough for thermal undies. Of course, living in So Cal our winter is pretty mild. Living within our means is very tough in California. When things are finally sorted out with the house and husband’s retirement, I refuse to ever have another credit card.

  6. Honestly no.

    There is a balance you can strike without having to live like a recluse. Having incurred debt in the past I have learnt to live within means and budget. Am great at making food stretch and creating dishes from meagre pickings in the storecupboard but that is more about enjoying cooking rather than a need not to spend as I earn pretty well. I rarely buy anything unless it is absolutely needed. I tell my family every year for Christmas I don’t want anything but they never listen. It’s why I go abroad every Christmas to get away from it all, I’m already tired from the onslaught of Christmas adverts on TV. . Most of the money I do get goes towards holidays and I certainly can’t live without those.

    • Kudos to you for living within your means. It’s something we keep trying and are successful to a point, then someone needs dental work, or a car breaks down and we resort to credit. When we get rid of the debt we currently have, we will live completely within our means. I refuse to open another credit account–ever. (Wish me luck :))

      • You don’t need to tell me about dental work, it’s the bane of my life after 4 root canals and crowns in the last two years. I had no cash for that so went on credit, luckily I had work insurance for part of it. But sine I am now buying a home I have to think about all sorts of contingency when things go wrong, no more calling the landlord!

        And good luck, annoying this is you are supposed to have some sort of credit in the UK alone or I wouldn’t have got a mortgage at all. They would rather you had debts than to have never had them.

        Silly thing is I have paid a fortune in rent over the years, never defaulting yet they don;t even consider that when assessing you, which is mad since it is your biggest outgoing.

      • It’s like that here too; you have to have some credit to do absolutely everything. And everyone worries about their credit rating. It’s like having a big house and fancy car: Now you also have to have a perfect credit rating.

  7. the first problem for me would be the whole medicine thing. i would die pretty quickly without the beauty of chemistry. i have lived with very little, my grandmother and her “community” lived without electricity. we picked various fruits and veggies during the summer months. the little money earned went for the things we need and are not free. all the ladies canned and lived on those goods during the winter. i didn’t know we were poor and so did not stress. did my grandmother? i don’t know, she never seemed to worry.

    every path we choose has some stress and the human psyche needs some, however small, stress. it is actually good for us. not all will agree with this and i understand that.

    as you pointed out this man who promotes living free sells books. why not give them away? if you want people to live free but are saying only after you buy my book is that a bit hypocritical? in any event it sounds quite lovely but not sure how reasonable it is in this country. will stay posted to see how it goes for you.

    • Oh, no. There’s no way I could do without money. I can do with very little, always have, but no money at all, and living in an old RV or cardboard box, scrounging a meal from garbage cans is not my idea of living.

      I guess this guy doesn’t take the money from the sales of his books, supposedly it just goes to the publisher for their expenses. He’s preaching to the wrong people, though. He needs to speak to the homeless families out there, help them learn to cope with living on the streets of LA where there is not a lot of fresh fruit to be picked..

  8. Just saw yet another DD comment above and am gobsmacked. So sorry, my rather innocuous statement about a stove I can’t afford, invited such a weird response from him and crowded your post with a fair bit of nastiness from DD.

    Don’t let it bother you as it’s not bothering me – I’m just sorry he seemed to want to contaminate this wonderful post. I won’t respond any further to his inanities but it certainly has been interesting!

    Live and learn! Sending you love from one ovenless person to another!

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