Living without money, Is it really possible?

A while back, I wrote about Mark Boyle (aka The Moneyless Man) and his year-long experimentation of living life without money in the UK.  It seems that this phenomenon is catching because a recent article on Yahoo Voices featured a Berlin couple and their 18-month-old who live entirely on the goodwill of others. 

Raphael Fellmer, along with his wife, Nieves Palmer, and their young daughter, Alma Lucia, stopped using money as a form of activism.  They wanted to point out that overconsumption leads to unnecessary waste which eventually leads to environmental destruction.  By foraging food from grocery store dumpsters and acquiring free lodging by housesitting or couchsurfing, the family of three has most of their basic needs met.

The young couple and many others are finding it increasingly easier to live without currency by bartering, skillsharing, cleaning, and creating urban homesteads in which they grow their own food, harvest rainwater, can and preserve food, and sew their own clothes.  The resources that they need to survive are acquired through free stores (much like a thrift store but where nothing has a price tag) and websites like Freecycle.org and Craigslist.org.

living without money

So, this poses a question that I’d love to hear the answer to.  Could you see yourself and your family living without money?  Are you the type of person that is resourceful and not afraid to trade your tools, skills, and expertise with other people in your community?  Are you a Do-It-Yourself dude or diva?  If you are, there’s a good chance you could survive a money-free experiment the way that Mark Boyle and Nieves Palmer and family have.

Daniel Suelo has been living without money since 2000.  The book, The Man Who Quit Money, highlights his cashless lifestyle.  Dwelling part-time in a cave outside of Moab, Utah, Suelo acquires everything he needs through his own efforts.  There’s no bartering where he is concerned.  He lives off the land in the most literal sense, often eating road kill because it’s what’s readily available.

Other men and women who have tried living without money around the globe include:

  • Heidemarie Schwermer, the inspiration behind the film Living without Money.
  • Joseph Garner who lived a month of money-free living thanks to Craigslist and created the film Craiglist Joe documenting his experience.
  • Mike McIntyre who hitchhiked across America meeting generous people who offered him rides, food, and shelter.  His book titled, The Kindness of Strangers: Penniless Across America, chronicles everything he encountered along the way.

 

We know that you can live on a tight budget but could you completely live without money?  It’s a challenge few are up to but one that provides freedom beyond compare.

Author: Charissa

Charissa is into frugal living and saving money.

13 comments
Third4
Third4

There has always been some form of money used - whether it was shells, beads, grain, fish, gold or paper.  People are mistaken to think that people lived without money "in the old days."   When people came together to live in communities, governments were formed and laws were created specifically to manage the money of that particular society.

 

I applaud people for trying to live by their own standards.  However, I don't agree that living without money is a worthy goal -- rather, just try to be self-supporting and live within your means.  

ssfutrell
ssfutrell

I already know that I couldn't do this. First, of all, I don't have that type of husband.  I could easily live a really frugal lifestyle, but living without money is not going to be possible. I can't see it. It probably works for his family, but I don't see it working for a majority of people. Though, I know there are a lot of things that we could go without having and still live a good life.

Peter at FinanceCare
Peter at FinanceCare

I don't  think it is possible at all. You need money and need it badly.

Holly at ClubThrifty
Holly at ClubThrifty

Sounds a little off the wall to me!  I could possibly live without money, but I definitely don't want to!

AverageJoeMoney
AverageJoeMoney

As an experiment, maybe, but I'm too addicted to "what I want when I want it." That in itself is a problem, isn't it? That we become accustomed to "what we want when we want it" is clearly an overconsumption issue. 

Ronald_Mueller
Ronald_Mueller

Yeah, no. I mean it's possible, yes, but it could be really really hard. I agree with bartering, frugal living, saving and all, but at one point, I'm gonna need money. I'm used to a comfortable life where everything is at my disposal.

Christian L
Christian L

Charissa,It sure wouldn't be easy, but I'd give it a go. I considered it in my college days. Freeganism, as I learned it, isn't uncommon. Really, it's just another way of describing how humans once lived. Money wasn't always present and we were hunters and gatherers. That's basically what these people are doing now. It's just 2013.

 

-Christian L. @ Smart Military Money

Generation X Finance
Generation X Finance

Wesley Eng, I totally agree with you there, but it does add a perspective.

KC Beavers
KC Beavers moderator

 @Peter at FinanceCare I totally agree, going totally without money is not possible unless you want to become a burden on society.

KC Beavers
KC Beavers moderator

 @Holly at ClubThrifty For sure, that is probable the best way to look at it. But it does make you think of how possible it would be to live on less, and from there what you could do with that extra money. 

KC Beavers
KC Beavers moderator

 @AverageJoeMoney True, that is something we all need to work away from. It kind of sounds like what I am trying to teach my kids right now. Delayed gratification can be hard to learn.

KC Beavers
KC Beavers moderator

 @Christian L

As a college kid this is understandable but as an adult with a family and child they do need to get with the times. It seems there are always those people that want to fight the norm.